Norman Wirzba is on the podcast talking about his newest book, Way of Love: Rediscovering the Heart of Christianity. Spoiler alert: it’s love.
Norman and Tripp talk about ecology, creation out of nothing, and why you don’t want to be like Socrates. How does a theologian get interested in ecology you might ask? Norman describes meeting Wendell Berry and how that helped him to see how land and food issues are central to the way human beings think about cultural issues. “So much of Christianity is Gnostic today and only cares about our souls – you forget about our embodiment. When you talk about embodiment you have to talk about food, land, energy, water, air.”
Way of Love is a shift back to the earthiness of the gospel telling – retelling the heart of Christianity connected to love. But not the sort of shallow, flippant, me-and-Jesus love. This love is not primarily an emotion but an action, a power – a power of God at work in the world. How does that power get expressed when we think about:
- God’s relationship and care for non-human creatures
- The way God cares for human communities
- How it is at work in our individual and collective bodies
What happens when you take love out of the realm of emotivism, and see how it is a power at work in the world? It opens up whole new ways of thinking about our relationships to each other, to the places in which we live, a new insight into the kinds of degradation we are committing and how destructive they are. “When we destroy bodies, when we destroy lands, it is an affront to God’s love.”
Any Christianity that doesn’t talk about the wounding of love or bodies is naive Christianity. And if Christianity is to survive at all, it better be about teaching us how to love each other, love the world, love God. “Without love, Christianity becomes really dangerous.”