Friday, June 30, 2006

World Cup Results Day 15

He last two games of the Round of 16 have finished, in spite of technical difficulties at blogflux who hosts the polls.

The two favorites prooved victorious, von Balthasar beating de Lubac 29-11 and Pannenberg beating Frei 31 -10.

Since the voting in the quartefinals is done by comments, the fact that to polls do not work very well is of less importance.

Tounament Brackets

Quarter-final 1: Moltmann vs. Ratzinger

Ok, the contestants need no further presentation from me. The eight theologians left are world renowned theological giants. Not to know at least a bit about them is a lacuna in your theological knowledge. This is a good moment to do something about that.

The problems in the last round of voting has caused me to reconsider for whom this tournament really exists. This is my conclusion: You can vote if you are genuinely interested in systematic theology that is based in the academic world. I think it should be obvious what kinds of voters this excludes. If you sense this is you, please abstain from voting. You may still hang around and comment of course. Maybe you'll pick up some ideas that may be interesting.

This is how we will do the voting in this round:
Below is a poll. That is not the official voting. It is kind of like an "exit-poll" in general elections. Those votes will not count, there are there only to provide a sense of how the game is going, and the extra info about where the voters live.

The real voting is in the Comments. These are the rules:

  • No anonymous voters will be counted. If you do not have a blogger account, at least think of a nickname.
  • Votes that do not give a comment will not be counted. You have to give a comment that will show some knowledge of both contestants. You may be witty, intelligent and partial. But you have to say something. I realize this will cause a lot of you to don't bother. It's ok. You do not have to write an essay, a few line will do. Copy-pasting is not recommended.
  • Please write the name of you candidate first, then a blank line, and the your comment. It will be easier for me to count. (See my vote as an example)

Do not vote in the poll unless you are giving an official vote. It would just defeat the purpose of the poll.

Bring it on!

Is there a Gnostic Tendency in Modern Theology?

If you want you can read this post as frustration over Tillich's loss in yesterdays game, or over the fact that I still have over 400 pages of Panneberg's system to read, and I am supposed to go on vacation today.

I think Pannebergs victory in his current game is clear enough so I can say this: I am yet to find one engaging idea in this work, that would be Panneberg's own. He borrows a lot of good stuff (Barth, Moltman, Rahner...) and brings it all together in a impressive synthesis. But what I lack is the feeling of blood, sweat and tears on the pages. It's all too cool, aloft, balanced and... well, boring.

But my point is not to criticize Pannenberg. The thing that got me thinking is why this way of doing theology seems to be so popular at the moment, while the kind of theology that wrestles with the Christian tradition, that turns it around, breaks it up, kicks at it, shouts at it, loves it, and makes it shine seem to be considered not worthy of attention.

Gnostic? Well, gnosticism is a million things to a million men. I am referring to the notion that to create is to form pre-existent matter.

Now, what we see in Panneberg is a theology that is completely sealed, it is presents the Christian tradition as a unified systematic whole that encompasses most of the results of modern theological research. But like the demiurge of the gnostics, Panneberg has not created this theology ex nihilo, he has simply taken what is already there, modified some bits to get it all to fit together, and presented it all as a system. Now, this is no doubt a great intellectual achievement, and I am not denying it's usefulness. But it is a kind of encyclopedic knowledge. It is not alive.

My question is: Is this really a Christian way of doing theology? It is my firm belief that to be a Christian involves cultivating one's creativity. We believe in a God who created heaven and earth out of the ouk on. Divine creativity, according to Christian doctrine, is not about systemizing pre-existent ideas, it is bringing into being that which previously was not.

Obviously, as creations we cannot create ex nihilo, but we are still called to be the likeness of God. Creativity is what we are called to.

The gnostic notion of creation is stable. It is perfect (and thus evil, even the gnostic recognized that). This is not the case of the Christian notion. Even when God creates the result is not perfect, but it is good. God's creation has this element of insecurity in it, something that makes it alive. Maybe this is a way of understanding evil - it has to be to make creation able to move. (I know, this is metaphysics, don't use this in counseling...) Anyway, this, too is the case of human creativity - its goal is not to make something perfect, it is to make something that is alive.

This, it seems to me, should apply also to theology. We are called to create theology that is alive. This will make it maybe easy to criticize, but it will be so much more beautiful than theology that strives at perfection.

(I have probably misinterpreted Panneberg completely, and I'm sorry for that. See the reason in the first paragraph...)

Now let's get the quarter-finals started.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

World Cup Results Day 14

I doubt we will see two closer games than the two we had today! Jenson beat Tillich with the score 27-24 after running neck to neck for most of the game. The same was true for the Zizioulas - Gunton game, where Gunton only in the last hours managed to get those few extra votes he needed to beat the Metropolitan with 26-22.

This means that we will have at least one English-speaking theologian in the semi-final.

The last two games in the Round of 16 are on! Keep those votes coming!

Round of 16: Pannenberg vs. Frei

(Sorry, I coukdn't find a picture of Frei)

The last game of the Round of 16 sees German Lutheran Pannenberg face American (German-born) Baptist, Hans Frei.

Panneberg (b. 1928) is a very academic theologian: one of his motivations is to show that theology can be a academic discipline as any other, and this has lead him to icorporate a lot of philosphy and natural science in his theology. Panneberg rose to fame because of the "Revelation as History"- discussion in the 60:s, and history has remained a important notion in his theology since. His three-volume Systematic theology is an excellent overview of the academic discussion on theology throughout the centuries.

Frei (1922-1988) fame as a theologian is based mostly on his work The Eclipse of Biblical Narrative, a cornerstone of the Narrative theology. He is one of the central names in the Yale "post-liberal" school of theology. He also, towards the end of his life, wrote on Christology, and more works on Hermeneutics.

Note: The provider of the polls have been a bit shaky today. I hope they get their act together, but if you have trouble voting, come back in an hour or so and try agian.

Round of 16: von Balthasar vs. de Lubac

Chance would have it that the Round of 16 contained a lot of games between theologians belonging to the same churches, and today we see the battle between two Catholic noblemen, and giants of 20th century theology, Hans Urs von Balthasar and Henri de Lubac.

von Balthasar (1905-1988) known for two things more than anything else: his theological aesthetics and his leaving the Jesuit Order because of his realtionship with the mystic Adrienne von Speyr. That latter situation left him in out in the cold for a large part of his theological career. However, tides would turn, and had not death intervened von Balthasar would have become a Cardinal. His main work is his massive 15 volume trilogy The Theological Aesthetics, Theo-Drama and Theo-logic.

de Lubac (1896-1991) was one of the most influential theologians at the Second Vatican Council and his name has become almost synonymous with the so-called nouvelle theologie, which drew on the Fathers of the Chruch as a way to overcome the prevalent neo-scolasticism of the time. He was one of the theologians that, prior to Vatican II, was prohibited by the Vatican to publish at all. After the council, however, he has been one of the voices that have sought to counter the more progressive interpretations of the council. He was created a Cardinal in 1983.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

World Cup Results Day 13

After yesterday's commotion, today's matches have been refreshingly clean and untroubled. There are more people voting today than any day before, and maybe some more voting in the game with a catholic in it, but then again, Rahner was no member of the Ratzinger fan club.

