A relatively new book edited by Catherine Keller and Laurel C. Schneider (Taylor and Francis, 2010). See sneak preview at Google Books. From their Introduction:

"In recent years a discernible movement within theology has emerged around a triune intuition: the daunting differences of multiplicity, the evolutionary uncertainty it unfolds, and the relationality that it implies are not problems to be overcome in religious thought. They are starting points for it. Divinity understood in terms of multiplicity, open-endedness, and relationality now forms a matrix of revelation rather than a distortion, or evidence of its lack. The challenges and passions of theological creativity blossoming at the edges of tradition and at the margins of power have show themselves, far from being distractions from doctrinal or doxological integrity, to be indispensable to its life. And this vitality belies at once the dreary prophesies or pure secularism and the hard grip of credulous certainties."

 

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The Integral Hospitality of Theology?  A passage from Keller's new book, The Cloud of the Impossible:

"If faith is not certainty but the courage of our connections, then confidence -- con-fides -- comes only in minding our complicity with a vast range of others, even with those we most resist.  Across the impossible, shifting distances of class, of culture, of race, of sexuality, of ableness, of species -- we remain asymmetrically folded together, complicans: my whiteness implicated in the slave traumas of your ancestry and also in the beauty of my multi-hued classroom.  But speech falters there, awkwardly, promisingly.  Beyond both guilt and innocence, the possibility of the humbling empowerment of planetary solidarities is forever coded theologically as the new heaven and earth.  Or more faithfully translated:  the new atmosphere and earth.

Then a voice in me shrills: let unsaying mean "enough with the talking" -- an activist apophasis!  Do this truth, make it happen!

And if you do know how just to do it, please do.

If, however, you are uncertain, some cloud-thinking, some complicitous contemplation, may help.  Not as an alternative to practice, but as the practice of an alternative -- to what is all too predictable, all too known, to a knowledge that acquiesces in itself.  The conceptual content of this alter-knowledge will come not from within a theological enclosure, nor from any discipline in isolation, but from the manifold arts and sciences, humanities and posthumanisms, by which we ply the human.  Most of these disciplines, while currently predicated on certifiable unbelief (even as 'religious studies'), do, when they take pause, recognize strands of their own historical, political, or literary entanglement in theology.  Is it possible that only the recognition of that contamination, indeed that complicity, will release resonances needed -- as Connolly insists in Why I Am Not a Secularist -- to operate new solidarities of ecological and political becoming?  These solidarities carry the chance of new exodoi, liberations from oppression, a "commonwealth of God" (John B. Cobb, Jr), resistant to each secularist purge.  They comprise the data for the so-called political theology of the religious or irreligious left.  But they get thwarted by the modern separation of the disciplines, which, above all, means to secure secularism.

And, for the time being, given the disciplinary boundaries that still thwart cooperation, it may, ironically, be theology that is able to offer the needed trans-disciplinary hospitality.  But perhaps only inasmuch as we welcome the religions and their critics into their non-separable difference from each other.  To host roots close to its opposite, 'hostility.'  Hence Derrida's 'hostipitality.'  The host may claim, even through a sacrificial gift, a sacred dominance.  So does the hospitality of theology depend now upon its autodeconstructive -- not self-destructive -- contemplation, that of a cloud of unknowing in which it minds its own complex constructedness?  When it does so it becomes alert to the "regimes of power" (Foucault) operative in all certified knowledge, theological, ontotheological.  We are then discerning a three-fold alter-knowing: of mindful nonknowing, of constituent relationality, of manifold justice.  These serve as criteria -- apophatic, ontological, ethical -- for a theology that finds its theos folding in and out of logos, its theory folding in and out of practice.  And so its language offers harbor, sanctuary." ~ Catherine Keller

Here's a Keller interview on the new book. Again, notice all the folding in the above excerpt.

Upon reading Cobb she said: "There was a way of interpreting Jesus as [....] a cosmic Christology. It was Christ logos but the logos now translated through an interpretation [...] into a principle of creative transformation" (8:15).

"Even the abandonment in modern art of the Christ image is not just a loss for Christianity, but it, indeed, is Christ calling, it's creative transformation calling us beyond a certain Christ image" (9:10).

The interviewer quotes from the beginning of her new book: "So we hope you're not for complete knowledge, but for an incomplete ignorance" (9:40). This is good stuff.

Or, in this case, 'don't throw out the Christ child with the straw.'

