Easter in Ordinary
Reflections on Human Experience and the Knowledge of God
The title of Lash's book, inspired by a combination of George Herbert and Gerard Manley Hopkins, symbolizes his answer to the problem with which he is concerned, that of religious experience. 'I propose,' he says, 'to argue, on the one hand, that it is not the case that all experience of God is necessarily religious in form or content and, on the other hand, that not everything which it would be appropriate to characterize as "religious" experience would thereby necessarily constitute experience of God.'
To sustain his argument he begins by building up an account of the relationship between the principal elements of human experience which contrasts quite fundamentally with that proposed and presupposed in William James's classic, The Varieties of Religious Experience, drawing on writers as different as Schleiermacher and Buber, Rahner and Newman. 'However,' he goes on, 'this is not a book about James or Newman, Rahner or Schleiermacher. It is the issues, or the argument, which interest me.' 'I want to try to understand the senses in which, and the circumstances in which, our common human experience may be said, from the standpoint of a Christian account of such experience, to furnish us with experience and knowledge of the mystery of God, and to indicate the doctrine of God that is implied in this attempt.'
"A classical, contemporary example of the theological mind at its clearest is Nicholas Lash’s Easter in Ordinary. This complex, distilled, but deeply affecting study of William James, Newman, von Hügel, and Buber, among others, is the choice product of the believing theologian’s art. Tradition rebottled with an awareness of postmodern needs but not necessarily with the mass-market tastes in mind. Demanding, uncommon, quenching." —Commonweal
“Relying on John Henry Newman, Friedrich von Hügel, Martin Buber and, more briefly, Hegel, Kant, Schleiermacher, J. F. Fries, and Karl Rahner, and writing from a Christian perspective—Lash argues that mysticism should not be reduced to ‘feelings’ and that the experience of God is not something other than the general experiences had in ordinary life. While accessible to lay readers, this book would be appreciated by professional philosophers and theologians.” —Library Journal