The Jüngel - Niebuhr game was really even, but Jüngel won with 25 - 20. The Rahner - Torrance game was unsurprisingly more clear, with Rahner winnig with 34 - 17. Two - nil to the Germans then.

As the brackets show, Jüngel and Rahner will meet in the second quarter-final.

The next two games are on! Both look extremely even at the moment. Gunton and Zizioulas are comletele neck to neck, and Tillich is just one vote behind this Jenson-fellow.

Round of 16: Gunton vs. Zizioulas

Colin Gunton (1941-2003) was arguably the most important British theologian of his generation, and contributed to the areas of the doctrines of Creation and the Trinity. His prolific writing was cut short by an early death.

Metropolitan John (Zizioulas) of Pergamon is one of the most well-known orthodox theologians today. He has been active in the ecumenical dialogues, and have especially emphasized the importance of ecology in the Church. His most famous work is Being as Communion.

Round of 16: Jenson vs. Tillich

Robert W. Jenson is an American Lutheran theolgian, that has written several books an various topics. He has a great ecumenical interest and is the co-founder of the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology. His magnum opus is a two volume Systematic Theology.

Jenson meets another Lutheran, German in origin, but who lived in the USA for most of his carreer, Paul Tillich. Without a doubt the most important theologian of the 20th century ;) Tillich's main concern was to create a language that made the Gospel accessable for modern men and women. This language has alianted some, but opened up the Christian tradition to others. His three volume Systematic Theology remains one of the most original treatments of the Christian doctrine. His special interest was the relationship between religion and culture.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

World Cup Results Day 12

Today the Round of 16 kicked off, and what a day it was. The game between the Arch-rivals Gustavo Gutierrez and Joseph Ratzinger broke all records! Gutierrez got a good start and was even in the lead early on, but than the official "Cardinal Ratzinger fan club" got news of the game and positivly invaded the game, with the result that Ratzinger - again - beat the father of Liberation Theology, with the staggering numbers 16 - 50!

In the other game, favorite Jürgen Moltmann didn't let his fans down (unless they are already organized in a fan-club, this may be a good time to start one...) , although he, too suffered from the attack of the Ratzinger fans, who seemed to favour Yves Congar.

What this mounts up too, is that the quarter-final between Moltmann and Ratzinger will be a really scary affair? Will anybody be able to stop Ratzinger, with all this backing? We will see, once the round of 16 is finished! The next two games have already begun!

For an overview of the tournament check out the tournament brackets!

Oh, and a warm welcome to Ratzinger fans! I hope you stick around and make the tournament more interesting!

Update: I hate to see this turn into a protestants vs. catholics thing, but sadly this is the language on the Ratzinger-sites at the moment. Any suggestions? Since I am playing the FIFA role here, I can, without further notice disqualify him. I would hate to do that, but if there is a mass movement among the fans of the new pope, this would be the only choice since other wise it will ruin the tournament. Since we're talking 20th century theologians here, Ratzinger should be judged only as a 20th century theologian, not as a 21st century pope.

Round of 16: Rahner vs. Torrance

Karl Rahner (1904-1984) is one of the most important theologians of our time. He wrote on almost every subject in theology (his favoured genre was the essay). His reinterpretation the thomistic philosophy was an attempt to free the catholic theology from the 19th century school theology. He was an important voice behind the scenes at Vatican II, and many of the texts from the council reflects his theology.

Thomas F Torrance (1913-) is often credited as the one who brought Barth to the English speaking world. Based on a deep interest in the patristic writers, he has worked extensively on the incarnation and on the relationship between science and theology. He is also known for his ecumenical interest.

Round of 16: Jüngel vs. Niebuhr

In spite of a lot of bad press in the early stages of the tournament, Reinhold Niebuhr managed to proceed to the Round of 16. But now he has to face the popular Eberhard Jüngel. Does he have an internet fan-club somewhere who will come in and save his day?

Eberhard Jüngel (b. 1934) is probably best know for his early works God's Being is in Becoming(1965) and God as the Mystery of the World(1975). He has in his theology combined influences as diverse as Barth, Bultmann and Heidegger.

Undoubtedly one of the most influential American theologians of the 20th century, Niebuhr (1892-1971) worked on the relationship between theology and the society. His is famous for his critique fo the so called "social gospel". He is the author of what probably is the most widely used written prayer authored in modern times, the so called "serenity prayer" that is used by the Alcoholics Anonymous and similar groups.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Round of 16: Gutierrez vs Ratzinger

For Game 2 of the Round of 16, Gustavo Gutierrez meets Joseph Ratzinger.

Gustavo Gutierrez is the most famous "third world" theologian and the father of Liberation theology. His most well known works are A Theology of Liberation: History, Politics, Salvation and We Drink From Our Own Wells: The Spiritual Journey of A People.

Joseph Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI, hardly needs a presentation. Considered progressive, even radical, in his youth, after the Second Vatican Council he is considered to have become gradually more conservative. As a theologian, his most well known work is Introduction to Christianity. It is also well known that Ratzinger is a fierce opponent of the Liberation Theology Gutierrez represents, so this should be an interesting game.

Round of 16: Moltmann vs. Congar

For the first game in the Round of 16 Jürgen Moltmann meets Yves Congar.

Moltmann is most famous for his trilogy: Theology of Hope (1964), The Crucified God (1972), and The Church in the Power of the Spirit (1975). His influence has reached well beyond his own reformed tradition, and is ofthe cited as a major figure in all forms of political theology, regardless of denomination.

Congar was a Dominican Priset and a Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. Very active in the ecumenical mocement, his probably most well-know work is the three volume pneumatology I believe in the Holy Spirit. Congar is often considered one of the greatest Catholic theologians of the 20th century.

World Cup: Round of 16 begins!

In a few hours time I will be posting the two first games in the Round of 16 of the World Cup of Modern Systematic Theologians. Since these match-ups are based upon how the contestants did in the group game, some of the games may be quite easy to predict, but others will be very tight! And from now on the contestants will have no second chances: on loss and you're out of the tournament.

