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Johnboy musings part1a
Johnboy musings part1a
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Johnboy musings part1a

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  • 1. Christian Nonduality Anglican - Roman DialogueNEW: CathlimergentInternet ForumThe ChristianNonduality BlogHomeRadical Emergence -Nonduality & theEmerging ChurchEmergence HappensWhen:To Avow & Dis-avowan AxiologicalVision of the WholeMontmarte,Colorado Springs &the KingdomWanted: WomenWarriorsMaiden, Mother,Crone & Queen:archetypes &transformationEast Meets West Discipline, Doctrine & Dogma – Roman & AnglicanKi, Qi, Chi, Prana &Kundalini DialogueNo-Self & Nirvanaelucidated by I once strongly considered converting from Roman to AnglicanDumoulin Catholic, likely agonizing as much asOne: EssentialWritings in Newman, who converted in the opposite direction. How many timesNonduality - a review have progressive Roman CatholicsSimone Weil been sarcastically urged to go ahead and convert by variousJohn of the Cross fundamentalistic traditionalists since ourThomas MertonThe True Self beliefs were "not in keeping with the faith?"The Passion After all, while there has never been an infallible papal pronouncementHermeneutical to which I could not give myEclecticism &Interreligious wholehearted assent, I otherwise do adamantly disagree with manyDialogue hierarchical positions such as regardingThe Spirit a married priesthood, women priests, obligatory confession,Christian Nonduality eucharistic sharing, divorce and remarriage,more on NondualityThe Contemplative artificial contraception, various so-called grave & intrinsic moralStance disorders of human sexuality or anyHesychasm indubitable and a priori definitions employed vis a vis humanMysticism - properlyconsidered personhood and theological anthropology.Karl Rahner At times, I truly have wondered if I belonged to Rome or Canterbury,Wounded Innocence and I suspect many of you have, too,Rogation Days and, perhaps, still do? My short answer is: Youre already home; take aRadical Orthodoxy look around ...
  • 2. Presuppositionalismvs Nihilism? In other words, for example, take a look, below, at some excerpts fromScience the September 2007 report of theEpistemic Virtue International Anglican - Roman Catholic Commission for Unity andPan-semio- Mission: Growing Together in Unityentheism: apneumatological and Mission: Building on 40 years of Anglican - Roman Catholictheology of nature Dialogue.Architectonic Does anyone see any differences in essential dogma? Are some of youAnglican - RomanDialogue not rather surprised at the extent ofThe Ethos of Eros agreement, especially given the nature of same?Musings on Peirce Are our differences not rather located in such accidentals as matters ofEskimo Kiss Waltz church discipline or in such moralthe Light Side ofDark Comedy teachings where Catholics can exercise legitimate choices in theirBlog Visits moral decision-making? (To be sure,Other OnlineResources thereAre YOU Going to has been a creeping infallibility in such differences but there haveScarborough Fair? never been infallible pronouncementsSuggested Reading regarding same.)Tim Kings PostChristian Blog "As we shall see, reputable theologians defend positions on moralThe Dylan Mass issues contrary to the official teaching ofIf You Are InDistress, Spiritual or the Roman magisterium. If Catholics have the right to follow suchOtherwise options, they must have the right topending know that the options exist. It is wrong to attempt to conceal suchThe Great Traditionproperly conceived knowledge from Catholics. It is wrong toPostmodern present the official teachings, in Rahners words, as though there wereConservativeCatholic Pentecostal no doubt whatever about their definitive correctness and as though further discussion about the matter by Catholic theologians would be inappropriate....To deprive Catholics of the knowledge of legitimate choices in their moral decisionmaking, to insist that moral issues are closed when actually they are still open, is itself immoral." See: “Probabilism: The Right to Know of Moral Options”, which is the third chapter of __Why You Can Disagree and Remain a Faithful Catholic__ and available online at http://www.saintjohnsabbey.org/kaufman/chapter3.html For those who have neither the time nor inclination for a long post, you can safely consider the above as an executive summary. My conclusion is that we belong neither to Rome nor Canterbury, but to the Perfector and Finisher of our faith. And Im going to submit to ever-ongoing finishing by blooming where I was planted among my family, friends and co-religionists, enjoying the very special communion between our Anglican, Roman and Orthodox traditions, the special fellowship of all my Christian sisters and brothers, and the general fellowship of all persons of goodwill.
  • 3. I gathered these excerpts together to highlight and summarize thereport but recognize these affirmationsshould not be taken out of context. So, I made this url where the entiredocument can be accessed:http://tinyurl.com/35p69hto foster the wide study of these agreed statements.Below is my heavily redacted summary.In reflecting on our faith together it is vital that all bishops ensure thatthe Agreed Statements of ARCIC arewidely studied in both Communions.The constitutive elements of ecclesial communion include: one faith,one baptism, the one Eucharist,acceptance of basic moral values, a ministry of oversight entrusted tothe episcopate with collegial andprimatial dimensions, and the episcopal ministry of a universal primateas the visible focus of unity.God desires the visible unity of all Christian people and that such unityis itself part of our witness.Through this theological dialogue over forty years Anglicans andRoman Catholics have grown closertogether and have come to see that what they hold in common is fargreater than those things in which theydiffer.In liturgical celebrations, we regularly make the same trinitarianprofession of faith in the form of theApostles’ Creed or the Nicene-Constantinopolitan Creed.In approaching Scripture, the Christian faithful draw upon the richdiversity of methods of reading andinterpretation used throughout the Church’s history (e.g. historical-critical, exegetical, typological,spiritual, sociological, canonical). These methods, which all havevalue, have been developed in many different contexts of the Church’slife, which need to be recalled andrespected.The Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church recognise thebaptism each confers.Anglicans and Catholics agree that the full participation in theEucharist, together with Baptism andConfirmation, completes the sacramental process of Christianinitiation.We agree that the Eucharist is the memorial (anamnesis) of thecrucified and risen Christ, of the entire workof reconciliation God has accomplished in him.Anglicans and Catholics believe in the real presence of Christ in theEucharist.
  • 4. While Christ is present and active in a variety of ways in the entireeucharistic celebration, so that hispresence is not limited to the consecrated elements, the bread and wineare not empty signs: Christ’s bodyand blood become really present and are really given in theseelements.We agree that the Eucharist is the “meal of the Kingdom”, in which theChurch gives thanks for all thesigns of the coming Kingdom.We agree that those who are ordained have responsibility for theministry of Word and Sacrament.Roman Catholics and Anglicans share this agreement concerning theministry of the whole people of God,the distinctive ministry of the ordained, the threefold ordering of theministry, its apostolic origins,character and succession, and the ministry of oversight.Anglicans and Roman Catholics agree that councils can be recognisedas authoritative when they expressthe common faith and mind of the Church, consonant with Scriptureand the Apostolic Tradition.Primacy and collegiality are complementary dimensions of episcope,exercised within the life of the wholeChurch. (Anglicans recognise the ministry of the Archbishop ofCanterbury in precisely this way.)The Roman Catholic Church teaches that the ministry of the Bishop ofRome as universal primate is inaccordance with Christ’s will for the Church and an essential elementfor maintaining it in unity and truth.Anglicans rejected the jurisdiction of the Bishop of Rome as universalprimate in the sixteenth century.Today, however, some Anglicans are beginning to see the potentialvalue of a ministry of universalprimacy, which would be exercised by the Bishop of Rome, as a signand focus of unity within a re-unitedChurch.Anglicans and Roman Catholics both believe in the indefectibility ofthe Church, that the Holy Spirit leadsthe Church into all truth.Both Anglicans and Catholics acknowledge that private confessionbefore a priest is a means of grace andan effective declaration of the forgiveness of Christ in response torepentance.Throughout its history the Church has sought to be faithful infollowing Christ’s command to heal, and thishas inspired countless acts of ministry in medical and hospital care.Alongside this physical ministry, both
  • 5. traditions have continued to exercise the sacramental ministry ofanointing.Anglicans and Roman Catholics share similar ways of moral reasoning.Both Communions speak of marriage as a covenant and a vocation toholiness and see it in the order ofcreation as both sign and reality of God’s faithful love.All generations of Anglicans and Roman Catholics have called theVirgin Mary ‘blessed’.Anglicans and Roman Catholics agree that it is impossible to be faithfulto Scripture without giving dueattention to the person of Mary.Genuine faith is more than assent: it is expressed in action.Given our mutual recognition of one another’s baptism, a number ofpractical initiatives are possible. Localchurches may consider developing joint programmes for the formationof families when they presentchildren for baptism, as well as preparing common catecheticalresources for use in baptismal andconfirmation preparation and in Sunday Schools.Given the significant extent of our common understanding of theEucharist, and the central importance ofthe Eucharist to our faith, we encourage attendance at each other’sEucharists, respecting the differentdisciplines of our churches.We also encourage more frequent joint non-eucharistic worship,including celebrations of faith,pilgrimages, processions of witness (e.g. on Good Friday), and sharedpublic liturgies on significantoccasions. We encourage those who pray the daily office to explorehow celebrating daily prayer togethercan reinforce their common mission.We welcome the growing Anglican custom of including in the prayersof the faithful a prayer for the Pope,and we invite Roman Catholics to pray regularly in public for theArchbishop of Canterbury and the leadersof the Anglican Communion.We note the close similarities of Anglican and Roman Catholiclectionaries which make it possible to fosterjoint bible study groups based upon the Sunday lectionary.There are numerous theological resources that can be shared,including professional staff, libraries, andformation and study programmes for clergy and laity.Wherever possible, ordained and lay observers can be invited to attendeach other’s synodical and collegialgatherings and conferences.
  • 6. Anglicans and Roman Catholics share a rich heritage regarding theplace of religious orders in ecclesiallife. There are religious communities in both of our Communions thattrace their origins to the samefounders (e.g. Benedictines and Franciscans). We encourage thecontinuation and strengthening of relations between Anglican andCatholic religious orders, andacknowledge the particular witness of monastic communities with anecumenical vocation.There are many areas where pastoral and spiritual care can be shared.We acknowledge the benefit derivedfrom many instances of spiritual direction given and received byAnglicans to Catholics and Catholics toAnglicans.We recommend joint training where possible for lay ministries (e.g.catechists, lectors, readers, teachers,evangelists). We commend the sharing of the talents and resources oflay ministers, particularly betweenlocal Anglican and Roman Catholic parishes. We note thepotential for music ministries to enrich our relations and to strengthenthe Church’s outreach to the widersociety, especially young people.We encourage joint participation in evangelism, developing specificstrategies to engage with those whohave yet to hear and respond to the Gospel.We invite our churches to consider the development of jointAnglican/Roman Catholic church schools,shared teacher training programmes and contemporary religiouseducation curricula for use in our schools.END OF EXCERPTS regarding stated agreementsBelow are excerpts recognizing DIVERGENCES regarding: 1) papal andteaching authority 2) therecognition and validity of Anglican Orders and ministries 3)ordination of women 4) eucharistic sharing 5)obligatory confession 6) divorce and remarriage 7) the precise momenta human person is formed 8)methods of birth control 9) homosexual activity and 10) humansexuality.Thanks,JBBEGIN EXCERPTS regarding stated disagreements:While already we can affirm together that universal primacy, as avisible focus of unity, is “a gift to beshared”, able to be “offered and received even before our Churches arein full communion”, nevertheless
  • 7. serious questions remain for Anglicans regarding the nature andjurisdictional consequences of universal primacy.There are further divergences in the way in which teaching authority inthe life of the Church is exercisedand the authentic tradition is discerned.In his Apostolic Letter on Anglican Orders, Apostolicae Curae (1896),Pope Leo XIII ruled against thevalidity of Anglican Orders. The question of validity remains afundamental obstacle to the recognition ofAnglican ministries by the Catholic Church. In the light of theagreements on the Eucharist and ministry set out both in the ARCICstatements and in the officialresponses of both Communions, there is evidence that we have acommon intention in ordination and in thecelebration of the Eucharist. This awareness would have to be part ofany fresh evaluation of AnglicanOrders.Anglicans and Roman Catholics hold that there is an inextricable linkbetween Eucharist and Ministry.Without recognition and reconciliation of ministries, therefore, it is notpossible to realise the full impact ofour common understanding of the Eucharist.The twentieth century saw much discussion across the whole Christianfamily on the question of theordination of women. The Roman Catholic Church points to theunbroken tradition of the Church in notordaining women. Indeed, Pope John Paul II expressed the convictionthat “the Church has no authoritywhatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women”. After carefulreflection and debate, a growing numberof Anglican Churches haveproceeded to ordain women to the presbyterate and some also to theepiscopate.Churches of the Anglican Communion and the Roman CatholicChurch therefore have different disciplinesfor eucharistic sharing. The Catholic Church does not permit theCatholic faithful to receive the Eucharistfrom, nor Catholic clergy to concelebrate with, those whoseministry has not been officially recognised by the Catholic Church.Anglican provinces regularly admit tocommunion baptised believers who are communicant members fromother Christian communities.Despite our common moral foundations, serious disagreements onspecific issues exist, some of which haveemerged in the long period of our separation.
  • 8. Anglicans and Catholics have a different practice in respect of privateconfession. “The Reformers’emphasis on the direct access of the sinner to the forgiving andsustaining Word of God led Anglicans toreject the view that private confession before a priest was obligatory,although they continued to maintainthat it was a wholesome means of grace, and made provision for it inthe Book of Common Prayer for thosewith an unquiet and sorely troubled conscience.” Anglicans expressthis discipline in the short formula ‘allmay, none must, some should’.Whilst both Communions recognise that marriage is for life, both havealso had to recognise the failure ofmany marriages in reality. For Roman Catholics, it is not possiblehowever to dissolve the marriage bondonce sacramentally constituted because of its indissolublecharacter, as it signifies the covenantal relationship of Christ with theChurch. On certain grounds,however, the Catholic Church recognises that a true marriage wasnever contracted and a declaration ofnullity may be granted by the proper authorities. Anglicans have beenwilling to recognise divorcefollowing the breakdown of a marriage, and in recent years, someAnglican Churches have set forthcircumstances in which they are prepared to allowpartners from an earlier marriage to enter into another marriage.Anglicans and Roman Catholics share the same fundamental teachingconcerning the mystery of humanlife and the sanctity of the human person, but they differ in the way inwhich they develop and apply thisfundamental moral teaching. Anglicans have no agreed teachingconcerning the precise moment fromwhich the new human life developing in the womb is to be given thefull protection due to a human person.Roman Catholic teaching is that the human embryo must be treated asa human person from the moment ofconception and rejects all direct abortion.Anglicans and Roman Catholics agree that there are situations when acouple would be morally justified inavoiding bringing children into being. They are not agreed on themethod by which the responsibility ofparents is exercised.Catholic teaching holds that homosexual activity is intrinsicallydisordered and always objectively wrong.Strong tensions have surfaced within the Anglican Communionbecause of serious challenges from within
  • 9. some Provinces to the traditional teaching on humansexuality which was expressed in Resolution 1.10 of the 1998 LambethConference.In the discussions on human sexuality within the AnglicanCommunion, and between it and the CatholicChurch, stand anthropological and biblical hermeneutical questionswhich need to be addressed.END OF EXCERPTS regarding stated disagreements, some of whichseem rather incoherent onceconsidering certain of the agreements (for example, not recognizingAnglican Orders and ministries!Gimme a break!!!).Discipline, Doctrine or Dogma? the Roman-Anglican CATHOLICDialogueI like to think of liberal and conservative, progressive and traditionalist,in terms ofcharisms, something analogous to pilgrims and settlers. And there isroom for the viamedia, the middle path, something analogous to bridge-builders,which might be theloneliest and most difficult for, as Richard Rohr observes, they getwalked on by folkscoming from both directions.Unfortunately, too much of what we see is nowadays is betterdescribed in terms of maximalism,minimalism and a/historicism. Ill unpack those terms below. Toomany so-called progressives consideressential and core teachings as accidental and peripheral; too many so-called traditionalists consideraccidental and peripheral teachings as essential and core. In essentials,unity; in accidentals, diversity; in allthings, charity. (attributed to Augustine)Ormond Rush writes, in Determining Catholic Orthodoxy: Monologueor Dialogue (PACIFICA 12 (JUNE1999): "The patristic scholar Rowan Williams speaks of orthodoxy asalways lying in the future".(see http://tinyurl.com/2p5q7w for the article)Rush continues: Mathematicians talk of an asymptotic line thatcontinually approaches a given curve butdoes not meet it at a finite distance. Somewhat like those two lines,ressourcement and aggiornamentonever meet; the meeting point always lies ahead of the church as itmoves forward in history. Orthodoxy, inthat sense, lies always in the future. Christian truth is eschatologicaltruth. The church must continuallywait on the Holy Spirit to lead it to the fullness of truth.
  • 10. Ressourcement and aggiornamento will only finally meet at that pointwhen history ends at the fullness oftime. "For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face toface. Now I know only in part; then Iwill know fully, even as I have been fully known." (1 Cor 13:12)To unpack this meaning further, see:http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RessourcementIn that Pacifica article, Rush draws distinctions between: 1) revelationas propositional, where faith isprimarily assent and revelation as personalist, where faith is theresponse of the whole person in lovingself-surrender to God; 2) verbal orthodoxy and lived orthopraxy; 3) theChristological andpneumatological; 4) hierarchical ecclesiology and communioecclesiology; and 5) monologic notion ofauthority evoking passive obedience and dialogic notion of authorityevoking active obedience.Rush then describes the extremes of on one hand,1) dogmatic maximalism, where all beliefs are given equal weight;2) magisterial maximalism, where the ecclesial magisterium, alone, hasaccess to the Holy Spirit;3) dogmatic ahistoricism, where Gods meaning and will are fixed andclear to be seen;and, on the other hand,1) dogmatic minimalism, where all dogmatic statements are equallyunimportant;2) magisterial minimalism, where communal guidance ininterpretation is superfluous;3) dogmatic historicism, with an unmitigated relativist positionregarding human knowledge.Rush finally describes and commends a VIA MEDIA between thepositions.He notes that the church does not call the faithful that we may believein dogma, doctrine and disciplinesbut, rather, to belief in God.He describes how statements vary in relationship to the foundation offaith vis a vis a Hierarchy of Truthand thus have different weight:to be believed as divinely revealed;to be held as definitively proposed;or as nondefinitively taught and requiring obsequium religiosum (seediscussion below re: obsequium).The faithful reception of revelation requires interplay between thedifferent "witnesses" of revelation:scripture, tradition, magisterium, sensus fidelium, theological
  • 11. scholarship, including reason (philosophy)and experience (biological & behavioral sciences, personal testimonies,etc).Rush thus asks: "How does the Holy Spirit guarantee orthodoxtraditioning of the Gospel? According toDei Verbum, the help of the Holy Spirit is manifested in the activity ofthree distinguishable yetoverlapping groups of witnesses to the Gospel: the magisterium, thewhole people of God, and theologians.The Holy Spirit guides each group of witnesses in different ways and todifferent degrees; but no one alonehas possession of the Spirit of Truth."Rush further asks: "The determination of orthodoxy needs to addressquestions concerning the issue ofconsensus in each of these three authorities. What constitutes aconsensus among theologians and how is itto be ascertained? What constitutes a consensus among the one billionCatholics throughout the world andhow is it to be ascertained? What constitutes a collegial consensusamong the bishops of the world with thepope, and how is that consensus to be ascertained?"As for obsequium religiosum, fromhttp://www.womenpriests.org/teaching/orsy3_2.aspwhere it is written:"Accordingly, the duty to offer obsequium may bind to respect, or tosubmission-or to any other attitudebetween the two.""When the council spoke of religious obsequium it meant an attitudetoward the church which is rooted inthe virtue of religion, the love of God and the love of his church. Thisattitude in every concrete case willbe in need of further specification, which could be respect, or could besubmission, depending on theprogress the church has made in clarifying its own beliefs. ... [W]e canspeak of obsequium fidei (one withthe believing church holding firm to a doctrine) ... [or] an obsequiumreligiosum (one with the searchingchurch, working for clarification)."Thus, on matters of dogma, I give obsequium fidei, and unqualifiedassent (or submission); this includesthe creeds, the sacraments, the approach to scripture. On matters ofmoral doctrine and church discipline, Igive my deference (or respect), even as I dissent, out of loyalty, onmany issues: married priests, womensordination, eucharistic sharing, obligatory confession, various moralteachings re: so-called gravely,
  • 12. intrinsic disorders of human sexuality; artificial contraception, etc.Christian Nondualityhttp://twitter.com/johnssylvestBird Photos by David Joseph Sylvestjohnboy@christiannonduality.com
  • 13. Christian Nonduality Maiden, Mother, Crone & Queen: archetypes & transformationNEW: CathlimergentInternet Forum  The ChristianNonduality BlogHomeRadical Emergence -Nonduality & theEmerging ChurchEmergence HappensWhen:To Avow & Dis-avowan AxiologicalVision of the WholeMontmarte,Colorado Springs &the KingdomWanted: WomenWarriorsMaiden, Mother,Crone & Queen:archetypes &transformationEast Meets WestKi, Qi, Chi, Prana & There are rather clear archetypal themes playing out in ourKundalini cosmologies and axiologies, likely related to brain development andNo-Self & Nirvana individuation processes.elucidated byDumoulin A cosmology engages mostly our left-brain (thinking function of theOne: Essential left frontal cortex & sensing function of the left posterior convexity) asWritings inNonduality - a review the normative and descriptive aspects of value-realization alternatelySimone Weil establish and defend boundaries; we encounter the King-Queen and Warrior-Maiden with their light and dark (shadow) attributes asJohn of the Cross expressed in the journeys of the spirit and the body, primarily throughThomas Merton a language of ascent.The True SelfThe Passion An axiology engages mostly our right-brain (intuiting function of theHermeneutical right frontal cortex & feeling function of the right posterior convexity)Eclecticism & as the interpretive and evaluative aspects of value-realizationInterreligiousDialogue alternately negotiate (e.g. reconciliation of opposites, harnessing the power of paradox) and transcend boundaries; we encounter the Crone-The Spirit Magician and Mother-Lover with their light and dark attributes asChristian Nonduality expressed in the journeys of the soul and the other (Thou), primarilymore on Nonduality through a language of descent.The ContemplativeStanceHesychasmMysticism - properlyconsideredKarl RahnerWounded InnocenceRogation DaysRadical Orthodoxy
  • 14. Presuppositionalismvs Nihilism?ScienceEpistemic VirtuePan-semio-entheism: apneumatologicaltheology of natureArchitectonicAnglican - RomanDialogueThe Ethos of ErosMusings on PeirceEskimo Kiss Waltzthe Light Side ofDark Comedy Our propositional cosmologies and participatory axiologies seem toBlog Visits best foster transformation when, beyond our passive reception of themOther Online as stories about others, we actively engage the archetypal energies ofResources their mythic dimensions for ourselves, with a contemplation orderedAre YOU Going to toward action, and further, when, in addition to our rather selfishScarborough Fair? inclinations and puerile expectations, they also include:Suggested ReadingTim Kings Post 1) a priestly voice that sings of the intrinsic beauty to be celebrated  in Christian Blog seemingly repugnant realitiesThe Dylan Mass 2) a prophetic voice that is robustly self-critical when speaking theIf You Are In truthDistress, Spiritual orOtherwise 3) a kingly voice that articulates a bias for the bottom, expressing bothpending a privileging of the marginalized and a principle of subsidiarity whenThe Great Tradition preserving goodnessproperly conceivedPostmodern 4) a motherly voice that, seeing and calling all as her children, drawsConservative every person into her circle of compassion and mercy with no trace ofCatholic Pentecostal exclusion, only a vision of unity. The Judaeo-Christian Mythos thus articulates a Way of the Cross, where the Magician, Warrior, King & Lover are further initiated as Priest, Prophet, King & Mother. The virtues and vices, health and dysfunctions, light and shadow, of each archetype play out in terms of boundary negotiation, defense, establishment and transcendence, which have both authentic and counterfeit expressions. Such are the dynamics explored in spiritual direction, enneagram work,  personality  & adjustment psychology, individuation processes and the manifold stage theories for intellectual, affective, moral, socio-political and faith development of humans along the purgative, illuminative and unitive ways. Such are the themes, then, that run through the dynamics of addiction psychology and codependency, the false self and true self,   sexual exploitation versus intimacy, socialization versus transformation, ego defense mechanisms and the persona, inordinate attachments and disordered appetites, idolatry and kenosis, as they all involve healthy and unhealthy, loving and sinful, boundary realities. http://twitter.com/johnssylvest  
  • 15.   Christian Nondualityhttp://twitter.com/johnssylvestBird Photos by David Joseph Sylvestjohnboy@christiannonduality.com
  • 16. Christian Nonduality ArchitectonicNEW: CathlimergentInternet ForumThe ChristianNonduality BlogHomeRadical Emergence -Nonduality & theEmerging ChurchEmergence HappensWhen:To Avow & Dis-avowan AxiologicalVision of the WholeMontmarte,Colorado Springs &the KingdomWanted: WomenWarriorsMaiden, Mother,Crone & Queen:archetypes &transformationEast Meets West NOTES ON DEVISING AN ARCHITECTONIC-ORGANONKi, Qi, Chi, Prana &Kundalini OF HUMAN KNOWLEDGENo-Self & Nirvanaelucidated by 1) To describe Reality, devise an Architectonic/Organon of HumanDumoulin Knowledge ofOne: EssentialWritings in Environing Realities, which would include ourselves.Nonduality - a review 2) To describe ourselves, devise such an account as would include theSimone Weil HumanJohn of the CrossThomas Merton Knowledge Manifold as an Environed Reality, which would include both evaluative andThe True SelfThe Passion rational continuua.Hermeneutical 3) When devising a model of epistemic virtue (values), avoid the usualEclecticism &Interreligious (and many)Dialogue overworked distinctions and employ the very real but often under-The Spirit appreciatedChristian Nondualitymore on Nonduality dichotomies.The Contemplative 4) In our modal arguments for this or that reality, we must rigorouslyStance define andHesychasmMysticism - properly disambiguate our terms. Employ such criteria that, if met, willconsidered guarantee the conceptualKarl Rahner compatibility of any attributes we employ in our conceptualizations ofWounded Innocence this or that reality.
  • 17. Rogation Days In order to be conceptually compatible, while, at the same time,Radical Orthodoxy avoiding any absurditiesPresuppositionalismvs Nihilism? of parodied logic, attributes must not be logically impossible toScience coinstantiate in ourEpistemic Virtue arguments and they must also be described in terms that define aPan-semio-entheism: a realitys negativepneumatologicaltheology of nature properties. For an example, see:Architectonic http://www.iidb.org/vbb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=47897 and useAnglican - Roman your edit/findDialogue browser facility to scroll down quickly to the first occurrence of theThe Ethos of Eros word “negativity”Musings on PeirceEskimo Kiss Waltz and then also for the name of philosopher “Richard Gale”the Light Side of 5) In defining such attributes as will describe the various aspects of thisDark Comedy or thatBlog VisitsOther Online reality, we must draw the proper distinctions between those aspectsResources that are predicated a)Are YOU Going toScarborough Fair? univocally b) equivocally or c) relationally vis a vis other realities.Suggested Reading Univocal is defined asTim Kings Post having one meaning only. Equivocal means subject to two or moreChristian Blog interpretations. TheseThe Dylan Mass accounts necessarily utilize some terms univocally and othersIf You Are InDistress, Spiritual or equivocally. The equivocalOtherwise can be either simply equivocal or analogical. The analogical can bepending attributive (if realThe Great Traditionproperly conceived causes and effects are invoked) or proportional (if we are invokingPostmodern similarities in theConservativeCatholic Pentecostal relationships between two different pairs of terms). If such an similarity is essential to those terms we have a proper proportionality but if it is accidental we have an improper proportionality, a metaphor. And we use a lot of metaphors, even in physics, and they all eventually collapse. 6) In our attempts to increase our descriptive accuracy of this or that reality, we must be clear whether we are proceeding through a) affirmation [kataphatically, the via positiva] b) negation [apophatically, the via negativa] or c) eminence [unitively, neither kataphatically nor apophatically but, rather, equivocally]. We must be clear whether we are proceeding a) metaphorically b) literally or c) analogically [affirming the metaphorical while invoking further dissimilarities].The best examples can be found in the book described at this url = http://www.psupress.org/books/titles/0-
  • 18. 271-01937-9.html, Reality and Mystical Experience by F. Samuel Brainard.7) We must be clear regarding our use of First Principles: a)noncontradiction b)excluded middle c) identity d) realitys intelligibility e) humanintelligence f) theexistence of other minds and such. See Robert Lane’s discussion:http://www.digitalpeirce.fee.unicamp.br/lane/p-prilan.htm8) We must be mindful of godelian (and godelian-like) constraints onourargumentation: a) complete accounts in formal systems are necessarilyinconsistent b)consistent accounts in formal systems are necessarily incomplete andc) we can model therules but cannot explain them within their own formal symbol system[must reaxiomatize,which is to say prove them in yet another system, at the same time,suggesting we can, indeed, see the truth of certain propositions that wecannot otherwiseprove]. We thus distinguish between local and global explanatoryattempts, models ofpartial vs total reality.Seehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gödels_incompleteness_theorem9) We must employ semantical [epistemological] vagueness, such thatforattributes a) univocally predicated, excluded middle holds andnoncontradiction folds b)equivocally predicated, both excluded middle and noncontradictionhold and c)relationally predicated, noncontradiction holds and excluded middlefolds. Ergo, re: FirstPrinciples, you got to know when to hold em, know when to fold em,know when towalk away, know when to run. See Robert Lane’s discussion:http://www.digitalpeirce.fee.unicamp.br/lane/p-prilan.htm10) We must understand and appreciate the integral nature of thehumanknowledgemanifold (with evaluative and rational continuua) and Lonerganssensation, abstraction& judgment: sensation & perception, emotion & motivation, learning &memory,intuition & cognition, non- & pre-inferential, abductive inference,inductive inference,deductive inference and deliberation.11) We must appreciate and understand the true efficacy of: abduction,
  • 19. fast & frugaldecision-making, ecological rationality, evolutionary rationality,pragmatic rationality,bounded rationality, common sense; also of both propositional anddoxastic justification,and affective judgment: both aesthetic and prudential, the latterincluding both pragmaticand moral affective judgment. See http://www.free-definition.com/Abduction-(logic).html12) We must draw the distinction between peircean argument(abduction, hypothesisgeneration) and argumentation (inductive & deductive inference).Seehttp://www.bu.edu/wcp/Papers/Reli/ReliKess.htm13) We must draw a distinction between partial apprehension of areality and totalcomprehension of a reality.14) We must employ dialectical analysis, properly discerning where ourdifferentaccounts of this or that reality a) agree b) converge c) complement or d)dialecticallyreverse. We must distinguish between this dialectic and hegeliansynthesis and resist falseirenicism, facile syncretism and insidious indifferentism, whileexercising due care in ourattempts to map conceptualizations from one account onto another.Also, we shouldemploy our scholastic distinctions: im/possible, im/plausible,im/probable and un/certain.15) We must distinguish between the different types of paradoxencountered in ourvarious attempts to describe this or that reality a) veridical b) falsidicalc) conditional andd) antinomial. We must recognize that all metaphysics are fatallyflawed and that theirroot metaphors will eventually collapse in true antinomial paradox ofa) infinite regressb) causal disjunction or c) circular referentiality [ipse dixit - stipulatedbeginning orpetitio - question begging]. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paradox16) As part and parcel of the isomorphicity implied in ourepistemologicalvagueness, we must employ ontological vagueness, which is to say thatwe must prescindfrom the necessary to the probable in our modal logic. This applies tothe dance betweenchance & necessity, pattern & paradox, random & systematic, order &
  • 20. chaos.Seehttp://uhavax.hartford.edu/moen/PeirceRev2.html and the distinctionsbetween necessaryand non-necessary reasonings and also probable deductions.17) We must properly integrate our classical causal distinctions suchthat theaxiological/teleological [instrumental & formal] mediates between theepistemological[formal] and cosmological/ontological [efficient/material]. Thesecomprise a process andnot rather discrete events.This follows the grammar that the normativesciences mediatebetween our phenomenology and our metaphysics. Seehttp://hosting.uaa.alaska.edu/afjjl/LinkedDocuments/LiszkaSynopsisPeirce.htm18) We must recognize the idea of emergence is mostly a heuristicdevice inasmuchas it has some descriptive accuracy but only limited predictive, hence,explanatoryadequacy. It predicts novelty but cannot specify its nature.Supervenience is even moreproblematical, trivial when described as weak (and usually associatedwith strongemergence), question begging re: reducibility when described as strong(and usuallyassociated with weak emergence).Seehttp://www.molbio.ku.dk/MolBioPages/abk/PersonalPages/Jesper/SemioEmergence.htmSeehttp://www.nu.ac.za/undphil/collier/papers/Commentary on DonRoss.htmSee http://www.nu.ac.za/undphil/collier/papers.html19) We must avoid all manner of dualisms, essentialism, nominalismand a priorismas they give rise to mutual occlusivities and mutual unintelligibilities inour argumentsand argumentations. The analogia relata (of process-experienceapproaches, such as thepeircean and neoplatonic triadic relational) that is implicit in the triadicgrammar of all ofthe above-described distinctions and rubrics can mediate between theanalogia antis (oflinguistic approaches, such as the scotistic univocity of being) and theanalogia entis (ofsubstance approaches, such as the thomistic analogy of being). Thisincludes such triadsas proodos (proceeding), mone (resting) and epistrophe (return) ofneoplatonic dionysian
  • 21. mysticism. It anticipates such distinctions as a) the peircean distinctionbetween objectivereality and physical reality b) the scotistic formal distinction c) thethomistic distinctionbetween material and immaterial substance, all of which implynonphysical causationwithout violating physical causal closure, all proleptical, in a sense, tosuch concepts asmemes, Baldwinian evolution, biosemiotics, etc Seehttp://consc.net/biblio/3.html20) We must avoid the genetic and memetic fallacies of Dawkins andDennett andthe computational fallacies of other cognitive scientists, all as describedby Deacon.Seehttp://www.chass.utoronto.ca/epc/srb/srb/10-3edit.html21) We must denominate the "cash value" of getting our metaphysicscorrect interms of the accuracy of our anthropologies and psychologies becausegetting ourdescriptive and normative accounts correct is preliminary to properlyconducting ourevaluative attempts, which will then inform the prescriptions we devisefor an ailinghumanity and cosmos, rendering such prescriptions efficacious,inefficacious, and evenharmful. This signals the importance of the dialogues between science,religion,philosophy and the arts. Further regarding “cash value” and the“pragmatic maxim” andall it might entail, asking what difference this or that metaphysical,epistemological orscientific supposition might make, if it were true or not, can clarify ourthinking, such asbetter enabling us to discern the circular referentiality of a tautology,e.g. taking existenceas a predicate of being (rather than employing a concept such as“bounded” existence).22) We must carefully nuance the parsimony we seek from OccamsRazor moresoin terms of the facility and resiliency of abduction and not necessarilyin terms ofcomplexity, honoring what we know from evolutionary psychologyabout humanabductive and preinferential process.Seehttp://www.digitalpeirce.fee.unicamp.br/pscifor.htm See http://kybele.psych.cornell.edu/~edelman/Psych-214-Fall-2000/w7-3-
  • 22. outline.text23) At wits end, confronted with ineluctable paradox, in choosing themostcompelling metaphysic, there is always the reductio ad absurdum. Andremember,whatever is going on in analytical philosophy, semeiotics andlinguistics, you can knowthus much is true: A single, even small, thermonuclear explosion canruin your wholeday.24) Regarding multiverse accounts, Polkinghorne rejects any notionthat science cansay anything about same if science is careful and scrupulous aboutwhat science canactually say, and this may be true, but it does seem that such anexplanatory attempt canbe indirectly determined at least consonant with what we are able todirectly observeand/or indirectly measure (thinking of Max Tegmarks ideas). It isplausible, for example,insofar as it is an attempt to explain the apparent anthropic fine-tuning.25) Importantly, not all human knowledge is formal, which is what somuch of theabove has been about!26) The major philosophical traditions can be described anddistinguished by theirpostures toward idealism & realism, rationalism & empiricism, whichare related to theirvarious essentialisms and nominalisms, which can all be moreparticularly described interms of what they do with the PEM (excluded middle) and PNC(noncontradiction) asthey consider peircean 1ns, 2ns and 3ns, variously holding or foldingthese FirstPrinciples as they move from univocal to equivocal and relationalpredications.27) With the peircean perspective taken as normative, PEM holds for1ns and 2nsand PNC holds for 2ns and 3ns (hence, PNC folds for 1ns and PEMfolds for 3ns).28) In a nominalistic perspective, PNC folds for 3ns and classicalnotions ofcausality and continuity are incoherent.29) In an essentialistic perspective, PNC properly holds for 3ns butPEM is
  • 23. erroneously held for 3ns, suggesting that modal logic drivesalgorithmically toward thenecessary and not, rather, the probable.30) The nominalist’s objection to essentialism’s modal logic of thenecessary in 3nsis warranted but folding PNC in 3ns is the wrong response, renderingall notions ofcausality incoherent.. The essentialist’s objection to nominalism’sdenial of any modallogic in 3ns is warranted but holding PEM in 3ns is the wrongresponse, investing realitywith an unwarranted determinacy. The peircean affirmation of PNC in3ns and denial ofPEM in 3ns resolves such incoherency with a modal logic of probabilityand draws theproper distinctions between the univocal, equivocal and relationalpredications, theunivocal folding PNC in 1ns, the equivocal folding PEM in 3ns and therelational holdingPNC and PEM in 2ns.31) The platonic rationalist-realist perspective is impaired byessentialism. Thekantian rationalist-idealist perspective is impaired by both essentialismand nominalism.The humean empiricist idealist perspective is impaired by nominalism.The aristotelianempiricist realist perspective, with a nuanced hylomorphism, is notimpaired byessentialism or nominalism but suffers from substantialism due to itsatomicity, whichimpairs relationality. Finally, even a process-relational-substantialapproach must makethe scotistic/peircean formal distinction between objective reality andphysical reality.Radically deconstructive, analytical, and even pragmatist, approachesseize upon thefolding of PNC in 1ns and then run amok in denying PNC in 3ns andsometimes even2ns. Phenomenologists bracket these metaphysical considerations.Existentialists argueover what precedes what, existence vs essence, losing sight of theirnecessarycoinstantiation in 2ns in physical reality and failing to draw the properdistinctionbetween the objective reality of an attribute (its abstraction &objectification) and the
  • 24. physical reality where it is integrally instantiated. Neither essence norexistence precedesthe other in physical reality; they always arrive at the scene togetherand inextricablyintertwined.32) The peircean grammar draws necessary distinctions betweenunivocal, equivocaland relational predications of different aspects of reality but, in sodoing, is a heuristicthat does not otherwise predict the precise nature or degree ofunivocity, equivocity orrelationality between those aspects. In that sense, it is likeemergentism, which predictsnovelty but does not describe its nature or degree. To that extent, it nomore resolvesphilosophy of mind questions, in particular, than it does metaphysicalquestions, ingeneral. What it does is help us to think more clearly about such issuesplacing differentperspectives in dialogue, revealing where it is they agree, converge,complement anddisagree. Further, it helps us better discern the nature of the paradoxesthat our differentsystems encounter: veridical, falsidical, conditional and antinomial,and why it is ourvarious root metaphors variously extend or collapse in describingdifferent aspects ofreality. It doesn’t predict or describe the precise nature of reality’sgivens in terms ofprimitives, forces and axioms but does help us locate how and whereunivocal, equivocaland relational predications are to be applied to such givens by acting asa philosophicallingua franca between different perspectives and accounts.Where arereality’scontinuities and discontinuities in terms of givens? The peirceangrammar speaks to howthey are related in terms of 1ns, 2ns and 3ns but not with respect tonature or origin or towhat extent or degree (if for no other reason that not all phenomenaare equally probable,in terms of 3ns). Is consciousness a primitive along with space, time,mass and charge? Isit emergent? epiphenomenal? explained by Dennett? described byPenrose? a hardproblem as per Chalmers or Searle? an eliminated problem as per theChurchlands? an
  • 25. intractable problem as per William James? Each of these positions canbe described inpeircean terms and they can be compared and contrasted in a dialoguethat reveals wherethey agree, disagree, converge and complement. They cannot be apriori arbitrated by thepeircean perspective; rather, they can only be consistently articulatedand framed uphypothetically on the same terms, which is to say, in such a mannerthat hypotheticodeductiveand scientific-inductive methods can be applied to them and such thataposteriori experience can reveal their internal coherence/incoherence,logicalconsistency/inconsistency, external congruence/incongruence,hypotheticalconsonance/dissonance and interdisciplinaryconsilience/inconsilience.33) Do our various metaphysics collapse because of an encounter withparadox thatis generated by a) the nature of the environing realities, which arebeing explained? b) theexigencies of the environed reality, which is explaining? or c) somecombination ofthese? Is the paradox encountered veridical, falsidical, conditional orantinomial? Did weintroduce the paradox ourselves or did an environing reality reveal itsintrinsicparadoxical nature? We can describe reality’s categories (such as w/CSP’sphaneroscopy), a logic for those categories (such as CSP’s semeioticlogic) and anorganon that relates these categories and logic (such as CSP’smetaphysical architectonic)and then employ such a heuristic in any given metaphysic using anygiven root metaphor.When we do, at some point, we will encounter an infinite regress, acausal disjunction orcircular referentiality (petitio principii, ipse dixit, etc), and we might,therefore, at somelevel, have reason to suspect that those are the species of ineluctableparadox that eventhe most accurate metaphysics will inevitably encounter. If circularreferentiality isavoidable, still, infinite regress and causal disjunction are not and ourmetaphysics will
  • 26. succumb to one or the other, possibly because these alternate accountspresentcomplementary perspectives of reality and the nature of its apparentcontinuities anddiscontinuities (as measured in degrees of probability or as reflected inthe dissimilaritiesbetween various givens and their natures and origins, some belongingto this singularity,some to another, this or another realm of reality variously pluralistic ornot).34) What it all seems to boil down to is this: Different schools ofphilosophy andmetaphysics are mostly disagreeing regarding the nature and degree,the origin andextent, of continuities and discontinuities in reality, some evenclaiming to transcend thisdebate by using a continuum of probability. The manifold andmultiform assertionsand/or denials of continuity and discontinuity in reality play out in thedifferentconclusions of modal logic with respect to what is possible versusactual versus necessaryregarding the nature of reality (usually in terms of givens, i.e.primitives, forces andaxioms), some even claiming to transcend this modal logic bysubstituting probable fornecessary. Even then, one is not so much transcending the fray asavoiding the fray if onedoes not venture to guess at the nature and degree, origin and extent,of reality’sprobabilities, necessities, continuities and discontinuities. Sure, theessentialists andsubstantialists overemphasize discontinuities and the nominalistsoveremphasizecontinuities and the dualists introduce some false dichotomies, butanyone who claims tobe above this metaphysical fray has not so much transcended theseissues with a new andimproved metaphysics as they have desisted from even doingmetaphysics, opting insteadfor a meta-metaphysical heuristic device, at the same time, sacrificingexplanatoryadequacy. This is what happens with the emergentistic somethingmore from nothing butand also what happens in semeiotic logic (for infinite regress is just asfatal,metaphysically, as causal disjunction and circular referentiality).
