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Dancing in the Wild Spaces of Love: A Theopoetics of Gift and Call, Risk and Promise by James H. Olthuis


The root of injustices and problems in this world can almost all be traced to this: We the human race have not kept the divine mandate of love. “Instead of the Truth of Love’s inclusivity claiming and connecting us in our difference, ‘we’ (the dominators) claim possession of the Truth, declaring ourselves morally justified in dividing, excluding, or marginalizing all who disagree or resist,” writes James H. Olthuis in his new book. The remedy has to be a theological and ethical one.

Olthuis explores the theme of love through a trifold lens. Chapters one to four presents a theopoetic and cosmological focus about how God created the love, not just ex nihilo (out of nothing), but ex amore (out of love). In his words, “creation was birthed in love.”

As a creative power, love dictates all creatures. Chapters five to eight enter into an anthropological discussion about the image-bearers of a God who is love. “It is in loving (or not loving) that we show (or betray) our humanity.” Love is a uniting force for different nations and races.

Following these two parts is an ethical treatise about human suffering when love is lost. As humans seek healthy relationships with each other and paths of healing from injustices, there ought to be a “radical politics of love,” commanding personal integrity, communal accountability, and societal renewal. The author ends this volume with a call to “do the journey inwards, the hard work of facing and owning our personal wounds, implicit biases, and demons.” As a veteran psychotherapist, Olthuis emphasizes the importance of personal growth and emotional healing as part of the journey. (Wipf and Stock).


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