You will be able to follow how the endgame proceeds here, and you can still enter your own prediction of how the endgame will go for a few more hours (more about that here).

For the round of 16 I will post two games a day, and the voting will work as before. May the best man (sigh!) win!

Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Mythology of Science III

Ok, so the title is completely misguiding by now, but I stick to it to show the continuity with the preceeding posts and the discussions caused by them.

What do I mean when I say that evolution, technology and (capitalistic) economy is, respectively, blind, stupid and destructive? Well, I do not mean that they are all utterly useless. Let me clarify.

My point is that society today models a significant part of its selfunderstanding on these three phenomena. We are basing the way we live on an assumption that the progress we see in these areas is somehow representations of a general feature of life, history and culture. In this way we base our morals on these three areas of life. When I say that evolution is blind, technology is stupid and economy is destructive, it is a way of saying that this is not a very wise thing to do.

Someone may say that it is absurd to even attribute some moral value to evolution , technology and economy. Except for in the case of the last (what other purpose could economy possibly have than to serve the quality of life in the most general way of humans?), this is true in one way, but what I'm talking about is how we interpret these pheonomena, and that is a reflection of our morals. The thing is, although evolution does not have morals, it does have an analogy to morals. The same is true for technology and economics.

The "moral good" of evolution is survival and ability to reproduce. An organism that is able to adapt to different environments is supirior to one that can't, and will therefore be mor advanced. Now, there are very different strategies to survival, and it seems that the most sucessful organisms is the most complex (humans) and the most simple (single cell organisms). Insects too, seem to do really well, at least in our garden. Well, anyway, my point is that evoloution is blind, because, it is not moving towards a goal, a perfect organism. It is just changing to adapt to environment. It is not going anywhere.

Technolgy also has its "moral good". It can usually be described with the word efficiency. Most technological advances are made to make some task more efficient. There are some other "values" that guide technology, the most important being the possibility of economic profit, which then makes technology not only stupid but destructive as well. There is also a drive in technology to make the (previously) impossible possible, that is, real innovation. This is a tiny part of all tecnological development, of course, but the most visible, because it is what we see as the "bleeding edge" of the technological development. And here's why it is stupid: There is no inherent mechanism in technology that decides what kinds of innovations are being made. If it is within the grasp of technology it will be invented, regardless of the effects it will have on human life and the environment. Technology cannot see beyond the current stage, and based on a prediction of what its current action will lead to, make decisions of how to act. This is the technological stupidity.

To show that (capitalistic) economics is destructive is very easy, we just have to look at the world. Most of the destruction we see, be it in the form of cut down rain forests, blown up mountains, spreading deserts, climate change and so on, all of it is done in the name of economical growth. And we don't have to look only at the environment, we can look at our selves too: people doing things they do not want to do (work) instead of what they want to do (spend time with family and friends, live in contact with nature, develop their creativity), all because of the demands of economy. Not to mention people pushed beyond what they can take: burn-out, depression, violence. But isn't economy neutral, something that just has been bent ot destructiveness by selfish people? Maybe, but the way capitalistic economy works is so that the selfish people will always make the decissions. (and dont get started about how a communist economy is no better. We all now that. This is not a right vs. left issue.)

There is one more "progress myth" that affects how we look at the world: the fact that individuals grow up. But to base a worldview of this and the three myths described above, to me seems difficult. To base a theory of how life works on three such immoral phenomena can only lead to trouble - in our case in all probability the destruction of our culture, and maybe the world with it.

What theology should do in this situation is what I am trying to work out in this blog.

Friday, June 23, 2006

The Mythology of Science II

Ok, my post last post was brief, and I was very tired when writing it, so that's why it wasn't very clear. Still, your interpretations aren't that wide off the mark.

My point was there are these three areas where there actually is a kind of progress. Evolution is a kind of progress, more complex forms of life evolve from less complex. But it is a blind progress, it is no way to say that later species are "better" than more primitive one's. Or is H5N1 a really good virus?

Technology is something that progresses, we do see new forms of technology being produced all the time. But this progress is stupid, exactly because there is no way to control if new technology actually improves life for humans (let alone the world). Nuclear weapons is only the most extreme example. A much more difficult issue is modes of transportation, cars and planes. They do make our life easier, but at a price we cannot grasp. New media is another issue. The new technology based media is more efficient than older forms, but do they actually make our lives better? Different, yes, but better? Sure those people that blame the new technology for the huge problems caused by stress and burnouts aren't widely off the mark?

Economy does grow in absolute numbers. But this growth too comes at a terrible price. Now, I'm no economist but I know that there is only two ways to create economic value: exploiting resources and labor. These are the only ways real growth is built. Both of these are limited factors, there is only a limited amount of resources on earth and the human being can only put in a certain amount of working hours. When economy, then keeps growing it is destructive, because it is eating up the reserve of resources (oil will not last more than 30 years, probably much less, water is becoming really scarce in some areas already) and are pressuring humans to work over the capacity.

Since these are the only real areas (besides personal growth) where we can actually observe some kind of progress, it is all the more strange that so many still deduce from these blind, stupid and destructive forces some kind of general rule of history (and, as Byron mentioned, morals), that our society will, if we put our trust in progress, will somehow overcome its problems in time.

Now, I want to ask those of you that find my science bashing misguided, to provide one example of how technology, economy, of biology (the last one would be difficult I know, but there is a popular belief in the power of "nature" to take anything we throw at it) have recently come up with something that would make it possible for us to sustain our present way of life without heading for a total destruction very fast. No science fiction please. One example with effects that we see kicking in now.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The mythology of science

Rev Sam has formulated The foundation myth of science. And very well, too.

The three big progress myths - evolution, technological progress and ecenomical growth - have somehow lead humanity to believe that progress is something natural, something given. The absurdity of this should be clear from the fact that evolution is blind, technology stupid and growth is destructive. Evolution does not go anywhere, technology produces H-bombs as well as cancer medicine, and growth is just a nice word for abuse of resources. Still, our present society lives in the vane hope that unlike all other civilizations in history, ours will continue to prosper forever.

World Cup: Brackets and call for predictions!

Yes, I am still busy, and the round of 16 will not start untill Monday. In the mean time do check out the brackets for the rest of the Tournament! Aren't they nice? Isn't absolutely super-cool that Ratzinger will face Gutierrez in the first round?

What is even cooler is this nifty "predict it" feature that is built into the bracket software. This means that you can now go and predict how the tournament will go, in a very cool and easy way. And then we will se who got closest! To be able to predict you have to registrate with that site (yeah, bummer), but it is easy and they don't spam. However, since they will show the e-mail address you need to provide, you may not want to use you "main" e-mail account.

