University of Oxford, Oxford, England. The first book in the Series Radical Orthodoxy RO was not meant to be programmatic or set out to change the direction of modern theology. There are certain shared sensibilities among its authors and, principally, an ecumenical vision.
This article sketches the nature of that ecumenical vision that begins with the way in which secularism has enabled Christians to look beyond their own denominational borders and even share resources. This is bottom-up ecumenism nurtured by multiple belonging and a global understanding of Christianities that has helped "de-colonize" theology and rethink political theology.
RO, it is argued, can be a resource for the South African de-colonization of Christian theology. In its critiques of modernity and secular reasoning, RO points the way towards doing theology in,
Radical orthodoxy and homosexuality statistics and beyond traditional and disciplinary boundaries - but South Africa has to make it its own. Chicago mature lady
Radical orthodoxy, Ecumenical vision, Decolonisation. Radikale ortodoksie, Ekumeniese visie, Dekolonisasie. It is now over twenty years since John Milbank, Catherine Pickstock and I organised a colloquium
Radical orthodoxy and homosexuality statistics Peterhouse in Cambridge that became the basis for that collection of essays published as Radical Orthodoxy: I remain surprised that, when critics and fans alike characterise Radical Orthodoxy ROthey point to its origins in John's book Theology and social theory, actually published eight or so years earlier than the collection that initiated the Series published by Routledge.
True, John had written earlier about something he called "new orthodoxy" and this was raised and dismissed as a title for the Series when John, Catherine and I sat down to thrash out a name for the number of theological studies we wished to commission. There is, after all, something oxymoronic about "new orthodoxy".
Adrian, from Routledge, agreed - but along different lines. For Adrian, the name simply was not eye-catching
Radical orthodoxy and homosexuality statistics radical enough. Then, hey presto, the name for the book Series Radical orthodoxy and homosexuality statistics - serendipitously. True also, John's earlier book had laid down a polemical challenge to secularism and its dominance as a methodological assumption in the social and human sciences. That first collection of essays did indeed carry that challenge forward, expressly taking discursive scenes desire, the body, the city, and so on that were then viewed theologically.
But the notion that the Introduction to that first volume in the Series was programmatic for a new "movement" in theology still surprises me. I speak with respect to the Series: I do not hold the view that RO has a programme or that it can be identified as a specific theological project.
Its subsequent history and development is another matter.
At first glance, the “Radical...
Radical orthodoxy and homosexuality statistics However, other than organising and attending what became a succession of biannual conferences
Radical orthodoxy and homosexuality statistics Oxford, Nottingham, Rome, Grenada, Krakow, and Oxford againmy own work though identified as part of RO as an ongoing project has played hardly any part. There is, no doubt at all, a "shared sensibility" Ward But many, if not all of those aspects of that "shared sensibility" are shared with other theologians such as Rowan Williams.
What has deeply impressed me about the reception of RO, above and beyond what the editors of that book series envisaged, is the ecumenical nature of its impact. This certainly was unforeseen and came at a time when top-down approaches to ecumenism had its funding greatly reduced the World Council of Churches or had stalled the Anglican-Roman Catholic dialogue that rumbles along, but continually comes up against the Anglican ordination of women.
Yet, undoubtedly, RO, which is liberal with respect to its support for women's ordination and the authenticity of homosexual relations, tapped into a groundswell of ecumenical sensitivities.
I am continually astonished at the variety of ecclesial backgrounds of its supporters, given that the three editors of the Series are Anglicans of the High Church tradition. And it
Radical orthodoxy and homosexuality statistics not come as a shock, twenty years into the future, that this ecumenical vision issuing from no programme at all that I am aware of is RO's lasting legacy.
Prior to outlining what I perceive as the nature of that ecumenical vision, let me first sketch some of the facts supporting RO's ecumenical outreach, beginning with what occurred subsequent to the launch of the Series in Within a few months of the publication of that first volume, the papers of a conference held in London were eventually published under the editorship of Laurence Hemming in the Heythrop Studies in Contemporary Philosophy, Religion and Theology: The Catholic there is Roman Catholic, and the discussion with Roman Catholics has continued for a number of years right up to the active support of several Papal Nuncios, Bishops, Cardinals and some papal interaction with Benedict XVI.
