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Grounded: Finding God in the World.


By Diana Butler Bass (HarperOne, 2016)

Each chapter of Diana Butler Bass' Grounded offers a reflection of a different metaphor for the human relationship with God--dirt, water, sky, roots, home, neighborhood, and the commons. It often reads like lectio divina; Bass meditates on the metaphors' historical meanings and how they have appeared in her own life, jumping from personal anecdotes to stories of saints to the Bible. These meditations don't distract or read as disjointed but draw the reader in to discover the many layers of religious language and to find new meaning in the most common of objects.

The world is undergoing a spiritual revolution, Bass claims. Increasingly, people are realizing that church is not the only sacred space and that God is present in the natural world and in our relationships. Environmental degradation and our modern isolation from the earth and people have resulted in a loss of language for understanding the presence of God outside of organized religious liturgy. Grounded is her attempt to reclaim the sacred metaphors that have been lost in the modern age and to teach readers to continually ask the question, "Where is God?"

Bass' answer is also the origin of the book's title: God is who and what grounds us. God is present in the soil under our feet, in the water we drink, in the people who live beside us. "God is closer than ever before," she writes of God's enduring presence. Her book ends with a 40-day devotional of scripture readings, reflections, and prayers to help readers find their own metaphors for God--their own personal grounding.

Grounded is much more than another spiritual reflection on the environment. It offers readers new ways to think about and access God and gives them the tools to do this theological and spiritual work.

--Emily Sanna

briefly noted

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Author:Sanna, Emily
Publication:U.S. Catholic
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jun 1, 2017
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