what is happening IN religion – or when we talk about God

This weekend I will finish reading two books that we were given through the podcast (thank you publishers). The first is Peter Rollins new on The Idolatry of God and the second is Phil Snider’s Preaching After GodMP900405058

I have recently edited podcasts with both of these authors. [We put out the Phil Snider TNT this morning]

It is very clear to me that we have an emerging situation (trying not to say problem) on our hands. With the introduction of a new wave of postmodern or ‘radical’ theology [listen to the Caputo introduction here] – progressive and emergent christians are drinking in lots of innovative and challenging concepts about God that may not have a real God behind them.

This is fine IF the listener/reader knows what they are imbibing. What is increasingly concerning for Tripp and me is the consequence when people don’t know that the god of the 21st century philosophers is not exactly the god you hear about on Sunday morning.

Is there a danger in people reading a ‘how (not) to speak of god’ and then just quoting it from the pulpit like they would quote any other historical person?  Folks in the deconstruction camp are not real eager to answer this one.

I have some thoughts on the matter so I thought I would throw them out here for consideration.

 Intro: It is severely unhelpful to frame this in an either/or way. “Either God is X like the Bible/Creed/Tradition say OR Religion is the equivalent of Santa Clause &Tooth Fairy and we might as well all go home.”

That reductive approach is foolish and silly.  There is far too much going on in religion – and the Christian religion specifically – to say things like that.*

 I propose that there are – at least – 5 things happening IN the christian religion:

  • Experience
  • Formation
  • Event
  • Mystery
  • Potentially Something Real

Experience - People who were not raised in the faith convert and/or have crisis experiences that powerfully impact them.  People experience the presences of something they interpret as bigger than themselves.

We can talk about transcendence or phenomenology but what we can not deny is that people experience something in religion. As someone from a charismatic-evangelical background it is so clear to me that much of our talk about God and religion in progressive-emergent circles misses this very real component.

Is experience the whole story? NO! And those who reduce it down to that are equally as errant. It is not the main thing nor is it nothing. It does not account for everything but neither can it be dismissed outright.  People’s experience must factor into the equation.

At minimum do the Kantian thing and say that religious people’s experience is real but incomplete to understand the whole picture (noumenon) – like 6 blind people with their hands on different parts of the elephant – each thinking they are describing something unique: a tree (leg) a rope (tail) a wall (belly) and a giant leaf (ear) and an enormous snake (trunk).

 

Formation - I get in trouble for liking the post-liberal writing of George Lindbeck (Nature of Doctrine) but I think that this is exactly where it comes into play. The role that the christian tradition, sacred text and vocabulary plays is that forms us a people. It forms character within us as well as the way that we participate in community.

I am in dialogue with the work of Alasdair MacIntyre (After Virtue) for this very reason. While I disagree with his solution, I think that he is spot-on in his analysis and concern. Not only does our culture live in a chaotic time – but the very ethical assumption that would allow us to even HAVE the conversation have been eroded and now we can’t even debate! At least within the Christian church there is a common vocabulary. We may debate the definition of the terms but we have an arena in which to engage each other.

In this sense, the faith functions. As Elizabeth Johnson (She Who Is) is so good at pointing out: the words that we use function in our imagination, our communities and in the tradition.

 

Event - John Caputo (Weakness of God) and those who follow his Derridean ways prefer to speak of the name of God as an event. There is an event housed in the name of God the beckons us – we respond to this call … and are not that concerned wether there is a caller, or if we can know that there is one.

It is undeniable that something happens when God’s name is invoked. It triggers something in us. It calls for something from us. It makes some claim or demand to be dealt with differently than other words and concepts.

I like Caputo’s illumination of this shadow world. There is something deeply insightful about his explorations. Those who want to dismiss it because it isn’t enough on it’s own, are missing the point. Something happens if ‘God’ is invoked … and that would happen even if there were no ‘God’ per se because (as I said above) the concept functions. – it does something in us,

Voltaire said,”If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him.” That is because ‘god’ does something in us – demands something from us.  It maybe not ripping off our customers, it may get us through a tough time or help us to sleep at night – or even face the end of life with dignity. But in the name of God is an event that lays hold of us.