  • 27. 35) Evaluating Hypotheses:Does it beg questions?Does it traffic intrivialities? Doesit overwork analogies?Does it overwork distinctions? Does itunderworkdichotomies?Does it eliminate infinite regress?36) Not to worry, this is to be expected at this stage of humankind’sjourney ofknowledge. However, if the answer to any of these questions isaffirmative, then one’shypothesis probably doesn’t belong in a science textbook for now. Atany rate, given ourinescapable fallibility, we best proceed in a community of inquiry as wepursue ourpractical and heuristic (both normative and speculative) sciences.37) Couching this or that debate in the philosophy of science in termsof dis/honestymay very well address one aspect of any given controversy. I have oftenwonderedwhether or not some disagreements are rooted in disparate approachesto epistemicvalues, epistemic goods, epistemic virtues, epistemic goals, epistemicsuccess, epistemiccompetence or whatever is truly at issue. I dont know who is beingdishonest or not,aware or unawares, but I think one can perhaps discern in/authenticityin a variety ofways.38) In trying to sort through and inventory such matters, throughtime, I have cometo more broadly conceive the terms of such controversies, not onlybeyond the notions ofepistemic disvalue, epistemic non-virtue and epistemic incompetence,but, beyond theepistemic, itself. Taking a cue from Lonergans inventory ofconversions, which includethe cognitive, affective, moral, social and religious, one might identifymanifold otherways to frustrate the diverse (but unitively-oriented) goals of humanauthenticity, whetherthrough disvalue, non-virtue or incompetence.39) Our approach to and grasp of reality, through both the heuristicsciences(normative and theoretical) and practical sciences, in my view, is quiteoften frustrated bythe overworking of certain distinctions and the underworking ofcertain dichotomies, by
  • 28. our projection of discontinuities onto continuities and vice versa. Andthis goes beyondthe issue of the One and the Many, the universal and the particular, thelocal and theglobal, beyond the disambiguation and predication of our terms,beyond the setting forthof our primitives, forces and axioms, beyond the truth of our premisesand the validity ofour logic, beyond noetical, aesthetical and ethical norms, beyond ournormative/prescriptive, speculative/descriptive andpragmatic/practical enterprises,beyond all this to living life, itself, and to our celebration of the arts.40) In this vein, one failure in human authenticity that seems to toooften afflicthumankind is the overworking of the otherwise valid distinctionsbetween our truly novelbiosemiotic capacities and those of our phylogenetic ancestry and kin,invoking such ahuman exceptionalism (x-factor) as divorces us from nature of whichwere undeniably apart. Another (and related) failure, in my view, is the overworking ofdistinctionsbetween the different capacities that comprise the human evaluativecontinuum, denyingthe integral roles played by its nonrational, prerational and rationalaspects, by itsecological, pragmatic, inferential and deliberative rationalities, by itsabductive, inductiveand deductive inferential aspects, by its noetical, aesthetical and ethicalaspects. Theseotherwise distinct aspects of human knowledge that derive from ourinterfacing as anenvironed reality with our total environing reality (environed vsenvironing realities notlending themselves to sharp distinctions either?) are of a piece, form aholistic fabric ofknowledge, mirrored by reality, which is also of a piece, not lendingitself fully to anyprivileged aspect of the human evaluative continuum, not lending itselfto arbitrary dicesand slices based upon any human-contrived architectonic or organonof knowledge, forinstance, as might be reflected in our academic disciplines or curricula.41) So, perhaps it is too facile to say religion asks certain questions andemployscertain aspects of the human evaluative continuum, while philosophy
  • 29. asks others, scienceyet others? Maybe it is enough to maintain that science does notattempt to halt infiniteregress because humankind has discovered, a posteriori, that suchattempts invariablyinvolve trafficking in question begging (ipse dixit, petitio principii,tautologies, etc) ortrivialities or overworked analogies, often employ overworkeddistinctions orunderworked dichotomies, often lack explanatory adequacy, pragmaticcash value and/orthe authentication of orthodoxy by orthopraxis? Maybe it is enough tomaintain thatscience does not attempt to halt infinite regress because humankindnow maintains, apriori, with Godel, that complete accounts are inconsistent, consistentaccounts,incomplete? Maybe it is enough to maintain that science traffics informalizable proofsand measurable results from hypotheses that are testable withinrealistic time constraints(iow, not eschatological)?42) Or, maybe we neednt maintain even these distinctions but can sayan hypothesisis an hypothesis is an hypothesis, whether theological or geological,whether eliminatingor tolerating the paradox of infinity, and that the human evaluativecontinuum, ifoptimally (integrally and holistically) deployed, can aspire to test thesehypotheses,however directly or indirectly, letting reality reveal or conceal itself atits pleasure --- but--- those hypotheses that are intractably question begging ortautological, that overworkanalogies and distinctions and underwork dichotomies, that lackexplanatory adequacyand pragmatic cash value --- are, at least for now, bad science, badphilosophy, badtheology, bad hypotheses? They are not authentic questions? Pursuethem if you must.Back-burner them by all means, ready to come to the fore at a moreopportune time. Butdont publish them in textbooks or foist them on the general public orbody politic; rather,keep them in the esoteric journals with a suitable fog index to matchtheir explanatory
  • 30. opacity.43) In the above consideration, it was not my aim to resolve anycontroversies in thephilosophy of science, in particular, or to arbitrate between the greatschools ofphilosophy, in general. I did want to offer some criteria for morerigorously framing upthe debates that we might avoid talking past one another. It does seemthat certainextreme positions can be contrasted in sharper relief in terms ofalternating assertions ofradical dis/continuities, wherein some distinctions are overworked intofalse dichotomiesand some real dichotomies are ignored or denied.44) Thus it is that the different “turns” have been made in the historyof philosophy(to experience, to the subject, linguistic, hermeneutical, pragmatic,etc). Thus it is thatnominalism, essentialism and substantialism critique each other. Thusit is that fact-value,is-ought, given-normative, descriptive-prescriptive distinctionswarrant dichotomizing ornot. Thus it is that the One and the Many, the universal and particular,the global andlocal, the whole and the part invite differing perspectives or not. Thus itis that differentaspects of the human evaluative continuum get singularly privilegedwithout warrantsuch as in fideism and rationalism or that different aspects of thehuman architectonic ofknowledge get over- or under-emphasized such as in radicalfundamentalism andscientism.45) Thus it is that certain of our heuristic devices get overworkedbeyond theirminimalist explanatory attempts such as when emergence is describedas weaklysupervenient, which is rather question-begging, or as stronglysupervenient, which israther trivial. And yet one might be able to affirm some utility inmaking suchdistinctions as a weak deontology or weak teleology, or between thestrongly and weaklyanthropic?46) Thus it is that idealism and realism, rationalism and empiricism,fight a
  • 31. hermeneutical tug of war between kantian, humean, aristotelian andplatonicperspectives, transcended, in part, even complemented by, theanalytical,phenomenological and pragmatic approaches. Thus it is that variousmetaphysics mustremain modest in their heuristic claims of explanatory power as wewitness the ongoingblending and nuancing of substance, process, participative andsemiotic approaches. Thusit is that our glorious -ologies get transmuted into insidious –isms.47) Thus it is that all of these approaches, whether broadly conceivedas theoretical,practical and normative sciences (including natural sciences, appliedsciences, theologicalsciences and the sciences of logic, aesthetics and ethics), or morenarrowly conceived asthe more strictly empirical sciences, offer their hypotheses for critiqueby an authenticcommunity of inquiry --- neither falling prey to the soporific consensusgentium(bandwagon fallacy) and irrelevant argumentum ad verecundiam(appeal to authority) norarrogating to one’s own hermeneutic some type of archimedeanbuoyancy for all sureknowledge, as if inescapable leaps of faith weren’t required to get pastunmitigatednihilism and solipsism, as if excluded middle, noncontradiction andother first principlescould be apodictically maintained or logically demonstrated, as ifknowledge and proofwere indistinct, as if all human knowledge was algorithmic and couldbe formalized.48) Miscellany: In the peircean cohort of the American pragmatisttradition, onewould say that the normative sciences mediate betweenphenomenology andmetaphysics, which could reasonably be translated into philosophymediates between ourscientific methodologies and our cosmologies/ontologies.So, there is aproper distinctionto be made between our normative and theoretical sciences, bothwhich can be consideredheuristic sciences, and yet another distinction to be made betweenthem and what wewould call our practical sciences.
  • 32. 49) I think it would be fair to say that we can bracket our [metaphysics]and our[cosmologies & ontologies] when doing empirical science but, at thesame time, we donot bracket those aspects of philosophy that comprise our normativesciences of logic,aesthetics and ethics, which contribute integrally and holistically to allscientificendeavors and human knowledge pursuits. At least for my God-concept, properlyconceived, suitably employed, sufficiently nuanced, carefullydisambiguated, preciselydefined, rigorously predicated --- to talk of empirical measurementwould be nonsensical.50) I more broadly conceive knowledge & "knowing" and myconceptualizationturns on the distinction between knowing and proving, the latterconsisting of formalproofs. Since a God-concept would comprise a Theory of Everythingand we know, apriori, from Gödel’s Incompleteness Theorems, that we cannot provesuch employing anyclosed formal symbol system, a "proof" of God is out of the question.51) Charles Sanders Peirce offers another useful distinction, whichturns on hisobservations regarding inferential knowledge, which includesabduction, induction anddeduction. Abductive inference is, in a nutshell, the generation of anhypothesis. Thepeircean distinction is that between an argument and argumentation.Peirce offers, then,what he calls the "Neglected Argument for the Reality of God," whichamounts to anabduction of God, distinguishing same from the myriad other attemptsto prove Godsexistence, whether inductively or deductively through argumentation.Even the scholasticand thomistic "proofs" realize their efficacy by demonstrating only thereasonableness ofcertain beliefs, not otherwise aspiring to apodictic claims or logicallyconclusivedemonstrations. Peirce made another crucial distinction between the"reality" of God andthe "existence" of God, considering all talk of Gods existence to derivefrom purefetishism, affirming in his own way, I suppose, an analogy of beingrather than a
  • 33. univocity.52) Given all this, one may find it somewhat of a curiosity that Godel,himself,attempted his own modal ontological argument. Anselms argument,likely considered theweakest of all the classical "proofs" of God, was first called the"ontological" argumentby Kant and was more recently given impetus by Hartshornes modalformulation. I thinkthese arguments by Godel and Hartshorne would be more compellingif the modalcategory of necessary was changed to probable and if the conceptualcompatibility ofputative divine attributes was guaranteed by employing only negativeproperties for suchterms. At any rate, that Godel distinguished "formal proof" from"knowing" is instructive,I think, and his attempt at a modal ontological argument is alsorevealing, suggesting,perhaps, that one neednt make their way through half of Whiteheadand Russell’sPrincipia in order to "know" that 2 + 2 = 4, but, rather, that would benecessary only to"prove" same.53) I would agree that the statement, God cannot be measured, is truefor science asnarrowly conceived as natural science. More broadly conceived, scienceincludestheology as a discipline and many typologies of the science-religioninterface would, forinstance, affirm the notion of hypothetical consonance between thedisciplines. Much ofHans Kungs work entailed an elaborate formulation of the Godhypothesis, notempirically testable by any means, but, which uses nihilism as a foil toproceed reductioad absurdum toward what Kung calls a fundamental trust in uncertainreality that, given asuitable and "working" God-hypothesis, is not otherwise nowhereanchored andparadoxical. Another focus of theology as a scientific discipline is thatof practicaltheology where orthopraxis might be considered to authenticateorthodoxy.54) Strong cases have been made by historians of science thatsustainable scientific
  • 34. progress was birthed in the womb of a belief in creatio ex nihilo, inother words, a beliefin the contingent nature of reality, which, when combined with theGreek belief inrealitys rationality, provided the cultural matrix for sciences explosivegrowth in theChristian West.55) I suppose there is an element of the aesthetic that guides onetoward such aninterpretation as Bohms rather than Bohrs, Chalmers, Searle orPenrose rather thanDennett, the Churchlands or Crick, Pascal rather than Nietzsche --- butsomething else isgoing on, and it is not time-honored, when anyone chooses info to fitan interpretation,which is a different enterprise from the formulation of alternativeinterpretations that arehypothetically consonant with whatever info is available at the time.56) To say more succinctly what I elaborate below: Approaching facts isone matter,rules another, and facts about rules, yet another. Theres no explainingor justifying ruleswithin their own systems and one hops onto an epistemological pogostick, incessantlyjumping to yet another system with such explanatory/justificatoryattempts (cf. Godel).Thankfully, Popperian falsification short circuits rule justification inour pursuit of factsand the reductio ad absurdum (with some caveats) short circuitsformal philosophy in ourpursuit of rule justification, which is otherwise, inescapably, going tobe questionbegging, rendering our metasystems, in principle, tautological. Anexample of a caveatthere is that one overworks the humean dictum re: existence as apredicate of being whenasserting that existence cannot be taken as a predicate of being --because it certainly can.One underappreciates the humean perspective when one forgets thattaking existence as apredicate of being is a tautology. But so are all metaphysics, which areall fatally flawed.None of this is about escaping all antinomial paradox but, rather,finding the metasystemleast susceptible to multiple births of paradox, least pregnant withparadox --- or, finding
  • 35. that metasystem which, however fatally flawed, is least morbid.57) In dealing with metasystem formulations, inevitably, we mustconfront the timehonoredquestion: random or systematic? chance or necessity? order or chaos?pattern orparadox? At least, for me, this seems to capture the conundrum atissue.This conundrumis ubiquitous and presents itself not only in metaphysics but in physics,not only inspeculative cosmology and the quantum realm but also in speculativecognitive scienceand the realm of consciousness. This is reminiscent of the dynamic inthe TV gameshow,Jeopardy, for these dyads --- of random, chance, chaos, paradox vis avis systematic,necessity, order, pattern --- offer themselves as answers to a largerquestion posed in abigger framework. That question might be framed as: What is it thatmediates betweenthe possible and the actual?58) My brain loves that question and pondering the implications ofthose dyadsseems to help keep my neurotransmitters in balance, quite often firingoff enough extraendorphins to help me pedal my bike an extra mile or two, any givenday. That questionpresents when we consider reality both locally and globally, particularlyor universally, inpart or as a whole. I have pondered such extensively as set forth here:http://bellsouthpwp.net/p/e/per-ardua-ad-astra/epistemic.htm andelsewherehttp://bellsouthpwp.net/p/e/per-ardua-ad-astra/merton.htm [links atthe top of this page]and one day I may take on the task of making such musings moreaccessible. For now, itseems that I have practiced the Franciscan virtue of seeking tounderstand rather than tobe understood and turned it into a vice, practicing it to a fault.59) I will say this: Science is a human convention, an agreemententered into by anearnest community of inquiry. It seems to operate on a consensusregarding 1) primitives(space, time, mass and energy/charge) 2) forces (strong and weak,electromagnetic andgravity) and 3) axioms (laws of thermodynamics and so forth) and therelationships they
  • 36. reveal as this community proceeds via 4) popperian falsification,which, as Popperproperly understood and many others do not, is not, itself, falsifiable.There are no strictlines between physics and metaphysics inasmuch as any tweaking ofthese categories bytheoretical scientists is meta-physical, for instance, such as by thosewhod addconsciousness as a primitive, quantum gravity as a force and statisticalquantum law as anaxiom. The crossing-over from philosophy to science and frommetaphysics to physics bythis or that notion is not so much determined a priori as based on anygiven attributes of aparticular idea regarding primitives, forces and axioms but, rather,takes place when suchcan be framed up in such a manner as it can be empirically falsified. Weknow this fromthe history of philosophy, science and metaphysics -- although thepace of cross-over hasslowed a tad.60) Framing up reality in falsifiable bits and pieces is no simple matterto one whoagrees with Haldane that reality is not only stranger than we imaginebut stranger than wecan imagine. Still, as is born into our very nature as epistemologicaloptimists, we mighttemper this view by taking Chestertons counsel that we do not knowenough aboutreality, yet, to say that it is unknowable. We just do not know, a priori,either where wewill hit an explanatory wall or where we will break through same, thisnotwithstandingsuch as G. E. Pughs remark to the effect that if the brain were simpleenough for us tounderstand it, we would be so simple that we couldnt.61) What we do know, a priori, are our own rules and conventions andwe canpredict whether or not an explanatory wall will either be hit orpenetrated --- but only ifwe narrowly conceive of that wall as being built with the bricks ofempirical evidenceand the mortar of formal proofs. An explanatory wall thus conceived isindeed subject togodelian constraints, which allow us to model rules that we areotherwise precluded from
  • 37. explaining. In reality, though, one would commit the equivalent of anepistemologicalMaginot Line blunder if one built her explanatory wall exclusively ofsuch materials, for,as we know, a large portion of human knowledge lies outside of anysuch a narrowlyconceived epistemic structure. Indeed, we know far more than we canever prove (orfalsify)62) Now, to be sure, we must remain well aware that we are freelychoosing ouraxioms and first principles and that, consistent with godelian andpopperian constraints,they can neither be logically demonstrated, a priori, nor scientificallyfalsified, aposteriori. We should keep an eye open, too, to the critiques ofDescartes, Hume andKant, insofar as they seem to have anticipated, in many ways, thesegodelian andpopperian formalizations, as well as some of the dynamics explored bythe analyticalcohort. What I personally cannot countenance, however, is anyepistemological caving into such constraints and critiques (cartesian, kantian and humean); theproper response, ifthe normative sciences are to retain any sway whatsoever, would seem,rather, to be atrading in of any naive realism for a critical realism (staying mostlyaristotelian cumneoplatonic?). So, too, the humean fact-value distinction, worthconsidering, should notbe overworked into a false dichotomy?63) If, in our inescapable fallibility, we have been dispossessed of anyapodicticclaims to necessity and logical demonstrations of our first principles,still, we do have atour disposal the judicious use of the reductio ad absurdum as ourbackdoor philosophy.True enough, the counterintuitive is not, in and of itself, an infalliblebeacon of truth, forscience has demonstrated many counterintuitive notions to be true,given certain axioms.Nonetheless, absent any demonstration to the contrary and guided byan earnestcommunity of inquiry, would we not do best to reject such as solipsismand radical
  • 38. nihilism, and to embrace noncontradiction and excluded middle(within the normssuggested by both epistemological and ontological vagueness, which isanotherexhuastive consideration)?64) So, yes, in freely choosing such axioms as we might employ in ourattempt toanswer the question --- What mediates between the possible and theactual? --- we arefree to opt for chance or necessity, for order or chaos, for pattern orparadox, for therandom or systematic, and we are free to apply such an option locallyand/or globally,particularly or universally, to the whole of reality or to any part, and noone candispossess us, through formal proof or with empirical evidence, of ourchosen axioms.And, yes, once we have chosen such axioms, such meta-systems, wemust recognize that,fundamentally, they are clearly tautological by design and in principle,and that anyapologetic for same will be rather question begging. [Every time weopen an ontologicalwindow, reality closes an epistemological door, I like to say.] The onlyrecourse we havethat seems to be at all compelling is the old reductio ad absurdum,taking this or that setof axioms, applying them to reality as best we have come to grasp same,and, afterextrapolating it all to some putative logical conclusion, then testing itall for congruencewith reality (and with whatever else happens to be in that suite ofepistemological criteriaas might comprise this or that community of inquirys epistemicdesiderata).65) As a relevant aside, I have found that we best modify our modalontologicallogic of possible, actual and necessary to possible, actual and probable,which allows oneto prescind from the dyads of chance/necessity, order/chaos,pattern/paradox,random/systematic --- as these more and more seem to describedistinctions that shouldnot be overworked into dichotomies, not that I am an inveteratepeircean triadimaniac --for I am, rather, a pan-entheistic tetradimaniac (seems to me to be theleast pregnant,
  • 39. anyway).66) What mediates between the possible and the actual? Probably, theprobable.[And that may be the window Reality opened for Hefners co-creatorsas God shrunkfrom the necessary? And that may be the future-oriented rupturebetween our essentialpossibilities and their existential realizations in Haughts teleologicalaccount of originalsin?]67) When the Beatles were with the Maharishi in India, at the end ofone session, heoffered anyone who was interested a ride back to the compound withhim on hishelicopter. John volunteered. When later queried about why hedecided to go, Johnquipped: "Because I thought hed slip me the answer." jb is going to slipyou theanswer.Ever heard of the pragmatic maxim?In my words, jbs maxim, ittranslates intoWhat would you do differently if you had the answer? [And it doesntmatter what thequestion is or that it necessarily be THE question, whatever that is.]Now, if Lonergansconversions --- cognitive, moral, affective, sociopolitical and religious --- were all fullyeffected in a human being and that person were truly authentic inlonerganian terms,mostly transformed in terms of classical theosis, then how would anauthentic/transformed human answer the question: What would youdo differently if youhad the answer?S/he would answer thusly: Nothing.68) Thats what I really like most about lovers. Ive seen them strugglewith all thesequestions and have even seen them afflicted by these questions to anextent, but loversare clearly among those for whom I know the answer to the above-question is: Zero. Zip.Zilch. Nada.Thats the epitome of unconditional love and thats theessence of the ImagoDei.And that is a small comfort ... so, its a good thing that comfort isnot what its allabout, Alfie. Carry on. Do carry on69) In another vein, all of philosophy seems to turn on those three bigquestions of
  • 40. Kant: What can I know? What can I hope for? What must I do?Theastute observer mightrecognize that these questions correspond to truth, beauty andgoodness and have beenanswered by philosophers in terms of logic, aesthetics and ethics andby religions interms of creed, cult and code. They also correspond to the threetheological virtues offaith, hope and love and to our psychological faculties of the cognitive,affective andmoral (again, think Lonergan). At some point on my journey, I restedand answered thesequestions thusly: I dont know and I dont need to know. I dont feeland I dont need tofeel. I love and I need to forgive.All of a sudden --- I kid ya not --- allmanner of truth,beauty and goodness started chasing me rather than vice versa! If weframe the issue interms of foci of concern, then the scientific focus will be more narrowlydefined than thetheological. The first is positivistic, the latter, philosophic.70) The scientific focus looks at facts through the lens of popperianfalsification. Itstructures its arguments formally and thus employs mathematics andother closed,formal symbol systems through which it can establish correspondencebetween thoseparts of reality we agree to call givens: primitives (space, time,mass/charge, energy),forces (weak, strong, electromagnetic, gravity) and axioms(conservation,thermodynamics). It seeks to provide descriptive accounts of theseparts of reality anddeals in proofs.71) The philosophic focus is a wider perspective, which is to say itembracesadditional concerns by looking through the lenses of the normativesciences of logic,aesthetics and ethics. It looks at rules. Its arguments are not formallyconstructed but itdoes try to establish coherence in its accounts of reality. It seeks toprovide evaluativeaccounts of reality as a whole and deals in justifications.72) Lonergan scholar, Daniel Helminiak, defines two additional foci ofconcern,which are progressively wider perspectives, the theistic and theotic, the
  • 41. latter having todo with human transformation in relation to God (and which mightrepresent one of manyperspectives presented at Star).73) Broader perspectives, wider foci of concern, do not invalidate thenarrower foci,if for no other reason, then, because they are focusing on differentaspects of reality, infact, additional aspects.74) In Jeffs frontier town, out on the working edge of science, anynovel conceptsbeing introduced must indeed be precisely specified in the language ofscience, which isto say one must introduce a novel primitive, force or axiom, or a novelinteractionbetween existing givens, into a closed, formal symbol system likemathematics. Thisnovelty can then be tested for correspondence with reality, in otherwords, factuality,through popperian falisfication (which is not itself falsifiable).75) As for unfortunate trends among scientists, philosophers andtheologians,descriptively, in terms of blurred focus, these are manifold and variedwith nomonopolies on same? I am time-constrained, wrote this hurriedly andmust run. My nextconsideration was going to be Theories of Everything and how theyshould becategorized and why? Any ideas?76) Obviously, I could not elaborate a comprehensiveorganon/architectonic ofhuman knowledge categories in only four paragraphs and thus did notdraw out suchdistinctions as, for instance, the very living of life, itself, from the arts,the practicalsciences, the heuristic sciences, the theoretical sciences, the normativesciences and soon. The particular point I was making, however, more particularlyturned on thedistinction between those matters in life which we prove versus thosewhich weotherwise justify. As a retired bank chairman/president, I must say thatit would havepleased me very much, too, to have seen the justice system derive moreof its rules fromlogic. Note, also, the operative word, derive, and youll have some
  • 42. sense of how myelaboration will unfold77) Because one of the manifold criteria for good hypotheses vis a visthe scientificmethod is the making of measurable predictions in the context ofhypothetico-deductiveand inductive reasoning, we might properly talk about proof as beingmore broadlyconceived, our descriptive accounts lending themselves tomeasurements (andhypothetical fecundity). Of course, induction, itself, is not formal logic,anyway78) Those trends that frighten me the most are the differentfundamentalisms(including both the religious fundamentalisms and enlightenmentfundamentalism orscientism).79) By Theory of Everything (TOE). I mean such as M-theory,superstrings,quantum gravity, unified field theory, etc in the realm of theoreticalphysics. I believethere are metamathematical problems that inhere in such a TOE as setforth in Godelsincompleteness theorems. This is not to suggest a TOE could not bemathematicallyformulated but only to say it could not, in principle, be proven. Neitheris this to suggestthat, because it couldnt be formally demonstrated, we wouldntotherwise know weddiscovered same.80) A long time ago, my graduate research was in neuroendocrinologyAlso, theemergentist heuristic of something more from nothing but may haveimplications forsome of the difficulties that remain in our understanding ofconsciousness? As far asphilosophic accounts of same, my overall theological perspectivedoesnt turn on whetheror not Dennett, Searle, Chalmers, Penrose, Ayn Rand or theChurchlands are correct (visa vis the positivistic elements of their accounts), although, presently,Im leaning towardDeacons rather peircean biosemiotic perspective.81) For me to have written this: "Neither is this to suggest that,because it couldntbe formally demonstrated, we wouldnt otherwise know wed
  • 43. discovered same," maybe Iwas talking about both? I purposefully left the categorization of anyTOE open to teaseout different perspectives. My take, to avoid being too coy, is that aTOE requires morethan a positivistic focus. It necessarily involves a broadening of ourscientific focus toembrace the additional concerns of the philosophic. Some folks gofurther.82) Its my guess that Baldwinian evolution captures manyimaginations because itemploys the notion of downward causation. Furthermore, if oneframes up the problem ofconsciousness biosemiotically, in some sense one recovers the classicaristotelian notionsof material, formal and final causality. Exciting? Yes. But ...83) However, one doesnt need to a priori dismiss cartesian dualismand neither doesone need to a priori embrace a fully reductionistic philosophy of mind(including thephysical causal closure of the universe) to, at the same time, recognizethat suchbiosemiotic accounts do not, necessarily, violate known physical lawsor the idea ofphysical causal closure. In other words, there can be strong and weakversions ofdownward causation, both being both nonphysical and nonreductive,and theemergentistic, biosemiotic account of evolving complexity utilizes theweak version. Thisdoes involve a work-around of frameworks that employ strictlyefficient causation.84) What might some of us do with our imaginations? Well, we mightinvokevarious analogies from different physical and/or semiotic accounts toour philosophic,metaphysical and even theological accounts. And, sometimes, wemight lose sight of howprogressively weak these analogies can become.85) I suppose I could at least be pleased that Dawkins did not considermystics andobscurantists to be a redundancy? My charitable interpretation wouldbe that herecognized that the conscious and deliberate invocation of analogies byauthentic mystics,who have their eyes open to this analogical dynamic (apophatically
  • 44. inclined as they are!),is valid (even if he might impute little pragmatic cash value to same),while, for theirpart, the obscurantists might even altogether deny the metaphoricaland analogical natureof their extrapolations (not necessarily in bad faith). [The evidence infavor of acharitable interpretation is not being weighed here.] At any rate, themedieval scotisticnotion of the formal distinction, the peircean distinction betweenobjective and physicalreality, and the semiotic notion of form realism dont invite ghosts intomachines or godsinto gaps. Metaphorically and analogically, and metaphysically,however, differentnotions of causation are ... let me say ... interesting.86) All that said, consciousness remains way overdetermined,scientificallyspeaking, as well as, philosophically speaking, both epistemologicallyand ontologicallyopen (as far as strongly emergent, weakly supervenient systems areconcerned, not to saythat supervenience might not be a rather trivial notion). Pugh may beon to something: Ifour brains were so simple we could understand them, we would be sosimple that wecouldnt (or something like that). I submit we have no a priorijustification for selecting aphilosophy of mind and precious little a posteriori warrant either. Gunto my head,however, I like Deacon (and his important nuances of the accounts ofDennett andDawkins re: memetic, genetic and computational fallacies).87) Godels relevance to a TOE is controversial. Id be willing to argueboth sides.But let me agree with you by suggesting physics is formal andphysicists (and Nature andGod) are not, by drawing a distinction between proving and knowing,by recognizing thateven if a TOE was mathematically formulated in apositivistic/descriptive framework,wed have to fall back on our philosophic/evaluative framework tojustify our faith in it.88) In reading Hawkings take on Godels relevance to a TOE he doesseem to drawan obvious direct metamathematical connection? But I cannot say that
  • 45. he did sounequivocally because almost everything else he said after that clearlyinvoked Godelanalogously. So, at the very least, per Hawking, a physical theory isgoing to be Godellike(M-theory per his discussion). Hawkings lecture can be heard here:http://www.damtp.cam.ac.uk/strtst/dirac/hawking/audio.ram89) I can better wrap my positivistic mind around a weak anthropicprinciple in thesame way I can accept weak versions of downward causation and weakdeontologicalethics even as I do not a priori rule out the strong versions. Heideggersquestion has beenrephrased, lately, as Why is there something and not rather somethingelse? and thismakes the strong anthropic principle more compelling in somephilosophic frameworks(but understandably trivial in others). Wittgensteins Its not howthings are but that thingsare which is the mystical doesnt sway those whod not take existenceas a predicate ofbeing, but what about a bounded existence, a universe in a multiverse,in a pluralisticreality? Maybe there is some univocity of being (Duns Scotist) andsome analogy ofbeing (thomism), too? [For instance, a pan-entheism is monistic,dualistic andpluralistic.]90) Chesterton said that we do not know enough about reality to saythat it isunknowable and Haldane says that reality is not only stranger than weimagine butstranger than we can imagine. They can both be correct. If humankinddoes formulate aTOE, it could well be something we have stumbled over and not ratherworked outthrough hypothetico-deductive and inductive reasoning/imagination.It not only takesfaith and the evaluative aspect of the human knowledge manifold tobelieve a TOE mightbe found. Those epistemic faculties would also necessarily be involvedin the recognitionthat it had indeed been found.91) To the extent that I may have had an agenda (transparent, I hope),and to theextent that agenda has been somewhat of an apologetic invoking
  • 46. various (and sometimessubstantial)degrees of epistemological parity between the worlds great,extantweltanschauungs, I am willing (and, in fact, pleased) to argue this pointin favor of yourconclusion. In that case, perhaps I have been concerning myself withepistemologicalstrawmen or shadowboxing with the philosophical ghosts ofyesteryear, who advocatedlogical positivism, radical empiricism, hyper-rationalism, scientism andsuch or whocountered these with fideism, radical religious fundamentalism andsuch, such advocaciesand counteradvocacies being the obverse sides of the same coin of therealm ofepistemological hubris. As you are aware, neither do I countenance anexcessiveepistemological humility.92) Perhaps we can say that for me to make such points on theIRASnet orMetaNexus would be a preaching to the choir, for the most part, andthat no disciplinehas adopted that usage in a long time. In that case, I agree that I mighthave drawn anunnecessary distinction. Perhaps we can also suggest, however, thatnot everyone,perhaps even most (the un-disciplined), have been successfullyevangelized and that ourtask is not done, our work is otherwise unfinished, and the distinctionfor that audiencethus remains pertinent?93) Theology (forgiving the erstwhile - I hope - extreme scholasticrealism)employed what were known as the scholastic notations. Seminarianswere taught to place,in the margin of their notebooks, little notes indicating whether aproposition was: 1)impossible 2) possible 3) improbable 4) implausible 5) uncertain 6)plausible 7) probable8) certain. Lately, in the modal logic of a) the possible b) the actual andc) the necessary,the latter has been amended to the probable, by some.94) The distinction Id offer here is something like Hume makes re:skepticism andinduction. It is the distinction between the theoretical and the practical.Even if a TOE is
  • 47. beyond our grasp strictly theoretically speaking, all TOEs being fatallyflawed inprinciple, still, from a practical perspective, I think it is fair to say thatwe may be able tojustify our belief in a TOE, someday, in a universally compellingmanner. Does thisundermine my assertions re: Godel? I would say that I meant that it ispossible myassertions could be undermined. How plausible or probable?95) Since I am working on another project re: Criteria for Articulating aTOE, I usedMichaels evocative query as a springboard in constructing myepistemological preambleto that project. Below is my original response, which I then edited andsent along justnow as a much shorter version. I think TOE discussions are central tothe dialoguebetween science and religion. However, they are notoriously difficult toair out on listservforums because too much renormalization is required to translate allhermeneutics into asingle lingua franca with logically compatible concepts and axioms.With that caveat,here it is for the few who may be interested.96) To the extent that I may have had an agenda (transparent, I hope),and to theextent that agenda has been somewhat of an apologetic invokingvarious (and sometimessubstantial) degrees of epistemological parity between the worldsgreat, extantweltanschauungs, I am willing (and, in fact, pleased) to argue this pointin favor of yourconclusion. In that case, perhaps I have been concerning myself withepistemologicalstrawmen or shadowboxing with the philosophical ghosts ofyesteryear, who advocatedlogical positivism, radical empiricism, hyper-rationalism, scientism andsuch or whocountered these with fideism, radical religious fundamentalism andsuch, such advocaciesand counteradvocacies being the obverse sides of the same coin of therealm ofepistemological hubris. As you are aware, neither do I countenance anexcessiveepistemological humility.97) Theology (forgiving the erstwhile - I hope - extreme scholastic
  • 48. realism)employed what were known as the scholastic notations. Seminarianswere taught to place,in the margin of their notebooks, little notes indicating whether aproposition was: 1)impossible 2) possible 3) improbable 4) implausible 5) uncertain 6)plausible 7) probable8) certain. Lately, in the modal logic of a) the possible b) the actual andc) the necessary,the latter has been amended to the probable. In semiotic logic, theapplication of firstprinciples has been nuanced such that excluded middle andnoncontradiction hold or foldbased on modal categories under consideration (for the possible, NCfolds but EM holds;for the actual, NC & EM hold; for the probable, NC holds but EMfolds). Such modallogic reflects ontological vagueness. Such semiotic logic reflectssemantical orepistemological vagueness. Alas, these are oversimplifications, butthey fit your thesis(and mine).98) Of course, a TOE would be, at best, consistent but incomplete. Thatit wouldthus not be absolute follows from any Godel-like implications(arguably even directlyfrom Godel). It then follows that, having no recourse to apodictic proof,we are thrownback on the resources of our evaluative continuum as it works inconjunction with theother aspects of the human knowledge manifold (sensation,perception, cognition,rational continuum, etc), normatively guiding and regulating andlargely capacitatingthem. It thus qualifies my godelian assertions only in the sense thatsuch constraints arenot overcome by JOTS (jumping outside the system, as some cavalierlysuggest) to theextent that we are forever chasing the axioms for our axioms but areovercome by JOTSto the extent that we accept all attempts to justify a TOE as fatallyflawed from atheoretical perspective but not necessarily from a practical perspective.The godelian-likeimplications, though not couched in this manner, are well-inventoriedby Suber in his The