And how about we make it even a bit more interesting by throwing some bets? Since the hard currency of the blogosphere is links, why don't we pledge that everyone that takes part in the prediction, will link to the person who did the best predictions, in a post saying how nice, clever and cool their blog is, in you own words? (Of course you can predict even if you do not have a blog.)

Of course, the regular voting will take place here as usual, and anyone can participate in that.

St Victorinus of Poetovio

Kevin P. Edgecomb in his biblicalia blog offers a new English translation of the first latin commentary of the Apocalypse, by St Victorinus of Poetovio, composed circa 260. The first part is here.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

World Cup Results Day 11

Ok, now the Group Game is finished, and we know who has advanced to the Round of 16. But first, the results from the final games.

Group Photius
Final Results:
Eberhard Jüngel - Rosemary Radford Ruether 26 - 9
Joseph Ratzinger - John Hick 29 - 6

Group Standings:
Ebehard Jüngel 9 +33
Joseph Ratzinger 6 +35
Rosemary Radford Ruether 3 -17
John Hick 0 -37

Group Gregory
Final Results:
John Zizioulas - Gustavo Gutierrez 14 - 15
Hans Küng - Edward Schillebeeckx 18 - 10

Group Standings:
Gustavo Gutierrez 9 +7
John Zizioulas 6 +16
Hans Küng 3 +1
Edward Schillebeeckx 0 -24

Group Hilary
Final Results:
Robert W. Jenson - Sallie McFague 22 - 6
Hans Frei - Vladimir Lossky 14 - 12

Group Standings:
Robert W. Jenson 9 +51
Hans Frei 6 +7
Vladimir Lossky 3 -6
Sallie McFague 0 -48

This means that the following theologians have qualified for the Round fo 16:
Colin Gunton
Paul Tillich
Karl Rahner
Reinhold Niebuhr
Jürgen Moltmann
T.F. Torrance
Wolfhart Pannenberg
Henri de Lubac
Hans Urs von Balthasar
Yves Congar
Ebehard Jüngel
Joseph Ratzinger
Gustavo Gutierrez
John Zizioulas
Robert W. Jenson
Hans Frei

6 Germans, 4 Americans, 2 Frenchmen, 4 others. 9 protestants, 6 catholics, one orthodox. That's not so bad. However: 16 males - that's just a discrace. Let's see in 50 or 100 years time... I'm sure the feminist theology movement will be seen as one of the most important trends in theology in the 20th century.

Note: this is not a ranked list. I will give present the brackets for the end game when it begins. However, I have been very busy lately and will be so for the rest of this week (This is also the reason for the lack of "serious" posts on my part). This means the World Cup of Systematic Theologians will go on a short break now for a few days. But be sure to stay tuned for the rest of the tournament, because we have some very tough games ahead of us!

Monday, June 19, 2006

World Cup Results Day 10

Because of a mix up, the last round in group Photius is still open for voting.

In group Ephrem we saw a very tight game between Congar and Boff, but Congar won it with two votes, and joins von Balthasar in the next round.

Group Ephrem:
Final Results:
Hans Urs von Balthasar - David Tracy 17 - 7
Yves Congar - Leonardo Boff 12 - 10

Group Standings:
Hans Urs von Balthasar 9 +36
Yves Congar 6 -5
David Tracy 3 -15
Leonardo Boff 0 -16

Round 3: Group Hilary

Only Jenson can be sure of a place in the next round here, Frei and Lossky fight for the last slot in the end game!

Round 3: Group Gregory

Zizioulas and Gutierrez will qualify from this group, but who will take the precious first place?

Round 3: Group Photius (corrected)

I made a mistake yesterday, these are the correct macth-up's for the final round in Group Photius.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

World Cup Results Day 9

Group Clemens and (Pseudo)-Dionysios finished up today.

Group Clemens
Final Results:
Wolfhart Pannenberg - Emil Brunner 20 - 2
Henri de Lubac - Gerhard Ebeling 14 - 8

Group standings:
Wolfhart Pannenberg 9 +40
Henri de Lubac 6 +9
Gerhard Ebeling 3 -27
Emil Brunner 0 -25

Group (Pseudo)-Dionsysios
Final Results:
Jürgen Moltmann - T.F. Torrence 16 - 7
Dorothee Sölle - James Cone 12 - 7

Group Standings:
Jürgen Moltmann 9 +52
T.F. Torrence 6 +7
Dorothee Sölle 3 -27
James Cone 0 -32

Round 3: Group Photius

Razinger and Radford Ruether fight for a place in the End game here. Jüngel is already qualified for the next round.

Round 3: Group Ephrem

von Balthasar looks set to proceed to the next round, but will he be joined by Tracy, Congar or Boff?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

World Cup Results Day 8

The two first groups have finished the group tournament. From now on we will now who will leave the tournament, and who will continue the battle for Number One.

In Group Augustine Gunton beat Tillich and managed to win the group. Tillich gets second place and stays in the tournament, but may get tough competition in the next game.

Group Augustine
Final Results:
Paul Tillich - Colin Gunton 10 - 22
John Howard Yoder - Walter Kasper 18 - 13

Group Results:
Colin Gunton 9 +23
Paul Tillich 6 -5
John Howard Yoder 3 -1
Walter Kasper 0 -17

Group Basileios offered little surprise in the last round. Karl Rahner is joined by Niebuhr for the next round. Karl Rahner, arguably one of the theologians of the 20th century that have the most contributed to the increased importance of mysticism in theology showed the anti-mystic Nygren what's what.

Group Basileios
Final Results:
Karl Rahner - Anders Nygren 27 - 3
Reinhold Niebuhr - Mary Daly 25 - 6

Group Results:
Karl Rahner 9 +50
Reinhold Niebuhr 6 +15
Anders Nygren 3 -30
Mary Daly 0 -45

Round 3: Group (Pseudo)-Dionysios

Moltmann and Torrence fight today for the first place in the group, a place that may prove crucial in the next round. Sölle and Cone will probably take some time to discuss their various experiences of fighting oppression and political theology.

Round 3: Group Clemens

Pannenberg has already qualified for the next round and Brunner cannot qualify. But between Ebeling and de Lubac anything can happen, and the winner will get to continue to compete in the tournament.

World Cup Results Day 7

Group Gregory continues to be the group where the western theolgians get beat. Bot Küng and Schillebeeckx lost again and are gone from the tournament. Group Hilary is more interesting: Jenson has his place in the next round secured, but the second slot is still open.