 

Mystery - I am fascinated with the apophatic tradition. I have no interest is appropriating it … but I am mesmerized by the fact that it even exists. Describing god by what she is not? Brilliant.

I also have been looking in historic understandings of analogy. Which works for me because I do not believe in univocal speech. When we call god ‘father’ we are using an analogy – god is like our best conception of father-liness … but it saying that is also included an understanding that God is not actually a father. Our use of the word is not a 1:1 equivalence.

Elizabeth Johnson challenged us over a year ago that every time we say ‘god’ that we must say it three times.  I do this every day now!

  • God beyond us.  This is that transcendent other or Kant’s noumenal real.
  • God within us. This is the experiential component.
  • God at work all around us. This could be the event.

When I say ‘god’ I always say God beyond me – within me – and at work all around me.

 Potentially Something Real - the final component in my 5 sided web is the possibility that there really is something to all of this – more than just phenomenon or imagination or tradition or vocabulary – and that the language of religion is at least getting some of it right.

If we don’t leave open the potential that something real is really happening – that a real god is actually acting – then we may be missing the biggest part of the puzzle and thus have an incomplete picture.

___________
Just because YOU haven’t thought of the multiplicity of layered meanings happening in the Christian expression doesn’t mean that it is an all or nothing game.Don’t be that person who says “If Santa Clause isn’t real, then Christmas isn’t worth celebrating”. Or “If Creation did not happened exactly like it is described in Genesis then the whole BIble is untrustworthy and unbelievable.”
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41 comments
Jesse Turri
Jesse Turri

Getting in on this one late. Good conversation happening here.

 

I like @AricClark 's comment. Exposure to new ideas is nothing to be affraid of.

 

Maybe one thing to think about though, if one does take these ideas seriously, is what Matt Gallion was hitting at in the TNT with Tripp and Phil Snyder. Namely, can the same old routine continue happening in Church? Or does Church begin to look more like Rollins' Ikon events? Ritualistic Art. (Which BTW, is how the Catholic and Orthodox talk about their liturgy.)

 

Aric Clark's second point, that the RadTheo ideas aren't that radical, is also good. In many ways I see Caputo and Rollins being continuations of the Christian mystical/apophatic traditions. 

 

I think RadTheo can only take one so far though. Eventually folks will come around and realize why John Cobb says, "metaphysics matters."

AricClark
AricClark

I'm a pastor. I start with that declaration, because people often think I'm too cavalier with this stuff as if i have no practical experience or no care for your "average person" (whatever that means). So you know I have to climb in a pulpit every week in a normal Presbyterian congregation with a lot of elderly folks longing for the 50's and try to make sense of scripture and faith and experience and god and so on.When I read that you and Tripp are "concerned about the consequences" of postmodern or radical theology making its way into the church I have the following reactions:

 

#1 the last thing the people in church need is "protecting" from any ideas. Firstly, ideas aren't really something we should be afraid of. What are we worried about? Secondly, trying to protect people is either misguided authoritarianism, fearful that new ideas will lead to a loss of power or privilege, or it is misguided condescension worrying that people are much less mature than they are (or ought to be). Lastly, it's probably time we blew the roof off the church anyway. If these ideas have the potential to cause upheaval, bring it on, I say.

 

#2 we're probably exaggerating just how "radical" this stuff is. I freaking love Peter Rollins. I've read all his books and devour his lectures and such. But I often think the label "radical" gets thrown around too much. Nothing in the Idolatry of God couldn't be found anticipated in the breadth of Christian history before it. He gets there in novel ways and assembles it into a surprising and compelling whole, but in another sense it's familiar. Original Sin, the Law, the Sinlessness of Christ, Salvation on a Cross, etc...