  • 49. Problem with Beginning.99) So, what constitutes very persuasive? Is it not an issue ofjustification? And youhave properly gathered my whole thrust regarding the epistemologicalparity of many ofour extant alternate worldviews: they all fallback on justificationattempts. And thisbrings us to the issue of epistemic virtue and vice and how humankindmight best definesame as a community of inquiry, whose foci of concern variouslyoverlap or not and doso with great existential import and tremendous implications for thetherapies we devisefor what ails us. Finally, we can arbitrate between the worldviews oncewe haveestablished a consensus on epistemic norms, but, if we had those inplace, even now, wedont have enough info to apply them to everyones completesatisfaction. (However, letsnot forget that many are ALREADY and not, rather, Almost Persuaded,as it is re: theirworldviews).100) Alas, this brings us back, full circle, to the question of whether ornot it is justtoo early to tell how a universally compelling TOE might unfold orwhether or not wewill ever truly unweave the rainbow and all of its antecedent causes,theoretically orpractically. The following constitutes a longer response to an above-question.101) The art of epistemological nuance, as I imbibed it from Mothersknee, albeit asan unconscious competent, was handed down to me, not from the longtraditions ofthomism and scotism (which well articulated same), but, from thelonger tradition ofpatristic theology (including dionysian mysticism and otherneoplatonic influences,which would inform our aristotelian perspectives). My presentintuition, which I cannotsubstantiate but will investigate further (some day), is that myepistemological heritagegoes back past the early church fathers, even, to the mytho-poetic-practical mindset of thesemitic imagination circa Hebrew Testament days. Let me elaborate.102) As one looks at the human knowledge manifold, from sensation &
  • 50. perception,emotion & motivation, learning & memory, imagination & intuition,inference &deliberation, from instinctive to affective to cognitive, from nonrationalto prerational torational to suprarational, from noninferential to preinferential toinferential topostinferential, or any way one prefers to dice it and slice it, I suppose itis not entirelyclear, anthropologically, how and when different peoples integrallydeployed thesedifferent aspects. For example, suppose we assume that some of theseaspects constitutewhat we might call the evaluative continuum of the human knowledgemanifold, whileothers moreso represent the rational continuum (all of which is tightlyintegrated).103) Another correspondent has argued with me over whether or notthe early semiticimagination employed any type of inference (more commonly knownas abduction,induction, deduction & transduction). My guess was that surely it didand that the properdistinction between the semitic and hellenistic mindsets, lets say ca.when the Christiantradition was in formation, would not be the latters employment ofinference but, rather,the hellenistic employment of formal/abstract inference in addition toanyinformal/concrete inference. Inference, not otherwise distinguished, issimply abduction,induction and deduction. To say that the mytho-poetic-practicalmindset did not usehumanitys full cognitive capacities, which I do think is possible, maybeeven plausible,is not to say that it did not engage the inferential aspects of the humanknowledgemanifold. Rather, one is suggesting that, perhaps, it did not developformal operationalabilities. It undoubtedly would have developed transductive, inductiveand deductivereasoning and would even have thought abductively about such thingsas coordinatedaction. Still, such reasoning, if concretely operational and not formallyoperational,would not employ the hypothetico-deductive or scientific-inductivereasoning that
  • 51. requires both a more robust abductive facility as well as abstractconceptual abilities.104) Now, one might also say that many of the hellenistic mindset didnot usehumanitys full human knowledge manifold either insofar as manyoveremphasized, to afault, the employment of the rational continuum withoutacknowledging the role of theevaluative continuum. (I have a friend who mourns the day Athensmet Jerusalem). Allthat said, there was apparently a gravitation toward inductive inferencein the semitic anddeductive in the hellenistic.105) We discussed previously that not all logic is binary, that some isfuzzy andcontextual-relational, that we seek symmetry and patterns. TheHebrew literature isreplete with concrete inductive and deductive inference. It gifts us witha heightenedawareness of patterns in creation, for instance. The genius of themytho-poetic-practicalmind renders such inference wisdom and not merely reason. Thatgenius embodieseverything that gives the peircean perspective some of its advantage(while it also has itsdisadvantages) over the classical philosophical traditions insofar as it isconcrete,dynamic, wholistic and relational over against abstract, static, dualisticand ontological(iow, escapes essentialism, nominalism, substantialism, dualism).106) It is Our Story (hence the impetus behind Everybodys Story) thatunifies andgives value to our experience, so we do not want to ignore thisindispensable unifyingelement of the evaluative continuum and concrete inferences (andfaith, iow) even as wedo (and must) transcend the mythical-literal aspect. We mustproactively engage affectivejudgment and imaginative-intuitive thinking integrally, holistically, inconjunction withinferential thinking (whether concretely or abstractly) for optimalinferential performanceis my view. (Scientists with keen aesthetic sensibilities have anadvantage?) Abstract,formal inferential thinking, including the hypothetico-deductive andscientific-inductive,
  • 52. of the formal operational stage of cognitive development, is a morallyneutral activity,which can assist virtue or vice, which can become a fetish, but so canany other aspect ofthe human knowledge manifold (evaluative and rational continuua)that asserts itsautonomy and denies any relationality with the other aspects.107) Theres a lot going on in philosophy that is analogous to whatsgoing on in math(and metamathematics). There is a lot going on in metaphysics that isanalogous to whatsgoing on in theoretical physics. In a nutshell, there are a lot of differentsystems withdifferent axioms and it requires so much careful predication, highnuancing anddisambiguation of concepts before everyone is reading from the samesheet of music thatmost popular philosophical discussion consists of people talking pastone another.Consider the renormalization required in physics as attempts are madeat a grand unifiedtheory because the natures of the alternate decriptions (quantum vsfield vs gravity andsuch) are logically and mutually exclusive. Well, something like that isrequired inmetaphysics as we jump back and forth between substance accounts,process accounts,substance-process accounts, participative accounts, semiotic accountsand so on. Eachaccount attempts to eliminate the ambiguity (paradox) in the nextaccount and createsnew ambiguities of its own. Everytime a philosopher or metaphysicianopens a newhermeneutical window, the axiomatic backdraft shuts anotherepistemological door. Anyattempt to halt an infinite regress seems to introduce some type ofcausal disjunction.Any attempt at self-consistency introduces circular-referentiality.Attempts to banish suchtautologies introduce stipulated beginning (ipse dixit) and questionbegging (petitio)fallacies. Our justification attempts can also fallback on the resourcesof faith andnoncognitive strategies. Paradox is inescapable. There is no consistentaccount that iscomplete. There is no complete account that is consistent. Theseaccounts necessarily
  • 53. utilize some terms univocally and others equivocally. The equivocalcan be either simplyequivocal or analogical. The analogical can be attributive (if real causesand effects areinvoked) or proportional (if we are invoking similarities in therelationships between twodifferent pairs of terms). If such an similarity is essential to those termswe have a properproportinality but if it is accidental we have an improperproportionality, a metaphor.And we use a lot of metaphors, even if physics, and they all eventuallycollapse.108) These accounts are not Nature, so the godelian constraints andgodelian-likeconstraints and attendant justification problems dont apply to Natureper se but only toour attempts to describe nature, which are abstractions. Maybe theclarification we seek islocated in the distinction between a TOE as it might exist in someplatonic heaven andone as might be abstracted by an earthly abstractor. I cannot conceiveof how the latterwould even be possible using human inferential capacities to the extenta TOE ispredicated as a metaphysic and with all metaphysics being pregnantwith some form ofparadox (some multiple birthing and more fecund than others), allmeta-accounts beingfatally flawed (some more morbid than others). If you distinguish thisearthly-abstractedTOE from one existing in a platonic heaven and perceivable from aputative-Gods eyeview by some being univocally predicated as a ConsistentComprehendor, then Godelwould certainly not be lurking and neither would anyone else for whocould afford to paythat kind of epistemological rent?109) But for reasons we both stated before, not even much dependingon how onepredicates a TOE, I dont see it as either a theoretical or practicalconcern except as mightbelong to One predicated, in part, as Primal Ground. [ConsistentComprehendor has beenone of my univocal predications of a hypothetical deity, in fact.110) Ive been giving this much thought of late, especially while readingMerton but
  • 54. also while contemplating "contemplation" and epistemology and suchrelated issues, ingeneral. Increasingly, I feel the need to make the followingdistinction.Whether inascetical or mystical theology, formative spirituality or developmentalpsychology, all asintegrally considered, when one employs the term "simple" or relatednotions like"simplicity," one must be clear as to whether one really means "simpleversus complex"or, rather, "simple versus difficult".Very often, spiritual writers havespoken of simplicityboth with respect to prayer and with respect to certain asceticisms,disciplines andpractices that help to dispose one to prayer, cultivating solitude andnurturing acontemplative outlook. Increasingly, it seems to me that suchsimplicity is moreso of the"simple versus difficult" variety, which is to say that we are talking interms of ease andfacility [Websters 9th definition, below] and not so much of any lack ofcomplexity[Websters 5th definition].111) If contemplation is simple, then I would say that it is simple in thesense that, forthe contemplative, prayer is facile, easy, readily performed. It is notdifficult for theproficient. So it is with most any art, whether pertaining to dance ormusic or athleticism.So it is with many of lifes tasks, whether riding a bike or driving astandard automobile,or performing ones trade as an accomplished technician.112) The underlying deployment of the various aspects of the humanevaluativecontinuum --- from awareness, sensation & perception, emotion &motivation, learning &memory, imagination & intuition, inference & deliberation ---wholistically & integrallyemploying our instinctive, affective and cognitive faculties, is clearlycomplex and not atall "simple" in the sense of being "uncomplicated" or "artless" or such.113) Developmentally speaking, there are no shortcuts to suchsimplicity, to suchartform, to such technical competence, to such proficiency.Preparation throughcatechesis, ongoing cultivation through liturgy and lectio divina,
  • 55. fidelity to law and codeboth obligationally and aspirationally, and commitment to community,all contribute,integrally, toward properly disposing one for higher gifts.114) Now, it is true enough that the Holy Spirit gifts us with charismsthat exceed ournatural talents and with infused prayer that can be received only as giftand that there is asimplicity in such grace that transcends our human categories ofsimple vs difficult,simple vs complex. What I speak of, here, are all of the natural andnormal preparationswe make, no less cooperating with grace, such preparations andpractices being quitecomplex when you think about them, psychologically andepistemologically, even as theyare progressively done with great facility and simplicity, iow,proficiency, through timeand dutiful practice.115) In this sense, contemplation might best be equated with the totaloffering[perhaps, Websters 8th definition] of our entire selves, the totaloblation of our entirelives, the total disposal of our human evaluative continuum, to God.And this offering iswholly, holy whole.116) And this offering is progressively easier, more facile, more simple --- even as itis one of the most complex maneuvers, complicated dance steps, ahuman will everperform. It starts off simple but gets increasingly complex. It starts offdifficult but getsprogressively simple (facile).117) Main Entry: 1sim·plePronunciation: sim-p&lFunction: adjective Etymology: Middle English, from Old French,plain, uncomplicated,artless, from Latin simplus, simplex, literally, single 5 a : SHEER,UNMIXED <simplehonesty> b : free of secondary complications <a simple vitamindeficiency> c (1) :having only one main clause and no subordinate clauses <a simplesentence> (2) of asubject or predicate : having no modifiers, complements, or objects d :constituting a
  • 56. basic element : FUNDAMENTAL e : not made up of many like units <asimple eye>`8 :not limited or restricted : UNCONDITIONAL <a simple obligation>9 :readilyunderstood or performed <simple directions> <the adjustment wassimple tomake>synonym see in addition EASY118) Another angle. Recall the distinctions Washburn made vis a visWilber and thepre-trans fallacies.I built upon these such that, ontologically, wedistinguish between 1)(meta)physical structures, 2) developmental stages and 3) phenomenalstates, while,epistemologically, we distinguish between 1) our environing reality(including ultimatereality), 2) the environed reality (of the human evaluative continuum)and 3) our foci ofconcern (recall Helminiak).119) In terms of simplicity, then, for the proficient on the spiritualjourney, what isgoing on in ones physical structure (psychologically & spiritually,integrally &holistically), where one is re: developmental stages, how the environedreality interactswith the environing reality with ever expanded foci of concern --- all ofthis isincreasingly complex. There is FAR more going on, epistemologicallyand ontologically,with the proficient than there is going on for the novice. If thephenomenal state seems tobe rather quiet, this is only because of the smooth, proficiency andwell-practiced facilityof these advanced parts of the journey. A proficient shifting gears andworking the clutchIS going to be QUIETER than a beginner, who is learning to drive thespiritual motorcar.This is due to a simplicity born of facility and not from a lack ofcomplexity.120) I think it has been a failure to make this distinction that has ledfolks down thepaths of error such as quietism, fideism and such, denigrating variousfaculties of humanknowledge, wrongly deemphasizing various aspects of the humanknowledge manifold,whether the evaluative and/or rational continuum.121) The trick is not to confuse the distinctions we draw between the
  • 57. instinctive andthe affective and the cognitive for dichotomies, which is to say that, inorder to beauthentically human, we employ all of these faculties, in somemeausre, all of the time.There is an inauthenticity, a denial of our own humanity, in beingrationalistic (only thehead) or fideistic/pietistic (only the heart). The point is that there is nosuperiority in thesense that anyone can be an authentic human, even as we note that ittakes some doing.Theresa, the Little Flower, is a Doctor of the Church, so certainlyunderwent anintellectual conversion in addition to any affective, moral, social andreligiousconversions. She may not have led with her intellect, lets say, the wayher fellowCarmelite John of the Cross did, but she did not interfere with its beingtransvalued byher other conversion experiences. Wisdom results. Authenticity is an"accomplishment"of wholeness and intellectual conversion is not to be mistaken foracademic learning,alone. If we first follow Lonergans imperatives to be attent, intelligent,reasonable and soforth, very much matters of the will, too, itll take care of itself in the"simplest" of souls.122) This is not unrelated to Occams Razor and the Law of Parsimony,eh? AndCharles Sanders Peirce suggests that it is the facility with which wecome up with anhypothesis and not the lack of complexity in same that parsimonyshould measure. As faras priesthoods and power-hoarding, or clericalism, although thathappens we do not wantto commit the fallacy of misuse, which argues against something that isotherwise goodand which should only be used properly. Arrogance can be a two waystreet -- one sidearrogating and asserting it has the answers and is here to help and theother sidearrogating and saying it has the answers and needs no help. Alas, goodstorytelling(homiletics) seems to be the best way to reach all audiences.123) .I would agree and qualify that one can, as a proficient, afford tojust look
  • 58. because the look-ers entire evaluative continuum has been so verywell prepared(cultivated, disposed, trained or what have you). Every apophaticmoment contains, forthe proficient, all kataphasis, and every kataphatic moment contains allapophasis, too, asone encounters reality with ones entire evaluative continuumintegrally and holisticallydeployed. The simplicity is real insofar as an organic whole is inoperation and is nototherwise fractured. If the phenomenal state of the contemplative soulresembles that ofone who has merely paused between sensation and abstraction, that isa superficialresemblance because the developmental stages and underlyingstructures could be quitedifferent (formed, for instance, by catechesis, liturgy, lectio divina,moral development,etc a la lonerganian conversions). Of course, it does occur to me thatMaritain has alreadydone this work of drawing such distinctions between philosophicalcontemplation,connaturality, intuition of being, natural mysticism and mysticalcontemplation, etc And,of course, there are all of the problems about the use of the termcontemplation in the firstplace, such as acquired vs infused, etc But I am just toying with whatwe mean and do notmean by simple. The non-reflective aspect is important --- whetherdriving a car, playinga guitar, dancing a ballet or praying. All proficiency seems to movetoward simplicty a lafacility and ease. I do not think Ill be playing Classical Gas tonight,though, on myguitar, no matter how simple it is for Mason Williams!So, with the above caveats in mind, practically speaking, below aresome criteria I have gathered fora fallibilistic attempt at a Theory of Everything:1) Looking for an explanation in common sensical terms of causation isnot unreasonable.2) Looking around at the whole of reality and wondering who, what,when, where, how and why re:any given part of it or re: reality as a whole is a meaningful pursuit.3) Almost everyone comes up with an abduction of God (or per CSP, anargument, by which hesimply means a god hypothesis) or some other-named primal cause of
  • 59. it all.4) Some use a substance approach, describing all of reality in thosethomistic-aristotelian terms likeform, substance, esse, essence and with nuances like analogy of being.It doesnt have explanatoryadequacy in terms of leading to a universally compelling proof throughformal argument in tandemwith empirical experience because, by the time we have suitablypredicated a god-concept, thedissimilarities and discontinuities between God and creature so faroutnumber the similarities that acausal disjunction paradox is introduced. How can a Cause sounrelated to other causes and not at allexplicable in intelligible terms vis a vis other causes really, effectively,efficaciously truly effectanything. Also, substance approaches are too essentialistic, as theywere classically conceived, iow,too static. This has been addressed with substance-process approachesbut these still suffer the causaldisjunct.5) Some describe reality dynamically interms of process and fall intonominalism, violating ourcommon sense experience of reality as truly representative of realmeaning. They account for processand dynamics but do not account for content that is communicated.These explanations, especially ifmaterialist or idealist monisms also tend to fall into an infinte regressof causes. The only way to stopthem is with some type of ontological discontinuity, which introducesthe old causal disjunct.6) Some, seeing this conundrum, with the causal disjuncts andessentialisms of substance approachesand the infinite regressions and nominalism of process approaches,and with the a prioristic contextin which they are grounded, prescind from such metaphysics orontologies to a semiotic approachwhich then avoids nominalism by providing both a dynamic processand content (meaning) andwhich avoids essentialism by being dynamic. It also avoids a causaldisjunction since all of reality isnot framed up in terms of substance and being but rather in semioticand modal terms, such as sign,interpreter, syntax, symbol, such as possible, actual, necessary andprobable. To prescind from theseother metaphysical perspectives does solve a host of problems anddoes eliminate many mutual
  • 60. occlusivities and unintelligibilities and paradoxes, but it still levaes thequestion begging as to theorigin of things like chance, probability, necessity. IOW, oneinescapably must get ontological againto satisfy the human curiosity, not wrongheaded, imo, with respect tocausal inferences that naturallyarise and which, in fact, ground our scientific method andepistemologies. Why? Well, because causesmust be proportionate and whatever or whomever or however theCause of causes, of chances, ofprobabilities is --- is then like the semiotic process and modal realitieswe can describe in many waysbut necessarily unlike them in many more ways.7) Still, Peirce may be right insofar as he suggests that going beyondthis simple abduction to a moreexhuastive description of the putative deity is a fetish (we cant helpourselves), there is a great dealof useful info (pragmatic maxim or cash-value) to be gathered from theanalogies we might thendraw from the semiotic and modal similarities that do exist. God is thusintelligible, not to beconfused with comprehensible.8) So, my thoughts are that we cannot get away from a) some type ofsubstance approach, fromontology, from being, from esse ... if we are to address the paradox ofinfinite regress b) some type ofprocess approach, if we are to avoid essentialism and causaldisjunctions and c) some type of semioticapproach, if we are to avoid nominalism and account for meaning andcommunicative content and d)some type of theistic approach, if we are to avoid leaving the questionsof origin begging and if we aregoing to preserve our common sensical notions of classical causality,upon which much of ourcommunity of inquiry depends, such as re: scientific method.9) This does not mean we can syncretistically and facilely combinethese above approaches into somemaster paradigm of semitoic-substance-process panentheism. There isa problem of renormalization,which is to say that they often employ mutually incompatible andcontradictory terms andapproaches, analogously speaking, sometimes using noneuclideangeometry, sometimes base 2,sometimes spatialized time, sometimes temporalized space, sometimesimaginary numbers. It isanalogous to the same project that would try to combine quantum
  • 61. mechanics with general andspecial relativity to describe quantum gravity. It is not just analogous tothis renormalization inphysics required before a TOE is contrived, the normalization ofphysical theories would itself bepart of the TOE we are working on!10)What happens then is that by the time we finish renormalizing all ofour theories, predicatingand defining and nuancing and disambiguating all of our concepts, wewill have effectively generateda novel language with its own grammar, its own terms ... and it will beso arcane and esoteric andinaccessible ... it would be like reading something that fellow johnboywrote, when he was relating hislatest interpretation of Thomas Merton as seen through a kurt-vonnegutian hermeneutic.11) All of the above notwithstanding, this TOE project is fun and we canglimpse enough insightfrom it to inform our theological anthropologies and formativespiritualities.All I have done thus far hereinabove is to get us to some metaphysicaldeity. What might be Herattributes?See http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=2352Christian Nondualityhttp://twitter.com/johnssylvestBird Photos by David Joseph Sylvestjohnboy@christiannonduality.com
  • 62. Christian Nonduality To Avow & Dis-avow an Axiological Vision of the WholeNEW: CathlimergentInternet Forum If human value-pursuits have both cosmological and axiologicalThe ChristianNonduality Blog aspects, and a cosmology includes both descriptive (scientific,Home positivist) and normative (philosophic) approaches, then whatsRadical Emergence - involved in our axiological pursuits, which are interpretive andNonduality & the evaluative?Emerging Church If a cosmology articulates knowledge, an axiological vision of the wholeEmergence HappensWhen: conveys understanding via an interpretation, which articulates whatTo Avow & Dis-avow Charles Taylor calls a social imaginary, which he describes as muchan Axiological like hometown know-how, this contrasted with scientific andVision of the Whole philosophic knowledge, which are more like map-reading. The socialMontmarte,Colorado Springs & imaginary engages us through stories, narratives, myths and icons.the Kingdom Arguably, the great traditions and many native religions, in one way orWanted: Women another, articulate a pneumatological social imaginary, all invokingWarriors some image of spirit. Evaluatively, these pneumatological socialMaiden, Mother,Crone & Queen: imaginaries address profound human aspirations, hopes, desires; thearchetypes & value pursued is love.transformationEast Meets West Often, our axiological visions of the whole, AVOWs, lose touch withKi, Qi, Chi, Prana & their spirit-filled roots and lose sight of their spirit-animated vision andKundalini we then pursue inordinate desires (Ignatius) with disordered appetitesNo-Self & Nirvana (John of the Cross). Often, these AVOWs operate subconsciously, butelucidated by operate they will - for every human value-pursuit derives from theDumoulin integral relating of our cosmologies and axiologies as the normativeOne: EssentialWritings in mediates between the descriptive and the interpretive to effect theNonduality - a review evaluative, for better or for worse.  This is the basic epistemological Simone Weil architectonic which Ive employed as a heuristic when evaluatingJohn of the Cross human value-pursuits. It has served as a foil and has provided aThomas Merton critique, integrating all of the best insights I have been able to absorbThe True Self from my favorite pastor-theologians, Richard Rohr and Amos Yong,The Passion and contemplative sojourners, Thomas Merton and Thomas Keating.Hermeneutical Much of what Christian Nonduality has been about is exploring, cross-Eclecticism &Interreligious culturally and interreligiously, the role of contemplation, a nondualDialogue stance, 3rd Eye seeing and such on the transformative journey. MoreThe Spirit needs to be said about  basic religious formation and how it fits into Christian Nonduality this architectonic, theoretically. Even more needs to be said about themore on Nonduality practicalities of religious formation. Im very pleased to report that allThe Contemplative of this has already been said and it has been said so very well by JamieStance Smith.HesychasmMysticism - properlyconsideredKarl RahnerWounded InnocenceRogation DaysRadical Orthodoxy
  • 63. Presuppositionalismvs Nihilism?ScienceEpistemic VirtuePan-semio-entheism: apneumatologicaltheology of natureArchitectonicAnglican - RomanDialogueThe Ethos of ErosMusings on PeirceEskimo Kiss Waltzthe Light Side ofDark ComedyBlog VisitsOther OnlineResourcesAre YOU Going toScarborough Fair? Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and CulturalSuggested Reading Formation (Cultural Liturgies) (Paperback) by James K. A. Smith isTim Kings Post the most stimulating and enriching book Ive read this year (andChristian Blog Rohrs latest is pre-ordered).  It resonates beautifully with my own The Dylan Mass axiological vision of the whole. It affirms the primacy of our affective,If You Are In desiring, loving self without asserting its autonomy from our cognitive,Distress, Spiritual orOtherwise propositional, thinking (and even believing) self. It recognizes that an axiological vision of the whole operates, even if subconsciously andpending implicitly, in the quasi-liturgies of mall and marketplace and urges aThe Great Traditionproperly conceived conscious-competence on us all in our rituals, practices and liturgies.Postmodern Others say this much better:ConservativeCatholic Pentecostal From Amazon: Desiringthe Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation (Cultural Liturgies) (Paperback) Malls, stadiums, and universities are actually liturgical structures that influence and shape our thoughts and affections. Humans--as Augustine noted--are "desiring agents," full of longings and passions; in brief, we are what we love. James K. A. Smith focuses on the themes of liturgy and desire in Desiring the Kingdom, the first book in what will be a three-volume set on the theology of culture. He redirects our yearnings to focus on the greatest good: God. Ultimately, Smith seeks to re-vision education through the process and practice of worship. Students of philosophy, theology, worldview, and culture will welcome Desiring the Kingdom, as will those involved in ministry and other interested readers. From the Back Cover A Philosophical Theology of Culture Philosopher James K. A. Smith reshapes the very project of Christian education in Desiring the Kingdom. The first of three volumes that will ultimately provide a comprehensive theology of culture, Desiring the Kingdom focuses education around the themes of liturgy, formation, and desire. Smiths ultimate purpose is to re-vision Christian education as a formative process that redirects our desire toward Gods kingdom and its vision of flourishing. In the same way, he re-visions Christian
  • 64. worship as a pedagogical practice that trains our love."James Smith shows in clear, simple, and passionate prose whatworship has to do with formation and what both have to do witheducation. He argues that the God-directed, embodied love thatworship gives us is central to all three areas and that those concernedas Christians with teaching and learning need to pay attention, first andlast, to the ordering of love. This is an important book and one whoseaudience should be much broader than the merely scholarly."--PaulJ. Griffiths, Duke Divinity School"In lucid and lively prose, Jamie Smith reaches back past Calvin toAugustine, crafting a new and insightful Reformed vision for highereducation that focuses on the fundamental desires of the human heartrather than on worldviews. Smith deftly describes the liturgies ofcontemporary life that are played out in churches--but also in shoppingmalls, sports arenas, and the ad industry--and then re-imagines theChristian university as a place where students learn to properly lovethe world and not just think about it."--Douglas Jacobsen andRhonda Hustedt Jacobsen, Messiah College; authors ofScholarship and Christian Faith: Enlarging the Conversation"This is a wise, provocative, and inspiring book. It prophetically blursthe boundaries between theory and practice, between theology andother disciplines, between descriptive analysis and constructiveimagination. Anyone involved in Christian education should read thisbook to glimpse a holistic vision of learning and formation. Anyoneinvolved in the worship life of Christian communities should read thisbook to discover again all that is at stake in the choices we make aboutour practices."--John D. Witvliet, Calvin Institute of ChristianWorship; Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary The Naked Now: Learning to http://twitter.com/johnssylvestSee as the Mystics See(Paperback)For Christians seeking a way of thinking outside of strict dualities, this guide exploresmethods for letting go of division and livingin the present. Drawn from the Gospels,Jesus, Paul, and the great Christiancontemplatives, this examination revealshow many of the hidden truths ofChristianity have been misunderstood or lostand how to read them with the eyes of themystics rather than interpreting themthrough rational thought. Filled withsayings, stories, quotations, and appeals tothe heart, specific methods for identifyingdualistic thinking are presented with simplepractices for stripping away ego and the fear of dwelling in the present.
  • 65. Christian Nondualityhttp://twitter.com/johnssylvestBird Photos by David Joseph Sylvestjohnboy@christiannonduality.com
  • 66. CHRISTIANNONDUALITY . COM  B LOG   beyond thinking & proposing to imagining & participatingHome About The Emerging Church is BIGGER than Christianity – how to spot  it in other traditions JB on March 23, 2010 in  Uncategorized  | No Comments »  Per the Pneumatological Imagination , because there is one  Spirit, Who is Holy : 1 ) In each of the great traditions, the  esoteric  and mystical  will present in terms of: a) some form of  critical realism  in their axiological epistemologies b) a critical scriptural scholarship c) a nondual, contemplative stance  toward reality d) social  justice  component in their  eschatological realism e) an eternal  now awareness  permeating their temporal milieu f) an institutionally marginalized  yet still  efficacious voice of  prophetic protest g) a solidarity  with and preferential  option for the marginalized h) a deep compassion  ensuing from an awakening to a profound solidarity i) broadly inclusivistic and  ecumenical  sensibility j) emergent, novel structures that are radically  egalitarian 2 ) Esoteric experimentation  and mystical realization  can be pragmatically cashed out in terms of a  growth in human authenticity . That is to say that they will result in conversion, growth and  development in our intellectual, affective, moral, sociopolitical and religious spheres of existence. 3 ) Counterintuitively to many, humankind ’s aspirations  to inter ­religious unity  would proceed  more swiftly and with less hindrance  — not first by unitive strivings on the exoteric plane of religious  reality via some putative reconcilement of otherwise disparate mythic elements  vis a vis  our  cognitive propositions  between  our traditions, but rather  —  by better  fostering greater degrees of  esoteric experimentation and mystical realization  vis a vis  our participatory imaginations  within   our traditions.  This is to  suggest that, transformatively, the  performative  enjoys primacy over  — but not  autonomy from  — the informative . Good News, then, enjoys a primacy over good   knowledge . 4 ) Put differently, orthopraxy  authenticates  orthodoxy  and is first mediated by orthopathy  in  orthocommunio . Put simply,  belonging  precedes  behaving  which precedes  believing . 5 ) In each of the  Great Traditions and in many indigenous religions, an authentic theological  anthropology typically emerges whenever a cohort of practitioners moves beyond an  exoteric  mythic spirituality  to also practice an  esoteric mystical spirituality . Both mythic and  mystical spiritualities are practiced in all traditions and some mystical elements are introduced at  every stage of faith development. So, the emergence of a  mystical  cohort  then presents in varying  degrees of mystical realization and not, rather, as an either ­or binary reality. This is a profoundly  relational and participatory reality, which cashes out its value in terms of  intimacy . 6 ) However one conceives different value ­realization  approaches to reality, those approaches are  each  methodologically ­autonomous  but all axiologically ­integral . That is to simply say  that all are necessary, none  sufficient, in every human value­realization. (See  note  below for various  approaches.) 7 ) My value ­realization conceptions are  irreducibly  tetradic . Each tetrad functions as a  holon  or  fractal unit  which, in various  ways, will correspond to  truth | beauty | goodness | unity . 8 ) Sometimes explicitly and well formulated, at other times implicitly and inchoately, such an  axiological epistemology  finds expression in Continental phenomenology and American  pragmatism, also in various strands of Islamic, Hindu and Buddhist philosophies. 9 )  An authentic axiological epistemology will  necessarily extend from an  evolutionary  (naturalistic)  epistemology . 10 )  An authentic  theological anthropology , as a theology of nature, will then necessarily  extend from both an evolutionary  epistemology,  scientifically , and an axiological epistemology,   philosophically . Note: tetradic  — employing categories like truth|beauty|goodness|unity and  orthodoxy|orthopathy|orthopraxy|orthocommunio and creed|cult|code|community and  descriptive|evaluative|normative|interpretive and science|culture|philosophy|religion and  theoretic|heuristic|semiotic|dogmatic and objective|subjective|intraobjective|intersubjective
  • 67. The above is a companion piece to this post:10 Emerging Church Questions: Discovering What You Already Know but maybe didn’t realize you knew it (Walker Percy­ism) Send article as PDF to  Enter email address   Send    Tags:  axiological epistemology ,  axiologically ­integral ,  b e h a v i n g ,  believing ,  belonging ,  compassion , contemplative stance ,  critical realism ,  critical scriptural scholarship ,  ec umen i c a l ,  eg ali t ar i an , eschatolgical realism ,  esoteric ,  Esoteric experimentation ,  esoteric mystical spirituality ,  Eternal Now , evolutionary epistemology ,  exoteric mythic spirituality ,  fractal unit ,  Good News ,  Great Traditions , holon ,  h u m a n   a u t h e n t i c i t y ,  inclusivistic ,  institutionally marginalized ,  inter ­religious unity , methodologically autonomous ,  m y s t i c a l ,  mystical realization ,  naturalistic epistemology ,  nondual , orthocommunio ,  orthodoxy ,  orth op ath y ,  o r t h o p r a x y ,  performative ,  preferential option for the poor , prophetic protest ,  social justice ,  solidarity ,  tetradicAbortion & the Senate Healthcare Bill – a prudential judgment JB on March 21, 2010 in  Uncategorized  | No Comments »  Prudential judgment  is also needed in applying moral principles  to specific policy  choices  in areas such as the war in Iraq, housing, health care, immigration, and  others. This does not mean that all choices are equally valid, or that our guidance  and that of other Church leaders is just another political opinion or policy  preference among many others. Rather, we urge Catholics to listen carefully to the  Church’s teachers when we apply Catholic social teaching to specific proposals and  situations. The judgments and recommendations that we make as bishops on  specific issues do not carry the same moral authority as statements of universal  moral teachings. Nevertheless, the Church ’s guidance on these matters is an essential resource for  Catholics as they determine whether their own moral judgments are consistent with  the Gospel and with Catholic teaching. Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship: A Call to Political  Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops of the United StatesRegarding the matter of abortion and the Senate Healthcare bill, the following exchanges between contributors to  First Things  and Vox Nova  are instructive.In the first instance, consider the role of prudential judgment  in the context of the war in Iraq:Aphorisms, Sartre, Bishops, and Prudential Judgment by Richard John Neuhaus (2007) Neuhaus Annoys Again at Vox Nova (2007)In the next, see how it plays into the debate surrounding abortion and the Senate Healthcare Bill:The Captivity Of  ‘Catholic ’ Witness by Charles J. Chaput   Chaput is Right, Chaput is Wrong at Vox NovaAn important take ­away from these types of debates is that there is an important distinction to be drawn between  moral  judgments and prudential  judgments. Equally significant, our Church leaders deserve deference  — not just regarding moral judgments, but — when they share their prudential judgment. This is to affirm that their teachings and recommendations are an indispensable resource for the faithful even regarding  empirical  and practical  matters that are essentially  strategic  and political  and not otherwise solely  moral  in nature.All of the above considered, then, real questions are left begging by the Archbishop of Denver, Charles J. Chaput, as  he writes : Groups, trade associations and publications describing themselves as  “Catholic ” or  “prolife ” that endorse the Senate version  – whatever their intentions  – are doing a  serious disservice to the nation and to the Church, undermining the witness of the  Catholic community; and ensuring the failure of genuine, ethical health­care  reform.  By their public actions, they create confusion at exactly the moment  Catholics need to think clearly about the remaining issues in the health ­care debate.   They also provide the illusion of moral cover for an unethical piece of legislation.
