A Lens of Love: Reading the Bible in Its World for Our World
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About the Author
Jonathan Walton is Dean of Wake Forest University Divinity School.
"[Walton] brings a critical voice--that of the progressive evangelical, counterpoint to the conservative strain of American Christian evangelicalism--to the table. And he is driven, first, to illuminate the ancient world in which the Bible was produced, to lay bare its timeless teachings, and ultimately to apply those moral imperatives to our own wrestling with 'the big questions of contemporary life.' His inquiry is guided at every turn by both a critical mind and sensitive heart....In Walton's hands, the Bible becomes--for all of us, skeptics to die-hards--a tome of fathomless instruction." --Chicago Tribune
"Reading, interpreting, and enacting Scripture in today's world is a difficult practice; it is of paramount importance to view Scripture through a frame of love and scrupulous conscience. Chapters discuss 'Explaining the Inexplicable: Sacred History and Suffering in the Dynastic Literature, ' 'Origins, Apologies, and Attacks: Political Allegory in the Pentateuch, ' 'Is God Racist and Sexist? Inappropriate Metaphors and Perverted Interpretations, ' and much more. A Lens of Love is highly recommended for Bible study groups, church libraries, and Christian readers from all walks of life." --Midwest Book Review
"Walton sat with a diverse range of young adults each month teaching the socio-historical layers of Scripture and demonstrating ways to interpret it through the 'lens of love.' He describes it as an effort 'to promote ethical and responsible biblical interpretation among non-specialists.' It's a well-written, useful guide to the Bible by one who uses it for love in the world." --Presbyterian Outlook
"Jonathan L. Walton is one of the very few grand figures in American culture who is both public intellectual and prophetic preacher. His brilliant work and visionary words are legendary at Harvard and throughout the country and the world. This timely book is another testament to his calling, rooted in the legacies of Martin Luther King Jr., Benjamin Elijah Mays, Reinhold Niebuhr, and Fannie Lou Hamer!"
--Cornel West, Professor of the Practice of Public Philosophy, Harvard University
"Walton's text is a labor of love. His words sponsor empathy. His erudite, conversational style opens up dialogue about responsible approaches to Scripture. In this current political moment, A Lens of Love offers Christian communities a better language by which to engage some of our most pressing social issues."
--Keri Day, Associate Professor of Constructive Theology and African American Religion, Princeton Theological Seminary
"A Lens of Love: Reading the Bible in Its World for Our World excels in bringing together intellectual engagement and a passionate love of God and Scripture. Clearly and beautifully written, it sets a model for how to do biblical theology right--how to come together and reason, how to live faithfully toward justice. It shows how to bring practical theology and social ethics together and inspires its readers to live out a just and faithful Christian identity."
--Laura S. Nasrallah, Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity, Harvard Divinity School
"With luminous wisdom and an expansive heart, Jonathan Walton's A Lens of Love provides fresh and challenging ways to rediscover the biblical messages of love. These are courageous words of compassionate invitation from a vibrant mind and a loving spirit. Walton gifts us with love-saturated readings that will be ready guides for so many of us seeking hope and possibility in these challenging times."
--David Kyuman Kim, Professor of Religious Studies, Connecticut College
"Springing from the questions, anxieties, and frustrations of the millennials whom he serves, this text gives voice to many of the reasons why people of Christian faith have become either activated or disillusioned by the tyrannies of this moment. Through the powerful narratives of his young constituents and a reclamation of a historical lineage of progressive evangelicalism, Walton contends that the development of a just, contextual, and informed biblical hermeneutic is a critical tool for showing up and speaking up."
--Neichelle R. Guidry, Dean of Sisters Chapel and Director of the WISDOM Center, Spelman College, and creator of shepreaches organization
"In a culture of extreme polarization and otherizing, I'm grateful for the voice of Dr. Jonathan L. Walton and his latest book, A Lens of Love. In a society that tends to place ourselves--intentionally or unintentionally--in an echo chamber where our assumptions and beliefs are merely affirmed, this book both prophetically and pastorally creates space for the reader to bring their questions and doubts as we engage the Bible. During a time of so much pain, fear, and division, we desperately need to be reminded of God's reconciling truth, grace, and love."
--Eugene Cho, pastor, humanitarian, and author of Overrated: Are We More in Love with the Idea of Changing the World than Actually Changing the World?
"Love is stronger than death, and this honest, compelling, insightful book on the ethical lens of love by Professor Jonathan L. Walton will resurrect your biblical interpretation. Your ethics of reading Scripture will be guided by a hermeneutic of love. By this approach, Walton stands in a long tradition of biblical interpreters who believe that the rule of love is the greatest rule to follow when reading and living. When you open the pages of this book, you'll feel the love, too, and remember once again that the 'greatest of these' is love."
--Luke A. Powery, Dean of Duke University Chapel and Associate Professor of Homiletics, Duke University Divinity School
"A dynamic scholar, passionate teacher, and prophetic preacher, Jonathan L. Walton is one of our most respected and effective leaders in occupying the intersections of biblical and contemporary context and content. We are fortunate to receive his principled voice in the midst of this important moment. As our local and global communities are increasingly connected yet isolated, diverse yet distant, and filled with hope and optimism yet also with panic and aggression, A Lens of Love: Reading the Bible in Its World for Our World provides us with a timely trajectory to move us toward matters that matter most. I highly recommend this book for both personal and public study among learners of all ages."
--Brian E. Konkol, Dean of Hendricks Chapel, Syracuse University