 

#3 Isn't the most important question (when dealing with ideas at least) what is true? What is compelling? What seems right? Aren't Rollins and Caputo correct that the God of most of religion is a kind of idol, an object of adoration that is ultimately unreal? Why waste anyone's time propping up a fantasy? No I don't need to construct that as a binary, just because that God has been revealed to be an illusion doesn't mean nihilism is the only choice, but I'm not gonna spend any time mourning a burst balloon.

 

A final comment on the variety of things "happening" in religion. Clearly stuff is happening in religion. Stuff is happening wherever people are doing things. The question isn't whether there is anything going on, but to what end? What good comes of it and is there perhaps something better?

DouglasHagler
DouglasHagler

This is an odd post to me, for whatever it's worth, but my experience of Peter Rollins is "Oh my God someone else out there is seeing what I am seeing (or not seeing)!" I read his work and immediately feel that we are kindred spirits. I constantly use his ideas from the pulpit - and I did so before I ever read his books. He has just helped me think more rigorously what I was thinking anyway. So I suppose instead of being terrible at being Reformed (and I truly am, ordained Presbyterian though I am), I am good at being Radical. Clearly an upgrade.

 

I had the same experience when I encountered the term "apophatic" in seminary, actually. Suddenly, there is a word for what I was experiencing, how I was approaching God, all the time sort of thinking I was 'doing it wrong' but unable to feel integrity pretending I felt or thought differently. Now suddenly I wasn't doing it wrong, I was in line with mystics, which is way cooler. Again, upgrade.

 

I don't have this experience very often. Honestly, most theology I've encountered just doesn't interest me or move me. It's a conversation other people are having about experiences and thoughts that I don't share. But sometimes, theology speaks to me suddenly and deeply. Peter Rollins does that. I totally understand that I'm all kinds of minority report in Christianity, and that's fine.

 

(Side note: there is no way to discount human experience and not be an idiot. I'm sorry. For anything to be meaningful, our experiences have to matter. If you write a book about how experience can be discounted, why wouldn't I just discount my experience of reading your book? Why wouldn't  you discount the thoughts you experienced that led you to write the book? Autofail.)

Matthew McCracken
Matthew McCracken

@BoSanders The disclaimer you're sounding out re. what 'radical theology' is "up to" is a helpful one. I remember reading Rollin's 'Insurrection' for the first time, the other year, and following Pt. 2 on Resurrection got the sense that something different was going on in the background, conceptual, work that wasn't being spelt out completely up front. Homebrewed has been a really helpful place for me in the last year or so re. getting a sense of what exactly that conceptual background is via the Caputo-casts etc.

 

On a more personal note though, your post helps outline a tension that I've been experiencing for sometime. In a lot of ways I find myself oscillating between process theology and radical theology (and the apophatic stuff that works so well in/with both). For the sake of context: for about two years the kind of crucifixion/absence-of-God experience Rollins' outlines in 'Insurrection' has been my story. Radical theology makes a lot of sense to me because little in traditional theological/church expressions do anymore and fail at helping me with pretty basic q's for and about myself (Why pray? What is the [spiritual] benefit in reading the Bible as anything other than really great history? Was my coming-to-faith experience anything more than an emotional child reaching out?).

 

What's been really interesting is that process theology offers, me at the very least, an acceptable metaphysical framework that gives that stuff meaning and holds it together. It's really the last place within Christianity, for me, that if I wanted to speak (in some way) confidently about God, I could. E.g. I love all that consequent nature of God stuff, conceptually it is gold. It really sells Christianity and a "Potential Something Real" to me. And yet my (ongoing) experience is like, "Given that will you pray?" And I just can't make myself do it. (Of course, my not praying doesn't negate the consequent nature of God - each actual occasion of mine could still be received by God but, you know, on an emotive level I'm not sold.)

 

Given all of that, the sheer material/phenomenological emphasis of radical theology, in keeping itself grounded and focussing pretty exclusively on lived experience, has been really working for me in recent times. All the event and call/insistence stuff is really beautiful. Of course, fully reconciling radical theology with a Bible and church tradition that assumes more is something I'm only beginning to appreciate. The church's language game is such that the radical theology stuff (if you hold it and still want to identify as Christian) turns heads.

