This book seeks to recover the importance of religious experience through the arts and wider culture that were once central to the understanding of religion but which have tended in recent centuries to become marginalised. Within the Church and among its theologians God is treated as though he were concerned with only a small segment of the totality of human experience, with deleterious consequences both for our understanding of how revelation works and for dialogue between religion and the wider society. It also means that philosophy of religion focuses on an artificially narrow area of discussion that fails to take seriously the extent of implicit religion still present in society as a whole. The sociologist Max Weber spoke of disenchantment of the world as the inevitable consequence of the modern tendency to view everything in terms of its value solely as an instrument towards some further goal (instrumental rationality). Enchantment can, however, return, Brown suggests, if God being mediated through all of creation (human and divine) is once again valued in its own right. To illustrate, Brown examines how this might occur with respect to place in all its various forms: nature, landscape painting, architecture, town planning, maps, pilgrimage, gardens, and sports venues. While the focus is mainly on Christianity, examples are also drawn from Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and the classical world. Due note is taken of the wide variety of such experience of God – transcendent, immanent, ordered, mystical, to ground a sacramental view of the world.
God and Enchantment of Place. Reclaiming Human Experience Oxford Scholarship Online