Friday, November 16, 2007

Christian theology should shape the way we talk about everything - does it?

Gil Bailie refers to this quote in one of his talks and I thought I would highlight it here:

The deep end of "truth" has been ceded to science, while theology swims in the shallow end of "meaning."
The quote goes on:

Aesthetic expression has been relinquished to the cult of original self-expression and "what-it-means-for-me." Morality becomes a subset of utility, or a creation of private conscience, and Christians are reduced to "sharing their values." An impoverished realm of "spirituality" or "transcendence" remains the rightful property of Christian reflection, and running on these slight fumes, theology drives toward relevance in a world over which it has renounced its authority. Radical Orthodoxy is nothing if not intensely opposed to this renunciation; for its adherents the whole world is fit for absorption into a theological framework. Christian theology should shape the way we talk about everything.
And the First Thing article concludes with:

To escape the patterns of theological modernism, therefore, the first task is not to imagine and invent. Instead, we must train ourselves in that which modernity rejects most thoroughly and fatally: the discipline of receiving that which has been given. We must eat the scrolls that the Lord has given us, and dwell amidst his people. Only then will the scope of an Augustinian ambition recover the intense, concrete, and particular Christ-centered focus that gives it the power of good news. Only there can we taste God’s peace. (my emphasis)
The convert R. R. Reno concludes another article with:
As a member of the Roman Catholic Church ... and it is not a small gift of grace to be guided by the Church, especially when the object of our intellectual desire is knowledge of God.

4 comments:

Athos said...

Reno is one of the six converts featured in this fine article in Christian Century. By the comment, The deep end of "truth" has been ceded to science, while theology swims in the shallow end of "meaning", Reno is obviously speaking of his former affiliation.

In an important book I'm reading, Good News, Bad News - Evangelization, Conversion and the Crisis of Faith, an Anglican priest asks a convert to Catholicism how he is raising his children. The convert says, 'Catholic'. The priest says, 'Good. The Catholics are just like us, except they believe it.'

Enough said.

Aramis said...

By the comment, The deep end of "truth" has been ceded to science, while theology swims in the shallow end of "meaning", Reno is obviously speaking of his former affiliation.

No, the article in First Things was published (2000) a couple years prior to his conversion. I think rather, it refers to our letting Truth slide into a universalism of "meaning" soaked in post-modernism.

Aramis said...

I take back my last comment and nod to your assessment - "Reno is obviously speaking of his former affiliation."

Athos said...

Chronology correction accepted, Aramis. Let's say that Reno was squirming under the playing fast and loose with ultimate truth claims in his now former affiliation. That'll do, won't it?