 

Anywho, hope you enjoyed the story. I'm not entirely sure where I was going with it all (or if it even makes sense). I guess I just wanted to intimate that I appreciate and totally endorse the disclaimer on radical theology because recently I've been feeling very aware of all that you were spelling out.

joshuawalters
joshuawalters

Perhaps this is so obvious that it will sound stupid, but maybe the way forward for CHRISTIANS is to keep Jesus the Christ central to any speech about God, while we continue drinking in 21st century philosophy about "God". Kind of funny to me that the word "Jesus" doesn't even occur in the post or comments on this page, even though it's about Christian speech about God. (<- Not being an ass, just an observation.)

RevNateWheeler
RevNateWheeler

Being a person who has quoted Peter Rollins a few times these questions resonate with me. I'll be interested to see what other people conclude but for me it's not an issue. I don't stand up and just read radical theology and then tell folks to pray to the sky. I do believe in a real God and I believe in a real God that is beyond me, within me and at work in the world. Recently, I was reading Original Blessing by Matthew Fox. There is whole section of the book called, Befriending Darkness, Letting Go and Letting Be: The Via Negativa. A quote that really stuck with me said, "The Creator God, a great underground river, awaits our sinking more than our climbing." I think radical theology brings forward the idea of God's power made perfect in our weakness. When I read that quote it reminded so much of the things I read (or maybe read into) the books by Peter Rollins. I'm looking forward to more discussion about all of this. 

iamstillrobdavis
iamstillrobdavis

Honestly, I think it would be more honest if these continental types would just admit that they're atheists in any "common sense." I spent a long time trying to get what they're getting at, and I usually agree with their theoretical proposals, BUT more recently I've just become really lazy with the whole thing. It doesn't really hold my interest enough for me to keep pursuing it. And, I doubt that most people who don't have letters after their names are going to put in the patient effort required to get what they're getting at. In the big picture, I'm glad that they're trying to change the overall religious landscape. But, I continue to run into people - who aren't seminary-educated, don't work for a church, and really have no interest in participating in a church - who see all this theologizing and philosophizing as a distraction from practical questions in the present. I'm sure many people can make a case that deep thinking is required to make any substantial change, and maybe that's true, but.... see, I got bored typing this.

 

P.S. Yes, I am an atheist.

sean muldowney
sean muldowney

Thanks for this Bo, this is a helpful corrective. I've been interacting with some of Rollins' work and find that it is a very helpful critique for my own faith and tradition. I've really been digging his stuff, and much of the stuff I read and hear on Homebrewed. Since I wanted to take my education to the next level and really interact with those who are thinking along these wavelengths, I've attended two "Ikon" events in the past few months, the gatherings which Rollins hosts in NYC (even got to meet Bo West there!). My most recent experience there left me a little dry, and thinking that I don't share as much common ground with some of the thinkers in that room as I had presupposed. I thought Pete's presentation was great, but I know that people were there for many different reasons and on many different journeys. But, that is also the beauty of it, so I am going to keep going back.

 

All that to say is my experience + this post are helping me to evaluate some of my assumptions about why these conversations are even happening in the first place and what the ultimate goals are. I'm learning that I can read the same philosophers and theologians as the radical theologians and engage in the same conversations, but what I want to get out of them is not necessarily the same as what others want to get out of them. As a rookie in these conversations this is a valuable lesson for me to learn and will hopefully help me to better listen to and hear what others are *really* saying... and I will be more careful about how for what purpose I quote folks as well.