Group Gregory
Final Results:
John Zizioulas - Hans Küng 19 - 13
Gustavo Gutierrez - Edward Schillebeeckx 17 - 12

Group Standings:
John Zizioulas 6 +17
Gustavo Gutierrez 6 +6
Hans Küng 0 -7
Edward Schillebeeckx 0 -16

Group Hilary
Final Results:
Hans Frei
- Robert W. Jenson 9 - 24
Sallie McFague - Vladimir Lossky 10 - 22

Group Standings:
Robert W. Jenson 6 +35
Hans Frei 3 +5
Vladimir Lossky 3 -8
Sallie McFague 0 -32

Friday, June 16, 2006

Round 3: Group Basieleios

In group Basileios Karl Rahner is already ready for the next round, but the fighting is firce for the second place in the end-game. All three contestants have the theoretical chance to proceed, although I want to see Daly beat Niebuhr with 31 votes before I believe it.

Note: The voting for yesterday's games will be open for some hours still, so unless you have already voted in those, it is still possible to do so.

Round 3: Group Augustine

Today we start the last round of the group game: 16 contestants have only one game left in the tournament!

In Group Augustine it is already clear that Tillich and Gunton will advance, and that Yoder and Kasper will go home after this game. But who wins the group will be crucial, because the winner will probably get easier opposition in the next round.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

World Cup Results Day 6

Another really intense day today in the World Cup for Modern Systematic Theologians. von Balthasar, who beat Congar easily in the first round had a little harder time with Boff. And the game between Tracy and Congar was really close.

Not as close, though, as the game between Jüngle and Razinger, where Jüngel got off to a very good start, but Razinger soon picked up pace and they were almost neck to neck at one point. However, Jüngel was the one to prevail this time. In other news today, Rosemary Radford Ruther became to first female winner in the tournament.

Group Ephrem
Final Results:
Hans Urs von Balthasar - Leonardo Boff 22 - 9
David Tracy - Yves Congar 11 - 17

Group Standings:
Hans Urs von Balthasar 6 +26
David Tracy 3 -5
Yves Congar 3 -7
Leonardo Boff 0 -14

Group Photius
Final Results:
Ebehard Jüngel - Joseph Ratzinger 16 - 14
John Hick - Rosemary Radford Ruether 6 - 20

Group Standings:
Ebehard Jüngel 6 +16
Joseph Ratzinger 3 +12
Rosemary Radford Ruether 3 +-0
John Hick 0 -14

Round 2: Group Hilary

Another match between two Americans, both with one victory behind them. The winner can be sure of advancement.

Sallie McFague and Vladimir Lossky both lost pretty badly in the first round. Both need a clear victory in this game to have a future in this tournament.

Round 2: Group Gregory

Group Gregory is one to keep an eye on. The sensational losses of Küng (probably one of the most widely read theoligians in our time) and Schillebeeckx leaves everything wide open.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

World Cup Results Day 5

Here are the results from todays games in the World Cup of Modern Systematic Theologians.
In Group Clemens Pannenberg is ready for the finals, but all the other three still have a chance to stay in the game.

Group Clemens
Final Results:
Gerhard Ebeling - Wolfhart Pannenberg 5 - 26
Henri de Lubac - Emil Brunner 18 - 14

Group standings:
Wolfhart Pannenberg 6 +22
Henri de Lubac 3 +3
Gerhard Ebeling 3 -18
Emil Brunner 0 -7

In Group (Pseudo)-Dionysios, however, there is not much excitement left, to be honest. Moltmann and Torrence will proceed to the finals, although they still have to meet to fight for the positions as group winner.

Group (Pseudo)-Dionysios
Final Results:
Jürgen Moltmann - Dorothee Sölle 29 - 3
T.F. Torrence - James Cone 22 - 12

Group Standings:
Jürgen Moltmann 6 +43
T.F. Torrence 6 +16
Dorothee Sölle 0 -32
James Cone 0 -27

Round 2: Group Photius

I dare predict that we will have some exciting games in this group today. Jüngel, that immensly popular Lutheran with Barthian influences is going up against his Excellency the Bishop of Rome! Now, let's see if the ecumenical attitude among the voters will prove to be just pretty words!

For the second game, we have the only theologian to receive negative votes in the nomination round against Rosemary Radford Ruether. Will we see the first victory by a female theologian? Or maybe Hick isn't that bad after all?

Round 2: Group Ephrem

In the first round, von Balthasar beat Congar with quite a margin, but the game Tracy and Boff was very close. This means that while von Balthasar may have a good chance at winning the group, it is still very much open who will be the second theologian to advance from the group.

What Body?

Do pay a visit to Chris Petersen's Resurrection Dogmatics site and read his latest installment of his critique of my understanding of the Resurrection of the Body. I have responded in a comment, and also below for the sake of future reference. It is a real treat to have someone competently examining one's thoughts. It is very helpful indeed.

First I want to say, as should be apparent from my newer posts (like this one and the ones following it) that I agree about the hope as being the central aspect of all talk about the future existence. My point is that the content of that hope is found, not by trying to create an image of what this life will look like, but by looking at what the Christian faith and the Christian church is like in this existence, because these are typoi of the future world.

Then for some of your remarks: When I say that the bible does not discuss the afterlife in any detail this is not a statement about the amount of sayings about the afterlife but of the quality of them. Here I see a strong tendency in the writers of the NT texts to prefer to say what this life will not be like over affirming things. For example, Jesus says that in the next word people will not marry (Luk 20:35). Jesus says that they will be "like angels, like the sons of God" (do angels have bodies?). Similarly, Paul in 1 Cor 15:35ff merely states that the resurrection body will be different, in the sense that we cannot base our knowledge of those bodies on the knowledge of our present bodies. Finally look at Rev. 21 where the description of the future Jerusalem starts out rather concrete (walls and gates), but gradually moves into the abstract (Pure gold being as pure glass) until finally the picture looses all concreteness and becomes purely abstract (No sun and moon because God will shine, and the lamb will be a lamp). Again I interpret this as a conscious attempt by the NT writers to avoid giving exact images of the future existence, and rather try to remove such images from our imagination.

As for you comment regarding Paul's use of soma in Romans I feel equally perplexed that you can find a literal(?) interpretation of the word more plausible. What does Paul mean when he says that the body is dead because of sin but the spirit is alive, if we take the body literally? This would mean that the body would be dead, without life, a corpse. But clearly this is not the point, because he says that death here means to have the "a mind of the flesh" (v. 6, the Greek is tricky here). Body here seems to have moral meaning. The most plausible interpretation of soma here is precisely the one I proposed, that the body symbolizes a part of our personality that because of sin is "dead", that is turned against our true selves and God. To try to force in a physical body in this text makes it completely incomprehensible. Also, mortal in antiquity did not mean merely something that is subject to death, but it is something that is connected to the material nature of this world, i.e. that which is not spiritual, not true, not essential.