  • 68. How broadly or how narrowly should we conceive this referent:  “the witness of the Catholic community ”? Does the phrase “whatever their intentions ” refer to empirical findings, practical determinations, strategic considerations, political opinions, legislative rubrics, legal interpretations, technical matters and policy preferences? all which can differ even among those who otherwise agree, in every respect, regarding the moral realities?In other words, when it comes to the  “Senate version, ” are the prudential judgments and policy recommendations of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops  the sole witness  of the Catholic Community?Why should the USCCB’s prudential judgment not be placed in dialogue with:  1 ) the Editors of Commonweal , who write: In fact, the longer one looks at the  Stupak Amendment and the Senate compromise, the less different they seem. Insofar  as there is a difference, the Stupak Amendment may be better—it’s certainly clearer  and simpler. But the difference is technical, not moral. It should not keep Catholics  who are both prolife and pro ­reform from supporting this important legislation. 2 ) the Editors of the National Catholic Reporter, who recognize: In any event,  what is being debated is not the morality of abortion but the politics of abortion,  and there is plenty of room for honest and respectful disagreement among Catholics  about politics. 3 ) Fr. Robert Imbelli , who says: It might be of help, then, if all sides were to  acknowledge the fallibility of their prudential judgment, and that it is entered upon  with a certain salutary “fear and trembling, ” since so much is at stake.   4 ) Matthew Boudway , who directs us to  Timothy Stoltzfus Jost ’s dialogue   with the USCCB: Jost’s response is a model of courtesy, scruple, and analytical  sobriety. He looks at every feverish speculation advanced by prolife opponents of  the Senate bill and heads it off at the pass. He offers the economic and historical  context without which it is impossible to understand what ’s really at stake. He offers  good prolife reasons to support the Senate bill (now the only bill worth talking  about). 5 ) NETWORK, A National Catholic Social Justice Lobby , which released the  text of a letter to Congress supporting healthcare legislation from organizations and  communities representing tens of thousands of Catholic Sisters and asserted that the  Senate bill will not provide taxpayer funding for elective abortions. 6 ) the Catholic Health Association of the United States , which emphasizes  that the  CHA has a major concern on life issues : We said there could not be any  federal funding for abortions and there had to be strong funding for maternity care,  especially for vulnerable women. The bill now being considered allows people  buying insurance through an exchange to use federal dollars in the form of tax  credits and their own dollars to buy a policy that covers their health care. If they  choose a policy with abortion coverage, then they must write a separate personal  check for the cost of that coverage. 7 ) David Gibson , who represents: A close reading of the two bills, however,  informed by analyses from a range of experts, reveals that the pro­life claims about  the Senate bill and its abortion financing provisions are, in fact, mistaken. Indeed,  the Senate bill is in some respects arguably stronger in barring abortion financing  and in promoting abortion reduction. 8 ) Retired Bishop John E. McCarthy , who told The Associated Press on  Wednesday that he is as opposed to abortion as every other bishop and that the bill  before Congress would guard against the use of taxpayer funds to pay for it. 9 ) Fr. Thomas Reese , who points out: The disagreement is not over the morality  of abortion or federal funding for abortion. The disagreement is over the meaning of  the legislative language dealing with health insurance exchanges and community  health clinics in the Senate bill. Catholic social teaching has always acknowledged  that on the application of principles, Catholics can disagree even if adherence to the 
  • 69. principles must be unbending. The area of disagreement in this case is not over  principle but over the interpretation of legal language. Neither the sisters nor the  bishops have any special charism when it comes to interpreting legislative language  or predicting how legislation will be interpreted by the courts. 10 ) Bishop of Sioux City, R. Walker Nickless, who wrote regarding healthcare:   But how to do this is not self­evident. The decisions that we must collectively make  about how to administer health care therefore fall under “prudential judgment. ” When Archbishop Chaput suggests  that people who claim to be Catholic and then publicly undercut the teaching and leadership of their bishops spread confusion, cause grave damage to the believing community and give the illusion of moral cover to a version of health care  “reform” that is not simply bad, but dangerous  …  certainly  he does not refer to those who disagree with the bishops’ conference on substantive prudential grounds?Certainly, he refers only to those who  thoughtlessly disregard or cursorily dismiss the teachings and recommendations of the bishops, or worse, who engage others intemperately or uncivilly or, perhaps saddest of all, who most blatantly undercut their prudential competence, for example, like the late  Fr. John Neuhaus, who wrote : While individual bishops may be prudentially gifted or challenged, problems are multiplied when prudential judgments issue from the bureaucratic sausage ­grinder of the bishops ’ conference.  Fr. Neuhaus, in First Things , continued: And, of course, the sex abuse crisis that broke open in January 2002 took its toll on  the bishops ’ credibility and self­confidence in issuing pronunciamentos  on subjects  beyond their self­evident competence. Catholics and others adopted a large and  understandable measure of skepticism about what bishops had to say. If they had so  gravely bungled the tasks that are unquestionably theirs —to teach, sanctify, and  govern —why should people pay attention to what they say about matters beyond  their ostensible competence? This is not to question but, on the contrary, to  underscore episcopal competence on matters of faith and morals. On most questions of domestic and foreign policy, it only compounds the problem to  declare that they are  “moral questions ” and are therefore encompassed within  episcopal charism and competence. Such overreach only invites critics to claim,  putting it bluntly, that the bishops don ’t know what they are talking about, or at  least don ’t know any more than is known by the well ­informed citizen. Archbishop  Dolan noted that, in recent years, the bishops in the conference have learned this  lesson and have been focusing their attention  ad intra rather than ad extra,  concentrating on matters clearly within their competence and authority as teachers  of the Church.When all the political dust settles and rhetorical heat cools, there will be plenty of opportunity to conduct a post mortem  on who was undercut by whom and how and who was ineffective because of self­defeating tactics.The witness of the Catholic Community, broadly conceived, will remain vibrant and effective. Sure, there will often be those isolated individuals who do disservice to nation and Church, but the overall tone and tenor and substance of our Catholic Community’s contributions to the latest healthcare deliberations, which are evidenced in the points and counterpoints below and the discussions referenced hereinabove, in my view, are a reality worth celebrating. I am grateful to our bishops’ conference and to our various pro ­life Catholic groups, trade associations and publications for their contributions in the public square. POINTUSCCB Health Care Reform websiteU.S. Bishops Provide Resources Explaining Flaws in Senate Health Care BillBishops to House of Representatives: Fix Flaws or Vote No on Health Reform BillUnited States Conference of Catholic Bishops Letter to House Members on Health Care legislationHealth Care Reform and the Pro ­Life Agenda, by Richard DoerflingerHealth Care Reform and the Pro ­Life Agenda 2, by Richard DoerflingerIssues of Life and Conscience in Health Care Reform: A Comparison of the House and Senate Bills COUNTERPOINTNuns: Vote for health bill would be  ‘life­affirming ’ Prolife, Yes, & Pro­reform a Commonweal EditorialEditorial: National Catholic Reporter backs health billTimothy Stoltzfus Jost of Washington and Lee law school
  • 70. The House Health Reform Bill: An Abortion Funding Ban And Other Late ChangesWHAT ’S WRONG WITH THE SENATE HEALTH CARE BILL ON ABORTION? A response to Professor Jost from the USCCBTimothy Stoltzfus Jost of Washington and Lee law school  – Response to Bishops  Two Catholic, pro ­life supporters back Senate billThe Senate Bill Funds Abortions? Nope, and It ’s More Pro­Life Than the House Version by David GibsonAbortion Language in Health Bill Pits Catholic Against Catholic By  David GibsonPro­life Rep. Perriello Says Abortion Concerns Eased, May Back Health Bill By  David GibsonBishops Oppose Health Bill, Still Claiming It Could Fund Abortions By  David GibsonThe Devil in the Details by Robert P. Imbelli“Crying Wolf” by Mollie Wilson O ’Reilly  Jost answers the USCCB’s prolife office by Matthew Boudway   Pro­life Rep. Tom Perriello backs Senate bill ’s abortion safeguards by David Gibson  The USCCB ’s ‘worst case scenarioism ’ by Grant Gallicho   The problem with last ­minute legislation by Matthew Boudway Fear, Trembling, and Trepidation by Robert P. Imbelli “False claims ” by Mollie Wilson O ’Reilly  Catholic Nuns Support House Passage of HCR by Eduardo Pe ñalver Catholic Health Association Prez:  ‘The Time Is Now for Health Reform. ’ by Grant Gallicho Does the Senate bill fund abortion? by Matthew BoudwayBelow is my response to  The Captivity Of  ‘Catholic ’ Witness by Charles J. Chaput:    Some here have already drawn the relevant distinction between  moral and  prudential  judgments. And while the prudential judgments and recommendations of  a bishops ’ conference do not carry the same moral authority as their statements of  universal moral teachings, still, as a Catholic, I very seriously consider those  judgments and recommendations in my own deliberations. That is to say that I  believe that the teachings and recommendations of our bishops are an indispensable  resource for the faithful, even regarding empirical and practical matters that are  essentially strategic and political and not otherwise solely moral in nature.  Furthermore, our bishops deserve respect and deference, even on such prudential  matters, and should not be undercut by incivility and intemperate speech. I have to agree with Archbishop Chaput that attack­ads against Congressman Bart  Stupack and E. J. Dionne’s hypothetical sanctioning of moral opprobrium against  the bishops are examples of the worst side of Catholic witness. Some might recall the  following lament regarding certain alleged past failures of the bishops to distinguish  between moral and practical matters, a conflation once described here on FT as  overreach : “While individual bishops may be prudentially gifted or  challenged, problems are multiplied when prudential judgments issue  from the bureaucratic sausage ­grinder of the bishops ’ conference. ” That  rhetorical heat, from the late Fr. John Neuhaus, was another sad example of the  worst side of Catholic witness as he, too, publicly undercut the teaching and  leadership of the bishops on prudential matters. In the same vein, other forms of ad  hominem s and innuendo (including the overuse of  ‘apostrophes ’ and italics and  quotations  – e.g. ‘Catholics ’ – to characterize others as  so­called  or quasi and any  overuse of the word  alibi in characterizing others’ motives in one ’s writings) also  contribute to the worst side of Catholic witness. Who hasn ’t thus lapsed? On the  other hand, such lapses become defining moments if followed by enough reinforcing  moments as isolated excusable events become unacceptable patterns. All that said,  ad hominem s and tu quoque s aside, I don’t consider polite public  disagreement with the bishops on prudential matters to be an undercutting of their  teachings and recommendations. I’m sure Archibishop Chaput is not suggesting  THAT! Accordingly, I respectfully disagree with the bishops’ conference regarding their  empirical and practical assessment of the Senate healthcare bill  vis a vis  abortion  funding. Timothy Stoltzfus Jost, a host of historically pro ­life House & Senate  members, Retired Bishop John E. McCarthy, the Catholic Health Association and  many others, in my view, make a much more compelling case regarding the  pertinent facts and interpretations of the proposed legislation than Richard  Doerflinger, just for example. No need to rehash them here.Send article as PDF to  Enter email address   Send    
  • 71. Tags:  Archbishop Dolan ,  Catholic Health Association ,  Catholic social teaching ,  Charles J. Chaput ,  C o m m o n w e a l ,  David Gibson ,  First Things ,  Fr. John Neuhaus ,  Fr. Robert Imbelli ,  Fr. Thomas Reese ,  Grant  Gallicho ,  John E. McCarthy ,  Matthew Boudway ,  Mollie Wilson OReilly ,  National Catholic Reporter ,  NETWORK ,  politics of abortion ,  prolife ,  Prudential judgment ,  R. Walker Nickless ,  Richard Doerflinger ,  Senate Healthcare bill ,  S t u p a k   A m e n d m e n t ,  Timothy Stoltzfus Jost ,  Tom Perriello ,  United States  Conference of Catholic Bishops ,  Vox Nova10 historical developments propelling Emerging Christianity ~ Richard RohrJB on March 13, 2010 in  Practices & Experiences , Uncategorized , the interpretive  ­ Religion | No Comments »  10 historical developments propelling Emerging Christianity Excerpted from 14 | THE TABLET  | 6 February 2010  :  The emerging Christianity movement  – Richard Rohr  ∙  recovery of   contemplative  tradition (Thomas Merton)∙ critical  biblical scholarship  on a broad ecumenical level∙ new global  sense of Christianity∙ new ability to distinguish the essentials  from the incidentals in church practice & teaching∙ broad awareness that Jesus was teaching  peacemaking, simplicity, love of Creation∙ concerned with healing and transformation of persons & society  on earth  as it is to be in heaven∙ charismatic  movement,  experiential  Christianity & a more  Trinitarian  theology∙ developing spirituality & theology of  non ­violence∙ new structures  of community and solidarity∙ non ­dualistic thinking : a non­oppositional, contemplative mind and heartJoin our conversation  at Cathlimergent  !Send article as PDF to  Enter email address   Send    Why Brian McLaren’s Greco­Roman Narrative is NOT a caricature JB on March 2, 2010 in  Axiological , Cosmological , Methods & Approaches , Practices & Experiences , Provisional Closures & Systems , the descriptive  ­ Science , the evaluative  ­ Culture, the interpretive  ­ Religion, the normative  ­ Philosophy  | No Comments »  Why Brian McLaren’s Greco ­Roman Narrative is NOT a caricature of modernistic aspects of our religious traditions:St. Bernard described a developmental trajectory for our relationship with God: 1) love of self for sake of self 2) love of God for sake of self 3) love of God for sake of God and 4) love of self for sake of God.Thomas Merton described a similar trajectory in our stages of humanization, socialization and transformation. Humanization and socialization help form what he called our False Self. Transformation forms our True Self.Richard Rohr draws a distinction between our problem ­solving, dualistic mindsets and our nondual, contemplative stance toward reality.Such distinctions describe the faith journeys of all of our great traditions with their various exoteric and esoteric aspects.The exoteric dimension engages reality in a more propositional way. That is to suggest that it engages reality with empirical, rational, moral and practical methods. It establishes and defends boundaries. When it encounters paradox, it makes an attempt to resolve, dissolve or evade it. It provides answers to many of our most fundamental questions.The esoteric dimension engages reality in a more participatory and imaginative way. That is to suggest that it engages reality from a more personal, relational perspective. It negotiates and transcends boundaries. When it encounters the paradox in life ’s deepest mysteries, as they impact our most profound values, most cherished longings, most insistent urges and most ultimate concerns, it exploits this paradox by nurturing its creative tensions. It abides in trust and ponders life’s ultimate questions with awe, reverence and love. One might say that the more exoteric aspects of our traditions provide us with the answers to the question of why we should love God, which is to say, for the sake of self. These answers form in us an enlightened self­interest. Early on our journey, our faith is thus more clear but tentative.
  • 72. The more esoteric aspects of our traditions provide us with the answer to the question of why God loves us, which is to say, because we are fashioned in His image and likeness. This answer transforms us and puts us in touch with our True Self. Later on our journey, our faith is thus more obscure but certain.The later stages of Bernardian love do not negate the earlier. Our True Self does not annihilate our False Self. Our nondual, contemplative stance goes beyond but not without our problem ­solving dualistic mindset. The earlier stages of our journey are necessary but simply not sufficient. They are especially insufficient when our goal is a growth in relationship, in intimacy, whether with people or with God.Our Greco ­Roman Narrative, in very many ways, has everything to do with our love of self for sake of self and love of God for sake of self. It is all about our humanization and socialization. It very much engages our problem ­solving, dualistic mindsets with their empirical, rational, moral and practical methods. It very clearly establishes and steadfastly defends all sorts of boundaries. When it encounters paradox, it makes every attempt to resolve, dissolve or evade it. More than anything, this narrative makes an attempt to provide answers toward the end of comprehensively describing and exhaustively norming our engagements with reality. This narrative largely comprises the grand storyline of modern science, philosophy and classical liberal politics. This is a storyline with a great many successes but no too few failures. Some of these failures were of epic proportion and were well chronicled in the writings of Walker Percy, who keenly diagnosed our postmodern malaise.I have already drawn parallels to McLaren and Percy. See, for example:Everything That ’s Old is New Again – this (McLaren ’s “New” Christianity) is truly an old time religion  and also the more fleshed­out, tongue ­partly ­in­cheek version:  A New Kind of Christianity? McLaren didn ’t make this up. It ’s worse than that! . The parallel I wish to offer here is that McLaren’s invitation simply mirrors that of St. Bernard, Thomas Merton, Richard Rohr, Walker Percy and many others in our Christian tradition and, indeed, that of the mystics of all of the Great Traditions. This is an invitation to engage not only the more exoteric but also the more esoteric dimensions of our tradition. And this will have everything to do with our love of God for sake of God and love of self for sake of God! It is all about our transformation and True Self! It will very much engage our nondual, contemplative stance toward reality with its robustly personal and deeply relational approach! When it encounters the paradox in life’s deepest mysteries, it nurtures its creative tensions in abiding trust. With an open mind  it negotiates all sorts of boundaries, with an  open heart  transcends them and with  open arms  welcomes the marginalized! This is the storyline of creation, liberation and reconciliation. THIS is our story! THIS is our song!Now, clearly, McLaren ’s Greco ­Roman Narrative does not describe the best our tradition has had to offer when its exoteric and esoteric dimensions have been properly integrated. Clearly, this integration has indeed been preserved in varying degrees and transmitted to varying extents by manifold and diverse elements of our tradition. To deny this would indeed be a caricaturization. But this is not what I see McLaren doing. Instead, what I take away from his critique is the same lament that’s been heralded in our prophetic tradition since the days of old: God is offering us SO much more! But way too many of us are settling for so much less! That is to say that we need to go deeper and to better integrate the exoteric and esoteric dimensions of our religion.The challenge, as I discern it, is for our institutional structures and non ­institutional vehicles to better foster ongoing intellectual, affective, moral, sociopolitical and religious development and conversion (cf. Lonergan & Donald Gelpi). As created co­creators, our work is to foster True Self­realization and authentic transformation of individuals and society, liberating and reconciling all.Yes, progress has been made.But, if anyone imagines that the critiques of modernistic religion by such as Thomas Merton and Walker Percy, now Richard Rohr and Brain McLaren, are mere caricatures, where MOST religious practitioners are concerned, they are incredibly naive. (Keep in mind, no one is judging the disposition of anyone ’s soul; this is a conversation regarding developmental stages of the journey.) Are we robustly engaging our esoteric dimensions? Rather, do we bog down in the exoteric and render our religion, then, moralistic, legalistic, ritualistic, rationalistic? Take a look around. Listen to the rhetoric  – not just in the pews, but – from our pulpits! What are we mostly talking about? What best describes our predominant way of engaging our God?Send article as PDF to  Enter email address   Send     Tags:  Bernardian love ,  Brian McLaren ,  dualistic mind ,  esoteric religion ,  exoteric religion ,  False Self,  Great Traditions ,  Greco ­R o m a n   n a r r a t i v e ,  h u m a n i z a t i o n ,  mystics ,  n o n d u a l i t y ,  paradox ,  Richard Rohr ,  socialization ,  St. Bernard ,  Thomas Merton ,  transformation ,  True Self,  ultimate concern ,  Walker PercyTHE BOOK: Christian Nonduality – Postmodern Conservative Catholic PentecostalJB on February 19, 2010 in  Axiological , Cosmological , Methods & Approaches , Provisional Closures & Systems, Uncategorized , the descriptive  ­ Science , the evaluative  ­ Culture, the interpretive  ­ Religion, the normative  ­ Philosophy  | No Comments »  See my story:  Christian Nonduality  – Postmodern Conservative Catholic Pentecostal   John Sobert Sylvest  will not be tweeting, blogging or FB peeping this Lent but will be checking e­mail infrequently. Have a holy time    ee you at Sonrise  S  Send article as PDF to  Enter email address   Send  
  • 73.   Tags:  Catholic ,  catholic charismatic ,  conse rvati ve ,  pentecostal ,  postmodern ,  postmodern conservativeThoughts re: today’s debate – Philip Clayton vs Dan Dennett JB on February 16, 2010 in  Axiological , Cosmological , Methods & Approaches , Provisional Closures & Systems, Uncategorized , the descriptive  ­ Science , the evaluative  ­ Culture, the interpretive  ­ Religion, the normative  ­ Philosophy  | 7 Comments  »  Emerson said that God arrives when the  half­gods  depart. Dennett has spent recent years tilting at the windmills of half­gods and imagines himself as Don Quixote. The fact of the matter is that I am largely in agreement with Dennett in that ALL of the gods he’s been dispatching are not worthy of anyone ’s belief. To some extent, it is a matter of two ships passing in the night. We all inhabit elaborate tautologies wherein our syllogistic conclusions are often hidden in the very terms we employ in our premises. So, the first problem will always be the proper disambiguation of terms.If we do employ the same terms, then I think believers must concede that science, philosophy and culture, without religion, can realize truth, beauty and goodness in abundance, even. (At least this is a fundamental premise of anyone who holds a radically incarnational view. Life is good. Living a good and moral life is transparent to human reason.) So, it is not like religion even introduces a new horizon of concern vis a vis values. Values are already in place. Science, then, is descriptive. Philosophy is normative. Culture is evaluative.Religion introduces a question re: truth, beauty and goodness. Even abundance. That question is: Might there be more? Might there be superabundance? Then, in an effort to augment these values, it amplifies the epistemic and existential risks we have already  taken (such as in our falsifiable  science, provisional closures  in philosophy) by venturing forth to further wager with faith, hope  and love . We then cash out the pragmatic value of these wagers by seeing if we have indeed fostered human growth: intellectually, affectively, morally, socio ­politically and religiously.There is no question that the life of religious faith, hope and love is riskier. That’s why it is called FAITH and HOPE. No one is being intellectually dishonest, here. No one is claiming that the Object of our worship can be empirically measured, logically demonstrated or practically proved. We are not saying that our cosmology of descriptive science, normative philosophy or evaluative culture differs one iota from Dennett’s such that WHAT we see when we engage reality is going to be any different. (If someone put a gun to my head, I ’d say consciousness is an emergent phenomenon vis a vis a nonreductive physicalism. But I wouldn ’t lose a wink of sleep if it were wholly reductive. My bets are on a physicalist account of the soul but, if it ended up being a radically Cartesian dualism, it wouldn ’t bother me a bit.)  We do say that HOW we see this cosmology through an axiology, or via our religious interpretive axis, does differ when we imagine that reality has more in store than meets the eye and when we participate together with others in this imaginative vision. While we don’t adjudicate our claims, finally, evidentially, it doesn ’t mean there is no evidence. While we do not demonstrate them conclusively, rationally, it doesn ’t mean that we have no good reasons.  Dennett will point out that all of this behavior has adaptive significance. Who would not disagree with this rather trivial grasp of the obvious?His tautology quits processing reality at this point. No problem.Ours does not.He might invoke Occam ’s Razor. But one can only wield that weapon when one has already achieved explanatory adequacy and is choosing between two equally good explanations. Last time I checked, we have no Theory of Everything and, furthermore, it has just recently dawned on Hawking what others of us have known for decades, which is that Godel ­like constraints (incompleteness theorems) will apply to any and all closed formal symbol systems aspiring to a TOE. It is, ergo, a stalemate.The only enduring question where the 4 Horsemen are concerned is whether or not they are familiar with the work of Judith Martin ?!? There is a fundamental misunderstanding if  anyone thinks people like Phil, Jack Haught, Joe  Bracken et al are making religion look scientific or  are conflating the autonomous methodologies of  science and theology. What they are doing is what  is called a Theology of Nature which begins within  the faith. It is very much akin to St. Francis ’  hymns to nature and to the parables of nature  found in scripture even though it is employing  analogies and metaphors that are derived from  the theory of evolution, speculative cosmology  and the heuristic of emergence, for example. In  this regard, they are not only not doing science,  they are not even doing philosophy or what might  be considered a natural theology. When these gentlemen do begin within 
  • 74. There is a fundamental misunderstanding if  anyone thinks people like Phil, Jack Haught, Joe  Bracken et al are making religion look scientific or  are conflating the autonomous methodologies of  science and theology. What they are doing is what  is called a Theology of Nature which begins within  the faith. It is very much akin to St. Francis ’  hymns to nature and to the parables of nature  found in scripture even though it is employing  analogies and metaphors that are derived from  the theory of evolution, speculative cosmology  and the heuristic of emergence, for example. In  this regard, they are not only not doing science,  they are not even doing philosophy or what might  be considered a natural theology. When these gentlemen do begin within  philosophy, a natural philosophy or natural  theology, their excursion is brief and for the  purpose of disambiguating concepts, clarifying categories, formulating arguments or, in other words, framing up valid questions, which we might consider to be reality ’s “limit questions. ” They do not then aspire to answer these questions such as through formal syllogistic reasoning as if there could be proofs for God ’s existence or final explanations for reality. All a philosophy of nature demonstrates is the reasonableness of our limit questions, questions which cohere with our ultimate concerns.Contrastingly, this is precisely where Dennett et al go astray in that they do claim to have answered such limit questions and to have eliminated the ultimate as a matter of concern. In doing so, it is Dennett who has conflated the otherwise autonomous methods of science and philosophy in what is known as a scientism, a label Dawkins apparently accepts but which Dennett claims is but a caricature of his naturalism, which is not philosophical but, rather, methodological (or so he protested to Jack Haught, when they last debated). This leaves a question left begging, however, for Dennett, which is that  – if he is truly a methodological naturalist, then,  – doesn ’t that mean that, vis a vis reality ’s limit questions, he must either remain, in principle, agnostic or otherwise transparently admit that his position, at bottom, is essentially one of faith, which is what Phil would also admit?The only thing that Dennett will typically counter is that he goes no further than his empirical science and rationalist philosophy warrant, which he manifestly has!What he must admit is that his is a type of faith, too, and that it is warranted. He might also claim that his position has more warrant than that of a believer in God. And our counter might be that our stance, epistemically, is indeed riskier, but that, existentially, this amplification of risks has huge rewards in terms of augmented human values; this value­augmentation is, itself, truth ­indicative. And we must reassert, here, that our stance does not refer to the caricatures of belief that Dennett habitually engages as  strawgods .And thus would commence a whole other debate regarding the nature of justification and warrant.But I doubt seriously Dennett can escape the tautology he ’s trapped in, which ironically, is the same mindset that snares his fundamentalist counterparts. By conflating philosophy and science, both the religious fundamentalists and Enlightenment fundamentalists are committing HUGE category errors and, ergo, represent the obverse sides of the same epistemic coin  — fideism and scientism — neither which has a purchase on reality.Most of all, I really feel sorry for their poor horses  … Their riders are giving horse manure a bad name. Below is a relevant  Tweet Archive : pdclayton7 Okay, so a New Atheist and a Christian Theologian walk into a bar … thoughts on the  Tues. debate with Dan Dennett at http://ow.ly/17mNf 8:49 PM Feb 14th  @pdclayton7  Dennett told Jack Haught he ’s NOT scientistic but a methodological  naturalist. He’s agnostic, not atheistic, re: cosmic origins?  10:31 PM Feb 12th from  web  in reply to pdclayton7 @pdclayton7  Wim Drees’ critique http://bit.ly/9vy00P keeps gods out of gaps,  which is fine; but doesn ’t it validate our limit questions?  11:28 PM Feb 12th from  web  in reply to pdclayton7 @pdclayton7  Does Dennett lose sleep b/c Popperian falsification & solipsism are not  falsifiable or b/c logical positivism is incoherent?  11:32 PM Feb 12th from web  in  reply to pdclayton7 @pdclayton7  re: God, world’s BRIGHTest philosophers tender Scottish verdict =  unproven & not dis/proved. Do Dan’s peers think he ’s bright? 11:36 PM Feb 12th  from web  in reply to pdclayton7 @Cathlimergent  — Thanks for the great suggestions — I’ll keep you posted!  — Philip Below is a bibliography I put together the first time I lost interest in Dan Dennett’s work. Click below to continue >>>
  • 75.  Read the rest of this entry » Send article as PDF to  Enter email address   Send     Tags:  atheism ,  Daniel Dennett ,  Emerson ,  E n l i g h t e n m e n t   f u n d a m e n t a l i s m ,  fideism ,  f u n d a m e n t a l i s m ,  John Haught ,  Joseph Bracken ,  new atheists ,  Philip Clayton ,  Richard Dawkins ,  science and religion ,  scientism ,  theology and scienceEverything That’s Old is New Again – this (McLaren’s “New” Christianity) is truly an old time religionJB on February 15, 2010 in  the interpretive  ­ Religion | 5 Comments »   This is an abridged review. In a New Kind of Christianity, there is a thread in  Brian  McLaren ’s overall thrust that might escape the notice of the casual  reader. That thread combines linguistic and semiotic approaches  that can get very technical and which are very highly nuanced. I  cannot even begin to unpack this observation in the space  provided here. But think in terms of subjects and predicates,  verbs and tenses, literal and figurative, icons and symbols,  intentions and meanings, literary genres and parts of speech. And  think about such as the senses of Scripture, literary criticism and  historical ­critical exegesis. While McLaren well describes the impact of the history of  philosophy as it informs (forms, deforms & misinforms) our  religious beliefs and practices, also embedded in both the history  of philosophy and the history of Christianity are prominent  linguistic and semiotic themes that ask probing questions about  “how it is that we know what we know when we say we know  something ” and “what it is that we mean when we say something  now this way or now that to this audience or that. ”  To that extent, McLaren is squarely in the middle of what I like to call Christianity ’s semiotic tradition . I will not aspire to explicate that case here but I would suggest, for any interested in this angle, that one might explore, for example, whether casually via wikipedia or more depthfully via books, the thoughts of the Kabbalah  (Jewish) and Plotinus (Neoplatonist), Origen and Pseudo ­Dionysius  and John Scottus Eriugena , John Duns Scotus  and John of St. Thomas  (Poinsot),  Charles Sanders Peirce and Walker Percy . I flesh this thesis out here: http://bit.ly/aQV2mSMcLaren is clearly not suggesting that we abandon our creeds, rituals, laws and communities! In so many words, rather, what I hear him saying is: If we have articulated truth in creed, we take care not to let our dogma devolve into  dogmatism . If we have cultivated beauty in the celebration of cult and liturgy, we dare not let it decay into  ritualism. If we have preserved goodness in code and discipline and law, we eschew their degeneration into  legalism . If we have enjoyed fellowship in community, we avoid at all costs any decadent  institutionalism .In my words, not McLaren ’s, his survey of philosophy and theology is an inventory of different types of extremism. His critique is not aimed at our core beliefs but targets, instead, some peripheral tangents. Some really tangential extremes that go too far via idle  speculation , on one hand, or too far with affective  or emotional expressivism, on the other. And, he tends to the balance that needs to be struck between our positive, metaphorical affirmations about God ( kataphatic , via positiva) and that language which increases the accuracy of our God descriptions  – ahem, or should I say, rather, God references  – through negation ( apophatic , via negativa).  What McLaren retrieves, revives and renews is a  balance  that has always been maintained at the center of our tradition. That is to say, then, again in my words, that there has never been anything inherent in our Christian religion that would, in principle, necessarily lend itself to such extremes as rationalism  (an overemphasis on the speculative and kataphatic),  encratism  (an overemphasis on the speculative and apophatic),  quietism  (an overemphasis on the affective and apophatic) or pietism , including an insufficiently nuanced fideism  (an overemphasis on the affective and kataphatic). Again, McLaren is square in the middle of our tradition, along with such apophatic influences in Christianity that drew  – not only from Gospel and Pauline narratives, but  – from Jewish and neoplatonic influences, then continuing through our early church fathers through Pseudo­Dionysius and medievals like Meister Eckhart and Duns Scotus, all the way down to one of McLaren’s favorite novelists, Walker Percy.Finally, McLaren ’s theory of Incarnation, in my view, sits squarely in the middle of the Franciscan tradition of Duns Scotus, which may be what one would consider a  “minority report ” in my own Roman Catholicism, but is clearly nothing that would be considered,  oh my , heterodox. McLaren ’s so­called  “New ” Christianity is going to be new in the sense that, where most modernists are concerned, it is novel  vis a vis  the extreme rationalism and fundamentalism  “gifted” us by modernity and which pervades our approach to ultimate reality. But, in another sense ( see how this works?), there has been a long ­established, even if somewhat esoteric, tradition in Christianity that has always served as a corrective and saving remnant. McLaren’s approach is, in that regard, Olde Time Religion , which is, as they say, good enough for me!Below are some of my redacted comments in response to various  Amazon reviewers . +++
  • 76. The continuity lies in a shared epistemology, which has anthropological   implications. One can share another ’s seamless garment of life ethos, even share  the  exact same epistemic justifications, ontological grounding and deontological   conclusions while rejecting the other ’s practical approaches and political strategies.  +++ JPD, you missed my point. I can’t even recall what McLaren ’s specific views are  re:  the complex moral reality of abortion. My point was that whatever those  views are  vis a vis Percy’s own views they are not dispositive of the larger  issue, which was  that there is a continuity in their pericean ­derived  epistemology, which is a  constructive postmodern approach. This is an approach I consider superior to  either a modernist rationalism or a radical  deconstructionism, which has  everything to do with McLaren ’s critique of the misapplication of the Greco ­Roman  narrative. PERIOD. Any extrapolations beyond that are your strawmen, not mine. In other words, your logic is flawed if you think you can always reason backwards  from one ’s practical approach to an  issue, or from one ’s political strategy regarding  an issue, to what one ’s moral stance must necessarily be regarding that issue, much  less what one ’s metaphysical stance or even epistemology of choice would be. This  is to say, to  make it plainer for you, that McLaren and Percy don’t have to agree on   everything else in order to share an epistemic outlook. Using that line of logic, I’m  surprised you didn’t offer an even more trivial graps of the obvious,  which is that  Percy was a Catholic, while McLaren is not (although that is  apparently a point of  contention for many of his fundamentalistic detractors, and, perhaps, they are not  entirely offbase). There is much too facile an  application of concepts in this thread for there to be any  meaningful discourse,  e.g. liberal and postmodernist. Your unnuanced use of the  word  “postmodernists ” as if it were a blanket pejorative falls into the same category  of offense (tarring too many people w/the same brush) of which you accused   McLaren re: neoconservatives. Tu quoque. +++ RE: Brian McLaren has put his finger on a problem –the  ontotheological critique of  western Christendom by Nietzsche and others –but unfortunately he doesn ’t have  either the chops or the perspective to address it  even adequately, let alone cogently. Yes, Brian sees problems with  metaphysics. And this particular response reveals  some of those problems. One  can still hold to metaphysical and moral realisms  while, at the same time,  recognizing that they are fallible, falsifiable hypotheses.  One practical upshot  of this is that our deontologies should be considered at least as  tentative as  our ontologies are speculative. A modernistic rationalism, then,  “gifts”  people  with a wholly unwarranted apodictic certainty that results in an untenable  epistemic hubris. It is this type of approach to reality that gets all worked up over  the notions offered in a nietzschean nihilism, a sophistic solipsism or  humean  critiques of induction and common sense notions of causality. Human knowledge  doesn ’t advance solely through formal syllogistic reasoning and  abstractions. We  do away with such silliness through an informal reductio ad absurdum, which is to  say that we evade such stupidity by ignoring it, for all  practical purposes, and not,  rather, by formal refutation (or building another  castle in the air a la Kant). At any  rate, there are constructive postmodern  approaches that are superior to both the  classical foundational epistemologies  with their naive realism and the radically  deconstructive forms of postmodernism. One that comes to mind is the semiotic  realism of Charles Sanders  Peirce, whose work largely influenced the great Catholic  novelist, Walker Percy,  who, in turn, has had a profound influence on Brian  McLaren. The above ­critique  of McLaren was facile and too cursorily dismissive. His  peircean ­derived  perspective is most adequate to the task and affirms both  metaphysical and moral  realisms, which is to say, does not at all correspond to the  caricature other  commentators have made of McLaren ’s epistemic stance by  equating it with a  vulgar postmodernism. This ain’t high octane. It ’s high vitriol.   Speaking of First Things, I am pleased to see its sponsorship of a postmodern   conservatism. As for McLaren ’s discussion of the neoconservative approach, it   seems to me that he was critiquing it as a political philosophy, which is to  say, as a  matter of practical judgment, which is methodologically distinct from our moral  calculus and religious beliefs. Some people mistake political ideology  and religion  (and most certainly not readers of FT). +++ This whole notion of Brian’s reinventing Christianity as if what he ’s proposing is  wholly new or even heterodox is being WAY overblown! His  theory of Incarnation  very much resonates with that of Duns Scotus and the Franciscans, who believed  that Jesus ’ coming was not occasioned by any human  felix culpa (oh, happy fault!)  in response to a need for a grand cosmic repair  job for some ontological rupture  located in some vividly ­imagined past. Rather,  the Incarnation was in the divine  cards from the cosmic get ­go as a teleological  striving oriented toward the future  and we are active participants as created  co ­creators. This also resonates with the  teilhardian and whiteheadian  perspectives of process theology. These would be  considered  “minority views ” o f atonement even in Catholicism but they are clearly  not heterodox, except,  perhaps, to fundamentalistic Biblical inerrantists, who  consider a penal,  substitutionary atonement as the only acceptable narrative. +++ Bravo, Michael. And, let ’s hear it for Scripture AND Tradition AND Reason AND  Experience! Enough of this fundamentalistic sola scriptura and solum magisterium  and away with the modernistic rationalism and vulgar  postmodern  deconstructionism. McLaren offers a robustly constructive postmodern critique and  not this strawman caricature ­bogeyman of epistemic and moral  relativism at which  so many continue to take cheap rhetorical shots. Thankfully, at least they know not  to be fooled by relativism. Sadly, they too cursorily  dismiss McLaren’s stance  because they miss the nuance and mistake it for  something it is not.Send article as PDF to  Enter email address   Send
  • 77. Send article as PDF to  Enter email address   Send     Tags:  apophatic ,  Brian McLaren ,  Charles Sanders Peirce ,  encratism ,  fideism ,  John Duns Scotus ,  John of  St. Thomas ,  John Poinsot ,  John Scottus Eriugena ,  Kabbalah ,  kata ph ati c ,  Neoplatonism ,  New Kind of  C h r i s t i a n i t y ,  Origen ,  pietism ,  Plotinus ,  Pseudo ­Dionysius ,  quietism ,  rationalism ,  semiotic tradition ,  Walker PercyA New Kind of Christianity? McLaren didn’t make this up. It’s worse than that!JB on February 13, 2010 in  Axiological , Cosmological , Methods & Approaches , Practices & Experiences , Provisional Closures & Systems , the descriptive  ­ Science , the evaluative  ­ Culture, the interpretive  ­ Religion, the normative  ­ Philosophy  | 11 Comments  »  I will cut to the chase, folks. I ’ve read most everything Brian McLaren ’s written. Most recently,  A New Kind of Christianity . And, while I don ’t go looking for them, it ’s hard to ignore McLaren ’s detractors, whose chief complaint has been that, when it comes to Christianity, he ’s not just coloring outside the lines, he’s actually making stuff up! Now, being very familiar with his body of work and having slowly discerned just what this so ­called heretic has been up to, I ’m afraid the problem with McLaren is really worse than one might first imagine. It seems that few of his critics are even remotely aware of a rather disturbing pattern in his writings, speeches and blogging, a pattern that most egregiously rises to the surface in his answering of the  Ten Questions that are Transforming the Faith , which is the subtitle of  A New Kind of Christianity .The not so plain fact of the matter is that  Brian McLaren  manifestly ain’t making all this stuff up. I say  “not so plain ” because, even when I tell you what ’s really going on, I ’m going to have to rather carefully make my case below. The plain deal is, gentle reader, that McLaren ain ’t fabricating a danged thang. He stole  all this stuff!You heard me right.  This ain’t McLaren’s work.   Now, I can already imagine what you Emergent loyalists are thinking and  can even empathize with how you must feel. I ’ve been there before. My  Sweet Lord! It was 1976. No, this ain ’t no exclamation invoking God in  vain. I ’m talking, rather, about the first solo Beatles single to hit number  one. George Harrison wrote My Sweet Lord  in December 1969. A US  District Court judge in New York ruled in 1976 that Harrison had  subconsciously infringed on the copyright of The Chiffons, who had  recorded  He’s So Fine. So, that’s all I’m saying about McLaren. While he  didn’t manufacture his version of Christianity out of thin air, as his  detractors claim, it is quite possible that he lifted a good bit of his  material, some mindfully, some inadvertently, straight out of the Judaeo ­ Christian tradition. Fortunately, for McLaren, no royalties are due because the Holy Spirit doesn ’t go around charging folks with copyright infringements. If no one picked up on this before, well, that’s likely due to the fact that much of the material that McLaren has, shall we say, re­articulated , is found in the more esoteric  (not to be confused with  heterodox ) aspects of the tradition.Further below, I commence a rather rigorous and technical analysis of  the McLaren case . Before I do that, let me direct you to some materials that are much more accessible and intended for a general audience. Click on the link, below, to access 20 Good Online Resources to Help You Understand Brian McLaren ’s new book: A New Kind of Christianity  —> Read the rest of this entry »Send article as PDF to  Enter email address   Send     Tags:  A New Kind of Christianity ,  anthropology ,  Apache ,  apophatic ,  arationalism ,  axiology ,  b e a u t y ,  Becky Garrison ,  Bernard Lonergan ,  Bohm interpretation ,  Brian McLaren ,  Charles Sanders Peirce ,  Chinese  taoists ,  Christianized neoplatonism ,  Christology ,  code ,  c o m m u n i t y ,  contemplative ,  Copenhagen  interpretation ,  Copernican turn ,  cosmic boot camp ,  cosmology ,  creed ,  cult ,  culture ,  descriptive ,  dissolve  or evade paradox ,  dogmatism ,  Doug Pagitt ,  dualistic mind ,  Duns Scotus ,  ecclesiology ,  encratism ,  eschatology ,  Eternal Now ,  e v a l u a t i v e ,  Everybodys Story ,  Evil and Original Sin ,  evolution ,  exploit  paradox ,  faith ,  fallibilist metaphysics ,  fideism ,  goodness ,  Greco ­R o m a n   n a r r a t i v e ,  Greek neoplatonists ,  Hegelian dialectical synthesis ,  Heisenberg ,  henosis ,  heterodoxy ,  Hindu vedantists ,  hope and love ,  Humean critique ,  iconography ,  incarnation ,  indigenous mysticism ,  indigenous religions ,  institutionalism ,  interpretive ,  irrationalism ,  Islamic sufis ,  Jewish kabbalists ,  John Duns Scotus ,  John  H a u g h t ,  John of St. Thomas ,  John Poinsot ,  John Scottus Eriugena ,  Joseph Bracken ,  Kabbalah ,  Karl  Popper ,  k a t a pha t ic ,  Kester Brewin ,  Kevin Beck ,  Kierkegaard ,  Kuhnian paradigm shift ,  Lakota ,  legalism ,  logical positivism ,  Lonergans conversions ,  Ludwig Wittgenstein ,  Meister Eckhart ,  Mike Morrell ,  m y s t e r i u m   t r e m e n d u m   e t   f a s c i n a n s ,  m y t h ,  naive scholastic realism ,  n a r r a t i v e ,  N a t i v e   A m e r i c a n , 
  • 78. Natural Theology ,  Navajo ,  Nietzsche ,  nihilism ,  nondual mind ,  n o r m a t i v e ,  Origen ,  orthodoxy ,  panentheism ,  pantheism ,  p a r t i c i p a t o r y   i m a g i n a t i o n ,  penal ,  Peter Rollins ,  philosophy ,  Phyllis Tickle ,  pietism ,  platonizing cosmology ,  platonizing theology ,  Plotinus ,  p n e u m a t o l o g y ,  Postmodern Critique ,  propositional cognition ,  Pseudo ­Dionysius ,  q u a n t u m   m e c h a n i c s ,  quietism ,  radical deconstructionism ,  radical empiricism ,  radical orthodoxy ,  rationalism ,  resolve ,  Richard Rohr ,  ritualism ,  Science ,  scientism ,  Scott Peck ,  Shane Claiborne ,  six ­line Biblical narrative ,  six ­line Greco ­R o m a n   n a r r a t i v e ,  solipsism ,  soteriology ,  storytelling ,  substitutionary atonement ,  theology ,  Theology of Nature ,  theosis ,  Thomas  Merton ,  Tim King ,  Tony Jones ,  t r u t h ,  Walker Percy ,  Zen Buddhists10 Emerging Church Questions: Discovering What You Already Know but maybe didn’t realize you knew it (Walker Percy­ism) JB on February 11, 2010 in  Axiological , Cosmological , the descriptive  ­ Science , the evaluative  ­ Culture, the interpretive  ­ Religion, the normative  ­ Philosophy  | 6 Comments  »  Discovering What You Already Know but maybe didn ’t realize you knew it  1 ) What about hell?It’s a necessary theoretical construct. But it should only be used to console people who find a relationship with God positively repugnant. We need to comfort them with the notion that God would not coerce anyone into a relationship with Her. Otherwise, for all practical purposes, forget about it.2 ) What about religion? Is it necessary?A religion is an axis of interpretation, an interpretive stance or axiology , around which our cosmology  spins. Our cosmology is necessary to realize truth, beauty and goodness and, in that regard, it is also sufficient. Religion, then, is not necessary. One can live an abundant life without it. One can realize truth, beauty and goodness without religion. For example, many say they are spiritual but not religious ; they are not being disingenuous.3 ) What do you mean by  “our ” cosmology? I thought there were as many cosmologies as there were religions?Cosmology  represents the relationship between science, culture and philosophy. Science is a  descriptive  method that asks: What is that ? Culture, an evaluative  stance, asks: What is that to us? Philosophy is a  normative  method that asks: How do we best acquire or avoid that ?Now, humankind celebrates this cosmological reality in many diverse and beautiful ways. But this story of the cosmos and our place in it is not really up for grabs. It’s Everybody ’s Story. We are stardust. We are golden. But we’re not necessarily making our way back to the garden  (although that ’s a rather popular interpretive stance). Our cosmological knowledge has advanced slowly but it does advance inexorably. It includes both cosmic and biological evolution, for example, and the paradigm of  emergence .4 ) How does religion fit in? If there ’s no hell (for all practical purposes) and an abundant life of truth, beauty and goodness already available to us, what ’s left for religion to do?Religion looks at cosmological reality and asks: How does all of this tie­back together or  re­ligate ? Put more simply, it looks at life’s truth, beauty and goodness and asks: Is there, perhaps, more ?Religion, then, is our pursuit of superabundance . To the extent that life is a journey, we aspire to travel even more swiftly and with less hindrance toward truth, beauty and goodness. Religion seeks to augment these value ­realizations by amplifying the risks we have  already taken in science, culture and philosophy. Religion amplifies these risks through faith, hope and love  and realizes these augmented values in creed, cult and code. In  creed , we articulate truth in doctrine and dogma. In cult , we cultivate beauty in liturgy, ritual and practices. In  code , we preserve goodness in law and disciplines. And this new law, by the way, is  love . And its justice is known as  mercy . And its methods are not coercive; they ’re nonviolent . (Where nonviolence is concerned, I often think of Polanyi ’s tacit dimension  or of how in semiotic science and Baldwinian evolution there can be a downward causation without any violation of physical causal closure. Such forms of non ­energetic or formal causation can be ineluctably unobtrusive while, at the same time, utterly efficacious. This provides a great analog for the gentle, yet powerful, influence of the Spirit on all of creation, always  coaxing  but never  coercive . If it’s any consolation to our human passions, Jesus suggests that our nonviolent responses are experienced by our detractors like the heaping of burning coals upon their heads. ) Above all, we enjoy our unitive fellowship in  community . A community ( koinonia ) of peace or grand shalom , where we find – not perfection  – but wholeness . 5 ) If everyone is, so to speak,  saved vis a vis any conception of hell and all religions are about the task of aspiring to superabundance, then why all the fuss about, for example, an insidious  indifferentism , a facile syncretism or false  irenicism  regarding different religions?Well, we are not indifferent in that we want to give God the greatest possible glory,  ad majorem Dei gloriam . So, while it is one great image to conceive of us all there together in Eternity, lighting up the firmament to our fullest capacity, fired up by the very glory of God, it might otherwise be a somewhat sobering thought to also imagine that many of us will have escaped as through a fire with our little  40 watt bulbs  while folks like Mother Teresa shine forth as a blazing helios . We can believe, in my view, that every trace of human goodness, every beginning of a smile, will be eternalized. Each moment of our lives is ripe for eternalization or will be burned off as ever to be forgotten chaff.But, far more than any fanciful contemplation of our eternal state, we are not indifferent because not all are equally able to enjoy and realize life ’s truth, beauty and goodness, life ’s intrinsically good and potentially abundant nature. And, yes, I affirm life ’s beauty and goodness and abundance, unconditionally, very much aware of some rather significant cosmic irony, not indifferent to the 
  • 79. But, far more than any fanciful contemplation of our eternal state, we are not indifferent because not all are equally able to enjoy and realize life ’s truth, beauty and goodness, life ’s intrinsically good and potentially abundant nature. And, yes, I affirm life ’s beauty and goodness and abundance, unconditionally, very much aware of some rather significant cosmic irony, not indifferent to the immensity of human pain, the enormity of human suffering. And, while I haven ’t ignored some of those French existentialists ( Camus and Sartre), I have paid more attention to their Russian counterparts (Dostoevsky ).I do believe that it is when we awaken to our solidarity that compassion will ensue. So, it seems like we would want to aspire to practice such a religion as would best foster human development and growth: intellectual, affective, moral, sociopolitical and religious. We want to get religion as right as we can in order to help as many as possible to run life ’s race more swiftly and with less hindrance, sharing and enjoying life ’s abundance. We seek enlightenment for ourselves, even, out of compassion for our fellow wo/men who would otherwise have to suffer our unenlightened selves.It may be too early on humankind ’s journey to successfully discern which religions are best fostering such growth and conversion, but these are criteria about which we should care very deeply. We need to dialogue deeply and with great humility. I will say this: Religions that get away from  Everybody ’s Story and tinker wily nilly with cosmology are indeed out to lunch. Cosmology is not something one can just make up; it’s comprised of autonomous methodologies, like science and philosophy.6 ) Where, then, does the Incarnation fit in? Well, it is about at­ONE­ment  but not, in my view (or that of Scotus and  the Franciscans), a penal, substitutionary atonement. In other words, it  was not occasioned by some felix culpa  (happy fault) as if in response to  some grand ontological rupture located in the past. Rather, it was in the  divine cards from the cosmic get ­go, this, God­is­with­us, Emmanuel . It  has more to do with a Teilhardian­like teleological striving oriented  toward the future. Most concretely, it ’s all about a profound  intimacy  with  a deeply caring  Lover . It’s a dance, perichoresis .  7 ) What, then, about soteriology and eschatology? Well, I’m with all the existentialists in recognizing that we are in a  predicament of sorts. But I ’m also with those who affirm a radically  incarnational view, which sees us as  co ­creators  in an unfinished universe,  hence the moaning and groaning in this grand act of giving birth. I  suppose I could join the theodicists and suggests that, surely, there  must’ve been a better way! But I ’ve finally quit beating my head against that wall just because it felt good when I stopped and have decided to just put my shoulder to the plow and plant a few seeds for the Kingdom.Eternity is not something that happens before or after time. It is an atemporal and thoroughly NOW thing! As has been said, it ’s heaven all the way to heaven, hell all the way to hell. Heavenly thoughts that are of no earthly significance will not be realized in eternity because by not being  now here  they ’ll end up being no­where . The truth of religion is found in a soteriology that measures its success in terms of how well we are fostering an eschatological realism grounded in conversion (Lonergan ’s) and compassion (leading to diakonia, service),  NOW. 8 ) What about God­talk, metaphysics and such? There is a type of God­talk that begins with cosmology. We could call that  philosophical or  natural theology . I am a metaphysical realist, even  regarding God­concepts. Here we clarify categories, disambiguate vague  concepts, frame up questions and formulate arguments. Here we affirm  the reasonableness of our questions. This is not unimportant. But it is  woefully insufficient for a number of reasons, like the excess of meaning  we are dealing with, for example and to say the least. With Peirce,  however, after forming the argument and asking the question, we then  stop! We don’t pretend to have answered the questions and we don ’t  proceed with God ­proofs via syllogistic argumentation, which Peirce  considered a fetish  (and I agree). There is another type of God ­talk that proceeds from within the faith. We  call that a theology of nature .  Here we wax metaphorical with our  analogical imaginations. All metaphors eventually collapse of course, but  it is my belief that those drawn in fidelity to  our cosmology are going to  be the most resilient because our analogs will be better, our tautologies  more taut.Of course, there are other descriptors for God ­talk, such as  kataphatic  and apophatic , both aspiring to increase our descriptive accuracy of God, the former through positive affirmations and the latter through negations. These categories apply to both natural theology and a theology of nature. Most God­talk is going to come from our theology of nature. We can exhaust what can be known from the perspective of natural theology in a single afternoon ’s parlor sitting. The currency of natural theology is the affirmation:  Good question!  This does not mean, however, that the  lingua franca of a theology of nature is going to therefore be:  Good answer!  A theology of nature traffics, instead, in iconography. It brings us to value ­realizations via a more nondual, contemplative stance toward reality. The chief  caveat emptor  where icons  are concerned is their elevation into  idols. In this regard, our 21st Century religion could use a huge therapeutic  dose of ancient apophatic mysticism to ensure that our icons do not become idols.Another good distinction between natural theology and a theology of nature is that the former is philosophical and engages our problem­solving dualistic mindset while the latter is robustly relational and nondual. Even some of the best theologies of nature, like Jack Haught’s aesthetic teleology  and Joe Bracken’s divine matrix , with all of their sophisticated references to the biological and cosmological sciences, are poetic ventures, metaphorical adventures, much more akin to St. 