 

willhouk
willhouk

This post hits on some issues I've been pondering for awhile now. I just listened to the podcast "The Grapes of Rad" who interviewed Stephanie Drury and David Bazan. It was a fascinating discussion of belief and non-belief. Bazan recently left the faith and is now an atheist/agnostic (as far as I can tell). Even though he considers himself non-religious he says he still feels an all-seeing-eye that keeps him in check. In his words it "calls bullshit" on him. He says it's different than his counscious, but is more like a separate version of himself that helps him maintain his ethical values. I thought that was kind of interesting. I have a question for you Bo, one I've been trying to figure out for myself. Why do you believe what you believe? Do you think the Bible is the only valid holy book. or are there others? I think this fundamental question will determine a lot of where one ends up with their conception of God.

dangarvin
dangarvin

I envy Rollins and Caputo, and to some extent I envy you guys and a lot of the deacons here. It must be nice to have the luxury to read and talk and think (and read and talk and think, ad infinitum) about these things. As students, ministers, academics and teachers that is a large part of your vocation. But I am glad that there is a large contingent of thoughtful people wrestling with this stuff. I hope that you will arrive at some truly helpful conclusions and that God (beyond, within and around) will once again at least be useful (and possibly even real).

 

It seems to me that the postmodern critique is an absolutely necessary one. Deconstruction has been sorely needed. The god of our fathers needed to die and be discovered in the midst and in the other. I am glad that you are concerned about the possibility of a problem emerging here though. I think you will find that many, after finally managing to kill off their god, are simply so emotionally and spiritually exhausted that they have no energy or even desire to re-construct, re-imagine or even join-with some new Christian expression. This is where I find myself. I need real (even if only imagined to be real) divine assistance to move out in love towards the world. Without it I am inward, withdrawn and generally useless.

 

I may be unique. I hope I am. But if not, you pastors, teachers and thinkers have your work cut out for you. 

kenalto9
kenalto9

As someone not raised in the faith who has had powerful, life changing experiences of God; and who attempts to address them(perhaps even try a little formation) through religion, it is a little troubling to see you end your 5 points with "potentially something real".

 

God beyond us, God within us, God at work all around us sometimes seems to get lost in the finer points of the philosophical debates. 

 

Are you suggesting that within religion and theology there are a significant portion who do not think God is real? Would they then discount the experiences of point 1?

adamdmoore
adamdmoore

I just started reading "Reexamining Deconstruction and Determinate Religion: Toward a Religion with Religion." Seems like it might address some of these issues you are bringing up. I'm really looking forward to digging in to it. My own context (Waco, TX -- Bible Belt) requires me to think about these matters a lot.

 

Might be worth talking to Simmons and/or Minister on the podcast.

Len MacRae
Len MacRae

This is fantastic Bo. Very helpful. I read Idolatry of God the week it came out, and much of what Rollins says deeply resonates with me. However, I'm not sure that I'm willing to give up the idea of a "real" god. These 4 categories, and the potentially real god may provide balance for me.

 

A question though. With the importance of the Holy Spirit in process thought, where does the spirit fit in these categories? All 5? 

(Please correct me if I'm overemphasizing the importance of the Spirit).

MDK
MDK

My favorite part about the blind men with the elephant example is that the person who created the idea has the ability too see the whole elephant but everyone else is blind

Randall Ajimine
Randall Ajimine

I've REALLY been enjoying and appreciating how you all have been summarizing and giving overviews of what's going on. This post helps give me a framework on where you all are coming from and your Christology-cast was SUPER helpful. The God "situation" is one that I (and a rapidly growing number of seminarians, instructors, pastors, etc) am struggling with. We're quickly (finally?) coming to the place where the scariness of the answers is being outweighed by the pervasiveness of the questions - big questions with scary answers can't just be hidden under the rug anymore. https://flavorandillumination.wordpress.com/2012/03/05/364-what-we-talk-about-when-we-talk-about-god-part-two/

iamstillrobdavis
iamstillrobdavis

 @pluralform  I don't know Cobb very well, but I feel like I've heard Caputo - following Derrida - say something like he is aiming for a minimalist metaphysics, rather than trying to completely avoid or destroy it (because metaphysics is ultimately unavoidable). I don't know where he says this.

