The Double Irony of Reformed Spirituality

Belden C. Lane

in Ravished by Beauty

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199755080
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894956 | DOI:
 The Double Irony of Reformed Spirituality

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This chapter introduces the forgotten importance of nature in the history of Reformed spirituality, showing how a delight in the manifestations of God's glory in the natural world puts beauty and desire at the heart of the tradition. We do not usually think of Reformed thought as marked by a spirituality of desire or a focus on creation. In describing the “double irony” of Reformed piety, the chapter suggests that Calvinists, often pictured as dour Puritans, have also been marked by a sensuous spirituality of desire. Similarly, Reformed Christians who have celebrated a God who is “wholly other,” have also discerned God's glory everywhere in the natural world. The chapter distinguishes two parallel strains of thought in Reformed practice—the one beginning with a sense of awe at God's majesty, the other with a delight in God's beauty.

Keywords: creation; glory; spirituality; school; desire; allurement; strains of Calvinism; Presbyterian; Reformed; pantheism; sexuality; irony; Francis Turretin; Native Americans

Chapter.  11660 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Philosophy of Religion

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