The Goldilocks God: Searching for the via media explores the fertile middle ground between toxic Christianity and militant atheism. Can Christianity be intellectually credible? Why do our past failures and breakages offer comfort and hope? How does the via media of Anglicanism offer tactics for dealing with contemporary challenges and uncertainties? Whether exploring mystic Hildegard von Bingen, strategic thinker Queen Elizabeth, or theologians Jean-Luc Marion and Sarah Coakley, readers venture into a Trinitarian Goldilocks zone of faith, hope, and love. Guy Collins makes a creative and heartfelt case for a “spiritual thermodynamics” of trial and error, promise and glory. Illuminating ancient Christian practice with cutting-edge philosophy and theology, he reveals the lifelong habits that are “just right” for encountering the mystery of God.
Guy Collins is rector of St. Thomas Church, Hanover, and the Episcopal Chaplain to Dartmouth College.
Chapter 1 The Enigma of Elizabeth
Chapter 2 Kierkegaard’s Courage
Chapter 3 The Science of the Soul
Chapter 4 “It can be no disgrace to confesse wee are ignorant.”
Chapter 5 The Antiquity of Diversity
Chapter 6 The Promise of the God Who May Be
Chapter 7 Forgers of Holiness
Chapter 8 The Gift of Desire
Chapter 9 Transfiguring Touch
Chapter 10 Why Do We Fall?
Chapter 11 Treasure Hidden in the Field
Chapter 12 Love in the Goldilocks Zone
The Goldilocks God by polymath priest Guy Collins provides a deep, intellectual, and satisfying approach to understanding the religious experiences of individuals and communities. It’s an analysis of Christian belief and practice, replete with history and anecdotes, in a narrative that explains as it engages. As one walks the via media that it lays out, at times the book is even a reverie.
Anglicanism has long seen itself as the church of the ‘via media’ par excellence. As an Episcopal priest, Guy Collins draws many of his examples from classical Anglican authors and arguments and from the success of Elizabeth I in establishing a settlement between Protestant and Catholic extremes. But his purpose is far larger and deeper than merely denominational propaganda.
Displaying considerable erudition with a light touch, he covers a remarkable range of theological issues—free will and determinism, the nature of God’s revelation in scripture and sacrament, the meaning of sanctity, the paradox of materiality and divine incarnation, the Trinity, the character of divine love—and much more. He draws widely on ancient and contemporary sources, explaining complex theological questions in an easy, warm, and humane style, and showing why these questions are crucial to us all, whether we label ourselves ‘religious’ or not. This makes it an important and timely book. At a time when many intelligent spiritual people have been repelled by versions of Christianity that have proved to be toxic and abusive, Collins gives compelling and attractive testimony that a balanced, rational, and honest Christian faith can still answer our deepest needs.
“Truth,” Jesus declares, "will make you free.” That freedom, however, comes at a cost: the cost of an ever-unfolding exploration of the ambiguities and challenges of being human, and the mysteries of the cosmos that surround us. Along the way, I can think of no better a guide than Guy Collins whose illuminating and wide ranging reflections are manna for hungry and searching souls.