Other Roman Catholics such as Tracey Rowland contributed volumes to the Series when it was established. In part, the inclusion of Roman Catholic voices was a conscious act made by the editors. After all, they were and are friends. But we were also wishing to reach out to theological voices we recognised as sharing a common sensibility.
The first book in the...
There were no pre-decided denominational boundaries - the sensibilities were theological and crossed ecclesial frontiers. The Series was open to all those working in Christian theology philosophically, whatever their confessional allegiance.
Finally, through the organisational talents of Adrian Pabst and Christopher Schneider, a conference was held in Cambridge that brought together RO and Eastern Orthodoxy in The papers of that conference were edited and published in To these encounters, coming from very distinctive denominational outlooks, I would add the number of people from the Emerging Church movement in the US, who have regularly attended the RO conferences, and several from South African churches who organised this present conference.
Some of these people from an evangelical background have sought advice on how to incorporate a sacramental realism, say, or aspects of "Radical orthodoxy and homosexuality statistics" Anglo or Roman liturgy into their operations. Some of them have studied with John and Simon Oliver through a long-distance course run for several years
Radical orthodoxy and homosexuality statistics the Department of Theology and Religious Studies
Radical orthodoxy and homosexuality statistics the University of Nottingham.
There have, of course, been a number of volumes from other members of these ecclesial traditions and from the Anglican church who have been highly critical of RO. If I do not discuss these, it is not that they have nothing to contribute theologically to the ecumenical debates. But what I am outlining, in this instance, is the range of ecumenical responses, whether positive, negative or critically engaging.
It is partly this broad range of theological responses that prompts my present reflections. What do these traditions find in RO that they wish to engage with, positively, negatively and critically?
What is appealing to them? Sociologically, since at least the s, the main-line traditions of Christian theology have not been holding up against the swell of consumer secularism. Secularism itself is not necessarily the main villain, in this instance.
Commitment to institutions in the voluntary sector, such as trade unions and political parties, have seen similar, if not worse, declines in membership.
What has emerged from this is twofold. First, learning from across the fence.
That is, in Britain, traditions have been aware that a spiritual hunger still exists and, in order to tap into it, have scrutinised other traditions or newly emerging ones to find out what they can incorporate. More recently - and wonderfully - we have seen different traditions coming together to share resources! Protestants have faced two different directions, in this instance: This divide, along with the fact that there were a number, who were now joining
Radical orthodoxy and homosexuality statistics church, who had no catechetical background and no sense of a confessional tradition, led to any number of hybridisations.
What have developed, with
Radical orthodoxy and homosexuality statistics critical tide against secularism that began to rise in the s, 5 are forms of multiple belonging, where a series of churches might be attended with very different liturgical and doctrinal emphases. But, nowadays, there are few among the Lutheran, Methodists, Congregationalists, Baptists and Anglicans who would consider the founding articles of the faith and confessions upon
Radical orthodoxy and homosexuality statistics the Reformation founded those traditions.
Vatican II itself incorporated learning from across the fence. It produced documents with regard to other Christian denominations and even other faiths, and it gave increasing emphasis to preaching and the Bible - the mainstays of the Protestant Reformation.
Currently, the Orthodox Church is in something of a crisis. They identified themselves as a diaspora church, and certainly not as a conversion church. But it is now awakening to a consciousness of its siloed identity, even self-determined ghettoisation -particularly in the US, but also in South Africa - and wanting to enter wider cultural debates about science and faith, for example, and the complexity of overlapping jurisdictions. In the past, the tradition was handed down through families, priests and confessors.
At present, they are faced with people who come to them with hardly any or no understanding of what Orthodoxy is. The tradition is changing, being forced to change, and the people who come to them are often refugees from other Christian churches with which they have become disenchanted. In the US, there are any number of second-generation evangelicals seeking depth, mystery, and historical roots.
Christians find the emphasis on the present and the Spirit in the present too shallow to resonate with their experience of life. So there is then, and has been throughout the turn to the post-secular, much more fluidity about the nature of belonging and the nature of Christian belief. This is what I mean by an ecumenism that is bubbling up from below - totally
Radical orthodoxy and homosexuality statistics of sync with, and probably not even aware of the top-level ecumenical forums that continue to judder along.