BoSanders
BoSanders moderator

 @pluralform  fantastic stuff here!   Agree with all 3 points!  -Bo 

BoSanders
BoSanders moderator

 @DouglasHagler We hear from a LOT of people that they have this experience reading Rollins (or even listening to Caputo).  That is part of why I wrote this!

A) I'm not sure people know the whole story .... 

B) as a Practical Thoelogian I think that there is a lot more going on that a reductive take would allow. 

C) your concern about experience is well stated. If you look at the field of phenomenology however ...  folks might be surprised at what is really going on IN that field. 

 

-Bo 

BoSanders
BoSanders moderator

 @mattmccrac nicely done friend. Well said. Good thoughts.   Glad you wrote in :) -Bo 

BoSanders
BoSanders moderator

 @joshuawalters very perceptive of you :)  I am very careful with that name.  If you listened to the Christology-Cast on TNT you will know why.  In the first half-hour of that we define christology as something pretty specific :)  -Bo 

BoSanders
BoSanders moderator

 @RevNateWheeler Interesting.  I'm really glad that you wrote in.  It is good to hear how someone in the pulpit is navigating this presently. 

 

I like your other examples. Thanks for the thoughtful note.  Let us know what you think of the other comments on below :)   -Bo 

BoSanders
BoSanders moderator

 @iamstillrobdavis   Couple of things:

1) its not just people with initials after their names who are reading the books and listening. 

2) but you are right that those with initials might be the only ones who care to put in the energy to see what is behind it :)

3) They are challenging/changing the religious landscape... so that is something to be said. 

 

4) you write pretty funny notes   -Bo 

iamstillrobdavis
iamstillrobdavis

...which doesn't mean I won't feel different about this tomorrow.

BoSanders
BoSanders moderator

 @Sean Patrick OH WOW!  That is an amazing story!   I am glad that you found this hopeful and helpful and I am glad that you will know - going forward - that not everyone means that same thing when they use the same words :) 

 

- Bo 

 

I'm glad you got to met Eberly (Bo East) and I will look forward to more conversation about all of this!!!   

BoSanders
BoSanders moderator

 @willhouk Oh boy.  That is an interesting question!   I will simply respond this way: We deal with it extensively on the TNT we recorded this afternoon :)  We talk about Pluralism & the Bible is exchange with Bruggeman and Frethiem  (teaser)  

 

-Bo  

 

p.s. I have an answer ... but it is too long for a comment box ;p 

BoSanders
BoSanders moderator

 @dangarvin Yowza. That was deep.   

 

1) Yes - we have our work cut out for us. You have described that beautifully. 

2) You are 100% right about the need to address those former conceptions of god. 

3) This is exactly why I attempt to be so constructive in my approach ... after deconstruction :) 

 

May you find rest and peace on the journey friend!   -Bo 

 

p.s. that was an amazing reflection. Thank you.  You have made my pastoral heart jump. 

BoSanders
BoSanders moderator

 @kenalto9 Sorry to be the bearer of bad news :(  ... but yeah. There are many in philisophical approaches to religion who would discount experience.  Sometimes they compartmentalize it is "phenomenology" and leave at that.  

If you do the 'Kantian thing' I described above then people's religious experience is just blind folks touching the elephant but thinking it was something else.  

 

This is where I go Post-Liberal.   It is important to explore how christian vocabulary might not just help one interpret  'pentecostal' experience - but may actually CREATE it :)  

 

Moving from one end of this pool to the other gets deep fast!   Please let me know if that was helpful... or what would be.  -Bo  

BoSanders
BoSanders moderator

 @adamdmoore OK.  Added it the the Amazon Wish List. 

 

p.s.  I can only imagine what living there requires you to think about.  FIght the good fight my brother!!!   -Bo 

BoSanders
BoSanders moderator

 @Len MacRae I am a charismatic. I believe that Pentecost is the most important thing that happened in the New Testament!  Yes ... even more so than the cross (even though Pentecost is because of the cross ... but that is for a post 2 months from now).  So NO - you are not putting too much emphasis on it :) 

 

The topic of Holy Spirit is process thought is a big one!  I will have to plan a whole post about it soon.  Suffice to say for now ... that, according to The Dean Philip Clayton - this is the one in whom we live and move and have our being!  (Acts 17:28) 

 

-Bo 

BoSanders
BoSanders moderator

 @MDK  You have nailed the problem with the approach exactly!!  That is why people have primarily moved on from it or have raised a protest against it. 