  • 80. Another good distinction between natural theology and a theology of nature is that the former is philosophical and engages our problem­solving dualistic mindset while the latter is robustly relational and nondual. Even some of the best theologies of nature, like Jack Haught’s aesthetic teleology  and Joe Bracken’s divine matrix , with all of their sophisticated references to the biological and cosmological sciences, are poetic ventures, metaphorical adventures, much more akin to St. Francis ’ hymns to nature than, for example, G ödel’s modal ontological argument.9 ) What do you make of institutional religion and such approaches as involve clerical and hierarchical models?Well, for starters, we shouldn ’t confuse means  and ends. And, once we ’ve identified the means, we shouldn ’t so quickly insist that they are the only  means. The Spirit, it seems, is well capable of work ­arounds?Even the hierarchical structures I ’m familiar with are conceived in a way that gives primacy to bottom ­up dynamics. In other words, in theory, the top ­down dynamic is a dissemination of what ’s been received from below, not a de novo  fabrication emanating from above. When a hierarchy, on occasion, loses this integral relationship or integrity, it is in a state of ex ­communication, a reality that travels a two ­way street.10 ) What about interreligious dialogue?We have made progress in moving from our  exclusivistic ecclesiocentrisms  to a more inclusivistic Christocentrism. I think our next good step is a pneumatological inclusivism , which needn ’t bracket our Christology but should lead, at least, with the Spirit.Those of us with a radically incarnational view of reality can affirm the Spirit at work in science, philosophy and culture and can recognize the truth, beauty and goodness realized on the human journey, which is pervasively graced. And we can recognize the value ­realizations that have been augmented by our great religious traditions, affirming the efficacies and recognizing the inefficacies in their attempts to foster intellectual, affective, moral, sociopolitical and religious growth, development and conversion. We need to dialogue regarding what we ’re getting right and what we ’re getting wrong  — not preoccupied with heavenly destinations, but — in order to give God the greatest possible glory and in order to compassionately console and help others to travel more swiftly and with less hindrance on life ’s journey, realizing life ’s deepest values and greatest goods.  Footnote: Walker Percy spoke of Kierkegaard ’s On the Difference Between a Genius and an Apostle :  Like the readings that mean most to you, what it did was confirm  something I suspected but that it took Søren Kierkegaard to put into  words: that what the greatest geniuses in science, literature, art and  philosophy utter are sentences which convey truths  sub specie  aeternitatis , that is to say, sentences which can be confirmed by  appropriate methods and by anyone, anywhere, any time. But only  the apostle can utter sentences which can be accepted on the  authority of the apostle, that is , his credentials, sobriety,  trustworthiness as a newsbearer. These sentences convey not  knowledge  sub  specie aeternitatis  but news.The Art of Fiction XCVII: Walker Percy by Zoltan Abadi­Nagi/1986.This reiterates the distinction between our  cosmology  as knowledge sub specie aeternitatis  and our axiology  as Good News .
  • 81. Click on the Questions symbol  above to meet  Bill & Jacki Dahl, whom I “met” via Ron Cole !Bill & Below are the methodological presuppositions that situate my outlook as articulated above. Click on the following link to continue. >>>  Read the rest of this entry »Send article as PDF to  Enter email address   Send    Tags:  ad majorem Dei gloriam ,  aesthetic teleology ,  Amos Yong ,  analogical imagination ,  apophatic , apophatic mysticism ,  axiological epistemology ,  axiologically ­integral ,  beauty and goodness ,  b e h a v i n g , believing ,  belonging ,  C a m u s ,  Charles Sanders Peirce ,  Christocentrism ,  clerical ,  co­creator ,  compassion , contemplative ,  cosmic irony ,  cosmology ,  creed ,  critical realism ,  critical scriptural scholarship ,  cult , culture ,  descriptive method ,  Divine Matrix ,  Dostoevsky ,  dualistic mindset ,  ecclesiocentrism ,  e c umeni c a l , e c u m e n i s m ,  ega l it arian ,  emergence ,  eschatolgical realism ,  eschatology ,  esoteric mystical spirituality , Eternal Now ,  Eternity ,  Everybodys Story ,  evolutionary epistemology ,  exclusivism ,  exoteric mythic spirituality ,  faith ,  felix culpa ,  French existentialists ,  God ­talk ,  Gödels modal ontological argument , h e a v e n ,  hell ,  h i e r a r c h i c a l ,  holon ,  hope and love ,  h u m a n   a u t h e n t i c i t y ,  incarnation ,  inclusivism , indifferentism ,  institutional religion ,  inter ­religious unity ,  irenicism ,  ka ta pha ti c ,  marginalized , methodologically autonomous ,  Natural Theology ,  naturalistic epistemology ,  nondual ,  n o n d u a l i t y , n o r m a t i v e ,  orthocommunio ,  orthodoxy ,  orth op ath y ,  o r t h o p r a x y ,  penal ,  performative ,  perichoresis , philosophy ,  pneumatological imagination ,  pneumatological inclusivism ,  preferential option for the poor , prophetic protest ,  Russian existentialists ,  Sartre ,  Science ,  social justice ,  solidarity ,  soteriology ,  Spirit , substitutionary atonement ,  s y n c r e t i s m ,  theodicy ,  Theological Anthropology ,  Theology of Nature ,  t r u t hhermits with an informal, occasional apostolateJB on February 11, 2010 in  Uncategorized  | No Comments » Thomas Merton in Disputed Questions  writes of the thirteenth century Carmelite hermits that they “initiated something quite original and unique: a loose ­knit community of hermits with an informal, occasional apostolate  … their life was left free and informal so that they could do anything that conformed to their ideal of solitude and free submission to the Holy Spirit.” Send article as PDF to  Enter email address   Send    
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  • 83. Design  – a poorly designed inferencechristiannonduality.com Blog  » Blog Archive  » Why Brian McLaren ’s Greco ­Roman Narrative is NOT a caricature  on A New Kind of Christianity? McLaren didn ’t make this up. It ’s worse than that!christiannonduality.com Blog  » Blog Archive  » Why Brian McLaren ’s Greco ­Roman Narrative is NOT a caricature  on E v e r y t h i n g   T h a t ’s Old is New Again  – this (McLaren ’s “ New ” Christianity) is truly an old time religionKieran Conroy  on  A New Kind of Christianity? McLaren didn ’t make this up. It ’s worse than that!Philip Clayton on  Thoughts re: today ’s debate  – Philip Clayton vs Dan DennettType, Hit Enter to Search  We Distinguish in Order to Unite  Select Category  Blogroll  Andrew Sullivan  Beyond Blue  Brian D. McLaren  Commonweal  Crunchy Con  Cyn t hia  Bo urgeault  Emergent Village  Emerging Women  First Thoughts  Fors Clavigera  Francis X. Clooney, S.J.  Joseph S. OLeary  NCR Today  – the Catholic Blog   Per Caritatem  Phyllis Tickle  Post Christian  Postmodern Conservative  Radical Emergence  Sojourners  Tall Skinny Kiwi  The Website of Unknowing  Transmillenial  Vox Nova  Weekly Standard Blog  Worship Blog  Zoecarnate  Worthwhile Sites  Amos Yong  Boulder Integral  Brother David Steindl ­Rast  Center for Action and Contemplation  Christian Nonduality  Co nt empl a t ive  Outre ac h  David Group International  Dialogue Institute  Ecumene  Franciscan Archive  Innerexplorations  Institute on Religion in an Age of Science  Metanexus  Monastic Interreligious Dialogue  National Catholic Reporter  Radical Orthodoxy  Shalomplace  Sojourners  Thomas Merton Center  Virtual Chapel  Zygon Center for Religion and Science  Cloud of Unknowing  Amos Yong  apophatic  Axiological  axiologically­ Bernard integral  Lonergan Brian   McLaren Charles Sanders   
  • 84. Peircecontemplative    cosmology  emergence  emerging church  Enlightenment   epistemology  faith  False Self   fideism  Hans Kung  James K. A. Smith  Jesus Creed  John Duns Scotus  kataphatic  Kevin Beck Kurt   Godel   Merton  metaphysics   Mike Morrell  Natural Theology  nihilism   nondual  nonduality   orthodoxy   radical radical emergence  orthodoxy   rationalism  Richard Rohr    Science  scientismsemiotic  theodicy  Theological Anthropology  Thomas Merton Tim King    transformation True   Self  Walker PercyJoin Other Visitors in Prayer  Light A Candle & PrayJoin Us in the Liturgy of the Hours    Get the  Cathlimergent on Twitter  widget and many other great free widgets  at  Widgetbox ! Not seeing a widget? ( More info )  Tweets  johnssylvest: Abortion & the Senate Healthcare Bill  – a prudential judgment http://bit.ly/aS2DwTjohnssylvest: 10 developments propelling Emerging Christianity ~ Richard Rohr http://bit.ly/a4AMtgjohnssylvest: RT @pdclayton7: "Theology After Google" opens Wed.  ­ 23 of the best speakers on emerging religion in Google Age; live stream at http://o ...johnssylvest: RT @jonestony: New Blog Post: Society for Pentecostal Studies Paper: What Pentecostals Have to Learn from Emergents http://ow.ly/16KREUjohnssylvest: THE BOOK: An Emerging Church Conversation with a Postmodern Conservative Catholic Pentecostal http://bit.ly/91D570 #fbJohn Sobert SylvestJohnboy Was HereFeedjit Live Blog Stats
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  • 86. CHRISTIANNONDUALITY. C O M BL O G beyond thinking & proposing to imagining & participatingHome About T o d a y’ s L i t u r g yWhy I Love New Orleans: Iko Iko ah-nay Joc-a-mo-fee-no-ah-nah-nay Joc-a-mo-fee-nah-nayJB on February 10, 2010 in Uncategorized, the evaluative - Culture | No Comments »It’s not WHAT you see of life when you come to N’awlins; it’sHOW you see life! TranslatorI was born here. I still live here. And I don’t leave often. Why the hellshould I? Anybody with common sense and a half a heart wishesthey lived here, too, especially after watching us on TV the past fewweeks! By N2HLemme ‘xplain how we see life. Amos Yong apophatic Axiological axiologically-We ain’t pollyannas, mind ya, but … we’re easy like a Sunday … Bernard integral Take that statue in the Cathedral. Look on dat lady-saint’s face and Lonergan Brian McLaren stare into it but good. Now, you told me whether that’s pain you see dere or some type o’ really good pleasure. Ya can’t do it, no? One Charles Sanders moment it’s as if she’s in dem dere – what dey call ‘em? never seen it for myself, oh, yeah – trows of orgasmic ecstasy, poo-yie-yie!  But in  Peirce contemplative the very next instant, just tilt you little head to da side a bit and, mon cosmology emergence cher, you could swear she was at the Rock ‘n Bowl on South emerging church Carrollton and had just dropped a bowling ball on her used-to-be- Enlightenment good foot. epistemology faith False Yep. One day it’s Mardi Gras. The next day it’s Lent. Dat’s N’awlins. Self fideism Hans Jes sayin’. Kung James K. A. Smith Jesus Creed John DunsNo one can tell us here in N’awlins ’bout famine & feast, agony & ecstasy or tragedy & Scotus kataphatic Kevincomedy. Just read some of that highfalutin fiction by our own Walker Percy ’bout how we Beck Kurt Godelhold it all together, both predicament & sacrament. Merton metaphysics Mike Morrell NaturalAin’t nobody here gonna quote you Job. Ain’t nobody gonna take the blame on hisself. And,fer sure, dere ain’t no fool preacher blaming life’s crap on the devil. We got our own wisdom Theology nihilismtradition that’s hard to trace ‘xactly but our indians, blacks and creoles pretty much got it nondual nondualityfigured out dat Joc-a-mo has got something to do with it. Now, ‘gain, Joc-amo ain’t the devil orthodoxy radicaland he ain’t even necessarily your enemy. He’s just a jester is all, not one to be figured out, emergence radicaljust one to be dealt with. We reckon that, if God’s got plans, dem designs are kinda whatcha orthodoxy rationalismmight call loose or easy. God, the Really Big Easy, makes a move. We make a move. Joc-a-mo makes a move. Some moves work out, like when Elvis gets the girl. And some, like dem Richard Rohr Scienceworld class biotches, Betsy and Katrina? What can I say? Sometimes, it’s like dropping scientism semiotic theodicy Theologicalbowling balls on both yo’ feet, which is to say, it don’t work out too well, n’est pas? AnthropologyBut here in N’awlins, there ain’t no bitching and moaning. ThomasWe just sing, instead. Through the yellow fever and malaria, fire and flood, the Battle of New Merton Tim King transformationOrleans, first we ask Our Lady to pray with us for prompt succoring and next we sing: True Self Walker Percy W P-C u m u l u s b y R o y T a n c k a n d Luke Morton requires F l a s h P l a y e r 9 or better. Talkin ’bout Cultivating the Hey now, Hey now Roots, Nurturing Iko Iko ah-nay the Shoots Joc-a-mo-fee-no-ah-nah-nay MARCH 2010 Joc-a-mo-fee-nah-nay M T W T F S S enòn enòn 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Aìku Aìku nde 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 Jacouman Fi na ida – n – de 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 Jacouman Fi na dè 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31   « FEB    And that roughly translates into: Recent PostsGod is watching The Emerging Church is BIGGERJacouman causes it; we will be t h a n C h r i s t i a n i t y – how to spotemancipated it in other traditionsJacouman urges it; we will wait Abortion & the SenateAnd sometimes we wait a very long time. Healthcare Bill – a p r u d e n t i a l judgmentIt’s called patience. Look it up. It’s a virtue. 10 historical developments propelling EmergingAnd it doesn’t mean we sit on our asses. We keep working hard. Christianity ~ Richard Rohr Why Brian McLaren’s Greco-And when our backs are against the Superdome wall, whether for Katrina or the NFL Roman Narrative is NOT aPlayoffs, still we sing: caricature THE BOOK: Christian N o n d u a l i t y – Postmodern Conservative Catholic Good for your bod-y Pentecostal And it’s good for your soul I said hey, hey hey hey Recent Comments Hey pocky-a-way christiannonduality.com Blog »  I said hey, hey hey hey Blog Archive » Thoughts re: Tuway pakyway t o d a y’s debate – Philip Clayton T’ouwais bas q’ouwais vs Dan Dennett on Intelligent Hou tendais Design – a poorly designed inference christiannonduality.com Blog » 
  • 87. And that roughly translates into: Blog Archive » W h y B r i a nI’ll kill you if you don’t get out the McLaren’s Greco-R o m a nway! Narrative is NOT a caricature on A New Kind of Christianity?And the proper response to N’awlins McLaren didn’t make this up. It’swould be: worse than that!Entendez! christiannonduality.com Blog »  Blog Archive » W h y B r i a nAnd that roughly translates into: McLaren’s Greco-R o m a nI hear ya! Narrative is NOT a caricature on E v e r y t h i n g T h a t’s Old is NewNow, don’t get us wrong. We mean kill ya metaphorically, which is to say, in a nice kinda A g a i n – this (McLaren’s “ N e w”  way! Christianity) is truly an old time religionWith red beans & rice, creole gumbo and our boys, the Saints.  Bless You, Boys! K i e r a n C o n r o y on A New Kind of Christianity? McLaren didn’tSend article as PDF to Enter email address Send make this up. It’s worse than that! Philip Clayton on Thoughts re: t o d a y’s debate – Philip Clayton vs Dan Dennett Type, Hit Enter to Search We Distinguish in Order to Unite Tags: H e y P o c k y w a y, H u r r i c a n e K a t r i n a, Iko Iko, Jocamo, New Orleans, New Orleans Saints, Super Bowl, Select Category 6 S u p e r d o m e, t h e o d i c y, W a l k e r P e r c y Blogroll Andrew Sullivan Beyond Blue Brian D. McLarenI’ve already got truth, beauty & goodness! Why bother with faith, Commonwealhope & love? Crunchy Con Cynthia BourgeaultJB on February 3, 2010 in Axiological, Cosmological, Methods & Approaches, Practices & Emergent VillageExperiences, Provisional Closures & Systems, the descriptive - Science, the evaluative - Emerging WomenCulture, the interpretive - Religion, the normative - Philosophy | 3 Comments » First Thoughts Fors ClavigeraThis Post is a Syncroblog. Join our Syncroblogathon by blogging on the question: Francis X. Clooney, S.J. Joseph S. OLeary“What does it mean to express faith, hope, and love in the 21st Century (or NCR Today – the Catholic Blogpostmodern world)?” Per Caritatem Phyllis TickleAnd then cross-reference the following links in your post: Post Christian Postmodern ConservativeMike Morrell – Faith. Hope. And Love. (A Syncroblog) Radical EmergenceJeff Goins – Faith, Hope, and Love in the 21st Century: A Manifesto? Sojourners Tall Skinny KiwiJohn Sylvest – I’ve Already Got Truth, Beauty, & Goodness! Why Bother with The Website of UnknowingFaith, Hope & Love? Transmillenial Vox NovaMatt Snyder – Faith, Hope, and Love: Expressed in Simplicity Weekly Standard Blog Worship BlogTo answer this most concretely — Zoecarnate Worthwhile Sites Amos Yong Boulder Integral We should amplify the risks we took when we moved Brother David Steindl-Rast from our exclusivistic ecclesiocentrisms to a more Center for Action and inclusivistic Christocentricism by exploring a robust Contemplation pneumatological inclusivism in our interreligious Christian Nonduality dialogue. Put simply, we should take more risks in our Contemplative Outreach faith outlook by being more open regarding where we   David Group International expect to find the Spirit at work in our world, for Dialogue Institute example, among other peoples, in both sacred and Ecumene secular settings, thereby augmenting the value to be Franciscan Archive realized from a broader ecumenism. Innerexplorations Institute on Religion in an Age of Science Metanexus Monastic Interreligious Dialogue We should amplify the risks we’ve already taken National Catholic Reporter liturgically being more open to how it is the Spirit can Radical Orthodoxy form our desires, recognizing that we can fruitfully Shalomplace adopt the spiritual technology of other religions, Sojourners such as certain asceticisms, disciplines and practices, Thomas Merton Center without necessarily adopting their conclusions, thus Virtual Chapel augmenting the value to be mined from desiring the Zygon Center for Religion and Kingdom above all else and being sensitive to its less Science visible manifestations. Cloud of Unknowing
  • 88. Amos Yong apophatic We should amplify the risks involved in our dualistic, Axiological axiologically- problem-solving mind, with its empirical, rational, Bernard integral Lonergan Brian practical and moral approach to reality to engage reality more holistically and integrally with our McLaren Charles nondual mind and its contemplative stance thus Sanders Peirce augmenting the value of relationship to God, others, the environment and even self. contemplative cosmology emergence emerging church E n l i g h t e n m e n t epistemology faith False Self fideism Hans Kung James K. A. We should amplify the risks involved in our moral Smith Jesus Creed John ventures by moving beyond our legalistic approach to Duns Scotus kataphatic moral realities in society to a more social justice- Kevin Beck Kurt oriented approach, striving less for a theocratic and Godel Merton coercive moral statism and more for the establishment of the Kingdom via our successful  institutionalization  metaphysics Mike Morrell Natural Theology of the corporal works of mercy, thus augmenting the value to be mined on behalf of those who’ve been nihilism nondual nonduality orthodoxy marginalized. radical emergence radical orthodoxy rationalism Richard Rohr Science scientism semiotic theodicy We should amplify the risks Theological involved in conducting a more scientifically rigorous Anthropology Biblical exegesis, unafraid of historical-critical Thomas methods, literary criticism and honest Jesus scholarship, thus augmenting the value of the Good Merton Tim King transformation True News for all people of the world through enhanced Self Walker Percy reliability, credibility and authoritativeness. Join Other Visitors in Prayer Light A Candle & Pray Join Us in the Liturgy of the We should amplify the risks involved in ministering to the Hours world through noninstitutional vehicles, affirming them as partners and mining the value they create in the ecclesiological models they afford us, egalitarian models that are free of clericalism, paternalism, hierarchicalism, colonialism, parochialism, sexism, institutionalism and so on, thereby augmenting the value to be realized from a more dutiful engagement of the Sensus Fidelium. Be Not Afraid. Take risks for God’s sake! Get the C a t h l i m e r g e n t o nFor those interested in the theological development of the Twitter widget and many otherabove-described Risk-based Approach to Value-Realization: great free widgets a t Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info)Faith, hope and love are adventures in that Tweetsthey involve risk or what Pascal called awager. And it is a grand cosmic adventure in johnssylvest: Abortion & thewhich we are invited to participate as we Senate Healthcare Bill – aunconditionally assent to the proposition that prudential judgmentthe pursuits of truth, beauty and goodness are http://bit.ly/aS2DwTtheir own reward. This quest, itself, becomes johnssylvest: 10 developmentsour grail. This journey becomes our propelling Emergingdestination. Christianity ~ Richard Rohr http://bit.ly/a4AMtgAs we observe this 13.7 billion year old johnssylvest: RT @pdclayton7:universe, notwithstanding humankind’s "Theology After Google" openscumulative advances in science, philosophy, Wed. - 23 of the best speakers onculture and religion, questions still beg regarding the initial, boundary and limit conditions of emerging religion in Google Age;the cosmos. There is, however, an overarching narrative that begins to address these live stream at http://o ...questions. It is the story of Emergence. johnssylvest: RT @jonestony: New Blog Post: Society for Emergence gifts the universe with an Pentecostal Studies Paper: What increasing complexity as its novel structures Pentecostals Have to Learn from and properties present the beauty that Emergents http://ow.ly/16KREU surrounds us. It is a complexity, however, that johnssylvest: THE BOOK: An is willing to run the risk of disintegration. The Emerging Church Conversation greater the number of bifurcations and with a Postmodern Conservative permutations involved in any given system, Catholic Pentecostal the more fragile. And, the more fragile, the http://bit.ly/91D570 #fb more beautiful. Put most simply, an emergent cosmos amplifies risk and thus augments John Sobert Sylvest beauty. These are realities we can understand without the benefit of special divine revelation. A descriptive human science queries reality asking: What is that? Our evaluative human culture inquires: What’s that to us? And our normative human philosophy then aspires to answer the ensuing question: How do we best acquire or avoid that? The answers we have derived for these perennial questions take the form of truth,beauty and goodness. And while each individual asks these questions everyday, as radicallysocial animals, these values are realized in community. Because we are radically finite, henceneedy,  we form communities of value-realizers. Thus we talk about the scientificcommunity, philosophic community, cultural community and so on. Each such community,in its pursuit of value, in its own way, embarks on a risk-taking adventure, amplifying risksin order to augment our human value-realizations of truth, beauty and goodness.
  • 89. The scientist, for her part, ventures forth with hypotheses that are inherently falsifiable bydesign. The philosopher, for his part, articulates a provisional closure, which is represented as Johnboy Was Herethis school or that. Human culture has been a veritable laboratory, wherein our falsifiable Feedjit Live Blog Statssciences and provisional philosophies have played out as anthropological explorations, as we Feedjit Live Blog Statsknow, sometimes to humankind’s utmost benefit but, all to often, to humanity’s everlastingdismay.Before we introduce competing meta-narratives, or axes of interpretation of reality, wealready observe our communities of value-realization in pursuit of the intrinsically rewarding Follow this blogvalues of truth, beauty and goodness. And we observe science, philosophy and cultureharvesting these values in abundance in what is an inherently spiritual quest. Before ourinterpretive narratives (religions) are introduced, our descriptive, evaluative and normativenarratives are in place, as a cosmology, amplifying risks and thereby augmenting our value-realizations. In this regard, they might very well be considered both necessary and sufficient.  Still, as the ultimate value-realizer, our species might naturally wonder: Is there, perhaps,more? In our distinctly human way, most of us not only wonder but also pursue more truth, more beauty and more goodness, than is already realizable by science, culture and philosophy. In so doing, we ask: How does all of that tie-together? And this re- ligation query is a distinctly religious question. It is, then, our axiology. Now, if science, culture and philosophy, each in their own way, comprise a  risk-venture in pursuit of truth, beauty and goodness, amplifying our epistemic, normative and evaluative risks toward the end of augmenting these intrinsically rewarding values, then what inheres in the very fabric of the religious quest is a further amplification of risks. These amplified risks are nothing less, then, than faith, hope and love.It is no accident, then, that the world’s literature has ubiquitously employed the journey, thequest, the adventure as its root metaphor for the religious quest and that its preferred Visit Cathlimergent Conversationsallegory has been an erotic love that risks all for the sake of all. Visit AnglimergentWe’ve come a long way in this presentation without addressing the postmodern influence on Metaour 21st Century expressions of faith, hope and love. And if you’ve hung in here with me thus Log infar, know that we’re now on the threshold of describing the postmodern prescription for what Entries R S Shas ailed our modernistic religious quest. Comments R S SThe chief problem with the modernistic approach to the religious quest  is that it lost touch  WordPress.orgwith the essential risk-taking nature of faith, hope and love. Perhaps due to our naturalhuman anxiety to banish all mystery, perhaps due to our rather feeble ability to tolerateambiguity, and perhaps due to our insatiable need to either resolve, dissolve or evade allparadox, humanity has largely surrendered to a neurotically-induced hubris that imaginesthat all mystery has thus been comprehended, all ambiguity has thus been eliminated and allparadox is subject to either synthetic resolution, perspectival dissolution or practical evasion.The practical upshot of such hubris is that we begin to imagine that there are no risks toundertake, much less amplify, no further values to pursue, much less augment, no quests tolaunch, no journeys on which to embark. Life, then, is no longer an adventure.The chief malady of such a malaise is that an insidious ennui settles over us. It’s not so muchthat we think we have all the right answers, which is bad enough, but that we imagine thatwe even have all the right questions. Our science devolves into scientism. Our culture cavesinto a practical nihilism. Our philosophies decay into a sterile rationalism. The only thingthat remains to be seen is whether our planet will go out with a silent ecological whimper ora fiery nuclear holocaust. Our religion, for its part, gets hyper-eschatological with heavenlynotions that are of little earthly use. A once enchanted world becomes inhabited with terriblydisenchanted denizens.Modernism, in its pretense, bottled up the elixir of risk and offered us instead a vile concoctionthat it mistook for some type of truth serum, a formula with all the answers, which dilutedany risk. It’s ingredients included a fideism, which walled itself in to a house of languagegame mirrors claiming immunity for religion to cultural critique. It also mixed in aninordinate amount of theological nonrealism due to a hyper-active dialectical imaginationthat approached God as not only wholly incomprehensible (which He is), but as not evenpartly intelligible (which She is). It suggested that no reasons could be given for religiousbelief as if all reasons necessarily derived from empirical and rational argumentation withtheir informative propositions and epistemic warrants, when, so much of human reasoning,instead, is prudential and moral with performative significance and normative justification.Put much more simply, modernism overemphasized reasons of the head and relegatedreasons of the heart to history’s propositional dustbin.A radically deconstructive postmodernism, in one of philosophy’s most tragic ironies, ends upbeing nothing more than a hypermodernistic outlook, with great hubris putting a priorilimits on human knowledge … except, well, for one singular exception, which would be thelimits they refuse to place on their own anthropology. In their caricature of all humancommunication as language games, the Wittgensteinian fideists misappropriate Wittgensteinas they saw off the epistemological limbs wherein their own ontological eggs are nested. Intheir anxiety to annihilate metaphysics, both the social construction theorists and thescientistic cabal do away with the very analogia that fuel both highly theoretical science andspeculative cosmology. This is just as insidious as the tautologies that were inhabited by thosewho bought into Feuerbach, Marx, Freud, Nietzsche and others, whose anthropologicalconclusions were buried in their reductionistic premises and hidden in their cynicaldefinitions.None of this is to deny that we do not all inhabit elaborate tautologies with their variouscircular references, causal disjunctions, infinite regressions and question begging. It is tosuggest that not all tautologies are equally taut and that we can and should attempt toadjudicate between them based on such anthropological metrics as provided by Lonergan’sconversions (expanded by Gelpi): intellectual, affective, moral, sociopolitical and religious.And this is not to claim that such sociologic metrics are readily available or easilyinterpretable but, come on folks, some religious cohorts are rather transparentlydysfunctional, wouldn’t ya say? And judging different approaches to faith by employing suchpragmatic criteria is admittedly not robustly truth-conducive but it is certainly reasonable toimagine that it is truth-indicative. Our inability to finally discriminate between all religiousapproaches, some which end up being quite equiplausible, even if not equiprobable, does notmake our approach moot; rather, it makes it problematical. It does not mean that we do nothave reasons (and very good reasons, at that) to embrace one faith approach and to eschewanother; it only means that those reasons will not be universally compelling.
  • 90. Faith, hope and love in the 21st Century will look like anadventure. It will look like a risk-filled adventure wherebelievers run the cosmic risk of disintegration in self-emptying kenotic love. Like Pip in Great Expectations, wewill embark on a search for our Benefactor. Like MarkTwain’s Huckleberry Finn, we will be a people of hope,always looking in expectant anticipation for what’saround the river’s bend. Like the cosmos, itself, and withthe grand Cosmic Adventurer, we will activelyparticipate, not without some moaning and groaning, inthe great act of giving birth.Faith, hope and love in the 21st Century will look a lotmore like that time of enchantment in the early days ofChristianity, when the apostles and disciples and closestconfidants of Jesus, Himself, took great risks in followingHim. It will look a lot less like that self-righteous certitudeof fundamentalistic religion, scientistic philosophy oreven, ironically, a social constructionist nonrealism.These are, in the end, very pessimistic anthropologieswhether gnostic or agnostic. We simply cannot a prioriknow how knowable or unknowable reality will turn outto be. In makes a lot more sense to believe that, as we progressively enhance our modelingpower of reality, albeit in a very fallibilist way, our concepts and constructs and categories aremaking some of our tautologies much more taut vis a vis reality writ large. And this includesour God-concepts, which, in-principle, must be inherently vague. If there is a grand telicdesign and we actively participate in same, there is every good reason to hypothesize that theinexorable advance of human knowledge gifts us with a more coherent outlook on bothproximate and ultimate reality. To the extent we understand reality better, the analogs weapply to ultimate reality will improve.This is not to deny that such analogs willinvoke an infinite number of dissimilaritiesover against the similarities they will reveal. Itis to affirm that those similarities, howevermeager, have profound existential importbecause they pertain to a VERY BIG reality,indeed. Over against any radically positivetheology (kataphasis) of the gnostics,fundamentalists and rationalists, and overagainst any radically negative theology(apophasis) of the agnostics, nonrealists andfideists, a postmodern theology eschews bothan epistemic hubris and an excessiveepistemic humility in favor of a Goldilocksapproach that is just right, an epistemic holism with an integral approach to reality.In our postmodern milieu, science, culture, philosophy and religion are intertwined. Whenone advances, they all advance. When one regresses, they all regress. This is not to say thatthey are not otherwise autonomous methodologies. A postmodern theology recognizes andaffirms this autonomy. It is to say that these approaches to reality are integrally-related inevery human value-realization. They are, then, methodologically-autonomous butaxiologically-integral. Enhanced modeling power of reality, whether in science, culture,philosophy or religion, translates into an enhanced modeling power of reality writ large. Webest not set these value-pursuits over against or in competition.A modernist rationalism is a failed risk-management technique, attempting to domesticatethis risk and ameliorate its adventuresome nature. A modernist fideism is a failed risk-elimination technique, attempting to immunize faith from critique by reducing it to mereexpression. Only a constructive postmodern approach can successfully retrieve, reviveand renew our sense of adventure, enchantment and risk-taking, inviting us anew to journeyon a quest for a grail worthy of our ineradicable human aspirations for more, a LOT more! Thus we amplify our risk in our pursuit of truth into a faith, often articulated in creed; in our pursuit of beauty into a hope, often celebrated in the cultivation of liturgy and ritual; in our pursuit of goodness in love, often preserved in our codes and laws; in our pursuit of community, often enjoyed in our fellowship and unity of believers. Thus humankind augments truth, beauty, goodness and unity in creed, cult, code and community. Thus we participate in the grand cosmic adventure, amplifying risks and thereby augmenting values, courageously running the risk of disintegration as God’s fragile, but beautiful creatures. Footnote: A Relevant Ping-Back from Mike Morrell’s Zoecarnate: ‘All Will Be Well’ – Polyanna Platitude or Responsible Mystical Theodicy?Send article as PDF to Enter email address SendTags: aesthetic teleology, a n a l o g i a, axes of interpretation, a x i o l o g i c a l l y-i n t e g r a l, b r o a d e r e c u m e n i s m,c l e r i c a l i s m, colonialism, c o m p l e x i t y, c o m p l e x i t y t h e o r y, constructive postmodern approach,constructive postmodernism, c o n t e m p l a t i v e s t a n c e, corporal works of mercy, C o s m i c A d v e n t u r e,cosmology, deconstructive postmodernism, descriptive science, d i a l e c t i c a l i m a g i n a t i o n, e m e r g e n c e,epistemic holism, e p i s t e m i c w a r r a n t, e v a l u a t i v e c u l t u r e, f a i t h, fideism, grail quest, Great Expectations,h i e r a r c h i c a l i s m, hope, hope and love, H u c k l e b e r r y F i n n, informative propositions, i n s t i t u t i o n a l i s m,i n t e g r a l a p p r o a c h, interreligious dialogue, Jesus scholarship, kenotic love, l a n g u a g e g a m e s, Lonergansconversions, l o v e, m e t a-n a r r a t i v e, methodologically autonomous, modeling power, m o r a l s t a t i s m,
  • 91. n i h i l i s m, n o n d u a l m i n d, noninstitutional vehicles, n o r m a t i v e j u s t i f i c a t i o n, n o r m a t i v e p h i l o s o p h y,p a r o c h i a l i s m, Pascal, Pascals wager, p a t e r n a l i s m, p n e u m a t o l o g i c a l i n c l u s i v i s m, Popperian falsification,postmodern, p r a g m a t i c c r i t e r i a, r a t i o n a l i s m, religious quest, risk of disintegration, r i s k-e l i m i n a t i o n,r i s k-m a n a g e m e n t, root metaphor, s c i e n t i f i c c o m m u n i t y, scientism, sensus fidelium, s e x i s m, socialjustice-oriented, special divine revelation, spiritual quest, spiritual technology, TheologicalA n t h r o p o l o g y, theological nonrealism, t r u t h-c o n d u c i v e, t r u t h-i n d i c a t i v e, v a l u e-realization,Wittgensteinian FideismWe Are Church: Our local community is 200 years old but itsfoundation is 2000 years oldJB on January 30, 2010 in Uncategorized | No Comments »We are the people of God of East St. James Parish.We are the Houmas, Chetimacha,Quenipessa, Bayougoula and Choctaw. Welived and moved and had our being here alongthe Mississippi River’s banks in the roostingplace of the wild ducks, Cabahanoce. Duringthe summer when the kernels of the corn cropfilled out and could be roasted and eaten wehad our most important religious celebration,the Green Corn festival, which was aceremony of thanksgiving and self-purification. It was followed by two days offast, a reconciliation of social conflictsfostering forgiveness and then concluded witha fire ritual. We are the Acadians who arrived in two waves after deportation from Canada to settle on the Acadian Coast of the Mississippi River and who were joined by other settlers from France and elsewhere. We, too, were a Eucharistic community, celebrating thanksgiving and reconciliation. And we have our fire rituals, too – of Easter liturgy and Christmas levee. We are the French and Spanish Capuchins who traveled the Great River Road and ministered to its earliest settlers. We are the founders and members of St. Michael the ArchangelParish in Convent.We are the local slaves who manufactured the red bricks for the first major building to beconstructed in St. James Parish, a temple to God the Most High under the patronage of St.Michael the Archangel, which also houses the Lourdes Grotto, constructed only 18 years afterthe apparition of the Blessed Virgin to Bernadette Soubirous. Some of us were baptized andcatechized. Most of us integrated Catholic rituals into our expressions of spirituality.We are the Religious of the Sacred Heart, who established an academy for girls near St.Michael’s Church. Many families moved into the area to be part of the vitality we brought tothe community.We are the survivors of cholera, yellow fever and floods, of the Battle of New Orleans and aterrible Civil War.We are the Society of Mary, who opened St. Mary’s Jefferson College, and the Society ofJesus, who oversaw the establishment of two chapels, St. Mary of the River for thecommunity of Union, which hosted several railroad lines, and St. Joseph’s in Longview(Paulina).We are the students and teachers of St. Joseph’s School for African-Americans, the firstparochial school for African-Americans in the South. We are the beneficiaries of St. KaterineDrexel, founder of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, who assisted the Sacred Heart sistersspiritually and finanically in St. Joseph’s administration and in ministry to the African-American field workers. We are the students and teachers of St. Michael Parochial School, built from materials of the school buildings of Jefferson College, which were torn down. We are the members of St. Vincent de Paul Society, who minister to the poor and needy. We are the people of Grand Point, who have worshiped at our own St. Vincent de Paul Chapel, which, when rebuilt after a hurricane, was renamed for St. Philomena, whose statue was found intact amidst the storm destruction. St. Mary’s and St. Joseph’s were eventually outgrown and replaced as our communities of faith grew.We are the members of St. Joseph Parish in Paulina, established at the turn of the 20thCentury. We are the builders of Our Lady of Prompt Succor Chapel in Lutcher.We are the religious orders of men and women who would serve the Church in East. St.James for its first 200 years.We are the Knights of Columbus, Gramercy Council 1817, who helped establish the SacredHeart Chapel in Gramercy and have provided spiritual and social nourishment of ourcommunity through many service projects.We are the Kinghts of St. Peter Claver Council 65 and Ladies Auxiliary, sponsoring serviceprojects in our community and encouraging ministries in our parishes.We are the Catholic Daughters of the Americas, chartered in all three parishes of the RiverRoad, doing works of charity and service for Church and community, providing fellowshipfor the important celebrations of our parish lives.