At the grass roots, there is a liquid movement, as people choose their traditions rather than having been born into, and socialised by them. People are moving more across and even blending traditions.
Services on Demand
Secondly, Christianity in the west has been increasingly exposed to the variety of world Christianities, and the way in which they have incorporated local or national cultural inflections. Viewed globally, Christianity is recognised as not at all homogeneous, and its western variety is no longer dominant. Post-colonialism has
Radical orthodoxy and homosexuality statistics good effect, in this instance, and I would suggest that South Africa is in the vanguard of new and expressive decolonised theologies.
South Africa's resistance of what has been called "westoxification" had long and strong roots in Xhosa theologians who learnt from the missionaries and were converted by them. They began to forge Christian theologies that were Black and indigenous.
In some ways, I sense that the interest, at the moment, in decolonising Christian theology in the South African academy is as much to do with discovering and teaching these older Black theologies as realising that they do not need to be forever turning to theological faculties and divinity schools in Germany, the US and the United Kingdom UK for emulation and approval.
Place matters, languages matter, and local cultures never purely free from previous enculturations matter. If Christianity is to speak as a living faith, then it must resonate with the life experiences of its particular peoples in their very diverse particular contexts.
Now, what has all this got to do with the ecumenical vision within RO? I opine that, since the publication of the Series and perhaps prior to its publication and the reason why it has had the wider attention it has hadRO has been viewed as a resource for these new pietistic trends. Anglicanism has always been broad in what it has been able to accommodate and I recall an early conversation with John Milbank about the ecumenical possibilities within Anglicanism that could be shared with other traditions.
RO itself has drawn resources for its own work from across the traditions and it has spoken into the western cultures that fostered them. Let me expand on that. The theology that constitutes the "shared sensibility" of RO - and no one person represents that sensibility, each expanding and drawing in new affiliations that have broadened it - embraces a wide range of traditions that make up the single Christian tradition.
For some I would include myselfthe Bible and its interpretation have been important. This Augustinianism, supplemented by the medieval traditions of the Victorines and Aquinas developed philosophical and theological understandings of "realist" rather than "nominalist" world views. Meanwhile, many of the writers in the RO Series were keenly and critically taking on French post-structuralism and the Anglo-American analytical approaches to language and discourse.
This led to a critical rethinking of the historical trajectory of modernity, its philosophical alliance with nominalism, and its developments into late capitalism and globalisation; and so to the politics of desire driving economics. I will say more about that
Radical orthodoxy and homosexuality statistics a moment, because it is key to where RO is situated and situates "Radical orthodoxy and homosexuality statistics." Finally, several in RO have been profoundly impacted by their education in Patristics and Radical orthodoxy and homosexuality statistics sought reappropriations of apophasis, Logos rather than reductive historicist Christologies that relate Christ to a doctrine of creation, an aesthetic and analogical world view, and a Trinitarian metaphysics.
In a sense, there is something in this instance, whatever the Christian tradition you come from. But, in this way, RO has pointed the way towards doing theology in, through and beyond traditional and disciplinary boundaries. As mentioned earlier, I am not sure that it was conscious of being ecumenical, but many of the theologians espousing RO sensibilities and doctoral students being supervised by those with RO sensibilities have practised an ecumenism in their own attempts to rework the tradition for a contemporary proclamation of the gospel.
This appeal to the whole of the Christian tradition and this speaking from a broad church basis that neither emphasised nor extolled a particular tradition has to be viewed alongside a further characteristic of RO theology: Homosexual persons did not decide to become homosexual.
Christianity emerged into the world...
based upon the authors' own research, but a statistical meta-analysis of an an article back in that clearly outlined his radical pro-homosexual views. For example, the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese lists homosexuality that is both orthodox in theology and grounded in the radical message of. There is no reason to assume that those opposing gay
Radical orthodoxy and homosexuality statistics are necessarily opposed to homosexual practice.
John Milbank . These combined statistics suggest that a majority is in favour of enabling gay practice, but.