(Annie Dillard reference: "...Tragically, these people feel they must make a choice between the Bible and modern science. They live and work in the same world we do, and know the derision they face from people who's areas of ignorance is perhaps different, who dismantled their mangers when they moved to town and threw out the baby with the straw.") -from Innocence in the Galapagos.

Balder said:

To be clear, I wasn't opposing metaphor and reason or appealing to 'false reason' in L&J's sense, and I don't think Mary (or the author she was quoting) was either.  Yes, remember the baby in the bathwater!

Annie Dillard!  Annie Dillard references are always welcome with me....

For me, it was probably my reading of Annie Dillard in the late seventies that contributed most to my eventual realization that I was not, in my heart of hearts, a true fundamentalist.  Her words resonated so deeply that my experience was similar to the one she described: 

“I had been my whole life a bell, and never knew it until at that moment I was lifted and struck.” 
― Annie DillardPilgrim at Tinker Creek

What was cool was that she happened to be an author in residence at WWU where I was attending. Only met her once though, at a book signing.

Common Goods: Economy, Ecology, and Political Theology (Transdisciplinary Theological Colloquia (FUP)) Paperback – September 1, 2015 by Melanie Johnson-DeBaufre (Editor), Catherine Keller (Editor), Elias Ortega-Aponte (Editor)

Also recall this article, "Theopoetic/Theopolitic" by Keller and Caputo. An excerpt:

Keller: "Progressive theopolitics [...] does need concurrence on the formal criteria of progress: the actualization of social, ecological and planetary relations of justice with sustainability. [...] The more theology absorbs the methods of deconstruction and pluralism, the more the opposition between secularism and religion can itself be deconstructed. [...] Indeed ironically it may have been Hardt and Negri, those radically democratic and secular socialists, who kicked me into the evangelical register."

This looks like it might be interesting.

"I have two of the most beautiful, intelligent, and lovable great-grandchildren in the world. At 89 years of age, I know I won’t have the chance to see them much longer.

What saddens me is that I’m not leaving them a world nearly as hospitable as the one I was born into, or with such promising prospects.

So I’ve decided there’s one thing I want to do before I go: help lay the foundations, not just for an environmentally sustainable fix here or there, but for an ecological civilization.

Toward this end, I’m organizing with others the largest transdisciplinary conference ever held on behalf of the planet. We’re bringing together more than 700 presenters to discuss some 80 different topics, all focused on the foundations needed for a civilization radically different than what we’re living in – an ecological one.

Why are we doing this? I realize that we have already passed the point where changes in our behavior will prevent extensive decay. Now it is just a matter of how bad it will be. But “how bad” is still a very important matter. It is too late to prevent extensive suffering. But it is not too late to make some difference.

I am convinced that we won’t change direction until we change the way we think. We can’t solve the problems of environmental and social decay while employing the very ideas that have caused it...."

Yes, I would probably be going to that conference if I weren't already registered for ITC. I want to see if I can find someone going to that who might distribute my ITC paper there. I had a connection, but he seems to have disappeared. 

FYI, the Herman Daly/John Cobb book "For the Common Good: Redirecting the Economy Toward Community, the Environment, and a Sustainable Future, " is a classic that combines philosophical discourse with biophysical economics. I plan to take a deeper dive into it at some point. I loved Cobb's earlier book Is It Too Late? A Theology of Ecology - one of the first theology/philosopy/ecology books published. 

Uuhhmm - that's moving, B & DM. And the wheel of concerns at a glance seems quite comprehensive.





Balder said:

This looks like it might be interesting.

"I have two of the most beautiful, intelligent, and lovable great-grandchildren in the world. At 89 years of age, I know I won’t have the chance to see them much longer.

What saddens me is that I’m not leaving them a world nearly as hospitable as the one I was born into, or with such promising prospects.

So I’ve decided there’s one thing I want to do before I go: help lay the foundations, not just for an environmentally sustainable fix here or there, but for an ecological civilization.

Toward this end, I’m organizing with others the largest transdisciplinary conference ever held on behalf of the planet. We’re bringing together more than 700 presenters to discuss some 80 different topics, all focused on the foundations needed for a civilization radically different than what we’re living in – an ecological one.

Why are we doing this? I realize that we have already passed the point where changes in our behavior will prevent extensive decay. Now it is just a matter of how bad it will be. But “how bad” is still a very important matter. It is too late to prevent extensive suffering. But it is not too late to make some difference.

I am convinced that we won’t change direction until we change the way we think. We can’t solve the problems of environmental and social decay while employing the very ideas that have caused it...."

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