What I do not understand is why a non metaphorical understanding of body is "better" that an symbolical or metaphorical. The body is never merely a body, it always represents something else, this is why it lends itself so well to symbolical language. The only instance when Paul seems to talk directly about the physical body is when he says that flesh and blood will not inherit the Kingdom of God in 1 Cor 15. This to me is non-metaphorical language, this is Paul trying to distinguish between the physical body and body used in a wider sense.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

World Cup Results Day 4

Round two of the World cup kicked off today with Groups Augustine and Basileios. There were some fairly even games, especially the one between Tillich and Kasper, where Kasper had a good lead early on in the game, but Tillich managed to turn the game around and win rather comfortably. Karl Rahner completelty crushed Mary Daly. In Group Augustine it is already clear that Tillich and Gunton will proceed to the next round, but it can become crucial which of them wins the group, since that will decide who they will meet. In Group Basileios only Rahner can be sure of his place in the end game - all other contestants, including Daly, has the chance to go further.

Group Augustine
Final Results:
Paul Tillich - Walter Kasper 15 - 10
Colin Gunton - John Howard Yoder 15 - 11

Group Standings:
Colin Gunton 6 +11
Paul Tillich 6 +7
John Howard Yoder 0 -6
Walter Kasper 0 -12

Group Basileios

Final Results:
Karl Rahner - Mary Daly 25 - 1
Anders Nygren - Reinhold Niebuhr 9 - 17

Group Standings:
Karl Rahner 6 +36
Reinhold Niebuhr 3 -4
Anders Nygren 3 -6
Mary Daly 0 -26

Round 2: Group (Pseudo)-Dionysios

Moltmann was the big winner in the first round. Let's see how he performs against Sölle, with whom he share many aspects in theology, and maybe some fans too?

Moltmann and Sölle may share some common ground; this cannot really be said about Torrance and Cone. Torrance is known for his barthian theology and his discussion with the natural sciences, while Cone is famous for his Black Liberation Theology. Surely, most will have no great difficulty to chose between the two, but who will get the most votes?

Again: Shift-reload if you see the old polls only.

Round 2: Group Clemens

This looks to be the most even group so far. Ebeling and Panneberg are ahead, but they won the first games with very little margin. De Lubac and Brunner are by no means out of the game yet. It will be all the more interesting to see which of the two Lutheran giants will make it in this game:

Brunner and de Lubac both lost there first games, which means this will be a crucial game for them. The loser can start to pack his bags, the winner still have a shot at advancing.

More on the World Cup

Frank Emmanuel (aka "One of Freedom") at the Freedom Log offers news and updates from the World Cup of Modern Systematic Theologians, as it unfolds. Comments, analysis and interviews with the contestants. Ok, not the last bit, I made that up, but anyway, check out his comments here and here. Also, the Koala Cult of Mary Daly.

Monday, June 12, 2006

World Cup Results Day 3

Focus was on Group Gregory today. Two Western Europeans were up against competition coming from outside the traditional academical tradition of theology. And both lost: Küng to Gutierrez extremely narrowly, while Schillebeeckx to the amazement of many lost big to John Zizioulas.

In Group Hilary, Jenson and Frei both ended up winning comfortably.

Group Gregory
Final Results:
Hans Küng - Gustavo Gutierrez 14 - 15
Edward Schillebeeckx - John Zizioulas 9 - 20

Group Standings:
John Zizioulas 3 +11
Gustavo Gutierrez 3 +1
Hans Küng 0 -1
Edward Schillebeeckx 0 -11

Group Hilary
Final Results:
Robert W. Jenson - Vladimir Lossky 25 - 5
Hans Frei - Sallie McFague 25 - 5

Group Standings:
Hans Frei 3 +20
Robert W. Jenson 3 +20
Sallie McFague 0 -20
Vladimir Lossky 0 -20

In general, I think this tournament needs more non-english speakers participating in the tournament... Spread the word!

Round 2: Group Basileios

The sensation in this group in round one was Nygren's slim victory over Daly. This means she needs at least a tie with the mighty Rahner in this game. Will this be possible?

For the second game Reinhold "One of the worst things that happened to American theology" Niebuhr meets Anders "Who?" Nygren.

Note: you may have to shift-reload if you can't see the new polls.

Round 2: Group Augustine

There was speculation after Round 1 in this group that Kasper's recent remark regarding the ordination of female bishops in the Anglican Communion cost him the victory against Colin Gunton. Let's see how he does against the "ecumenical sceptic" Paul Tillich.

For the second game in the Group we have two of the American contestants: Colin "the worst interpreter of Augustine ever" Gunton and John Howard "the mentor of Stanely Hauwerwas" Yoder. Yoder - and Kasper - have to score points in this game to have a chance at advancing from the group game.

Baptism as New Beginning

What kind of ritual is Baptism? It is something that one goes through only once. It is a ritual that constitutes the beginning of life in the Church.

Baptism, according to Romans 6, is about entering into communion with the death of Christ. By participation in this ritual, "our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin— because anyone who has died has been freed from sin." As I have argued in my earlier posts, I understand this talk about the body of sin, as that which hinders us from being who we really are, that which keeps us soul from being free, as it were.

Paul urges the Romans to "count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus." It seems that Baptism is about how we look at ourselves. When we go through this ritual we symbolically enter a mode of life that will be full reality only in the coming life. But by going through this ritual - essentially a symbolical death and resurrection - we communicate to ourselves that we want to live as if that life was present already here. The person that lets himself or herself be baptized signals that he or she no longer wants to be part of the "system" as I have called it, those forces that manipulates us to not be ourselves.

Now, to believe that baptism itself would free us from the influences of these forces would be to have a magic understanding of the sacraments (regardless if we say that it is God's grace this change or not). But by going through this ritual we incorporate this belief, this choice to try to separate from the system, into our personality in a way that would not be possible were we just to decide to do so intellectually.

We can thus say that baptism frees the baptized from original sin, but this is not something that is experienced directly, it something that only becomes a full reality in the coming existence. It is also something that the new believer can start to make a reality in this life because of the re-evaluation of motives that the choice to be baptized is (metanoia). When we say that the baptized person receives the gift of the Holy Spirit we say that life for that persons now carry a new meaning that were not there before. Again, by communicating this through a ritual we reach a deeper layer in the personlity.