 

It is also why I said "at least do the Kantian thing" - at least is the important part there :)  I'm just saying 'acknowledge that something is happening in people's religious experience!'  

-Bo 

Jesse Turri
Jesse Turri

 @iamstillrobdavis Hmm, I've heard Caputo say on the podcast a few times that he's skeptical of metaphysics because he feels that that implies that you have some reliable knowledge of the physical world and modern day physics etc..., which he feels should be left to the theoretical physisits now, who btw,  he also says come up with ideas that make even the most wild eyed philosophers look tame.

 

Caputo seems to be fine floating in the subjective phenominological/literary realm.

willhouk
willhouk

 @BoSanders That's a fair answer. It's a pretty huge topic. I've been talking with people the last few weeks about this topic. In fact I'm meeting with my pastor this week (over some homebrewed beers) to talk about this. I'll check out the TNT.

kenalto9
kenalto9

@BoSanders Bo, you big bad bu-bu-bubble-popper! Afraid I will have to continue to feel blessed and affirmed by my experience - when the blind are leading the blind a glimpse of 'the kin-dom' may be all it takes to make the difference in a life. Agree totally with you that explorations of how to create, invite, open up to 'pentecostal' experience are a very worthwhile project.

 

While I'm not particularly interested in swimming in the deepest part of the pool,

9though I do hope to become comfortable in the water) I did enjoy your recap of Caputo's notion of a call, even if we can't identify the caller.

 

The Alan Watts podcast series has four episodes on 'Jesus, His Religion' that do a good job of illustrating how our contexts and vocabularies shape our interpretations of experience. 

 

The Watts podcasts are also good at giving a quick take on non-Abrahamic religions - which may be of interest as Claremont goes global.

 

peace - ken

Jesse Turri
Jesse Turri

You should check out Clayton's "Predicament of Belief" man, you would totally dig it. It gets a little technical but it sounds like you would connect with his Christian Minimalism ideas.

iamstillrobdavis
iamstillrobdavis

 @pluralform I've read some process stuff here and there, but nothing has really caught me like the radical theology stuff has. Probably mostly because I'm a pretty intellectually lazy atheist, and I just don't have the time or patience to try to understand all the mumbo jumbo that goes on under the banner of process. I read Epperly's intro and agreed with a lot of it. Beyond that, I'm just not sure how much time I am willing to commit to "get" it. Maybe one of these days...

Jesse Turri
Jesse Turri

Totally agreed man. That's why I love the deconstruction as a way of life sutff...epistemic humility for sure.

 

But, what if there were a metaphysic that had change, flux and self correction built right into it? Ahh now we're talking. Whitehead was definitely on to something.

 

Process thought for me does a fantastic job of integrating my objective and subjective worlds.

 

Caputo's tendancy to stop investigating is problematic for me. Like when he says we can't know where the call comes from etc..., which is essentially an agnostic move.

 

I agree here with Phillip Clayon that agnostic is the worst position of all to take because it puts forth an unwillingness to decide in advance that no progress can be made in assessing [Christian] claims. I also like how Clayton talks about the conviction of pursuing the question of what is really the case, what is really true, is not just an intellectual game but an urgent religious responsibility.

 

Interestinly enough, Clayton calls his approach Christian Minimalism ;)

iamstillrobdavis
iamstillrobdavis

 @pluralform I think a possibly helpful corrective to Caputo is Westphal. Even if there is no "Truth" we can "believe" we are close to "truth(s)" and we can live in light of that/them. I'm definitely a fan of epistemic humility, from wherever it comes.(And, I found references to Caputo's minimalist metaphysics ideas in Radical Hermeneutics and Against Ethics.)

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