  • 92. We are the students of the St. Joseph Parochial school and the Dominican sisters who formedthem. We are the students of St. Peter Chanel.We are the members of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish in Gramercy, originally part ofthe New Orleans Archdiocese, now part of the Diocese of Baton Rouge.We are the Men of Manresa and hosts of theManresa House of Retreats, established on theproperty of the St. Mary’s Jefferson College,serving Louisiana and surrounding states andstaffed with retreat masters from the Societyof Jesus.We are mothers and fathers, sons anddaughters, grandparents and cousins, lots ofcousins. We are the survivors of fires andfloods and hurricanes. We are the growers ofsugarcane and the builders of bonfires on thelevee. We are homemakers and cooksextraordinaire. We are ministers, ordained and lay. We are religious, secular and regular. Wemake a living in business and commerce, in farming and industry, in government and publicservices. We are proud members of the US Armed Forces: veterans, guardsmen, active duty and reservists. We are professionals, medical and legal. We are teachers and principals, students and coaches, scholars and athletes. We are volunteer firemen, law enforcers and civil defense workers. We are grocers and pharmacists and news reporters. We are hosts and hostesses to tourists and travelers. We celebrate festivals and fundraisers. Do we celebrate! And we are proud members of the Who Dat Nation. We are a refuge for evacuees. Yes, our Eucharistic community gives thanks and forgives 24/7 and 365. We minister to one another in sacrament and song and celebration, to young and old, married and single, in every kind of ministry: liturgical, spiritual, financial, administrative, social, catechetical andcommunity life. We worship together and celebrate the sacraments together. We gather ingroups, large and small, and are commited adorers, alone, in our Adoration Chapel. We assistone another through bereavement and reach out to the hospitalized and shut-ins. We havebaptized 32,524 new Christians and prepared and married 7,517 new couples. Together, wehave articulated a vision grounded in a beautiful tradition. A tradition that is 200 years old.We are Stones Beside a River … of bricks,mortar and stucco … Living Stones of a peopleof faith and love. Our local community is 200years old but its foundation is 2000 years old,apostles and prophets of Christ Jesus, who isour capstone.We have a story to tell. Each event above hasa year attached to it and evokes images. Moreimportantly, it has the names of our familiesand our pastors. Wouldn’t you like to knowthose dates, see those faces, once again, andlearn those names?Fr. Frank Uter, who pastored us through atransition to the Church of East. St. JamesParish, through another labor of love, nowleads us through this story of two centuries in poem and prose, in picture and narrative, in hisnew book: Stones Beside a River: A History of the Catholic Church on the EastBank of St. James Parish, 1809-2009. Each generation of each family will want thistreasure in their home to consult again and again, to evoke wonderful memories, to reflect ona tradition and remember how important it is to pass it on with a vision to our preciousfuture, our children and grandchildren. What more could we possibly give them?Send article as PDF to Enter email address SendEmerging Church & Pentecostalism: a creative tensionJB on January 30, 2010 in Axiological, Practices & Experiences, Provisional Closures &Systems, the evaluative - Culture, the interpretive - Religion | No Comments »Below are my archived responses to Tony Jones’ question: “What Do Emergence andPentecostalism Have to Learn from One Another?”. I encourage all to visit that threadon his blog.It has been said that those who’ve done thebest at evangelizing have not always doneas well at catechizing and vice versa. Whilethere is danger in overgeneralization, thereis often some insight we can gain. To theextent catechesis fosters re-cognition,evangelization fosters real-ization. The firstmovement is propositional, evidential,rational, presuppositional, moral andpractical and the next is existential,experiential and robustly relational. Thedistinction is between seeing the path andwalking it, between conceptual map-making and participatory imagination.
  • 93. Both the emerging church conversationand pentecostalism do seem, in my view,responses to a modernist rationalism.Interestingly, my own reflections on thesematters have not so much dealt with theemergent and pentecostal as recentphenomena via a vis the postmoderncritique, but have employed a postmodern (postfoundational) approach to bring togetheremergence as a useful heuristic device as has been appropriated in the hard and humansciences, in general, and a pentecostal perspective as gathered from the Biblical narrative re:the implications of the Incarnation & Pentecost. So, there are two contexts that interest me,one being an overarching narrative and the other a specific historical event.Regarding the recent phenomena, to some extent, pentecostalism has better instilled firstfervor and a fully realized first naivete. Emergence has perhaps better served as a vehicle for2nd naivete. This works much like the Zen formulation of first, there is a mountain (pre-critically), then there is no mountain (critically), then there is (post-critical). It might berendered: first there is a premodernist essentialism (naive realism & enchantment), thenthere is a modernist nominalism (nonrealism & disenchantment), then there is a constructivepostmodernism (critical realism & re-enchantment).Emergent and pentecostal perspectives, held together in a creative tension, provide an answerto modernist excesses that have led to a/theological nonrealism, moral relativism andpractical nihilism, as well as sterile scholastic rationalisms and Wittgensteinian fideisms.Taken together, we get a more holistic theological anthropology that mines all of the value tobe realized from our pre-modern, modern and postmodern experiences without the need tocut out and invalidate large swaths of our Christian tradition. We do not want to lose our “First, there is a mountain”- encounter of Pentecost and the fire of first fervor gifted by our participatory, analogical imagination, nor do we want to lose the “Then there is no mountain-recognition” provided by our conceptual map-making and dialectical imagination, as we move into the reappropriation of “Then there is” and we realize through our 2nd naivete and pneumatological imagination that everything that’s old is new again, as we see the original realities come alive in inculturated forms that reveal that the Good News is as fresh and vibrant and relevant to humankind as it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be. I have seen some in their Pentecostal experience get rather stuck in a pre-critical first naivete. I have encountered some who, from an Emergent stance, have gotten stuck in a radically deconstructive nonrealism, what some have called Evangellyfish, washed up on postmodern shores, unable to get fully back into the swim. Those who severely critique both movements are generally describing these elements of Pentecostalism and emergence, which are mere caricatures of what these movements are and can become as they exploitthe creative tension that they offer each other in ongoing and ever-fruitful mutual critique.We have enjoyed the fruits, in interreligious dialogue, as our rather exclusivisticecclesiocentrisms have slowly yielded on the ecumenical front to a more inclusivisticChristocentrism. Without forsaking our own Christocentric stances, we might foster an evenmore fruitful interreligious dialogue by opening same with a pneumatological inclusivism.Pentecostals & Charismatics have led the way on such mutual understanding withinChristianity, sharing our experience of Spirit. This may be the model for advancing dialogueand understanding between the Great Traditions, too? Pentecostals might have somesuggestions for a way forward.Pentecostals also have something to offer regarding emergence, human anthropology,epistemology and the science and religion dialogue. Counterintuitive on the surface? Scrolldown to this list of articles in the Dec 2008 Zygon: Pentecostal Voices in the Theology-Science Conversation .Finally, I’m sure most have at least heard of the distinction between our dialectical andanalogical imaginations. Amos Yong has made some proposals regarding thepneumatological imagination and the difference it can make in one’s approach to reality. Myown panSEMIOentheism, what I call a radical emergence, is grounded in my experience inthe Charismatic Renewal in the 70’s.Send article as PDF to Enter email address SendTags: A m o s Y o n g, a n a l o g i c a l i m a g i n a t i o n, catechesis, C h a r i s m a t i c R e n e w a l, c o n s t r u c t i v epostmodernism, c r i t i c a l r e a l i s m, d i a l e c t i c a l i m a g i n a t i o n, e m e r g e n c e, e m e r g i n g c h u r c h, epistemology,essentialism, e v a n g e l i z a t i o n, E v a n g e l l y f i s h, exclusivistic ecclesiocentrism, first fervor, f i r s t n a i v e t e,inclusivistic Christocentrism, interreligious dialogue, modernist rationalism, m o r a l r e l a t i v i s m, n a i v er e a l i s m, n o m i n a l i s m, n o n r e a l i s m, panSEMIOentheism, p a r t i c i p a t o r y i m a g i n a t i o n, Pentecostalism,p n e u m a t o l o g i c a l i m a g i n a t i o n, p n e u m a t o l o g i c a l i n c l u s i v i s m, postfoundationa, Postmodern Critique,p r a c t i c a l n i h i l i s m, r a d i c a l e m e r g e n c e, science and religion dialogue, second naivete, TheologicalA n t h r o p o l o g y, theological nonrealism, Tony Jones, Wittgensteinian Fideism, Z e nEmerging Church: What’s This About Nurturing the CreativeTension of Paradox?JB on January 27, 2010 in Axiological, Cosmological, Methods & Approaches, Practices &Experiences, Provisional Closures & Systems, Uncategorized, the descriptive - Science, theevaluative - Culture, the interpretive - Religion, the normative - Philosophy | No Comments»
  • 94. The dialectical imagination (think Barth and apophasis) and analogical imagination (thinkcatholic and kataphasis) are best held in a creative tension where neither drowns the other.Wittgenstein correctly affirmed the methodological autonomy of science, philosophy andreligion, but a Wittgensteinian fideism fails to recognize that these different horizons ofhuman concern are axiologically integral, which is to suggest that they mutually influenceeach other.Whether we employ a language game paradigm or an ontology with a chosen rootmetaphor, these human endeavors, while not logically-related, are very much intellectually-related. And this is to further suggest that religion is not merely expressive but alsointerpretive and to further recognize that it is not immune to cultural criticism employingprudential, pragmatic and practical criteria, which in themselves are at least weaklyinferential or truth-indicative even if not robustly inferential and truth-conducive.The dialectical imagination enjoys a certain primacy in God-talk and it critiques theanalogical imagination in that, where God is concerned, we employ the weakest of analogiesin metaphor, which express dissimilarities that differ infinitely vis a vis any similarities theymay otherwise invoke.The analogical imagination critiques the dialectical insofar as the exclusively dialecticalwould so distance God in a radical apophaticism as would render all God-talkincomprehensible and suggests that, however meager our metaphorical knowledge, it isprecisely because we are grappling with a reality on the order of an infinitude that suchknowledge becomes increasingly significant to us who, as radically finite creatures, greet suchknowledge recognizing that it has profound existential import to us in our human condition.This is to say, then, while our dialectical approach properly invokes God’s utterincomprehensibility, our analogical approach affirms His infinite intelligibility. God dwells inineluctable mystery and it would drown us if we tried to drink it all in, but we can taste andsee His goodness in drops because He is not wholly unintelligible. It is a false dichotomy,indeed, that juxtaposes a choice between incomprehensibility and a final theory ofeverything. Rather, we move slowly but inexorably in our partial apprehensions and with ourfallibilist provisional closures regarding ultimate reality, closures that do not aspire to thelevel of robust theory but, instead, to the presentation of a rather vague heuristic.A radical apophaticism and hyper-active dialectical imagination quickly devolve into  such a theological nonrealism as will cut large swaths out of our Christian tradition, leading finallyto insidious metaphysical and moral nonrealisms, too, which support nothing, in the end, buta practical nihilism and sad cynicism. This is existentialism, to be sure, but not of theChristian variety. It is Sartre and Camus and not Dostoevsky and Kierkegaard. In science and philosophy, we evaluate paradox and attempt to resolve it dialectically in synthesis, or to dissolve it perspectivally via paradigm shift, or to even evade it practically, such as by ignoring it. When it comes to life’s most ultimate concerns and deepest mysteries, any attempts to resolve, dissolve or evade paradox are futile. What we do rather, such as where God-talk is involved, is we exploit paradox, transformatively, nurturing the creative tensions that present in the mutual critique, for example, between our dialectical and analogical imaginations. While it is certainly true that our existential move into faith involves an unconditional assent, quite often it will be pragmatic arguments that lead us to the ocean’s edge and prudential criteria that will inspire our leap,where we discover the buoyancy of faith. And we will be thus tempted by the psalmist to tasteand see the goodness of the Lord. And sometimes our human predicament will make us feelas if we’re about to drown. But when Jesus knew for certain, only drowning men could seeHim, he said all men shall be sailors, then, until the sea shall free them (Leonard Cohen). So,our life of faith will very much require us to many times praise the Lord, anyway.And so we believe with a certain resiliency despite life’s tragedies. And we nurture God’sanalogical goodness in a creative tension with His infinitely dissimilar dialectical goodness,exploiting the paradox transformatively, neither banishing the mystery with our ill-conceivedaspirations to an exhaustive theodicy nor refraining from our frail theodicies, which, in theend, must properly retain the element of mystery.Love is not a syllogism. God is not an argument. But incomprehensibility and unintelligibilityare two radically different semiotic realities. A deeply compassionate pastoral sensitivity willhelp us to hold our God-analogs loosely without letting go of our apophatic dialectic and tonurture the creative tension in the paradox presented by natural evil in a world created by,yes, a good God, as we suffer with God and transform our suffering co-creatively.Only a puerile iconoclasm inspired by a seriously misguided theological nonrealism would tryto snatch these consoling God-analogs, however simplistic, out of a suffering world’s hands.Cajoling people with the distinctions of theo-esoterica in an attempt to dispossess them of theexoteric apprehensions of their God is at best an exercise in pedantry and at worst may leaveothers feeling not edified but bullied. Finally, it’s just plain philosophically indefensible toresolve such paradox in a wholly dialectical manner.Note: In applying scholastic notations like possible, plausible, probable, certain, uncertain,improbable, implausible and impossible to arguments and propositions regarding ourultimate concerns, while it may be true that we are at most dealing with equiplausible orequiprobable propositions and while it may also be true that the lex dubia non obligat axiomapplies, meaning one has no obligation in conscience, it is manifestly not true that one canfind no reasons to assent to one proposition rather than another, especially employingpragmatic criteria and prudential & relational (trust) arguments, which also happen to havenormative epistemic force as truth-indicative criteria. Such existential moves might betransrational or suprarational or super-reasonable, but they need not be irrational orarational or without reason.Send article as PDF to Enter email address Send
  • 95. Tags: a n a l o g i c a l i m a g i n a t i o n, a p o p h a t i c, C a m u s, creative tension, c u l t u r a l c r i t i c i s m, dialecticali m a g i n a t i o n, Dostoevsky, existential, existentialism, f a i t h, fallibilism, God-a n a l o g, God-t a l k, h u m a ncondition, iconoclasm, k a t a p h a t i c, K i e r k e g a a r d, l a n g u a g e g a m e, m e t a p h o r, m e t a p h y s i c a l n o n r e a l i s m,m o r a l n o n r e a l i s m, n a t u r a l e v i l, o n t o l o g y, p a r a d i g m s h i f t, p a r a d o x, pastoral sensitivity, p r a c t i c a ln i h i l i s m, p r a g m a t i c a r g u m e n t, provisional closure, p r u d e n t i a l c r i t e r i a, radical apophaticism, religion,root metaphor, S a r t r e, theological nonrealism, u l t i m a t e c o n c e r n, u l t i m a t e r e a l i t y, unconditional assent,W i t t g e n s t e i n, Wittgensteinian FideismWhat’s all this fuss about nondual awareness?JB on January 27, 2010 in Uncategorized | No Comments »The following is a response I provided to a correspondent on the first day of our new year2010. The question was: “What’s all this fuss about nondual awareness?”EVERYBODY has contemplative, nondual moments.The only reason for the fuss is that too often wesquander them or allow them to be taken from us.A nondual stance toward a reality is that moment ofpure raw awareness prior to any problem-solvingprocessing. If that reality is another person, forexample, if our encounter of that person places usimmediately in a problem-solving mode, whether fromour perspective or their’s, whether of a moral or apractical nature, then we are using our dualistic mind,which is empirical (measuring), rational (logical),practical (making use or meeting a need of eitherperson) or moral (evaluating right and wrong, goodand evil) and so on.Sometimes this functional mode is absolutely what iscalled for.On the other hand, if our encounter of that otherperson is sheer enjoyment of presence and whollyrelational and involving verbs like trust, love, forgiveand such, and if we are engaging in what is more likepure play and growing intimacy and self-forgetful ecstasy, then we are using our nondualmode.One can think in terms of paradox, too. In our problem-solving mode, we can resolveparadox (dialectical synthesis), dissolve paradox (thru paradigm and perspectival shifts) orevade paradox, practically (for example by ignoring it).Life’s biggest paradoxes, its cosmic ironies and deepest mysteries (like theodicy questions), itseems, do not lend themselves very readily to problem-solving resolutions, dissolutions orevasions but require, instead, what I like to call exploitation, whereby we take a tension andexploit it transformatively by maintaining the tension as a creative tension.In a nutshell, if you read the Old Testament and make a list of all of the complaints issued bythe Psalmists and questions raised in Job, or even look in the New Testament, you notice that the age-old time-honored philosophical questions regarding life’s deepest mysteries like 1) what about creation, how and when did that take place 2) suffering and why THAT? and 3) other questions put directly to Jesus — are not answered in philosophical or scientific or empirical or rational terms.God did not answer our night terrors from our beds with explanations and ideas.He answered by showing up, hugging us, telling us everything will be alright. He answered ina relational way but not a problem-solving way.He doesn’t deconstruct our boogeymans.He holds us and sings us a lullaby. And we forget how scared and lonely we were.The nondual is robustly RELATIONAL.The problem is that people think religion is mostly about what is right and wrong, morally, orwhat we can do to earn God’s love; or religion is about how to have our practical needs met,our pocketbooks and health and prosperity Gospel garbage; or that religion answers ourempirical questions about creation; or that religion shows us how to think logically to solvephilosophical puzzles.If you listen to fundamentalistic evangelists, whether Protestant or Catholic, if they arepreoccupied with empirical, rational, practical and moral questions, which are NOTunimportant or irrelevant, but spend very little time on RELATIONAL questions, likegrowing in trust, intimacy, forgiveness and love, then they are reinforcing the dualisticmindset and human socialization processes but neglecting the nondual stance and humantransformational processes.We do not need special divine revelation to know what is true empirically, logically,rationally, practically or morally for that is all transparent to human reason (generalrevelation).The value-added aspect of special divine revelation is the GOOD NEWS of Jesus that God isnot the deistic watchmaker but the lover, the Daddy. That’s where the emphasis needs to beplaced — on the Good News and less on the old news that anyone could figure out (like howto be good), even without Jesus.
  • 96. Nondual awareness is what one does when they are being loved, being love, beloved one.Send article as PDF to Enter email address SendTags: c o n t e m p l a t i v e, creative tension, n o n d u a l, p a r a d o xSartre, Camus, Huckleberry Finn & JesusJB on January 25, 2010 in Axiological, the evaluative - Culture, the interpretive - Religion | 1Comment »We can back up and look at the overall thrust of Jesus’ life, and that of other traditions even,from a more vague perspective, and we can reasonably come away with the idea that thesaints and mystics and authentic practitioners of these traditions are testifying to profoundexperiences of a reality that is ultimately unitive and love-filled, that awakens us to solidarityand inspires in us compassion, and that inspires a trust-relationship with and toward reality,itself.This, then, is a rather universal testimony to the idea THAT reality is, at bottom, friendly,even as we might be left to wonder exactly HOW this may be so, because the evidence, ofcourse, is ambiguous.Once we situate Christianity and its specific message in thecontext of the other great traditions, its specific hopes – thatall may be well – do not appear wholly unreasonable. I thinkthe novelist Walker Percy was very faithful in his articulationof the human predicament, as informed by his appreciationof the French existentialists and folks like Dostoevsky andKierkegaard. Sartre and Camus et al and their perspectives onthe human condition are not to be facilely engaged and thencasually dismissed. Tillich was spot on in recognizing thatfaith was a polar reality with doubt an indispensable element,a state of being ultimately concerned and not, rather,propositionally certain. Walker said: “I suppose my typical protagonist or hero or anti-hero is a fellow to whom a great deal has happened, who sees all the dark things that we are talking about, who’s more or less dislocated like a Sartrean or a Camus character, but who, nevertheless, despite everything, sees a certain hopefulness, but has a certain resilience and reserve, and a feeling that there is something around the bend, like Huckleberry Finn.” Now, that Walker quote strikes me as a distinctly axiological take on reality. It interprets and evaluates reality and speaks to the forming of our desires and the nurturance of our hopes. It’s an interpretive-evaluative posit that has neither denied nor ignored the ambiguous and often brutal cosmological evidence. It’s a practical existential response that goes beyond but not without the evidential and rational perspectives. To some extent, until we move beyond the extrinsic reward and punishment paradigm — driven by the what’s in it for me approach of our early moral and affective development — in order to enjoy the intrinsic rewards of the pursuit of truth, beauty, goodness and unity for their own sakes, an approach associated with a more advanced affective and moral development, our religion has only socialized us and not really transformed us. Transformed folks have stared into the abyss, in one way or another, and not unflinchingly, and have nevertheless said: “Let’s see what’s around the bend!” and then go on loving, creating beauty and searchingfor truth.The journey becomes their destination.The quest becomes their grail.Our questions and concerns, hopes and desires, unite us far more than any metaphysicalpropositions and theological answers ever will.
  • 97. Send article as PDF to Enter email address SendTags: C a m u s, Dostoevsky, faith and doubt, French existentialists, g r a i l, H u c k l e b e r r y F i n n, K i e r k e g a a r d,m e t a p h y s i c a l, S a r t r e, theological answers, T i l l i c h, u l t i m a t e c o n c e r n, W a l k e r P e r c yAffirming an Ancient-Future Impulse – but what about NorahJones?JB on January 19, 2010 in Uncategorized | No Comments »My good friend, Kevin Beck, writes: The Protestant impulse to embrace an “ancient-future” faith (to use Robert Webber’s phrase) seems like it could be a welcome attempt to bridge theages. However, I’m a bit pessimistic about the endeavor for various reasons.I encourage all to take a look at Kevin’s reasons.In my view, Kevin is really onto something. We do notwant to too narrowly conceive when and where it is thatvalue is to be mined, and not just liturgically speaking,but broadly speaking, philosophically, culturally,scientifically and religiously.The primary value to be realized from an Ancient-Futureapproach, as I conceive it, is the retrieval, revival andrenewal of a harmony that existed between science,culture, philosophy and religion.This is not to ignore the fact that each of these humanendeavors was being conducted at a much earlier stage ofdevelopment than the stage we enjoy now. However, it isto suggest that the relationship between these humanvalues was more holistic and integral. This is to recognizeand affirm that theology must always be contextual,which is to say, related to our concrete lived experiences,where we can recognize how the Gospel speaks to theproblems we encounter, here and now. A contextualapproach requires, then, an inculturated theology, whichinvolves much more than worship forms. To the extent our outlook is radically incarnational and robustly pneumatological, we will be on the lookout for the treasures of different cultures, whether across time or geography, because the Spirit has helped place them there. And we will want to preserve their diversity, form, expression and integrity. Such cultural realities not only include song, dance, meditative practices, story-telling and worship forms. They also include social realities like conceptions of marriage and family life, community interactions, pastoral approaches, philosophical norms and scientific-technological adaptations. Such cultural values are to be integrated into Christianity, which in turn is to be inserted into each culture. Ancient-Future covers only a temporal dimension, which needs to be complemented by a geographic dimension, North-South and East-West, vis a vis inculturation. We do not have to choose between the old and new or East & West; we get to have it all! We especially don’t want to cloak the Gospel in exclusively European garments for others to put on. We risk not only the renewal of an authoritarian approach but a terribly parochialistic,colonialistic, paternalistic and hierarchicalistic approach.The most salient issue is making the Gospel relevant in this place, in this time, to this person,to these people. And we are called to pay attention to that truth, beauty, goodness and unitythat have already emerged within a given culture, because the forms those values have takenare gifts from created co-creators, who’ve responded to the same Spirit.The harmony to be rediscovered, retrieved, revived and renewed is the holistic, integralrelationship between the distinct value-endeavors of science, philosophy, culture & religion,whereby our descriptive, normative, evaluative and interpretive methodologies are affirmedas methodologically-autonomous but axiologically-integral.This DOES seem to more so characterize ourpremodern situation, wherein we affirmedapproaches to reality that were robustlyparticipatory and common sensical. It is aharmony that can heal the Cartesian split ofmodernism and bridge the nihilistic abyss of aradically deconstructive postmodernism.It is nothing less than an affirmation of themind, spirit, heart and soul in properrelationship to one another within each personand each people. We don’t want to toonarrowly conceive how this harmony can benurtured and sustained, not temporally, notgeographically.These are cute lyrics:
  • 98. Call me a relic call me what you willSay I’m old fashioned say I’m over the hillToday’s music don’t have the same soulJust give me old time rock and rollBut the fact of the matter is that today’s music DOES have soul, just like yesterday’s. AndAfrican drums and Indian sitars do, also. Who wants a world without Ravi Shankar and thecultural intermingling he fostered in more ways than one? We’d have no Norwegian Wood!Worse yet, we’d have no Norah Jones! I shudder to think about it.Send article as PDF to Enter email address SendResponse to: The Earthquake in Haiti, God, and the Arbitrarinessof LifeJB on January 15, 2010 in Uncategorized, the interpretive - Religion | 4 Comments »The following musing is in response to The Earthquake in Haiti, God, and theArbitrariness of Life, which provides a video and reads: In a recent review of Life.Support.Music., I referenced the question, “Is God as Arbitrary as Life?,” that was posed to the theologians at the Transforming Theology conference last spring. The response with which I most resonated was that of Tom Reynolds of the University of Toronto. In my words, he well captured both “the now” & “the future” aspects of the Kingdom. There are fruits we enjoy now even as we orient to a more complete realization in the future. The question of God being arbitrary involves all of the philosophical issues surrounding how we apply predicates to God via kataphasis, where we attempt an increase inour descriptive accuracy of a reality by employing positive affirmations via analogy andmetaphor, and apophasis, where we increase such accuracy through negative descriptions ofwhat God is not (literally) or is not like (metaphorically). For example, God is true, good andbeautiful. God is like a parent. God is not indifferent. God is not uninvolved.So, one might go back and notice how each theologian must first deal with thedisambiguation of the concept, arbitrary, and then must grapple with its application as adivine attribute through alternating kataphatic and apophatic descriptions. On the surface,one may come away with the initial impression that there has been some disagreementbetween these theologians. Upon further review, this is not really the case, whatsoever,because not everyone, when disambiguating and clarifying the concept, defined it & thenemployed it in the same way.Some were more so kataphatic in tenor, others more apophatic. Some were grappling via apropositional approach to the question, metaphysically. Others addressed the question in amore relational way, de-emphasizing conceptual map-making and more so engaging ourparticipatory imaginations and how they engage God nonpropositionally via our existential &trans-rational orientations with their evaluative posits and affective dispositions. Put anotherway, we can answer that question with our mind, our spirit, our heart or our soul, but bestanswer it, holistically, with Ignatius engaging and then surrendering, our memory,understanding, our entire will, seeking only love.This is not unrelated to our postmodern giftedness, whereby our ontological modal categorieschanged from the possible, actual and necessary, to the possible, actual and probable. Nolonger is ours a philosophical or existential tug of war between pattern orparadox, order or chaos, chance or necessity, symmetry or asymmetry, or therandom or systematic. These are false dichotomies, just like arbitrary or nonarbitrary.Reality is, instead, probabilistic. On one hand, it appears to have initial, boundary and limitconditions, while, on the other hand, it seems to be coaxing us forward toward a somewhatopen future.I suppose we might suggest that Einstein was wrong in that it does look very much like Goddoes indeed play dice; but the nihilists are manifestly wrong insofar as those dice very clearlyappear to be loaded. Everywhere in reality, especially in mathematics and logic, the modalcategory of the necessary seems to suggest itself. But nowhere in reality have we everencountered its physical instantiation!God may very well be the Ens Necessarium, but this doesn’t leave us with a choice betweendeterminism and indeterminism, ontologically. Instead, it leaves us in a fallible position,epistemologically, where our takes on reality are variously over- and under-determined.I suppose my final answer (Is this your final answer?), is that if we take the word arbitraryas a mathematical conception related to chance and necessity, then it cannot be predicated ofGod, metaphorically, because nowhere in reality can we find their physical analog, for realityis, instead, probabilistic.
  • 99. If we take the word arbitrary as an interpersonal reality related to the whimsical, then we aredealing with an affective disposition and I would find it very difficult to suggest that reality,from a human perspective, does not appear somewhat ambiguous for me and clearlyambivalent toward me. What I choose to imagine is that, should reality be less ambiguousfor me and ambivalent toward me, it would somehow limit my freedom and coerce myrelationship to God, Who, in spite of the apparent ambiguity and ambivalence, already seemstrue enough, beautiful enough and good enough to encourage my trust, inspire my awe andabide with my doubt and fear. But even when I cannot even imagine that inchoate theodicy,I believe, anyway, hope, anyway, love, anyway and trust, anyway.  To Whom else can we go?As Hans Kung notes, we all have a fundamental trust in uncertainreality. For some, this trust is paradoxical and nowhere anchored.Others anchor this trust in God. Anchor is too strong an analogy todescribe my trust. A sailing metaphor would seem more apt. I’ve seenso many of my sisters and brothers throughout history, time and timeagain, who catch the winds of both incredible fortune and outrageousmisfortune, alike, in the fragile but resilient sails of their human spirits.And then I’ve watched them courageously tack and jibe their way backto the shores of faith, hope and love. I want to be like them. We cantrust these winds, and use them, even when we cannot predict orunderstand their variable nature. And even when they are headwindsand not rather tailwinds.Read the rest of this entry »Send article as PDF to Enter email address SendTags: apophasis, d i v i n e a t t r i b u t e, Ens Necessarium, f u n d a m e n t a l t r u s t i n u n c e r t a i n r e a l i t y, H a i t ie a r t h q u a k e, H a n s K u n g, k a t a p h a s i s, t h e o d i c yWhat Does p2p Networking have to do with Epiphany?JB on January 14, 2010 in Practices & Experiences, Uncategorized, the interpretive - Religion| No Comments »The following essay was evoked by Mike Morrell’s blog post: Ministry without Hierarchy.When Reuther uses the phrase “intrinsic aspect of the mission of the church,” I sense in thata subversion of some of the logic employed by many in her (our) church’s teaching office.There is an old, sterile scholasticism that employs a substance metaphysic as an ontologyfrom which a deontology then issues forth with all manner of descriptions that specify theintrinsic nature of this reality or that. Where sex and gender issues are involved, such anapproach is sterile because it is too rationalistic, a prioristic, biologistic and physicalistic andtherefore divorced from the concrete lived experience of the faithful. (My memory of thingstaught by Richard McBrien, Charles Curran & Richard McCormick). It’s all abstractions, likethe sentences above, which leave us scratching our heads and asking: say what?Put differently, such an approach takes toonarrow a view of the way things are(ontology) and then reasons to how thingsought to be (deontology) from their verynature (intrinsically). A male is created likethis and a female like that, therefore a malemust do this and a female must do that andneither must do otherwise because that wouldgo against one’s intrinsic nature. This thenpervades one’s views of church polity, moraldoctrine, sacramental theology and churchdisciplines.
  • 100. Now, I’m all for deontology- is it right?(complemented by consequentialist- is ithelpful?, contractarian- is it fair? and aretaic-is it virtuous?, approaches), but it is premisedon starting with a good ontology, which,when we’re talking about people, means agood anthropology. We can ask the question, what if we as created co-creators, rather thanbeing passive observers and characters playing out an author’s script, have been gifted with aparticipatory role in creation such that we have something to contribute to how things aresupposed to unfold (teleologically)?What if this whole notion of original sin as some ontological rupture rooted in the past isbass-ackwards and our experience of a most radical finitude is due, instead, to Somebody’sunfinished business, which we experience as a teleological striving oriented toward thefuture? (Recalling Jack Haught’s aesthetic teleology.) In that case, we as created co-creators,while still partially determined and bounded (by our genetic inheritance & environmentalparameters), would also be autopoietic (self-organizing) and free (quasi-autonomous in thedivine matrix). (cf. Phil Hefner’s theological anthropology and Joe Bracken’s Divine Matrix)From an axiological (value-oriented) perspective, as semiotic (meaning-making) animals, wewould not just discover meaning and values, but, without in any way disvaluing those wehave discovered, or violating them, we would create new meanings and new values, which isto say that they would be novel, emergent realities. (Combining Robert C. Neville’s axiologyand Charles Sanders Peirce’s triadic semeiotic)If we thus change our perspective on the nature of our finitude, then we must change ourunderstanding of the nature of atonement. This is to say that, if we change our assessmenton what we think is wrong with reality (original sin and the Fall), this changes our view ofhow reality is to be fixed (soteriologically), which changes our view of the incarnation, itself(why God became man and why the Spirit so profusely permeates our reality,panentheistically). This would suggest that the incarnation, rather than being some grandcosmic repair job of some ontological rupture located in the past (“the” Fall), was a grandtelic design built into the plan from the cosmic get-go, teleologically (think Teilhard andScotus & Jack Haught’s Cosmic Adventure).This would all then change our perspective on 1) where things might be headed in the future(eschatologically, HT Transmillenial) 2) Who the Cosmic Christ is (Christologically), and 3)how the Spirit empowers us (pneumatologically), all which then bear directly on 4) how wewill experience one another in community (ecclesiologically).And I think the answers to these questions will have to take into account a radicallyincarnational and profusely pneumatological reality, which is then “intrinsically” participatory, profoundly inclusive and wonderfully universalist in its indelible catholicity.(Hat Tip to Amos Yong) This need not, in the least, call into question the salvific efficacy ofthe incarnation and its indispensable role in effecting our at-one-ment. Rather, it broadensour conception of how deep is the love of the Trinity for creation and how we are called to arelationship of unspeakable intimacy in response to this divine eros, which then impels ouragape’ toward self, toward other, toward our cosmos and toward our God, all in right-relationship, shall we say, intrinsically. (cf. Thomas Merton re: these 4 vectors of love) A servant-leader’s role becomes that of a host, patterned after this grand cosmic hospitality that I just described. (I think of Chad Crawford & Tripp Fuller’s Homebrewed Christianity & Philip Clayton’s Transforming Theology) As such, this role more so resembles that of a scribe or note-taker, asking each Participant where they’ve been, what they’ve been up to and where they’ve witnessed the Spirit at work and inviting each to give voice in hymn, psalm, story-telling, ritual-sharing and fellowship-enjoying community, as they say, lex orandi lex credendi, our worship birthing our creeds. There is nothing exclusively top-down about this. It’s all peer to peer (p2p), in essence.Do we institutionalize sacrament? Sure we do, as the radically social animals we are. Is therea clerical role? Sure there is, but we needn’t be clericalistic. Neither do we need to beinstitutionalistic, over-identifying the Mystical Body with one aspect of an institution oranother, denying the salvific efficacies of other traditions, institutions or even what are,ostensibly, noninstitutional vehicles (Hat Tip Tim King & Kevin Beck).We might ask what the role of a hierarchy is in a p2p environment and whether that need bean intrinsic feature of its architecture. Emergence, itself, is intrinsically hierarchical, which isto recognize that a system’s novel emergent properties can indeed effect a top-downcausation. But we must also recognize that it is also in the nature of this causation to notviolate the structures and properties from which it emerged. Complex emergence is a richreality with both bottom-up and top-down causations. The essential element of the systemsapproach is that the value added to the system comes from the relationships between theparts and not from the parts per se, which is to suggest that the hierarchy doesn’t impartvalue per se but that the value derives from the feedback loop as the hierarchy channels theinformation it has received from other system structures and processes, all for the good of thesystem as a whole. Anything else devolves into a degenerate hierarchicalism.In robustly semiotic systems, we must also pay heed to Walker Percy’s distinction betweeninformation and news, or what Benedict XVI calls the informative and performative, thelatter which can be of profound existential import and eminently actionable. We might callsuch: Good News. (Yes, Brian McLaren opened and read the Message in a Bottle)What the hierarchy is to pass along, then, for example,is only that information first heralded by a shepherdwho asked: Do you see what I see? Do you hear what Ihear? Do you know what I know?It is only then that the king has any authority to say:Listen to what I say!That’s what an epiphany is per dictionary.com: asudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the realityor essential meaning of something, usually initiated bysome simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence orexperience.
