Paul writes – Further to this recent post, I wanted to feature (over the next couple of days, several more quotes from Kathryn Tanner’s article under the heading “How My Mind Has Changed: Christian Claims” (Christian Century, Feb. 2010):
“…The question of the legitimacy of theology shift, in sum, from theology’s ability to meet some scholarly minimum in procedure to the question of whether theology has anything important to say about the world and our place in it. [So, we might ask,] how might a contemporary Christian theology promote (or not) a more adequate understanding of the world and a more just way of living? What resources, for example, does the Christian symbol system have for addressing the financial calamity and environmental degradation we must face up to…[or indeed, the tragedy of Christchurch following the 22nd Feb. earthquake? Paul]…how would the Christian symbol system need to be creatively and critically recast in the process?
… In other words, the theologian… asks about the various ways Christian beliefs and symbols can function in the particulars of people’s lives so as to provide support for the shape of social life and the course of social action. The theologian needs a thorough knowledge of the way these intersections of cultural meanings and socio-political [plus more besides – Paul] formations have panned out across differences in time and place – a thorough knowledge of the permutations of the Christian symbol system in all its complicated alignments with social forces for good or ill. Such knowledge in hand, the constructive theologian is better positioned to intervene in the current situation adroitly, effectively and responsibly, with suggestions for the rethinking of Christian claims and reconfiguring their import for human life…” (p.41 / Italics, mine throughout – Paul)