I thought I would put up some of the notes I took during Volf’s dialogue with Tony and with others (Danielle Shroyer, Tim Keel, Anthony Smith). Some of these are Volf’s thoughts and comments and then I have some additional stuff that I wrote while the conversation was taking place. It’s a bit of a mixed-up list, but these are some of the things that I was most interested in during the conversation these past few days.
Robust Creation: If you have a robust doctrine of Creation, you won’t think that anything that comes out of the scriptural realm is not good. Boundary-making is based on what is in the center – there is nothing that is on the outside of God’s realm. I can go to any source, and run it through the filter of creation, etc., but at the same time, I can respect it. **We should also have a robust doctrine of pneumatology**
Moltmann: the most fertile theologian of the 2nd part of the 20th century. Over 200 doctoral dissertations written on his work.
The Story: Creative theological work happens when one trusts the story but is also aware of when it is misused or when it may warp things, or when it may have negative affects, to go deeper into the story to redeem the story.
Interfaith dialogue: Dialogue w/Muslims is extraordinarily important. One of the defining issues of his century, if you just run through the numbers, 2.3 billiion Christians, 1.3 billion Muslims, now add that the majority of the Muslims are the poorest of the poor. It’s going to be one of the defining issues. We have to make space within ourselves for the Muslim-Other. Common reading of each other’s scriptures – sacred texts define us. Engaged in dialogue by reading these bounded sets of texts but within the context & the presence of the Other(s). Part of it is using hermeneutics of charity.
Truth & Community: We are all, given that we’re not God, seekers of Truth. I have to think about my own holding, even to the Truth of the Christian faith, in a provisional way. Acting in humility & having a willingness to learn. We are not absolute, so our horizon is limited. I don’t believe that I am a Christian because ‘I hold’ but b/c ‘I’m held.’ My confidence in Truth is not in myself or in anything else, but solely in God, who does hold all Truth. What right do I have to do what I’m doing? I see myself pointing to something larger than myself – it’s a function of the witness, rather than that of an expert/guru.
Preaching: My responsibility as a proclaimer is to simply point to the story. It’s a proclamation of the gospel story, w/o manipulating peoples’ feelings or convictions or by using commentators, etc.
Homosexuality: Exclusion & Embrace has nothing to say about the content of the decision. The issue has two sides – how do we go about negotiating it, and what do we say? It does talk about ‘how do we negotiate the issue’ and what it has to say may have limited value. It opens up the possibility in relating to the Other in a way that doesn’t demonize them, doesn’t cast any one party into a dark place – keeps up the possibility of conversation. I just wish that we would engage in that question with the double-vision, with opening up our space for the other, and in any case, relate with those with whom we disagree as people who deeply respect and open oneself up to the Other. If you talk about it, you’ll be exclusionary, if you keep silence, that’s another way to be exclusionary – Volf prefers to be exclusionary by talking about it.
Atonement: Economy of the atonement is where we identify with Christ on the cross as cross is identifying with us on the Christ [identification theory/Moltmann]. From Free of Charge, inclusive substitution. It is not that Christ is apart from us and bears our sin, but it works in our identification with Christ, and we ‘were’ in Christ, when Christ died – inclusive substitution.
Relational Theology in relation to Doctrinal-Focus: The Church and Christians have so obsessively concentrated on what they believe (content of doctrine or responsible way of living in the world) that they have, or we have, have forgotten about the procedure, or how they function. If Christian faith has anything to say, it has to say a great deal about the character of relationships, how does one negotiate boundaries.
Miroslav’s Theological Template
who is god.
what is god doing in the world.
how is god achieving this.
who are we.
where are we going.
how are we supposed to get there.
connecting the two.
what should we ultimately trust.
how should we order our trusts, provisional and ultimate.