  • 101. If it isn’t simple, homely or commonplace in origin, well… my advice is to leave it alone.David Foster Wallace said it well: It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time, that we have to keep reminding ourselves over and over: “This is water.” “This is water.”One might want to see: DAVID FOSTER WALLACE, IN HIS OWN WORDS. He says stuffway better than me. (Big HT Chris Frederic)The following essay is in response to: Philip Clayton talks with Spencer Burke aboutTheology After GoogleCharles Sanders Peirce drew a helpful distinction between the theoretic and the practical,suggesting that we should speculate boldly in our theoretical endeavors but move moretentatively in our practical affairs. One way of interpreting his approach might be to say thatwe should employ a progressive bias in our academic, propositional disciplines and aconservative or traditionalist bias in our practical and pastoral approaches. This strikes me asright-headed in that, while in the first instance, we are dealing with relationships betweenideas, in the latter case we are dealing with relationships between people.This aphorism seems easy enough to apply when we are drawing a distinction such asbetween our theoretic sciences and our practical politics. It gets more complicated, however,when we adopt the view that theology, itself, is very much more a practical science, not somuch a theoretical endeavor. What are the implications?For starters, this means that theology advances as a science much more inductively viaempirical observation than deductively via rational considerations (ahem, or at least itshould). It also means that when theology gets descriptive and normative, what it describesand norms are interpretive and evaluative realities, like religions and cultures, and notphysical, metaphysical, practical and moral realities, like sciences and philosophies. Moreconcretely, then, theology does not gift us with cosmological insights, such as taking positionson the philosophies of mind, the origins of species or the putative reconciliations of gravity &quantum mechanics. Theology gifts us with axiological insights, observing and reporting howit is that humankind interprets cosmological realities and what it is about these realities thathumans value most.One needn’t be a distinctly Christian theologian to recognize that humankind, by and large,has interpreted reality pneumatologically, which is to say that it interprets reality with Spiritas a rather basic and universal category, and also participatively, which is to recognize thatwe all have co-creative roles. As we move from the vague to the more specific, ourinterpretations begin to diverge. Where we enjoy the strongest convergence, though, isevaluatively vis a vis what it is we most treasure or desire and, by and large, humankinddesires the Kingdom of a God, Who is love. Again, as we move from the vague to the specific,there’s some divergence in value-realization strategies, what we call spiritual practices anddisciplines, but, increasingly, we are eagerly exploring and profitably exchanging them.If human religious realities are pretty much universally conceived, then, as thoroughlypneumatological, robustly participatory and profitably pluralistic, then theology as adiscipline, it would seem, is going to be incredibly open-sourced. Those whose gifts includeteaching and leadership charisms will exercise those roles, primarily by hosting, listening andobserving those who are participating and profiting from manifold and multiforminterpretations and practices and then exchanging that information with the rest of us.This is how Scripture itself came about, as a collation of hymns, psalmody, prayers,meditative practices, myths, parables, wisdom sayings, narratives, stories, rituals and othertraditions. This is how my own tradition’s magisterium is conceived as listening to andobserving the faithful and then promulgating these hearings and observations to all via thearticulation of truth in dogma, celebration of beauty in the cultivation of ritual & liturgy,preservation of goodness in code & law and enjoyment of fellowship in community. This is tosay that what we promulgate is the sensus fidelium or sense of the faithful, which is aninherently bottom-up, grass roots activity and not a trickle-down reality, whatsoever.And no hierarchy goes around wily nilly making changes based on ivory tower theologicalabstractions and constructions. Instead, it involves an indispensable active listening andobserving process. Caveat: Note I said that this is how the magisterium is conceived and didnot represent that this is how it always works in practice. (Good grief!)What’s the practical upshot of all of this? Well, as our communication vehicles becomeincreasingly peer to peer (p2p), the exchange of interpretations and practices will accelerateand will less and less require institutional channels.What is so very curious about all of this open-sourcing is that, perhaps counterintuitively,from a practical and pastoral perspective, rather than anarchically and indiscriminatelyjettisoning the old and embracing the wholly novel, what seems to be emerging is, instead, aradical orthodoxy, a returning to our roots, a retrieval, revival and renewal of our ancientinterpretations and practices, an ardent appreciation for all that has been true in our creeds,beautiful in our cults, good in our codes and unitive in our communities. If joy is the infalliblesign of the presence of God (Madeline L’Engle), then truth, beauty, goodness and unity areassuredly an indelible sign of the presence of the Spirit.Although humankind has often lacked much in the way of cosmological knowledge, it hasmore than compensated for this deficit with an abundance of axiological wisdom. That wemove forward rather tentatively in our practical (most vital) affairs suggests that Peirce wasmore so making an observation rather than a suggestion. That’s why this open-sourcetheology doesn’t scare me at all. If all the academic tongues were still, the noise would stillcontinue; we rocks and stones, ourselves, will start to sing: Hosanna, heysanna, sanna,sanna, ho, sanny he, sanny ho, sanna!Send article as PDF to Enter email address Send
  • 102. Tags: aesthetic teleology, A m o s Y o n g, a t o n e m e n t, autopoietic, Axiological, Benedict XVI, Brian McLaren, C h a d C r a w f o r d, C h a r l e s C u r r a n, Charles Sanders Peirce, Chris Frederic, C h r i s t o l o g y, c l e r i c a l i s m, Cosmic A d v e n t u r e, created co-c r e a t o r, David Foster Wallace, deontology, Divine Matrix, Do you hear what I h e a r ?, ecclesiology, e m e r g e n c e, e p i p h a n y, h i e r a r c h i c a l i s m, h i e r a r c h y, H o m e b r e w e d C h r i s t i a n i t y, h o s p i t a l i t y, i n s t i t u t i o n a l i s m, i n t r i n s i c n a t u r e, John Duns Scotus, J o h n H a u g h t, Joseph Bracken, K e v i n Beck, lex orandi lex credendi, Message in a Bottle, Mike Morrell, original sin, p 2 p, p a n e n t h e i s m, peer to p e e r, p e r f o r m a t i v e, Phil Hefner, Philip Clayton, p n e u m a t o l o g y, Richard McBrien, Richard McCormick, Robert C. Neville, Rosemary Radford Reuther, semiotic, soteriology, Teilhard de Chardin, Theological A n t h r o p o l o g y, Thomas Merton, T i m K i n g, top-down causation, T r a n s f o r m i n g T h e o l o g y, T r a n s m i l l e n i a l, triadic semeiotic, Tripp Fuller, W a l k e r P e r c y« Older Entries Newer Entries » © 2010 christiannonduality.com Blog is Proudly Powered By WordPress | Theme by The Cloisters
  • 103. CHRISTIANNONDUALITY. C O M BL O G beyond thinking & proposing to imagining & participatingHome About T o d a y’ s L i t u r g yThe “Dead” Emerging Church – an Elvis sighting!JB on January 9, 2010 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »Today, Tall Skinny Kiwi provides us with Dr Paul Pierson’s criteria for How To Spot aChurch Movement. TranslatorThis strikes me as having some bearing on the timely consideration of whether or not theEmerging Church movement, as a movement, perdures even as, assuredly, it continues as aconversation.In reviewing Dr. Pierson’s list, it’s interesting to notethat, while propositional or theoretical or creedal By N2Haspects of a movement are not unimportant, there Amos Yong apophaticseems to be a much greater emphasis on the primacy Axiological axiologically-of the participatory and practical and experiential Bernard integralaspects. Thus questions of ecclesiology andpneumatology, or how to be church and respond in Lonergan Brian McLarenthe Spirit, are being answered existentially in the waywe live and move and have our being. One could not Charles Sandersbetter describe our 20th Century church-emergent. Peirce contemplativeTo the extent theological breakthroughs occur, there cosmology emergenceare no new discoveries in anthropology, soteriology, emerging churchChristology and eschatology, providing new Enlightenmentpropositions about what it means to be human, what epistemology faith Falseis wrong with humanity and how to fix it, Who Self fideism HansJesus is and why our hopes are fixed on Him. Kung James K. A. SmithRather, there are rediscoveries of the truths long Jesus Creed John Dunsarticulated in our creeds, of the beauties well Scotus kataphatic Kevincultivated in our celebrations of liturgy and ritual, of Beck Kurt Godelthe goodness well preserved in God’s laws and of the Mertonfellowship long enjoyed in our communities. Thereare corrections in various over- and under-emphases metaphysics Mike Morrell Naturalas we then eschew any decay (seemingly inevitable & Theology nihilismrecurring) of dogma into dogmatism, ritual into nondual nondualityritualism, law into legalism & moralism, and orthodoxy radicalinstitution into institutionalism. The latest iteration emergence radicalof our church-emergent precisely emulates such orthodoxy rationalismretrieval, revival and renewal dynamics. Richard Rohr ScienceAnd there is a reawakened nurturance of creative tensions as we re-cognize that life’s deepestparadoxes remain ours to exploit, transformatively, and will not otherwise yield to our scientism semiotic theodicy Theologicalattempts to resolve (dialectically thru synthesis), dissolve (perspectivally thru paradigm Anthropologyshifts) or evade (practically by ignoring) them, reductively, as happens with life’s lesserparadoxes of science, philosophy and metaphysics. Our world remains enchanted and needs Thomasre-enchantment, on an ongoing basis it seems, but only in our stance toward reality and not Merton Tim King transformationin Nature, Herself, which is enchanted through and through!  When it comes to life’s most True Self Walker Percyimportant questions, then, the church-emergent du jour precisely resists the W P-C u m u l u s b y R o y T a n c kfundamentalistic, rationalistic, reductionistic strategies of dualistic problem-solving and a n d Luke Morton requiresnurtures a robustly nondual contemplative stance toward our ultimate concerns. (See this F l a s h P l a y e r 9 or better.Cathlimergent essay.) Cultivating the Roots, Nurturing the Shoots The paradox is really the pathos of intellectual life and MARCH 2010 just as only great souls are exposed to passions it is M T W T F S S only the great thinker who is exposed to what I call 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 paradoxes, which are nothing else than grandiose 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 thoughts in embryo. … … Take away paradox from 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 the thinker and you have a professor. ~ Soren 29 30 31   Kierkegaard « FEB     Recent Posts To the extent our anthropologies, soteriologies, Christologies The Emerging Church is BIGGER and eschatologies do get rearticulated propositionally, there t h a n C h r i s t i a n i t y – how to spotdoes seem to be an ongoing and ever-growing universalizing tendency (an ecumenical and it in other traditionsinclusivistic catholicity) to affirm the radically egalitarian nature of the Good News as we Abortion & the Senatebetter come to realize — over against our own marginalizations, hierarchicalisms, Healthcare Bill – a p r u d e n t i a lcolonialisms, patriarchicalisms, clericalisms, sexisms, ecclesiocentrisms, exclusivisms, judgmenttraditionalisms, institutionalisms, gnosticisms and, finally, even movementisms —  that, 10 historical developmentssooner or later, the Gospel’s preferential option for the poor will be consolation for every last propelling Emergingone of us. To paraphrase Pogo: “We have met the poor and they are us.” Christianity ~ Richard Rohr Why Brian McLaren’s Greco-So, as the Spirit moves when He wills, where She wills, how They will, may the Spirit of God’s Roman Narrative is NOT alove, now, move within me and you and all. That’s the fugal movement that perdures even as caricatureother movements, most assuredly, do come and go. When we look carefully at what is going THE BOOK: Christianon, what we call emergent, in one sense, might be the re-emergence of a reality that, N o n d u a l i t y – Postmoderninevitably, gets submerged, time and again. It’s a reignition and conflagration of a Fire lit Conservative Catholiclong ago. Pentecostal
  • 104. Emergence also has a more generic sense and, in that sense, is inextricably associated with Recent Commentsnovelty, a reality that will not go away for those of us who buy into telos, an inexorablemovement built into the very fabric of creation. What seems radically new is humankind’s christiannonduality.com Blog » conscious appropriation of emergentist dynamics and how they possess an autopoietic (self- Blog Archive » Thoughts re:organizing, for better or worse) trait, which is to say that we now know we can harness some t o d a y’s debate – Philip Claytonevolutionary impulses and possibly kedge forward (HT Mike Morrell & Frank Spencer) with a vs Dan Dennett on Intelligentmore consciously competent emergence (cf. Jamie Smith’s “Desiring the Kingdom”), shaping Design – a poorly designedand forming, as co-creators (cf. Phil Hefner), the unfolding of the Kingdom that we desire inference(Ps. 37:4). Conversely, we ignore this dynamic and forsake this movement at our own peril. christiannonduality.com Blog »  Blog Archive » W h y B r i a nBelow is Cathlimergent Response to Deacon Hall’s Response to Is the Emerging McLaren’s Greco-R o m a nChurch Movement Waning? | Homebrewed Christianity Narrative is NOT a caricature on A New Kind of Christianity?Such wisdom. McLaren didn’t make this up. It’s worse than that!Amen to Emergence broadly conceived vis a vis the Church Universal. christiannonduality.com Blog »  Blog Archive » W h y B r i a nThe more narrowly conceived particular movement seems to be an ecclesial reiteration of a McLaren’s Greco-R o m a nconstructive postmodernism. This pomo-impetus, in a nutshell, has transitioned science and Narrative is NOT a caricature onphilosophy, which I like to categorize as cosmological enterprises that are primarily E v e r y t h i n g T h a t’s Old is Newdescriptive and normative, from a naive realism to a more critical realism. This changed the A g a i n – this (McLaren’s “ N e w”  way humankind engaged reality vis a vis propositional cosmology making our approach Christianity) is truly an oldmore fallibilist. If in our descriptive sciences our knowledge advances mostly involved time religionstanding on the shoulders of our forefathers, in our normative philosophies our perspectival K i e r a n C o n r o y on A New Kind ofchanges have often more so resembled standing on their necks. Christianity? McLaren didn’t make this up. It’s worse thanThere’s a related but distinct dynamism in play when we look at the effect of pomo-impetus that!on our axiological enterprises of evaluative cultures and interpretive religions, which are less Philip Clayton on Thoughts re:propositional and more relational and existential. I suppose this is to suggest that, if a t o d a y’s debate – Philip Claytonconstructive postmodern approach will change the way we treat ideas, cosmologically, let’s vs Dan Dennettsay with an epistemic holism over against either the epistemic hubris of a sterile rationalismwith its a prioristic and apodictic certainties or the excessive epistemic humility of a radicaldeconstructionism with its nihilistic tendencies, then, axiologically, we might expect it to Type, Hit Enter to Searchchange the way we treat one another. We Distinguish inFor example, one way we might change the way we treat one another would be to take my Order to Uniteabove two paragraphs with their dense and narrowly philosophic prose and to translate theminto an idiom that can be engaged by our children and young adults. The conversations we Select Category 6are having in the academy are terribly important and we do not want to proceed without Blogrollthem. At the same time, without translation into a much more accessible and engaging form, Andrew Sullivanthey remain regrettably irrelevant. Beyond BlueAnd I wrote all of this as an example and just to say: WOW !!! The questions Deacon raised Brian D. McLarenand the response they evoked in Jo Ann are so incredibly right-on! To wit, Jo Ann wrote: Commonweal Crunchy Con Cynthia Bourgeault Emergent Village Emerging Women “It is possible that it could take on even yet a “new form.” This is all good. Keep First Thoughts people thinking, conversing, writing, communicating through song, dance, Fors Clavigera loving each other, learning and experiencing God, sharing our stories, etc. All Francis X. Clooney, S.J. of this is challenging and we must step up to the task. We must be “radicals” in Joseph S. OLeary a loving and spiritual way.” NCR Today – the Catholic Blog Per Caritatem Phyllis Tickle Post ChristianThis discussion continues here >>> Read the rest of this entry » Postmodern Conservative Radical EmergenceSend article as PDF to Enter email address Send Sojourners Tall Skinny Kiwi The Website of Unknowing Transmillenial Vox Nova Weekly Standard Blog Worship Blog Zoecarnate Worthwhile Sites Amos Yong Boulder Integral Brother David Steindl-Rast Center for Action andCatholics in the Emerging Church Conversation – Cathlimergent Contemplation(an archive of articles) Christian Nonduality Contemplative OutreachJB on December 27, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments » David Group International Dialogue InstituteBrian McLaren’s blog Catholics emerging: cathlimergent at Ecumenehttp://www.brianmclaren.net/archives/blog/catholics-emerging-cathlimergent.html 10:34 Franciscan ArchivePM Dec 10th from web Innerexplorations Institute on Religion in an Age ofCatholics & Others – Join Cathlimergent & our emerging church conversation at Sciencehttp://cathlimergent.ning.com/ 9:06 AM Dec 17th from web Metanexus Monastic Interreligious Dialogueemergence = ecclesia reformata semper reformanda = aggiornamento (bring up to date) + National Catholic Reporterressourcement (return to earlier sources & traditions) 9:15 PM Dec 25th from web Radical Orthodoxy ShalomplaceAnglimergent Baptimergent Presbymergent Methomergent Reformergent Luthermergent – Sojournersand now Cathlimergent http://cathlimergent.ning.com/ 6:46 PM Nov 24th from web Thomas Merton Center
  • 105. Cathlimergent at http://cathlimergent.ning.com/ is set up to foster Catholic participation in Virtual Chapelemerging conversation. All are welcome. 6:56 PM Nov 24th from web Zygon Center for Religion and ScienceCathlimergent on Facebook http://bit.ly/4JCYUG 9:07 AM Dec 23rd from API Cloud ofRadical Emergence – It’s a small, small world – global dialogue http://bit.ly/7vDJzk 4:53 UnknowingAM Dec 24th from web Amos Yong apophaticCatholics in the Emerging Church Conversation http://bit.ly/5TxhET 10:10 PM Nov 24th Axiological axiologically-from web Bernard integral Lonergan BrianTall Skinny Kiwi: 3 Things the Emerging Church Took From the Catholics McLaren Charleshttp://bit.ly/74NV7w 1:14 PM Dec 26th from web Sanders PeirceAndrew Jones asks: What do Catholics have to do with the emerging church? A lot, actually.http://bit.ly/5QyCZT 9:05 PM Dec 25th from web contemplative cosmology emergence emerging churchIn Search of the Emerging Church? – look on the margins http://bit.ly/5ne3kI 6:55 AM Dec E n l i g h t e n m e n t epistemology24th from API faith False Self fideismRadical Emergence: about roots & shoots http://bit.ly/73eF0D 10:47 PM Dec 23rd from web Hans Kung James K. A. Smith Jesus Creed JohnThe Emergent Roaming Catholic – a pictorial autobiography http://bit.ly/OFh2d 9:46 PM Duns Scotus kataphaticDec 23rd from web Kevin Beck Kurt Godel MertonWhat do we mean by Convergence in the emerging church conversation? metaphysics Mike Morrell Natural Theologyhttp://bit.ly/80ruuX 1:50 AM Dec 24th from web nihilism nondualThe 6 Moments, Dynamics & Dialogues of the Emerging Church Conversation nonduality orthodoxyhttp://bit.ly/547HJk 2:51 AM Dec 24th from web radical emergence radical orthodoxy rationalismEmergence Happens When … http://bit.ly/2miXIx 8:56 AM Dec 24th from API Richard Rohr Science scientismRadical Emergence – the Emerging Church Conversation as Strategic Planning Exercise semiotic theodicyhttp://bit.ly/6ROszC 3:52 AM Dec 24th from API TheologicalThe emerging church conversation is less about positions and more about dispositions: Anthropologyhttp://bit.ly/80ruuX 9:36 AM Dec 22nd from web Thomas Merton Tim King transformation Trueemerging church conversation: fugue-like interplay of boundary establishment, defense,negotiation & transcendence. http://bit.ly/2Bd34i 2:33 PM Dec 4th from web Self Walker Percy Join OtherRadical Emergence – Institutional Religion – what’s up with that? http://bit.ly/4lOFh 2:02 Visitors in PrayerPM Dec 24th from API Light A Candle & Pray Join Us in theCathlimergent – its origins http://bit.ly/5Ococe 5:54 AM Dec 24th from web Liturgy of theRadical Emergence – Right questions can be more important than right answers Hourshttp://bit.ly/4tNCtb 3:02 PM Dec 24th from webRadical Emergence – What makes a Catholic, catholic? (nothing cultural, scientific,philosophical or metaphysical) http://bit.ly/4y3hK3 8:57 AM Dec 24th from webRadical Emergence – we are liturgical animals, Homo liturgicus http://bit.ly/EJeQm 10:59AM Dec 24th from APIRadical Emergence – Liturgical Spirituality serves an erotic love http://bit.ly/3a21Ge 4:28PM Dec 24th from web Get the C a t h l i m e r g e n t o nRadical Emergence – Map-making & Story-telling – the twain shall meet Twitter widget and many otherhttp://bit.ly/7YpQhf 4:28 PM Dec 24th from web great free widgets a t Widgetbox! Not seeing a widget? (More info)Radical Emergence – Searching for Reenchantment in all the wrong placeshttp://bit.ly/YVGYU 10:11 PM Dec 24th from API Tweets johnssylvest: Abortion & theRadical Emergence – Eucharist – sacrament of unity http://bit.ly/TL1z2 6:31 PM Dec 24th Senate Healthcare Bill – afrom web prudential judgmentPrayer, in the True Self, would be as quiet as a sewing machine but as powerful as a cement http://bit.ly/aS2DwTtruck http://bit.ly/3DjqiY 10:40 PM Dec 24th from API johnssylvest: 10 developments propelling EmergingRadical Emergence – Thomas Merton – contemplative prayer http://bit.ly/3ORdxP 10:37 Christianity ~ Richard RohrPM Dec 24th from API http://bit.ly/a4AMtg johnssylvest: RT @pdclayton7:Radical Emergence – Merton – insoluble problems? http://bit.ly/1TINf9 10:36 PM Dec 24th "Theology After Google" opensfrom API Wed. - 23 of the best speakers on emerging religion in Google Age;Radical Emergence – Merton – It was Him! He done it! http://bit.ly/1uMs9e 9:35 PM Dec live stream at http://o ...24th from web johnssylvest: RT @jonestony: New Blog Post: Society forRadical Emergence – Merton – on the risk of stagnation, desolation, aridity Pentecostal Studies Paper: Whathttp://bit.ly/42gcsv 9:35 PM Dec 24th from API Pentecostals Have to Learn from Emergents http://ow.ly/16KREURadical Emergence – God is not a syllogism, Love is not a formal argument johnssylvest: THE BOOK: Anhttp://bit.ly/8Cb1Sb 9:10 PM Dec 24th from API Emerging Church Conversation with a Postmodern ConservativeRadical Emergence – Merton – move into crisis to lose crisis http://bit.ly/4kW1xy 8:34 PM Catholic PentecostalDec 24th from web http://bit.ly/91D570 #fbRadical Emergence – Merton – the False Self (properly understood) http://bit.ly/4FaJMw8:33 PM Dec 24th from web John Sobert SylvestRadical Emergence – love eternal will not be denied http://bit.ly/8EEH15 8:09 PM Dec 24thfrom webRadical Emergence – Merton- New Seeds of Contemplation http://bit.ly/34bYJm 7:33 PMDec 24th from APIRadical Emergence – Praying Our True Self http://bit.ly/qcLuq 7:32 PM Dec 24th from APIRadical Emergence – About Hesychasm http://bit.ly/5Lyxa 7:08 PM Dec 24th from APIRadical Emergence – Fundamentalists versus Heretics? not really, not alwayshttp://bit.ly/38EUjD 7:07 PM Dec 24th from webRadical Emergence – Pouring out a welter of confused thoughts http://bit.ly/5dxdbT 6:32PM Dec 24th from web
  • 106. Radical Emergence – Let There Be Peace on Earth – preambles to dialoguehttp://bit.ly/3rbM8W 6:06 PM Dec 24th from webRadical Emergence – Social Networks Can Be Thoreau’s Post Office http://bit.ly/1yFLTe6:05 PM Dec 24th from API Johnboy Was HereRadical Emergence – Simone Weil – the rest of the story http://bit.ly/8aLIqr 5:30 PM Dec Feedjit Live Blog Stats24th from web Feedjit Live Blog StatsRadical Emergence – Simone Weil – unbaptized & outside the church http://bit.ly/UyKoq5:29 PM Dec 24th from API Follow this blogRadical Emergence – the Oneness to which we can awaken http://bit.ly/7XBleG 5:04 PMDec 24th from APIRadical Emergence – Ecstatic, Enstatic & Epektasis – we bear the future Oneness nowhttp://bit.ly/s0gIu 4:04 PM Dec 24th from webScience vs Natural Theology vs Theology of Nature http://bit.ly/4abouU 3:27 PM Dec 24thfrom APIOne: Essential Writings in Nonduality – a review http://bit.ly/3rZrNM 2:26 PM Dec 24thfrom webAn elucidation of Buddhism by Dumoulin with an assist from Peirce, Polanyi and Lonerganhttp://bit.ly/1ask9Z 2:25 PM Dec 24th from webRadical Emergence – East Meets West interreligiously – but how? http://bit.ly/406Mli 1:25PM Dec 24th from webThe Non-dual Way – Fr. Richard Rohr at Boulder Integral – podcasts http://bit.ly/5d0fxu1:03 PM Dec 24th from webRadical Emergence – The Spirit Poured Out on All Flesh http://bit.ly/CvRgM 1:02 PM Dec24th from webRadical Emergence – Desiring the Kingdom http://bit.ly/2onevG 12:24 PM Dec 24th fromweb Visit Cathlimergent ConversationsRadical Emergence – Montmarte, Colorado Springs & the Kingdom http://bit.ly/YgLX0 Visit Anglimergent12:24 PM Dec 24th from API MetaRadical Emergence – Why PostmodernISM & ModernISM are Both Silly Log inhttp://bit.ly/4p787B 11:59 AM Dec 24th from API Entries R S S Comments R S SRadical Emergence – From Mild Woman to Wild Woman (for the church, of course) WordPress.orghttp://bit.ly/BQ16F 11:23 AM Dec 24th from webRadical Emergence – Maiden, Mother, Crone & Queen: archetypes & transformationhttp://bit.ly/3Mz1HH 10:22 AM Dec 24th from webDOUBT: nagging late-night and early-dawn questions http://bit.ly/3b434r 9:58 AM Dec24th from APIRadical Emergence – Ki, Qi, Chi, Prana & Kundalini (& Reiki) http://bit.ly/2VLXcX 9:22 AMDec 24th from APIRadical Emergence – Angel, let me help you with your wings … http://bit.ly/bq1Bn 8:21 AMDec 24th from webScience, Theology, Zen, Contemplation – podcasts http://bit.ly/4A1sTg 7:20 AM Dec 24thfrom webRadical Emergence – What differentiates the Gospel in the marketplace? http://bit.ly/HI29Q7:20 AM Dec 24th from APIRadical Emergence – Theodicy – love is all you need (Beatles) http://bit.ly/3d2kzk 6:19 AMDec 24th from webRadical Emergence – Intelligent Design – a poorly designed inference http://bit.ly/vVNSe5:18 AM Dec 24th from APIRadical Emergence – The New Atheism, a wimpy caricature of the old http://bit.ly/2XZfsS4:17 AM Dec 24th from webRadical Emergence – Church & State – aspiration & coercion http://bit.ly/49JTPM 4:16 AMDec 24th from webRadical Emergence – Spirit Move When You Will, Where You Will, How You Willhttp://bit.ly/1tjMBW 3:16 AM Dec 24th from APIRadical Emergence – There’s No Place Like Home – common sense & simple faithhttp://bit.ly/rh68E 2:14 AM Dec 24th from webRadical Emergence – to value our yearning, treasure our wanting & embrace ourincompleteness http://bit.ly/3EGqYK 1:13 AM Dec 24th from webRadical Emergence – Science, Philosophy, Culture & Religion http://bit.ly/8G6alS 12:49 AMDec 24th from APIRadical Emergence – Meaning in Life – abundance for believers & unbelievershttp://bit.ly/2909vC 12:13 AM Dec 24th from APIRadical Emergence – Nonduality & the Emerging Church http://bit.ly/4cvmNc 11:48 PMDec 23rd from webRadical Emergence – The Fugue: truth, beauty, goodness & unity http://bit.ly/77Y9A 11:12PM Dec 23rd from webWhat could one possibly mean by convergence in the emerging church conversation?http://bit.ly/80ruuX 10:14 AM Dec 21st from webI view the emerging conversation as dialogue & prayer, the fruits of which are quiteunpredictable http://bit.ly/547HJk 12:05 PM Dec 20th from webjohnssylvest
  • 107. 4 ways we most often deal w/paradox & 1 way is very much related to prayer Seehttp://bit.ly/547HJk 12:03 PM Dec 20th from web Retweeted by youThe 6 Moments, Dynamics & Dialogues of the Emerging Church Conversationhttp://bit.ly/547HJk 6:15 PM Dec 19th from webDo Xtn universities do enough to instill DOUBT: those nagging late-night and early-dawnquestions? http://bit.ly/3b434r 11:25 AM Dec 19th from webMy Version of Mary & Elizabeth Story: Ode to Mothers Who Had Lost Their Boyshttp://bit.ly/5jSEy2 3:41 AM Dec 19th from web in reply to revdebmattMany atheists have rejected gods whom I would never choose to worship either. Manybelievers worship gods I wouldn’t X the street to meet. 7:18 PM Dec 18th from webMerton – insoluble problems? http://bit.ly/1TINf9 4:33 PM Dec 18th from webMerton – It was Him! He done it! (losing our existential fears thru praise)http://bit.ly/1uMs9e 3:33 PM Dec 18th from webjohnssylvestIf You Are In Distress, Spiritual or Otherwise http://bit.ly/17kOVj 5:17 PM Oct 17th fromweb Retweeted by youMerton – on the risk of stagnation, desolation, aridity http://bit.ly/42gcsv 1:32 PM Dec 18thfrom webthe 3rd Way; nondual thinking; contemplative stance – Richard Rohr videohttp://tinyurl.com/rohr-newMind 1:09 PM Dec 18th from APInondual thinking; a new reformation; Richard Rohr video: http://tinyurl.com/rohr-emerging 1:06 PM Dec 18th from webMerton – move into crisis to lose crisis http://bit.ly/4kW1xy 12:33 PM Dec 18th from APIMerton – the False Self (properly understood) http://bit.ly/4FaJMw 12:32 PM Dec 18th fromwebWe don’t enter the monastery or undertake a life of prayer to make us better human beings— rather http://bit.ly/34bYJm (Merton) 11:30 AM Dec 18th from webhonest vs dishonest questions? Richard Rohr video: http://tinyurl.com/rohr-honestQuestions11:05 AM Dec 18th from APIbeing tribes without being tribal; Richard Rohr video: http://tinyurl.com/rohr-noTribalism11:04 AM Dec 18th from APIPrayer, in the True Self, would be as quiet as a sewing machine but as powerful as a cementtruck http://bit.ly/3DjqiY 10:30 AM Dec 18th from weban evening w/Brian McLaren video: http://tinyurl.com/McLaren-Quest Your questions cansend you on a Quest! 10:04 AM Dec 18th from webPraying Our True Self http://bit.ly/qcLuq 9:29 AM Dec 18th from APIcommonalities between emergents; Brian Mclaren video: http://tinyurl.com/mclaren-commonality 9:03 AM Dec 18th from API“The contemplative mind is really just the mind that emerges when you pray instead of thinkfirst.” – Richard Rohr 8:38 AM Dec 18th from webEver think of John of the Cross as dark, dry, arid? Think again! http://bit.ly/4uzsh3 8:16 AMDec 18th from webwhy so much focus on convincing others re: our versions of heaven and so little effortproviding them just a small taste of it NOW? 8:16 AM Dec 18th from webChristianity’s not an intellectual system, collection of dogmas, or a moralism; it’s anencounter, a love story, an event. Benedict XVI 4:08 PM Aug 31st from web Retweeted byyou and 5 othersjohnssylvestI think it pisses God off if you walk by the color purple in a field somewhere and don’t noticeit.~Alice Walker 11:48 AM Sep 4th from web Retweeted by youthe 3rd Way; nondual thinking; contemplative stance – Richard Rohr videohttp://tinyurl.com/rohr-newMind 8:35 AM Dec 17th from webTwitter’s a real Godsend to my longsuffering correspondents, who use to get 140,000 wordsof my obfuscatorily dense prose but now enjoy the What SECULAR society? The supermajority of humankind prays to a Spirit, Who is Holy,variously conceiving God in our PLURALISTIC society! 12:14 PM Dec 16th from webThe preferential option for the poor, sooner or later, will be consolation for every last one ofus. http://bit.ly/5ne3kI 10:11 AM Dec 16th from webthe question one should pose to gurus, mystics & saints is not what they think about reality’sessential nature, it’s Lord, teach us to pray 9:34 AM Dec 16th from webIt ain’t rocket surgery… 9:30 AM Dec 16th from webThen he went away and hanged himself. Mt 27:5 Go and do thou likewise. Lk 10:37 Or whywe shouldn’t take (Biblical) things out of context. 9:29 AM Dec 16th from web¿Who’s searching for YOU on social networking sites? Click to find out ►http://tinyurl.com/tweetfinder411 To Share ► http://bit.ly/KHcw5 9:24 AM Dec 16th fromwebA Lucky Dog vendor in New Orleans’ French Quarter asked: “Would you like me to makeyou one with everything?” Panentheism’s just everywhere! 9:19 AM Dec 16th from webWhile theologians quibble over what’s necessary for salvation, let’s busy ourselves with what’snecessary to give God the greatest glory! 9:00 AM Dec 16th from web
  • 108. Faith provides a response, not an answer, to the mystery of suffering. We defer our “Why?” intrust & proceed with our “Here I am” in love. 8:59 AM Dec 16th from webI’ve met quite a few atheists over the years, all who’d rejected gods whom I would neverchoose to worship either. 8:55 AM Dec 16th from webRichard Rohr on Action and Contemplation: Homebrewed Christianity 41http://34i26.th8.us 8:46 AM Dec 16th from webAnd if u would know God be not therefore a solver of riddles. Rather look about u and u shallsee Him playing w/ your children. ~ Gibran 8:45 AM Dec 16th from webFollow this link & its step by step directions & you will experience peace. Light A Candlehttp://bit.ly/38RwEV Please Share 12:02 AM Dec 16th from web@ROFTERS FT Influence the Obama Doctrine? Gary Dorrien: neocon Niebuhrians arekidding selves about having much in common with Niebuhr 8:56 PM Dec 15th from web inreply to ROFTERSLiturgyThere are 37 responses to the discussion: There’s probably no God? http://bit.ly/7Uc2zSCome and read, add your bit, & plz RT 12:28 AM Dec 15th from TweetDeck Retweeted byyou and 1 otherResolved: not all traditionalists are fundamentalistic & not all emergents are hard pomos. Insheer numbers, however, the bigger problem is? 8:28 PM Dec 14th from webDenis Read OCD, calls Juan the “liturgical mystic” and sanjuanist spirituality “liturgicalspirituality” http://bit.ly/3a21Ge 8:00 PM Dec 14th from web Retweeted by youThere’s Probably No God? Be good for goodness’ sake! http://bit.ly/52V3yq 7:56 PM Dec14th from webResource Center (mp3, DVD, books, CD, audiotape, Radical Grace Magazine, donations) –Center for Action & Contemplation http://bit.ly/90V9pL 9:55 PM Dec 13th from webtemplate for a Liturgy of Lament (pdf) fr Center for Action & Contemplation (Fr. Rohr)http://bit.ly/59sZJS 9:52 PM Dec 13th from webWe Need to Take Better Care Of Sister Earth by RichardRohr 2009-Nov-02 (pdf)http://bit.ly/8uQMrT 9:47 PM Dec 13th from webFr Richard Rohr Homilies (mp3 files) at Holy Family Church Albuquerque NMhttp://bit.ly/6JkIwe 9:45 PM Dec 13th from webSubscribe to Center for Action & Contemplation Mailing Lists http://bit.ly/6hQVu incl DailyMeditation (Reflections by Fr. Richard Rohr) 9:43 PM Dec 13th from webCathlimergent on Facebook http://bit.ly/4JCYUG 7:03 PM Dec 13th from webDon’t waste years of your life being against anybody, talking past those who don’t even shareour concepts & categories http://bit.ly/4GpKWe 2:51 AM Dec 12th from webEmerging fr modernity’s preoccupation w/boundary establishment & defense is apostmodern openness to boundary negotiation & transcendence. 12:08 PM Dec 11th fromwebHave you experienced these tensions on your journey? Can you see them playing out in ourchurches & culture? Join us! http://bit.ly/7S7JKf 7:47 AM Dec 11th from webHere we are, as Fr. Rohr says, tribal but not tribalistic. We avoid, then, institutionalism andhierarchicalism. 7:45 AM Dec 11th from webmore on the Manhattan Declaration http://bit.ly/65kdHb 11:14 AM Dec 9th from webThe Stem Cell Challenge (in response to Jesus Creed thread) http://bit.ly/6dr5fU 3:45 PMDec 8th from webGod is not a syllogism, Love is not a formal argument http://bit.ly/8Cb1Sb 10:30 AM Dec7th from web Retweeted by youAin’t heterodox to believe that there ain’t a snowball’s chance in the Superdome that anyonewill ever end up in hell. http://bit.ly/8EEH15 2:12 PM Dec 6th from web Retweeted by youlove eternal will not be denied http://bit.ly/8EEH15 1:58 PM Dec 6th from web Retweeted byyousacrament & song & psalmody & story-telling & bread-breaking came first in our tradition &remains first in our lives http://bit.ly/6ROszC 8:21 PM Dec 4th from webLiturgyWonderful responses & discussions about: does blog exist? http://bit.ly/5QIwwp 2:32 PMDec 4th from TweetDeck Retweeted by youmincemeat pie recipe fr scratch: 1) begin w/ quantum vacuum fluctuation 2) Big Bang 3)Turn stardust into elements ~ more later 11:20 PM Dec 3rd from webdon’t miss @zoecarnate the Promiscuous Love of God http://bit.ly/7×5NX1 4:32 PM Dec 3rdfrom webJesus was a Capricorn, but was He an ESFJ? an Enneagram 2? http://bit.ly/7NixyL 2:03PM Dec 3rd from web“Introverts In The Church: Finding Our Place In An Extroverted Culture” by Adam McHughhttp://bit.ly/7NixyL 2:02 PM Dec 3rd from webEmergent Village is a growing, generative friendship among missional Christianshttp://bit.ly/Xdlnv 1:31 PM Nov 29th from webemergingchurch.info : a touching place for the emerging church http://bit.ly/4j492I 1:30PM Nov 29th from webchanging church for a changing world | Fresh Expressions http://bit.ly/6pxKDd 1:30 PMNov 29th from webcommon root http://bit.ly/4B9tPa 1:29 PM Nov 29th from web
  • 109. Resonate: growing missional friendship of Canadians http://bit.ly/5okmNW 1:28 PM Nov29th from webpresbymergent http://bit.ly/bbMYZ 1:27 PM Nov 29th from webLuthermergent http://bit.ly/4b9X8 1:26 PM Nov 29th from webemergingumc http://bit.ly/14tzW 1:25 PM Nov 29th from webConvergent Friends http://bit.ly/6kjpKR 1:24 PM Nov 29th from webBaptimergent – An emergent baptist network of friends. http://bit.ly/67uYN9 1:23 PM Nov29th from webAnglimergent http://bit.ly/1mfnft 1:23 PM Nov 29th from webEmerging Pentecostal http://bit.ly/ed0PO 1:22 PM Nov 29th from webHere’s how the sun came up on Cathlimergent on one of the very first days of its presence incyberspace: http://bit.ly/7vDJzk 12:30 PM Nov 28th from webOur approach would be vastly changed if we shifted from universalis to katholikos in ourunderstanding of Catholicity http://bit.ly/7k6dRa 2:11 AM Nov 28th from webFather Roy Bourgeois from our hometown, Lutcher, Louisiana, nominated for the 2010Nobel Peace Prize. http://bit.ly/7a4d3u #fb 10:16 PM Nov 27th from webThe preferential option for the poor, sooner or later, will be consolation for every last one ofus. http://bit.ly/5ne3kI 10:08 AM Nov 27th from webSet a guard, O LORD, over my monitor; Keep watch over the door of my keyboard. 8:28 PMNov 25th from webRT @zoecarnate: Catholic? Emerging? Join the CATHLIMERGENT social network!http://cathlimergent.ning.com // emerging is invading everywhere 8:24 AM Nov 25th fromSimplyTweet Retweeted by youRT @transmillennial: Cutting edge Catholics. Emerging Catholics. Check outCATHLIMERGENT. http://bit.ly/7k6dRa Thanks Kevin! 1:32 PM Nov 25th from CoTweetAndrew’s right. Neither emergence nor convergence are novel for Catholics. Catholics &Emerging Church http://bit.ly/6ThpfE 11:00 AM Nov 25th from webtallskinnykiwiWhat do Catholics have to do with the emerging church? A lot, actually.http://bit.ly/5QyCZT 8:55 AM Nov 25th from TweetDeck Retweeted by you and 3 othersWhere are all the ‘Emerging’ Catholics? « this fragile tent http://bit.ly/4NSdpu 10:49 AMNov 25th from webSend article as PDF to Enter email address SendWhat do we mean by Convergence in the emerging churchconversation?JB on December 21, 2009 in Practices & Experiences, Uncategorized, the interpretive -Religion | No Comments »What could one possibly mean by convergence in the emerging church conversation,especially once recognizing and acknowledging that we remain, in the same instance,Anglimergent, Baptimergent, Cathlimergent, Luthermergent, Presbymergent and so on?To the extent the conversation primarily involves a consideration of methods, practices andexperiences and not, rather, belief systems, conclusions and propositions, and given theconversation’s postfoundational orientation, what emerges will not be in the form of  arguments in the strict sense. Instead, we are discovering a convergence that is more so ofnonpropositional nature.This is to say that this convergence does not articulate, for example, a new narrative arch of adistinctly descriptive, normative or speculative nature, which would be a cosmologicalenterprise. Rather, this convergence has an axiological trajectory, which is to say that itfosters a harmonic resonance of an evaluative, interpretive or existential nature.Interpretively, we are coming away with a deepened sense of solidarity. Evaluatively, weshare a profound sense of compassion. We share, then, a great unity of mission even aswe recognize our diversity of ministry and acknowledge our plurality of beliefsystems.What emerges, then, is not so much a convergence of metanarratives but, instead, ofmeta-perspectives. It is a convergence of perspectives that conditions HOW we will firstsee and experience reality, so to speak, desiring the Kingdom, and not of narrativessetting forth WHAT we will eventually think about reality in order to somehow argue andprove the Kingdom.
