Monday, February 14, 2011

The Purpose of Passion (Book Review)

The Purpose of Passion
From the publisher:
Have you ever wondered if you’re following God’s plan for your love life? Whether single or married, you ache for a deep, satisfying, romantic connection—but aren’t always sure how to handle the heartache and pain that come along the way. If love is truly a gift from God, why does it sometimes lead to the heights of heaven and other times to the depths of despair?

One of the world’s greatest love stories holds the answer. In The Purpose of Passion, best-selling authors Kurt Bruner and Jim Ware journey through The Divine Comedy to discover what Dante, one of the most influential Christian writers of all time, reveals about love in his literary masterpiece. Discover the secrets that it contains about passion, romance, and spirituality—and how they are all connected. Whether you’ve found true love or ache from its absence, your love life is always driving you closer to or away from God. No matter where you find yourself on love’s path, The Purpose of Passion will lead you on a spiritual adventure through the underworld of Inferno, on a purifying trek up mount Purgatory, and into the ultimate bliss of Paradise—revealing God’s ultimate desire for your heart.
The Purpose of Passion: Dante's Epic Vision of Romantic Love is divided into three parts:  Love Kindled, Love Gone Astray, and Love Fulfilled.  Each part contains several chapters which relate and interpret elements of The Divine Comedy.  Each part concludes with a "Getting Personal" chapter, which helps the reader to reflect and apply the ideas to real life.  I should note that, in the introduction, author Kurt Bruner points out that "Dante's works are imaginative fiction [and] not intended to be works of theology or doctrine. ... His fictionalized scenes should be understood as literary devices expressing a greater theme, not as dogmatic teaching."

Before I started reading The Purpose of Passion, I had only a vague idea of what The Divine Comedy was all about.  I am certain that that played a large part in my confusion about this book!  By the end I started to understand the overall concept.  Because there was so much that I didn't understand, it's very difficult for me to review it.  What I can do, however, is share a few passages to give you a sense of the flavor:
From "Getting Personal: When Love Goes Astray":  Each alluring look, lustful gaze, and illicit encounter reduces those made in the image of God into caricatures of wallowing swine. (p. 69)

From "The Center of the Circle":  In seeking to be joined one with another, men and women are in actuality expressing an innate desire to partake of the life of the Trinity:  three in one, one in three, and at the heart of the three the incomprehensible mystery of the two:  spirit with flesh, and God with man, blended like husband and wife in the bonds of matrimony. (p. 115)

Also from "The Center of the Circle":  That's because Amore, like every good gift that comes down from the Father of lights, finds its ultimate meaning and fulfillment only in Jesus Christ our Lord.  For He is Himself the summation of all things, whether in heaven or on earth (Colossians 1:19, 3:11); and it is only in Him that our love can be caught up into "the Love that moves the sun and other stars." (p. 117)

From "Getting Personal:  When Love Seeks Fulfillment":  When we understand our union with the opposite sex as an icon reflecting God's relationship with His beloved, it drives us further toward the beatific vision of pure, intense, inexpressible love. (p. 123)
Links for more information:

Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book, at no cost to me, for review purposes.  I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions are my own.  Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers and the Tyndale Blog Network for the opportunity!  This post contains an affiliate link, which is clearly identified.  If you click through my Amazon.com link and complete a purchase, I will receive a small commission.  Thank you!

1 comment :

  1. I was a bit confused by this book as well, but I did enjoy a taste of the poem "divine comedy" and a little lesson on what it was about. I never even read the poem before, but it sounds intriguing. Someday I'll have to get it and read it in full force and then re-read this book. I thought the author made some great points though. I really appreciated that the focus wasn't just on having a passionate relationship with your significant other, but went much deeper into our relationship with God.

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