Monday, January 28, 2008

Week Three Reading

Contextual Theology:
"Even the biblical message was developed in a dialogue with human experience, culture, and cultural and social change, and a theology that neither issues forth in action nor takes account of the way one lives one's life can hardly be theology that is worth very much" (33). I love this statement because I think it is really true of the core of why I live a life that is theologically based. On a separate note I wonder how globalization fits into separate models of theology. Grant I recognize that a theology needs to be developed from your current cultural standpoint but how does that work when you have multiple cultures in a space? How does our language move from context to context?

Theology and Pop Culture:
I enjoyed reading this chapter for a theological history of different historians views on interacting with culture. I would like more time to read through the work of Paul Tillich at some point. I think he might be a good way to understand how one deconstructs theological values to see how they work within a current cultural context. It was interesting to hear that Cobb wanted Tillich to have more recognition within cultural theory. I question has theology done the work to do the right to be heard? Just one voice verses many voices that don't want culture to be integrated.

Cultural Studies: Chapter 5
This chapter focuses on scientific data of the body. The body is an important and valuable entity that people are willing to talk about whether it be biologically or scientifically. Where does theology play a role in these advanced understandings of who we are? Can theology come back into this type of conversation that allows the body to be reentered into our theological scope? I hope that our work of understanding creation and value can challenge our hope for a stronger theology.

Cultural Studies: Chapter 6
It's interesting how these two chapters happen to be some of the topics that I am most interested in lately. How we value our consumer goods and what needs to be valued is vitally important. I think understanding postmodernism, post-industrial, disorganized capitalism is valuable to combine our theology with. I know that sounds somewhat like a broken record from the chapter before but I think our theology and theologians don't know how to connect these valuable disciplines with how one relates to how we view God and spirituality in our life.

Sitting in class today I realized that I would like to make connections between the reading and the the class discussion. I know that some of the cultural theory seems like a distant connection with a theological conversation. The missional church is important and it something that future leaders of the church needs to wrestle with but I think the reading has A LOT to offer into how to engage and dialogue with the future mission of the church. How we make meaning, who we are, how we buy and consume things is really important to understanding where we should go with our philosophy of ministry. I don't know if that sounds crazy but I think that is what I would like to be talking about instead. Maybe that's just me.


Grant Wahlquist said...

Ames: I love being mentioned in your blog!

Or maybe you meant to say "granted...".


C. Wess Daniels said...

I think you've got some good questions in terms of how this pertains to globalization, I am not sure we really know yet. The power of our hybrid cultures is still being played out, and we are so far behind in understanding it (as the church). But the question of globalization is the one we must turn to now.

"I think our theology and theologians don't know how to connect these valuable disciplines with how one relates to how we view God and spirituality in our life."

Well then, how do we connect it? I'm wanting you to give me that answer! ;)

Grant Wahlquist said...

On a more detailed response:

I don't buy into a lot of the globalization rhetoric. The problem with speaking of culture/cultures is that every culture is always evolving, bouncing off of every other. Cultures are always in flux. One might speak of more solid or more liquid cultures, and perhaps speak of globalization increasing cultural liquidity, but on the whole, cultures never have been standardized, have always been hybridized. It bothers me when people speak about globalization's "destruction of traditional cultures", because:

a. all cultures are "traditions"
b. all traditions are evolving
c. all traditions are hybridized.

Who says traditional is better, anyway? Female genital mutilation is traditional, and I will cut through my own multicultural rhetoric enough to say that I have no issue imposing my cultural value on another culture's values in cases such as this.

Furthermore, it's not that theology "needs" to be developed from a current cultural standpoint, but that any theological statement is always already culturally conditioned, inevitably.

Regarding language moving from context to context, language shifts through varying cultural moments which are determined synchronicly (interaction of different cultural forces in the moment) and diachronically (movement through time). One never knows how all of these effects function together. Hence indeterminacy, slippage, bla bla bla. Standard Derrida.