Thursday, November 29, 2012

Brandy Daniels on Gender and Theology

Greetings, faithful readers.

If you are widely plugged into the theoblogosphere and associated online theological discussion forums, you may have noticed a bit of a hubbub going on the past few days. But I thought that many DET readers may not necessarily keep track of the places where this discussion has been raging, so I thought that I would post and draw some attention to it. I feel especially justified in this given that one of DET's contributors, Brandy Daniels, has taken a lead in much of this discussion by writing three substantial posts elsewhere. So, here are some links:

So, there you go. Catch up on your theo-blog current events.

P.S. I forgot another good reason for me to post about all this: unfortunately, much of the discussion on this issue has been conducted on various Facebook group threads, etc., thus limiting accessibility for the uninitiated.


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

AAR / SBL in Chicago

Well, it's the time of year when theo-bloggers customarily reflect on their time at the recently held AAR / SBL national meeting(s). Chicago hosted the event this year, which I was happy about because I didn't have to fly. Chicago was, as always, a great town to spend some time in (even if the convention center left much to be desired).

In any case, rather than inflict upon you many generally boring stories of meetings with personages, interesting sessions, and books bought at deep discount, I will instead present you with the abstract to the paper that I presented on Saturday morning in a session conducted by the Ecclesiological Investigations Group on the theme: "The Social Gospel in a Time of Economic Crisis: The Churches and Capitalism Today." So, here are the stats on my paper.

"Helmut Gollwitzer and Economic Justice—A Theopolitical Appreciation"

Helmut Gollwitzer’s legacy as a politically concerned pastor and theologian is instructive for those today who want to take seriously both what Christian faith means for socio-economic justice and what that concern for socio-economic justice likewise means for the theological task. I treat three aspects of Gollwitzer’s work in order to highlight his significance for the contemporary situation: (1) his interesting application of the traditional idea of suum cuique, especially vis-à-vis Bonhoeffer; (2) the connection he draws between the Christian gospel and the necessity of combating economic-political privilege; and (3), his conclusions concerning Christian faith and theology’s failings in the face of atheist criticism of religion and what this means for continuing to do theology in the contemporary situation. One eye is kept on the Occupy Wall Street movement throughout the discussion in order to highlight how Gollwitzer’s thought illuminates matters in our own day.


Friday, November 09, 2012

Migliore on Barth, Bultmann, Pannenberg, and Moltmann on the Resurrection

One of the neat things about Migliore’s book are the 3 appendixes in the back which comprise imagined dialogs between various important thinkers on different subjects. The first is on natural theology, and the third is on political theology. This post is concerned with the second, on the resurrection. The bellow is how Migliore ends this discussion, with closing statements (as it were) from the four participants: Barth, Bultmann, and representatives of positions broadly associated with Pannenberg and Moltmann (I think Migliore chose not to put words directly in their mouths because they are still alive). I think it gets at the differences between these four in helpful ways, not least of all by pointing to the bedrock of these various positions in the New Testament.

Daniel L. Migliore, Faith Seeking Understanding, 382–3. Bold is, in this case, part of the original.
Barth: Since that last speech is probably going to require an interpretation as long as my Church Dogmatics [ed., referring to a statement from the Moltmannian representative], we had better call it a day. But before we do, I want to challenge each of you to say on what text you would preach your next Easter sermon. I have always believed that theology is for the sake of better, more faithful preaching. So what I am asking is this: How would our interpretations of the resurrection work themselves out in our Easter sermons? For my part, I would like to preach on the text in which the angel announces to the disciples in the tomb, “He has risen. He is not here” (Mark 16:6). I think I would emphasize that an angel brought this message, that it was revelation, and that above all else it was good and joyful news.

Bultmann: I have always been especially attached to the Gospel of John. I think I would preach on the word of the risen Lord to Thomas: “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe” (John 20:29). In light of our previous discussion, I think my emphasis in this sermon would be pretty self-evident. Easter faith is an existential response to the scandal of the cross; it is not a matter of being a privileged eye-witness of a spectacular event in history called the resurrection.

Pannenbergian: I would want to preach a sermon emphasizing the centrality of the fact of the resurrection for our faith. A good text would be the Pauline claim: “if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain” (1 Cor. 15:13–14). I would try to bring out both sides of Paul’s argument: that the intelligibility of the resurrection of Christ depends on an understanding of reality as radically open to the new, and that the actuality of the resurrection is the basis of the Christian interpretation of reality and of the whole of Christian faith and life.

Moltmannian: My choice for an Easter text is perhaps a little unexpected, but that is surely appropriate for the subject matter. I would preach on the text from the Apocalypse: “Behold I make all things new” (Rev. 21:5). I would emphasize that only the church that risks itself in the service of the crucified and risen Christ, attending to the pain and suffering of the world, will hear that word of promise.