WAY OF LOVE by Norman Wirzba


Recovering the Heart of Christianity
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Taking “God is love” seriously.

Wirzba (Theology and Ecology/Duke Univ. School of Divinity; From Nature to Creation: A Christian Vision for Understanding and Loving Our World, 2015, etc.) takes a holistic and earthy approach to finding the purpose and core of Christianity. According to the author, it all comes down to love. It was love that brought creation into being, love that sustains it, and love that awaits it. With this idea as a basic backdrop, Wirzba builds a theology and an ethic for life. “Our way into the fullness of life is the way of love,” he writes. “That is the central claim of this book.” At its best, the Christian church is a “training camp for love,” even if it has not always functioned in this way. Though Wirzba’s argument would seem to best fit the dynamics of human relationships, he discusses love in the context of all creation. He asserts that God’s love brought creation about, and that creation, in every facet, is a reflection of that love. Just as God sustains creation, so should we. Creation, the author believes, is in fact itself an infinite network of relationships and should be viewed as such. Wirzba defines sin as “the failure of love.” Sin is not the absence of love but the misuse of God’s creative genius and of his love for creation. We are not born into sin, as many faith traditions suggest, but choose or inherit it out of ignorance. Wirzba makes it clear that sin can and does touch on our treatment of all creation, manifesting itself even in a selfish desire for cheap food. Some readers may dismiss the author as being theologically light or overly simplistic. However, there is a level of depth here. Wirzba especially endorses a theology that is ecologically sensitive without being eco-centric—a nuanced but important difference.

A thoughtful exposition on love and its reverberations throughout creation.

Pub Date: March 1st, 2016
ISBN: 978-0062385819
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: HarperOne
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 2016


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