Religious Pluralism, Christology & Process with Monica A. Coleman: Homebrewed Christianity 123

Monica A. Coleman is Assc. Professor of Constructive Theology and African American Religions at Claremont School of Theology.

She is the author of Making a Way Out of No Way: A Womanist Theology (Innovations: African American Religious Thought), The Dinah Project: A Handbook for Congregational Response to Sexual Violence, and a contributor to the new Creating Women’s Theology: A Movement Engaging Process Thought.

In this interview she talks about books by John Hick, John Cobb and Paul Knitter among others.

You can follow her blog and all the other media projects that she does at http://monicaacoleman.com/.

She is indeed a master tweeter and Patheos Progressive Christian Blogger.

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6 comments
maxine bigby cunningham
maxine bigby cunningham

November 5, 2011 Conversations with Monica are always so intellectually stimulating. Not being a theologian, some of the schools of thought escape my full understanding. Iyana Vanzant is my favorite author - me a Southern Baptist. What I love most about Monica's theological, intellectual discourse is the way she always gives tribute to her mother /ancestors. May Monica continue to receive an outpouring of God's blessings.

Bill
Bill

Below is a link to a paper I wrote on Heim in seminary. He definitely pioneers a way between traditional inclusivism and the pluralist perspective, but there are many others that do this as well in a less speculative fashion. John Cobb is one of them. Even Cobb though, in my opinion, should still be classified as an inclusivist (there are degrees of inclusivism, which is why Knitter just comes up with new subcategories) - however open he is to the truth in Buddhism or any other religion. His soteriology is christocentric, in other words, rather than be generally soteriocentric in a liberationist sense like Knitter, and like Dr. Coleman seems to be. This is why the notion of more than one ultimate as discussed in the interview can be a little bit misleading. Heim says the same thing - hence the title "salvations." But Heim doesn't really mean what this title implies. Neither does Cobb. Based on their christologies, both of them would be forced to say that while other religions like Buddhism contain ultimate truth and can even teach Christians something new and deeper about reality (which by the way is what Rahner also said), these truths still fit within the framework of a Christian trinitarian/pneumatological (Heim) or binitarian/process (Cobb) vision. In other words, their ultimates are rendered somewhat incomplete, if not penultimate, as restricted yet intensified truths that can be discovered as compatible with the more ultimate, overarching Christian worldview (even if they don’t say this explicitly). The only real pluralist out of the bunch who’s done serious work on this topic is Raimundo Panikkar. Even Hick can rightly be seen as a monist more than a pluralist. Anselm Min at CGU is the only person I know of who effectively bridges the gap between Knitter on the one hand and Heim or Cobb on the other. http://billwalker.wordpress.com/2009/11/25/the-trinitarian-religious-acceptance-model-of-s-mark-heim/

Monica A. Coleman
Monica A. Coleman

Thanks Jesse! I know Mark Heim and his work! Like them both. There are definitely a number of really interesting thinkers in the field I didn't get a chance to mention. I also like the work of John Thatamanil (http://amzn.to/t27Hha) and Jeanine Hill-Fletcher (http://amzn.to/t1wl91)

Jesse
Jesse

Holy Cow guys! You two were right, Monica A. Coleman is a rock star! Thanks for this interview and for introducing us to Dr. Coleman, what great thoughts she has.

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