A Religious Liberal Blog

This site hopefully can provide some vehicle by which I can comment, complain, and once in a while praise the state of religion in this country and around the world from a liberal protestant perspective.

Thursday, February 07, 2008

Engaging Others

Chris Tessone made me aware of a another site's post concerning the place of Christianity as it engages others. The author of the blog Diaspora writes:

"It seems that Christian convictions require that we refuse to be just one voice among many within a neutral or secular public sphere. We must refuse a rationality or narrative that is prior to or more fundamental than Christianity."

I may be misreading this post but I think there seems to be a collapsing of the "Christian narrative" and Christ or God in Christ. It's a move I don't think that can be made.

First because Christian tradition is a broad thing indeed. It contains any number of reasonings, methods, committments, and conclusions some that work and some that clash with one another. Getting a single narrative out of that seems unlikely.

But even if one could get such a narrative, all we could really be speaking about is how we as Christians have sought to engage the world, have made sense of our own history, etc. It has all the marks of a human creation. Our fingerprints are all over it.

If it's a human creation than a stronger distinction between that and "God's view" seems to in order. Our ways are not God's way. We confess the finite, limited, historical position by which we have spoken of God. But it is not God.

In this way it's possible to affirm that this world and what God may have for it, is wider, has more elements to it than our Christian narrative or any other narrative can be in a position to recognize. Perhaps something of God can be found in engaging others.

But even if one doesn't affirm this, we don't have to appeal to some universal rationality, neither that of the state or of some public square. All we have to do is to recognize the limits, the finitudes of our own vantage point. Humility can help in engaging others.


At 3:39 PM , Blogger Drew said...

I agree and the issue is indeed the relation of the universal and the particular. A particular ideological foundation that is beyond negotiation of its fundamental defining characteristics must receive consensus or it results in tyranny. And if we espouse any Christian foundation upon which all other rationalities are beholden and to which are relative, achievement of consensus results in universality. Universality in this regard is simply a consensus on a large scale.

But what he espouses at the end of the post seems to have tyranny and oppression as its only logical outcome.

At 5:17 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I came across your blog today and was fascinated with the title of it.
Have a wonder-filled day!



At 12:45 PM , Blogger Christopher said...

Might I recommend that you read Paul F. Knitter, auther of "No Other Name?" and other books about the subject.

At 11:16 PM , Blogger Fr. Joseph Augustine, AIHM said...

Greetings and peace in all God's creation!

I came upon your blog through Chris Tessone.

I have always taught that our discussion of God can at best be metaphor since we are created and finite and God is not created and infinite. It does us all good to communicate through inter-faith dialogue. We learn how much more we have in common than what separates us. Therein lies a great truth to be pondered.

Joseph AUgustine, AIHM


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