Thursday, October 20, 2011

Theology: class #1

“Getting Our Bearings”

Collect for the Second Sunday after Christmas Day
O God, who wonderfully created, and yet more wonderfully restored, the dignity of human nature: Grant that we may share the divine life of him who humbled himself to share our humanity, your Son Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Theology: Primary and Secondary
Primary theology is talk to God.
Examples: all kataphatic (via positiva) and apophatic (via negativa) expressions.
Secondary theology is talk about God.
i.e. Good manners
Primary and Secondary is about sequence, not importance; more to follow.
Theology versus Religious studies - The bias of the Church and this course of study.

Understanding begins in medias res.
Contingency as descriptive of creation
“On whatever place one has fallen, on that place he must find support if he is to rise again.”
St. Augustine
No such thing as tabula rasa, or a vacuum.
Theology is always on the menu and it’s all you can eat!

Doxological Spirals, Arch Bishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams
A typology of theological activity: Celebratory-Communicative-Critical
Attempts to use thought, language, and image to express a fullness of theological vision: Primary theology
Examples: hymnody, liturgy, the Orthodox Church.
Grows out of a concern that the language of celebration can become too insular.
Communicative theology commends, persuades and attempts to express itself in many structures of thought.
“A theology experimenting with the rhetoric of its uncommitted environment.”
R. Williams.
Examples: Missiology, revival and reformation movements, preaching.
A critical theology is “alert to its own inner tensions or irresolutions,” due to its passage through the uncommitted media of the communicative stage.
Not a circle but a spiral, ever widening. A holarchy: nested spheres which are recapitulated in light of each stage which precedes it.
Review of primary and secondary theology in light of in media res and the doxological spiral.

Contemporary application
Praying, Mary Oliver, from Thirst, 2006.

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