A couple of notes. 1. This is said of baptizing adults. Although I do not see it as wrong to baptize children, this symbolism is certainly lost to the person being baptized. That is a very unfortunate loss. I understand that a person can "live in one's baptism", that is, infuse a meaning into an act one does not remember, even if one is baptized as a child, it is also clear that the way paeodo-baptism generally is performed this kind of symbolism is rarely present. In fact, it seems that the persons undergoing the ritual of paedo-baptism is not so much the child as the parents. Again, this is ok, and it is certainly an apt time for a ritual, but it is a ritual with a different meaning from that which Paul describes in Romans 6.

2. When I say that baptism removes original sin, I realize that this is a historical sommersault, since at least Augustine argued the other way around: since the Church performes paedo-baptism it has to mean that the original sin (or rather its reatus) is removed in baptism. Now, the concept of a guilt connected to original sin is something I can't find any sense in, and it is very difficult what kind of "body of sin" the newborn can carry around. For the adult, however, this is a easy understandble symbol of al those past choices, one's own and those of other people, that affect future choices.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

World Cup Results Day 2

Day two saw some exciting games again. The most even game was David Tracy vs. Leonardo Boff: Tracy one with just one vote. Dorothee Sölle also had a good grip on T. F. Torrence, the game was almost a tie after the first twelve hours, but she lost breath during the latter half of the day. Many big names today, and all, except Yves Congar, managed to win with large margins.

Group (Pseudo-Dionysios)
Final Results:

19 - 2 to Jürgen Moltmann

13 - 7 to T.F. Torrence

Group standings:

Jürgen Moltmann 3 +17
T.F. Torrence 3 +6
Dorothee Sölle 0 -6
James Cone 0 -17

Group Ephrem
Final Results:

16 - 3 to von Balthasar

9 - 10 to Tracy

Group standings:

Hans Urs von Balthasar 3 +13
David Tracy 3 +1
Leonardo Boff 0 -1
Yves Congar 0 -13

Group Photius
Final Results:

19 - 5 to Jüngel

5 - 19 to Ratzinger

Group Standings:

Ebehard Jüngel 3 +14
Joseph Ratzinger 3 +14
John Hick 0 -14
Rosemary Radford Ruether 0 -14

Round 1: Group Hilary

East meets West i this game. Will God bless the USA, or will the light come from the East?

Two important representants for two kinds of "post-modern" theology meet in the second game in the group. Frei the narrative theologian and McFague the eco-feminist. Tough choice!

Round 1: Group Gregory

Voting in comments is fun, but too laborous for me. Let's see what it works out like with polls! Do keep up the commenting, though, and maybe you want to check out the comments before you vote?

In the first game of today, two of Rome's worst headaches meet face to face!

For the second game we have the two contestants with the names that would give the most points in Scrabble:

Half Time Standings for Day 2

Group (Pseudo-Dionysios)
Moltmann is approaching a landslide victory over Cone with 14 - 2 so far.

In the other game Torrence has a minimal lead oven Sölle with 8 - 7. This one is still open!

Group Ephrem

Half time standings:

12 - 1 to von Balthasar over Congar


6 - 8 To Tracy over Boff

It seems Congars massive pneumatology is no match for von Balthasar's comments on Speyr's visions(?). It is interesting that von Balthasar is so popular in the English speaking world. It is my impression that his leaving the jesuits significantly diminshed is position in Europe...

Group Photius

Half way through the game the standings are:

12 - 5 to Jüngel


4 - 13 to Ratzinger

John Hick and Rosemary Radford Ruether ar far behind, but things can still turn around!

Keep voting!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

World Cup Results Day 1

The results from the first day of the World Cup for Modern Systematic Theologians are in. There were a couple of really tight games, and the Pannenberg vs. Henri de Lubac game was todays most exciting, with Pannenberg stealing the victory with only one votes margin. Today's surprise (maybe) was the old Swedish anti-metaphysic Nygren's victory over Mary Daly. Maybe she tried to refuse to let him into her stadium, eh? Today's landslide was Rahner, beating Reinhold Niebuhr 13 to one.

The results for day 1:

Group Augustine:
10 - 8 Winner Paul Tillich

12 - 5 Winner Colin Gunton

Group Standings:
Colin Gunton 3 +7
Paul Tillich 3 +2
John Howard Yoder 0 -2
Walter Kasper 0 -7

Group Basileios:
13 - 1 Winner Karl Rahner

7 - 5 Winner Anders Nygren

Group Standings:
Karl Rahner 3 +12
Anders Nygren 3 +2
Mary Daly 0 -2
Reinhold Niebuhr 0 -12

Group Clemens:
9 - 8 Winner Pannenberg

7 - 10 Winner Ebeling

Group standings:
Gerhard Ebeling 3 +3
Wolfhart Pannenberg 3 +1
Henri de Lubac 0 -1
Emil Brunner 0 -3

Voting has already begun for the next batch of games!

Round 1: Group Photius

See Rules and Instructions.

Ebehard Jüngel vs. John Hick

Rosemary Radford Ruether vs. Joseph Ratzinger

Round 1: Group Ephrem

See Rules and Instructions.

Hans Urs von Balthasar vs. Yves Congar

Leonardo Boff vs. David Tracy

Round 1: Group (Pseudo)-Dionysios

See Rules and Instructions.

Jürgen Moltmann vs. James Cone
T. F. Torrance vs. Dorothee Sölle

Friday, June 09, 2006

Sacraments and Ritual

Traditionally, theologians have disliked the idea of calling the sacraments rituals, at least in the sense that the sacraments have something important in common with rituals in other religions. Since the seventies, however, rituals have become a subject much studied, and because of the increased understanding of what rituals are, it is today nothing radical about calling the Christian sacraments rituals.

One must always be careful when talking about the sacraments, for they are mysteries, and to explain them would be to profane them. What systematic theology can do, beside exploring the historical background and formation of the sacraments, is to offer ways to approach them, what Rahner called "mystagogy", ways to open up the mystery. It is naive to believe that the truth contained in the sacraments is easy or immediate, just because it is not founded on language. Further, systematic theology has to have an understanding of the connection between the sacraments and the Christian doctrine.

I think that an understanding of what a ritual is can be very helpful in a discussion on the sacraments of the Christian Church. A ritual is a formal act that communicates something significant, that is not easily said in words, to the community and to the individual participating in the ritual. A ritual derives its power from repetition, tradition and from esthetic considerations, although to overemphasis the esthetics aspect may also threaten the meaningfulness of the ritual.

In the Christian rituals of Baptism and Eucharist, primarily, as well as other rituals, something very central is communicated to the Church and to the Believer. In a way one could say that these rituals aims at internalizing the Christian faith, to make the faith of the church a part of the personality of the believer. Because rituals always involve the body, they affect very deep parts of our selves, parts that is not reached by reflection or discussion.

This means, however, that there is not really a theology about the sacraments, rather theology as a whole is about reflection on the mystery communicated in the sacraments. It is incorrect to try to establish a praxis of practicing the sacraments based on the intellectual understanding of the dogma, rather, the relationship is primarily the opposite, i.e. the intellectual understanding of the dogma is based on the practice of the sacraments.

Round 1: Group Clemens

See Rules and Instructions.

Wolfhart Pannenberg vs. Henri Lubac

Emil Brunner vs. Gerhard Ebeling

Half-time up-date:
In an very even match between two giants, Lubac leads with 4-3 over Pannenberg. Anything can happen in this one.

Ebeling has a good grip of the game, currently 2 - 5 to Ebeling.

Final Results:
9 - 8 Winner Pannenberg

7 - 10 Winner Ebeling

Group standings:
Gerhard Ebeling     3   +3
Wolfhart Pannenberg 3   +1
Henri de Lubac      0   -1
Emil Brunner        0   -3

Round 1: Group Basileios

See Rules and Instructions.

Karl Rahner vs. Reinhold Niebuhr

Anders Nygren vs. Mary Daly

Half-time up-date:
6 - 1 to Rahner who seems to have a firm grip of the match.

2 - 4 to Daly, in game that seems to have the audience leaving the stadium before half time...

Final Results:
13 - 1 Winner Karl Rahner

7 - 5 Winner Anders Nygren

Group Standings:
Karl Rahner      3   +12
Anders Nygren    3   +2
Mary Daly        0   -2
Reinhold Niebuhr 0   -12

Round 1: Group Augustine

See Rules and Instructions.

Paul Tillich vs. John Howard Yoder

Colin Gunton vs. Walter Kasper

Half-time up-date:
6 - 3 to Tillich and

2 - 6 to Gunton so far, but a lot can still happen in these games.

Final Results:

10 - 8 Winner Paul Tillich

12 - 5 Winner Colin Gunton

Group Standings:
Colin Gunton      3   +7
Paul Tillich      3   +2
John Howard Yoder 0   -2
Walter Kasper     0   -7

World Cup: Rules and Instructions

I'll post the first few matches shortly. Here is how it will work.

Each match will be active for about 24 hours. I'm sorry that I can't promise to be more exact than that, but I have other things to do, too. I will not close a game before 8 p.m. (20.00) Eastern European Time (GMT+2) the day after it has opened. It will be possible to vote until I officially close the match. After this you can comment the game, but not add more votes.

You can vote on each game one time. At least in the group game, voting will be in comments, so I have no way to be 100% sure you're not cheating. Anonymous votes will not be counted. (So if you want to try to cheat, at least you have to think of an alias.)

I will vote first, to give an example. When you vote, give your vote first for all the matches in the post, in the right order, and then give whatever comment you want to add. You may only vote once, but you may give you best argument for why one should vote for one or the other contestant. Keep it civil, though. You can also chose to vote only on one of the matches.

In the group game, the winner gets three points, the looser none, and a tie gives one point each to both contestants. The "goal difference" may be crucial, not only in the group game, but these will be used to decide who is the winner in ties later in the game. (Not that ties will be very likely...)

You may base your vote on whatever criteria you like. I doubt anyone is familiar with all 32 contestants, but this may be a good opportunity to broaden your knowledge of 20th century theology.

Let the games begin!

World Cup Lineup and Groups

Thanks for all the nominations. Sadly all of the nominated theologians cannot make it to the competition, but then Finland never made it to the Fifa cup, either. I know that some of you will be disappointed that you favourite did not make it, (and that Hick did!), but that's just the way it is... Like fifa, I may be slightly evil, but I'm still in charge here.

Blogger is, as you know, in a bad way, so I am unsure of what this will be like. I hope they clear up the problems soon. Anyway: here are the eight groups for the first round in the tournament. I used some very high tech random generators to create the groups, though I ranked some participants to make it more exciting.

I think we will see some very exciting matches already in the first round! Tomorrow, God and Bloggers servers willing, it all begins!

Group Augustine
Paul Tillich
John Howard Yoder
Colin Gunton
Walter Kasper

Group Basileios
Karl Rahner
Reinhold Niebuhr
Anders Nygren
Mary Daly

Group Clemens
Wolfhart Pannenberg
Henri Lubac
Emil Brunner
Gerhard Ebeling

Group (Pseudo)-Dionysios
Jürgen Moltmann
James Cone
T. F. Torrance
Dorothee Sölle

Group Ephraim
Hans Urs von Balthasar
Yves Congar
Leonardo Boff
David Tracy

Group Photius
Ebehard Jüngel
John Hick
Rosemary Radford Ruether
Joseph Ratzinger

Group Gregory
Hans Küng
Gustavo Gutierrez
Edward Schillebeeckx
John Zizioulas

Group Hilary
Robert W. Jenson
Vladimir Lossky
Hans Frei
Sallie McFague

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Resurrection Dogmatics: The Future Resurrection of the Body: Part I

Chris Petersen at Resurrection Dogmatics has read some of my posts on the resurrection of the body and has decided to use them as a starting point for presenting his own (presumably different) take on the subject.

I better link to it now, before the battle begins! ;)

The Future Resurrection of the Body: Part I

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Towards a Theology of Maturity?

Yesterdays post, and the discussion that resulted from it made me think again about something that has been bothering me for a long time. It seems that my generation, me included, have lost all sense of what it means to be an adult. I see people around me turning 30, 35, marrying, buying houses and having children, and still spend large amounts of there free time on the latest X-box release, on various absurd hobbies, and in general behaving like kids.

My problem is: I don't know what to think of this. On the one hand we have maybe more free time than any other generation before us. We have time to play. On the other we are working harder, in jobs with less security than before. Maybe we need to do silly stuff in hour free time. My question is, isn't there something a little bit more mature to do than to build model railways, collect stuff (cd:s, action figures, books) and fight virtual monsters in order to relax? Or is this really ok? Maybe the ability to play shows that we have contact with "our inner child" that we are still alive and open like children are.

I think maybe somewhere we lost the meaning of being an adult. As a young person you try to find out who you are. At some point this ceases to be a urgent question. Before, it is my impression, people at this point would start to culture their personality, broadening their influences, growing better at what they do, "acquire virtues" as the desert fathers would put it. We watch TV.

Right... Theology. Errm. I'm not sure where I should go with this. Anybody else sharing my confusion?

I believe the meaning of my life is to acquire greater freedom over my own actions. Not in some hedonistic sense of course, but in the sense that I am really able to do what I understand is the right thing to do. This to me is what Christ represents. This what was he was like at my age. Is there a connection between sanctification and merely growing up?