  • 110. A lot of people, who remain immersed in dualistic mindsets with their problem-solvingorientation to all of reality, have a difficult time evaluating the emerging churchconversation. These are likely the same tweeple who are repeatedly tweeting their frustrationwith trying to nail jello to the wall in their coming to grips with what the emergingconversation is all about. For so many, apologetics is primarily evidential, rational andpresuppositional, proceeding with empirical, logical, practical and moral reasoning. And, byall means, this approach to reality is indispensable and necessary. When it comes to life’sdeepest mysteries, more ultimate concerns and most significant value-realizations, however,we must go beyond this dualistic approach and engage reality with a more nondual,contemplative stance.So, when we speak of a convergence in the emerging conversation, we are not suggesting anovel set of concepts and categories. Neither should one look for a specific political agenda. Itis not a convergence of moral reasoning, such that emergent folk will all necessarily share thesame positions on one moral reality or another. Even regarding cosmological matters, we arenot suggesting a convergence of views regarding such things as philosophy of mind,theological anthropology, divine interactions and so on.A distinctly nonpropositional convergence of shared practice and shared experience, of adeepened sense of solidarity and heightened sense of compassion, will very much conditionour approach to environmental & social justice, ecclesiology, worship and Jesus.Notice how these are not primarily propositional realities but are, first and foremost,relational realities. We are not first preoccupied with getting answers right as if we weremostly dealing with ideas. This convergence is not about getting the correct relationshipsbetween ideas, whether through a harmony of reasons or even intuitions. This is aboutrealizing the right relationships between humankind and God, ourselves and oneanother, ourselves and nature and even our relationship to our own self.This harmonic convergence, then, is like a symphony of many instruments, each with itsown sound and timbre, all playing together in the same key, in harmony and to the rhythmof the same Drum.This is not to deny, however, that to the extent that we are conditioned, shaped and formedby a convergence of nonpropositional influences, that it will not eventually transvalue ourmore propositional approaches, effecting their convergence also. It will. But that requires agreat deal of patience.I have to run. The exigencies of life press in. But I will elaborate on all of this later andhopefully in a more accessible way.Update: Really, the best articulation of the emerging conversation trajectory from a Catholicperspective is in this video clip of Fr. Richard Rohr: Fr. Richard Rohr describes theEmerging Church ConversationAlso, here’s the latest HomeBrewed Christianity Podcast of Fr. Rohr: Get your Non-dualism on with Richard RohrDay 3 – continuingBeyond socialization, we are opening ourselves up to ongoing transformation and a deepdesiring of the Kingdom. We experience a deep desiring for environmental and social justicein solidarity with and compassion for humankind and our cosmos. Ever more identified withJesus and His deep desiring of communion with the Father, we long for the coming of theCosmic Christ. Our ecclesiology is more ecumenical and egalitarian as we go beyondinstitutional structures (and not necessarily without them) seeking authentic community inmanifold and multiform ways, wherever two or more can gather in His Name. Our worshipbecomes the practice of the Presence of God as we seek an abiding relationship with Him –not Whom we possess, but – Who possesses us.In solidarity and sharing this same deep desiring, we may otherwise differ in HOW we seejustice playing out morally, practically and politically, in HOW we see the Kingdom unfoldingeschatologically and metaphysically. And we can abide with these differences because of ourdeep humility and deep love for one another, encouraging and forgiving one another, sharinga vision THAT in the Kingdom all may be well, all will be well, all shall be well and we willknow that all manner of things shall be well.The emerging church conversation is less about positions and more about dispositions,about being disposed to a Deep Awareness, Deep Solidarity, Deep Compassion, DeepHumility, Deep Worship, Deep Justice, Deep Ecology and Deep Community. That theserealities will play out in our lives we are confidently assured. How they will play out issomething we explore in humility and civility with all people of goodwill. Ours is foremost ashared axiology, interpretively and evaluatively, of what we deeply desire and deeply value.We share practices that shape, form, cultivate and celebrate these desires and values. Webelieve that, one day, this will lead also to a shared cosmology, descriptively and normatively,consistent with the best science and best philosophy. “Your life is shaped by the end you live for. You are made in the image of what you desire.” Thomas MertonBelow is a contribution evoked by Kevin Beck’s question re: empathy & compassion: Readthe rest of this entry »Send article as PDF to Enter email address SendTags: compassion, c o n t e m p l a t i v e, c o n v e r g e n c e, d i v e r s i t y o f m i n i s t r y, dualistic mindset, e m e r g i n gc h u r c h c o n v e r s a t i o n, m e t a-n a r r a t i v e, m e t a-perspective, n o n d u a l, plurality of belief systems, s o l i d a r i t y,unity of mission
  • 111. The 6 Moments, Dynamics & Dialogues of the Emerging ChurchConversationJB on December 19, 2009 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »This is a follow to the Emerging Church Conversation as Strategic PlanningExercise.Below are some touchpoints for the emerging church conversation as it represents the fruitsof prayer of individuals and of peoples gathered. This emerging church dialogue doesn’t reallylend itself to categories used to describe systems, products, conclusions or movements; rather,it is more so about methods, processes, practices or conversations.This dialogue, then, is best conceived as prayer, as people interacting with God and oneanother. It is an ongoing exchange of Do You Hear What I Hear? as the Spirit moves amongthe People of God as always.Sometimes, the Spirit moves and werespond competently even if not whollyconsciously. We respond implicitly even ifnot with an explicit awareness. At differenttimes in church history, our responsebecomes a tad more self-reflective,explicitly-aware, self-critical andconsciously competent. That’s what theemerging conversation is to me – not anovel move of the Spirit per se or aresponse of the church, but – anothermoment in time where many are simplypaying more attention and appropriating anew awareness of what our gracious Godhas always been about. Certainly, efficacieswill always flow when implicit faith ismade explicit, when unconsciouscompetence is made conscious, when wepause, from time to time, to reflect andresource and retrieve and revive andrenew.Because I view the emerging conversation as dialogue and prayer, the fruits ofwhich are quite unpredictable as they flow from the hand of a sovereign God, Who seems tohave quite the sense of humor, I find it helpful to view the conversation through the lens ofLectio Divina, our prayer. If there is a “movement,” then it is really no more and no lessthan prayer, itself, which does not lend itself to specific programs and definite agenda butyields itself to transformation, solidarity and compassion. These are realities that come aboutquite spontaneously and outside of our preconceived channels.While in creation, novelty arises that transcends but does not violate the order from which itemerged, still we cannot really look behind to get a sense of where we’re headed. Rather, wecan look back and realize that others have been in places like this before and have beensuperabundantly rewarded in unpredictable, novel ways when they have trustfullysurrendered. Joy remains a surprise. What emerges from this conversation will inspire joybut will be no less a surprise. The Spirit is like that is all I can observe. Seldom do we knowhow God’s designs will be worked even as we look forward with a confident assurance thatall will be well.Below, I will describe 6 moments in prayer and 6 dynamics at play during these moments.They capture, for me, 6 dialogues going on in the emerging church conversation. 6 moments in prayer 1 ) Creation reveals God in a moment of Creatio. In the beginning was The Word. 2 ) The Word is received in a moment of Lectio by the Witnesses to Revelation. 3 ) The Word is pondered in a moment of Meditatio as the Witnesses meditate together on Revelation. 4 ) As the Word is accepted and spoken in a moment of Oratio, Revelation transforms its Witnesses. 5 ) As transformed Witnesses in a moment of Contemplatio, we respire the Word in every contemplative breath as the Word becomes life, itself. 6 ) We act on the Word in a moment of Operatio as the Word is integrated into every aspect of our lives. 6 dynamics at play1 ) In Creatio, Revelation pours forth in Truth, Beauty, Goodness & Unity in aTeleological Dynamic which speaks to the transcendental imperatives and divineattributes that we experience in our existential orientations. This includes a robustlyrelational dynamic with four vectors  as each value is realized in the self, the other, the environment and God, trajectories emphasized by Merton and further explicated by hisdescription of Bernardian love – of self for sake of self, of God for sake of self, of God for sakeof God, of self for sake of God.This is what some have called Beginning with the End in mind. It’s articulated in thequestion What’s It All About Alfie? All of the great traditions have in their own wayarticulated truth, celebrated beauty, preserved goodness and fostered unity.2 ) In Lectio, we encounter the witnesses to Revelation in a Perspectival Dynamic whichlistens to the voices of these witnesses from objective, intersubjective, interobjective andsubjective perspectives that mutually critique each other. For example and respectively,Scripture, Tradition, Reason and Experience. Or, in apologetics, the evidential,presuppositional, rational and existential approaches.
  • 112. We might think here of the Wesleyan Quadrilateral, the Anglican Three-Legged Stool, Fideset Ratio.3 ) In Meditatio, we employ a Methodological Dynamic which has four moments,  the descriptive and normative moments of our cosmological methods and the evaluative andinterpretive moments of our axiological methods. For example, we employ descriptivescience and normative philosophy and evaluative culture and interpretive religion, eachwhich is methodologically autonomous but axiologically-integral, which is to say allnecessary but none sufficient, all intellectually-related though not strictly logically-related, inevery human value-realization.Here we are reminded of the Science & Religion Dialogue, of Postmodern epistemology andother such discussions.4 ) In Oratio, we speak the word as a first moment of accepting it and allowing it to worktoward our transformation in a Developmental Dynamic, whereby we move towardauthenticity in ongoing intellectual, affective, moral, socio-political and religious conversion.I especially think of Bernard Lonergan’s conversions as expanded and explicated by DonaldGelpi.5 ) In Contemplatio, we live out of a Paradoxical Dynamic which takes us beyond but notwithout our dualistic, problem-solving mind to engage reality with a nondual approach thatis more robustly relational. In our dualistic mind we have grappled with some success indealing with paradoxical tensions, resolving some dialectically in synthesis, dissolvingsome perspectivally through paradigm shifts that introduce new concepts and categories, andevading others practically, although they are otherwise true antinomies, which reveal thelimits of our formal approaches (as they would require our forsaking of some aspects ofreason, itself, in order to eliminate certain apparent absurdities).These strategies of resolving, dissolving and evading paradox are somewhatsuccessful as we grapple with life’s cosmological questions in science and philosophy, wherewe deal with how to describe and norm reality. When it comes to life’s most importantquestions, our most ultimate concerns and most significant value-realizations, as we grapplewith life’s axiological questions in human culture and religion, our strategy shifts fromgetting the right answers through problem-solving to getting the questions right, in otherwords, to embarking on the right quest. This is about getting relationships right.Axiological paradox, which deals with how we value and  interpret reality, does not yield to cosmological speculation with its empirical, rational and practical resolutions, dissolutionsand evasions of paradox.  Its paradoxical tensions are, instead, nurtured and maintained creatively. Creative tensions are the stuff of life’s deepest mysteries and most profoundmeanings and yield its most cherished value-realizations. One might say, then, when itcomes to life’s deepest paradoxes, we exploit them transformatively.There is no better treatment of paradox and the nondual approach than that of FranciscanRichard Rohr.6 ) In Operatio, where we act on the Word and integrate it into every aspect of our lives, weemploy an Integral Dynamic, which fosters integrity and authenticity through an ongoingprocess of boundary establishment, boundary defense, boundary negotiation and boundarytranscendence. These boundary dynamics can be healthy or unhealthy, hence efficacious orcounterproductive,  if not maintained in a creative tension. Dogma can decay into dogmatism, cult into ritualism, code into legalism and community into institutionalism.Creed can otherwise articulate truth. Ritual can otherwise celebrate beauty. Code canotherwise preserve goodness. Community can otherwise enjoy fellowship. 6 dialogues in the Emerging Conversation1 ) The exploration of teleological dynamics is quite straightforward in that it reflects acollective voice of prophetic protest that is coming from the margins of institutionalizedChristianity and calling us to snap back into awareness in order to quit mistaking the fingerpointing at the moon for the moon itself. It’s nothing less than the age old clarification ofmeans and ends. See Brian McLaren break open the essentials of our quest. Brian McLaren, author of the groundbreaking Everything Must Change, again shows his penchant for challenging conventional thinking about faith and religion in this interview with host Dean Nelson as part of the 2009 Writers Symposium by the Sea, sponsored by Point Loma Nazarene University. Series: Writer’s Symposium By The Sea [5/2009]2 )  The exploration of perspectival dynamics reflects the wisdom of mutual critique andthe avoidance of various over- and under-emphases, whether sola scriptura or solummagisterium, whether a rationalistic foundationalism or a radically deconstructivepostmodernism. See Diana Butler Bass set forth a fresh perspective or narrative arch in her People’s History of Christianity. In the same spirit as Howard Zinn’s groundbreaking work The People’s History of the United States, Diana Butler Bass reveals the under-reported movements, personalities, and spiritual practices that continue to inform and ignite contemporary Christian worship, activism, and social justice reforms in the name of Jesus.3 ) The consideration of methodological dynamics looks at the methods that areemployed from within all of the perspectives and affirms their autonomy as each constrainsand mutually critiques the others. Thus we avoid the conflation of science and religion andphilosophy and respect what each contributes to every human value-realization. Wetherefore eschew scientism as well as fideism, for example.
  • 113. See John Haught’s presentation: Genes and God: Explaining Life, Mind, Morality and Religion Scientists, philosophers and an increasing number of scholars in the humanities now to look to Darwinian and Mendelian science for the ultimate explanation of living phenomena including our own intellectual, ethical and religious characteristics.4 ) The dialogue about developmental dynamics respects the human growth trajectoryand recognizes that we are being transformed both as individuals and as a people. We thinkhere of Bernard Lonergan’s conversions, Clare Graves Spiral Dynamics and so on. See Tim King’s Meeting at the Intersection of Humility & Mystery. Summary: Tim King’s talk, delivered the International Peace & Reconciliation conference in Amman Jordan, December 17, 2009. Read by Mike Morrell of KedgeForward. For more on Tim & The David Group International, see http://postchristianblog.com and http://davidgroupinternational.com5 )  Our interest in paradoxical dynamics draws its impetus from life’s inescapablemystery and inexhaustible depth dimensions. Here we explore the wisdom of uncertainty, thereality of doubt even in the midst of faith, the nondual nature of the contemplative stance. See Fr. Richard Rohr talk about The Contemplative Mind. For Christians seeking a way of thinking outside of strict dualities, Fr. Rohr  explores methods for letting go of division and living in the present. He draws his teachings from the Gospels, Jesus, Paul, and the great Christian contemplatives. He reveals how many of the hidden truths of Christianity have been misunderstood or lost and how to read them with the eyes of the mystics rather than interpreting them through rational thought.6 ) Our exploration of integral dynamics is an exploration of boundary realities and howwe are to establish, defend, negotiate and transcend this boundary or that, while maintainingour integrity and growing our authenticity. See Phyllis Tickle as she emphasizes: This is God we’re talking about. Phyllis Tickle shares her thoughts on how we can spark new life in Christian communities at the Christianity 21 conference. Jesus is God (no metaphor) and this matters!Send article as PDF to Enter email address SendTags: Contemplatio, C r e a t i o, Creative tensions, c u l t u r e, D e v e l o p m e n t a l D y n a m i c, I n t e g r a l D y n a m i c,Lectio, Lectio Divina, Meditatio, Methodological Dynamic, Operatio, O r a t i o, P a r a d o x i c a l D y n a m i c,P e r s p e c t i v a l D y n a m i c, philosophy, religion, Science, Teleological Dynamic, v a l u e-realizationsThere’s Probably No God? Be good for goodness’ sake!JB on December 14, 2009 in Uncategorized, the interpretive - Religion, the normative -Philosophy | No Comments »Rev. Bosco Peters blogs this week: There’s Probably No God?He describes a situation: New Zealand is following other countries in having an “atheist bus campaign”. Atheists are raising $NZ10,000 to mimic the UK campaign and place “There’s probably no God. Now stop worrying and enjoy your life”  on several buses in major New Zealand cities.But then Rev. Peters suggests: Rather than fear, or tut-tut, this campaign, I welcome the opportunity for some serious dialogue.
  • 114. I agree with his suggestion and offer my comment below. Please click on the photo, above, tovisit Liturgy.com and to read his excellent post and comments.It is true that the “New” atheists engage but a caricature of authentic belief. And they, inturn, offer us naught but a caricature of a more philosophically rigorous atheism.Those of us who subscribe to a radically incarnational view of reality certainly want to affirmthat humankind can indeed be good for goodness’ sake. We can and do pursue truth,beauty, goodness and unity because such a pursuit is its own reward. Of course, we also viewour existential orientations to these intrinsically rewarding values as transcendentalimperatives. We believe that humans can recognize and realize these values without thebenefit of special divine revelation. So, we acknowledge the possibility of an implicit faitheven as we maintain that, with an explicit faith, believers can move more swiftly and withless hindrance toward these values on life’s transformative journey.I enjoy natural theology, metaphysics and philosophy but acknowledge that beyond ourevidential, rational and presuppositional arguments, which, at the most, establish thereasonableness of faith, it is our existential experience of God that gifts us with a confidentassurance in the things we hope for. Beyond our abstract speculative formulations andcognitive propositions, it is our participatory imagination that best engages reality, not justreligiously but also scientifically and philosophically and relationally. This imagination isshaped and formed by liturgies of the mall, the marketplace, the stadium and our worship,where we learn (and finally decide) to most desire one Kingdom or another.So, we do not even want to deny that one can live a life of abundance and realize life’s greatvalues without an explicit belief in God (even as we have our own faith-based interpretationsof why this may be so and Who makes this possible). Neither would we deny, however, that alife of faith is a life of SUPERabundance, enabling us to journey more swiftly and with lesshindrance along The Way.This discussion continues at this link>>> Read the rest of this entry »Send article as PDF to Enter email address SendTags: a t h e i s t b u s c a m p a i g n, existential orientations, implicit faith, m e t a p h y s i c s, N a t u r a l T h e o l o g y,p a r t i c i p a t o r y i m a g i n a t i o n, t r a n s c e n d e n t a l i m p e r a t i v e s, t r a n s f o r m a t i v e j o u r n e yPresident Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize LectureAdministrator on December 10, 2009 in the evaluative - Culture | No Comments »Your Majesties, Your Royal Highnesses, Distinguished Members of the Norwegian NobelCommittee, citizens of America, and citizens of the world:I receive this honor with deep gratitude and great humility. It is an award that speaks to ourhighest aspirations — that for all the cruelty and hardship of our world, we are not mereprisoners of fate. Our actions matter, and can bend history in the direction of justice.And yet I would be remiss if I did not acknowledge the considerable controversy that yourgenerous decision has generated. In part, this is because I am at the beginning, and not theend, of my labors on the world stage. Compared to some of the giants of history who havereceived this prize — Schweitzer and King; Marshall and Mandela — my accomplishmentsare slight. And then there are the men and women around the world who have been jailedand beaten in the pursuit of justice; those who toil in humanitarian organizations to relievesuffering; the unrecognized millions whose quiet acts of courage and compassion inspire eventhe most hardened of cynics. I cannot argue with those who find these men and women —some known, some obscure to all but those they help — to be far more deserving of thishonor than I.But perhaps the most profound issue surrounding my receipt of this prize is the fact that I amthe Commander-in-Chief of a nation in the midst of two wars. One of these wars is windingdown. The other is a conflict that America did not seek; one in which we are joined by 43other countries — including Norway — in an effort to defend ourselves and all nations fromfurther attacks.Still, we are at war, and I am responsible for the deployment of thousands of youngAmericans to battle in a distant land. Some will kill. Some will be killed. And so I come herewith an acute sense of the cost of armed conflict — filled with difficult questions about therelationship between war and peace, and our effort to replace one with the other.These questions are not new. War, in one form or another, appeared with the first man. Atthe dawn of history, its morality was not questioned; it was simply a fact, like drought ordisease — the manner in which tribes and then civilizations sought power and settled theirdifferences.Over time, as codes of law sought to control violence within groups, so did philosophers,clerics and statesmen seek to regulate the destructive power of war. The concept of a “justwar” emerged, suggesting that war is justified only when it meets certain preconditions: if it iswaged as a last resort or in self-defense; if the forced used is proportional; and if, wheneverpossible, civilians are spared from violence.For most of history, this concept of just war was rarely observed. The capacity of humanbeings to think up new ways to kill one another proved inexhaustible, as did our capacity toexempt from mercy those who look different or pray to a different God. Wars between armiesgave way to wars between nations — total wars in which the distinction between combatantand civilian became blurred. In the span of 30 years, such carnage would twice engulf thiscontinent. And while it is hard to conceive of a cause more just than the defeat of the ThirdReich and the Axis powers, World War II was a conflict in which the total number ofcivilians who died exceeded the number of soldiers who perished.
  • 115. In the wake of such destruction, and with the advent of the nuclear age, it became clear tovictor and vanquished alike that the world needed institutions to prevent another World War.And so, a quarter century after the United States Senate rejected the League of Nations — anidea for which Woodrow Wilson received this Prize — America led the world in constructingan architecture to keep the peace: a Marshall Plan and a United Nations, mechanisms togovern the waging of war, treaties to protect human rights, prevent genocide and restrict themost dangerous weapons.In many ways, these efforts succeeded. Yes, terrible wars have been fought, and atrocitiescommitted. But there has been no Third World War. The Cold War ended with jubilantcrowds dismantling a wall. Commerce has stitched much of the world together. Billions havebeen lifted from poverty. The ideals of liberty, self-determination, equality and the rule of lawhave haltingly advanced. We are the heirs of the fortitude and foresight of generations past,and it is a legacy for which my own country is rightfully proud.A decade into a new century, this old architecture is buckling under the weight of newthreats. The world may no longer shudder at the prospect of war between two nuclearsuperpowers, but proliferation may increase the risk of catastrophe. Terrorism has long beena tactic, but modern technology allows a few small men with outsized rage to murderinnocents on a horrific scale.Moreover, wars between nations have increasingly given way to wars within nations. Theresurgence of ethnic or sectarian conflicts, the growth of secessionist movements,insurgencies and failed states have increasingly trapped civilians in unending chaos. Intoday’s wars, many more civilians are killed than soldiers; the seeds of future conflict aresown, economies are wrecked, civil societies torn asunder, refugees amassed and childrenscarred.I do not bring with me today a definitive solution to the problems of war. What I do know isthat meeting these challenges will require the same vision, hard work and persistence of thosemen and women who acted so boldly decades ago. And it will require us to think in new waysabout the notions of just war and the imperatives of a just peace.We must begin by acknowledging the hard truth that we will not eradicate violent conflict inour lifetimes. There will be times when nations — acting individually or in concert — will findthe use of force not only necessary but morally justified.I make this statement mindful of what Martin Luther King said in this same ceremony yearsago: “Violence never brings permanent peace. It solves no social problem: It merely createsnew and more complicated ones.” As someone who stands here as a direct consequence of Dr.King’s life’s work, I am living testimony to the moral force of non-violence. I know there isnothing weak, nothing passive, nothing naive in the creed and lives of Gandhi and King.But as a head of state sworn to protect and defend my nation, I cannot be guided by theirexamples alone. I face the world as it is, and cannot stand idle in the face of threats to theAmerican people. For make no mistake: Evil does exist in the world. A nonviolent movementcould not have halted Hitler’s armies. Negotiations cannot convince al-Qaidas leaders to laydown their arms. To say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism — it is arecognition of history, the imperfections of man and the limits of reason.I raise this point because in many countries there is a deep ambivalence about military actiontoday, no matter the cause. At times, this is joined by a reflexive suspicion of America, theworlds sole military superpower.Yet the world must remember that it was not simply international institutions —not just treaties and declarations — that brought stability to a post-World War IIworld. Whatever mistakes we have made, the plain fact is this: The United Statesof America has helped underwrite global security for more than six decades withthe blood of our citizens and the strength of our arms. The service and sacrifice ofour men and women in uniform has promoted peace and prosperity fromGermany to Korea, and enabled democracy to take hold in places like theBalkans. We have borne this burden not because we seek to impose our will. Wehave done so out of enlightened self-interest — because we seek a better future forour children and grandchildren, and we believe that their lives will be better ifother people’s children and grandchildren can live in freedom and prosperity.So yes, the instruments of war do have a role to play in preserving the peace. And yet thistruth must coexist with another — that no matter how justified, war promises humantragedy. The soldiers courage and sacrifice is full of glory, expressing devotion to country, tocause and to comrades in arms. But war itself is never glorious, and we must never trumpetit as such.So part of our challenge is reconciling these two seemingly irreconcilable truths — that war issometimes necessary, and war is at some level an expression of human folly. Concretely, wemust direct our effort to the task that President Kennedy called for long ago. “Let us focus,” he said, “on a more practical, more attainable peace, based not on a sudden revolution inhuman nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions.”What might this evolution look like? What might these practical steps be?To begin with, I believe that all nations — strong and weak alike — must adhere to standardsthat govern the use of force. I — like any head of state — reserve the right to act unilaterallyif necessary to defend my nation. Nevertheless, I am convinced that adhering to standardsstrengthens those who do, and isolates — and weakens — those who dont.The world rallied around America after the 9/11 attacks, and continues to support our effortsin Afghanistan, because of the horror of those senseless attacks and the recognized principleof self-defense. Likewise, the world recognized the need to confront Saddam Hussein when heinvaded Kuwait — a consensus that sent a clear message to all about the cost of aggression.Furthermore, America cannot insist that others follow the rules of the road if we refuse tofollow them ourselves. For when we don’t, our action can appear arbitrary, and undercut thelegitimacy of future intervention — no matter how justified.This becomes particularly important when the purpose of military action extends beyond self-defense or the defense of one nation against an aggressor. More and more, we all confrontdifficult questions about how to prevent the slaughter of civilians by their own government,or to stop a civil war whose violence and suffering can engulf an entire region.I believe that force can be justified on humanitarian grounds, as it was in the Balkans, or inother places that have been scarred by war. Inaction tears at our conscience and can lead tomore costly intervention later. That is why all responsible nations must embrace the role thatmilitaries with a clear mandate can play to keep the peace.
  • 116. America’s commitment to global security will never waver. But in a world in which threatsare more diffuse, and missions more complex, America cannot act alone. This is true inAfghanistan. This is true in failed states like Somalia, where terrorism and piracy is joined byfamine and human suffering. And sadly, it will continue to be true in unstable regions foryears to come.The leaders and soldiers of NATO countries — and other friends and allies — demonstrate thistruth through the capacity and courage they have shown in Afghanistan. But in manycountries, there is a disconnect between the efforts of those who serve and the ambivalence ofthe broader public. I understand why war is not popular. But I also know this: The belief thatpeace is desirable is rarely enough to achieve it. Peace requires responsibility. Peace entailssacrifice. That is why NATO continues to be indispensable. That is why we must strengthenU.N. and regional peacekeeping, and not leave the task to a few countries. That is why wehonor those who return home from peacekeeping and training abroad to Oslo and Rome; toOttawa and Sydney; to Dhaka and Kigali — we honor them not as makers of war, but aswagers of peace.Let me make one final point about the use of force. Even as we make difficult decisions aboutgoing to war, we must also think clearly about how we fight it. The Nobel Committeerecognized this truth in awarding its first prize for peace to Henry Dunant — the founder ofthe Red Cross, and a driving force behind the Geneva Conventions.Where force is necessary, we have a moral and strategic interest in binding ourselves tocertain rules of conduct. And even as we confront a vicious adversary that abides by no rules,I believe that the United States of America must remain a standard bearer in the conduct ofwar. That is what makes us different from those whom we fight. That is a source of ourstrength. That is why I prohibited torture. That is why I ordered the prison at GuantanamoBay closed. And that is why I have reaffirmed America’s commitment to abide by the GenevaConventions. We lose ourselves when we compromise the very ideals that we fight to defend.And we honor those ideals by upholding them not just when it is easy, but when it is hard.I have spoken to the questions that must weigh on our minds and our hearts as we choose towage war. But let me turn now to our effort to avoid such tragic choices, and speak of threeways that we can build a just and lasting peace.First, in dealing with those nations that break rules and laws, I believe that we must developalternatives to violence that are tough enough to change behavior — for if we want a lastingpeace, then the words of the international community must mean something. Those regimesthat break the rules must be held accountable. Sanctions must exact a real price.Intransigence must be met with increased pressure — and such pressure exists only when theworld stands together as one.One urgent example is the effort to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons, and to seek aworld without them. In the middle of the last century, nations agreed to be bound by a treatywhose bargain is clear: All will have access to peaceful nuclear power; those without nuclearweapons will forsake them; and those with nuclear weapons will work toward disarmament.I am committed to upholding this treaty. It is a centerpiece of my foreign policy. And I amworking with President Medvedev to reduce America and Russia’s nuclear stockpiles.But it is also incumbent upon all of us to insist that nations like Iran and North Korea do notgame the system. Those who claim to respect international law cannot avert their eyes whenthose laws are flouted. Those who care for their own security cannot ignore the danger of anarms race in the Middle East or East Asia. Those who seek peace cannot stand idly by asnations arm themselves for nuclear war.The same principle applies to those who violate international law by brutalizing their ownpeople. When there is genocide in Darfur, systematic rape in Congo or repression in Burma —there must be consequences. And the closer we stand together, the less likely we will be facedwith the choice between armed intervention and complicity in oppression.This brings me to a second point — the nature of the peace that we seek. For peace is notmerely the absence of visible conflict. Only a just peace based upon the inherent rights anddignity of every individual can truly be lasting.It was this insight that drove drafters of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights after theSecond World War. In the wake of devastation, they recognized that if human rights are notprotected, peace is a hollow promise.And yet all too often, these words are ignored. In some countries, the failure to upholdhuman rights is excused by the false suggestion that these are Western principles, foreign tolocal cultures or stages of a nation’s development. And within America, there has long been atension between those who describe themselves as realists or idealists — a tension thatsuggests a stark choice between the narrow pursuit of interests or an endless campaign toimpose our values.I reject this choice. I believe that peace is unstable where citizens are denied the right to speakfreely or worship as they please, choose their own leaders or assemble without fear. Pent upgrievances fester, and the suppression of tribal and religious identity can lead to violence. Wealso know that the opposite is true. Only when Europe became free did it finally find peace.America has never fought a war against a democracy, and our closest friends aregovernments that protect the rights of their citizens. No matter how callously defined, neitherAmerica’s interests — nor the worlds — are served by the denial of human aspirations.So even as we respect the unique culture and traditions of different countries, America willalways be a voice for those aspirations that are universal. We will bear witness to the quietdignity of reformers like Aung Sang Suu Kyi; to the bravery of Zimbabweans who cast theirballots in the face of beatings; to the hundreds of thousands who have marched silentlythrough the streets of Iran. It is telling that the leaders of these governments fear theaspirations of their own people more than the power of any other nation. And it is theresponsibility of all free people and free nations to make clear to these movements that hopeand history are on their side.Let me also say this: The promotion of human rights cannot be about exhortation alone. Attimes, it must be coupled with painstaking diplomacy. I know that engagement withrepressive regimes lacks the satisfying purity of indignation. But I also know that sanctionswithout outreach — and condemnation without discussion — can carry forward a cripplingstatus quo. No repressive regime can move down a new path unless it has the choice of anopen door.
  • 117. In light of the Cultural Revolution’s horrors, Nixon’s meeting with Mao appeared inexcusable— and yet it surely helped set China on a path where millions of its citizens have been liftedfrom poverty, and connected to open societies. Pope John Paul’s engagement with Polandcreated space not just for the Catholic Church, but for labor leaders like Lech Walesa. RonaldReagan’s efforts on arms control and embrace of perestroika not only improved relationswith the Soviet Union, but empowered dissidents throughout Eastern Europe. There is nosimple formula here. But we must try as best we can to balance isolation and engagement,pressure and incentives, so that human rights and dignity are advanced over time.Third, a just peace includes not only civil and political rights — it must encompass economicsecurity and opportunity. For true peace is not just freedom from fear, but freedom fromwant.It is undoubtedly true that development rarely takes root without security; it is also true thatsecurity does not exist where human beings do not have access to enough food, or cleanwater, or the medicine they need to survive. It does not exist where children cannot aspire toa decent education or a job that supports a family. The absence of hope can rot a society fromwithin.And that is why helping farmers feed their own people — or nations educate their childrenand care for the sick — is not mere charity. It is also why the world must come together toconfront climate change. There is little scientific dispute that if we do nothing, we will facemore drought, famine and mass displacement that will fuel more conflict for decades. Forthis reason, it is not merely scientists and activists who call for swift and forceful action — it ismilitary leaders in my country and others who understand that our common security hangsin the balance.Agreements among nations. Strong institutions. Support for human rights. Investments indevelopment. All of these are vital ingredients in bringing about the evolution that PresidentKennedy spoke about. And yet, I do not believe that we will have the will, or the stayingpower, to complete this work without something more — and that is the continued expansionof our moral imagination, an insistence that there is something irreducible that we all share.As the world grows smaller, you might think it would be easier for human beings torecognize how similar we are, to understand that we all basically want the same things, thatwe all hope for the chance to live out our lives with some measure of happiness andfulfillment for ourselves and our families.And yet, given the dizzying pace of globalization, and the cultural leveling of modernity, itshould come as no surprise that people fear the loss of what they cherish about theirparticular identities — their race, their tribe and, perhaps most powerfully, their religion. Insome places, this fear has led to conflict. At times, it even feels like we are moving backwards.We see it in the Middle East, as the conflict between Arabs and Jews seems to harden. We seeit in nations that are torn asunder by tribal lines.Most dangerously, we see it in the way that religion is used to justify the murder of innocentsby those who have distorted and defiled the great religion of Islam, and who attacked mycountry from Afghanistan. These extremists are not the first to kill in the name of God; thecruelties of the Crusades are amply recorded. But they remind us that no Holy War can everbe a just war. For if you truly believe that you are carrying out divine will, then there is noneed for restraint — no need to spare the pregnant mother, or the medic, or even a person ofone’s own faith. Such a warped view of religion is not just incompatible with the concept ofpeace, but the purpose of faith — for the one rule that lies at the heart of every major religionis that we do unto others as we would have them do unto us.Adhering to this law of love has always been the core struggle of human nature. We arefallible. We make mistakes, and fall victim to the temptations of pride, and power, andsometimes evil. Even those of us with the best intentions will at times fail to right the wrongsbefore us.But we do not have to think that human nature is perfect for us to still believe that thehuman condition can be perfected. We do not have to live in an idealized world to still reachfor those ideals that will make it a better place. The nonviolence practiced by men like Gandhiand King may not have been practical or possible in every circumstance, but the love thatthey preached — their faith in human progress — must always be the North Star that guidesus on our journey.For if we lose that faith — if we dismiss it as silly or naive, if we divorce it from the decisionsthat we make on issues of war and peace — then we lose what is best about humanity. Welose our sense of possibility. We lose our moral compass.Like generations have before us, we must reject that future. As Dr. King said at this occasionso many years ago: “I refuse to accept despair as the final response to the ambiguities ofhistory. I refuse to accept the idea that the ‘isness’ of man’s present nature makes himmorally incapable of reaching up for the eternal ‘oughtness’ that forever confronts him.”So let us reach for the world that ought to be — that spark of the divine that stillstirs within each of our souls. Somewhere today, in the here and now, a soldiersees he’s outgunned but stands firm to keep the peace. Somewhere today, in thisworld, a young protestor awaits the brutality of her government, but has thecourage to march on. Somewhere today, a mother facing punishing poverty stilltakes the time to teach her child, who believes that a cruel world still has a placefor his dreams.Let us live by their example. We can acknowledge that oppression will always be with us, andstill strive for justice. We can admit the intractability of deprivation, and still strive for dignity.We can understand that there will be war, and still strive for peace. We can do that — for thatis the story of human progress; that is the hope of all the world; and at this moment ofchallenge, that must be our work here on Earth.Send article as PDF to Enter email address Send
  • 118. more on the Manhattan DeclarationJB on December 9, 2009 in Uncategorized, the evaluative - Culture, the normative -Philosophy | No Comments »In the old thomist tradition, distinctions were drawn between an essentialist or idealistinterpretation and application of Gospel norms and an existentialist or realist interpretationand application of them. This distinction is necessary because we live in a tension where weare undeniably realizing the Kingdom now even as we, as created co-creators, join all ofcreation in the labor and groaning of the act of giving birth to an ever more full Kingdomrealization.The essentialist understanding seizes upon the efficacies of the Spirit’s help and the Word,itself, proclaimed and lived by faithful witnesses. The existentialist understanding recognizesour human frailty due to our radical finitude and sinfulness and so makes allowancesknowing humankind will yet fall short of Gospel ideals. One would not want to say that theessentialist approach is theoretical and the existentialist practical, because one would notwant to discourage any courageous persons from living out the Gospel, radically, as propheticwitnesses and lovers of God and all. We can say that the existentialist approach is pastoral,however, looking with compassion and understanding on us in our human condition, helpingus to do the best we can.Concretely, then, for example, this traditionaffirms both pacifism and just war principlesas legitimate expressions of Gospel ideals.While I am not a pacifist, myself, I am in deepsolidarity with and very much supportive ofmy pacifist sisters and brothers in mydenomination and in other traditions. I wouldnot want to live in a world without their voiceof prophetic protest and without the witnessof their lives. Your sharing of your personalexperience with these tensions was depthfuland generous.With respect to the law, the same distinctionsapply, I think. Those who eschew any activeand coercive legal and political engagements can also serve as authentic voices of propheticprotest and witnesses to the reality of the Kingdom, now among us and yet to come morefully. From a pastoral perspective, consistent with an incarnational outlook, we can alsolegitimately seek to permeate and improve the temporal order. I am thankful that our USfounders integrated religion into the public square, strengthening its influence throughnonestablishment and free exercise provisions. This was a healthy response to Enlightenmentprinciples, healthier than the Enlightenment fundamentalism of the Continental experience,where religion was marginalized by secularistic forces. So, I’m for a robust engagement of religious and metaphysical perspectives in the public square. That’s not what’s wrong per se with the approach of the Manhattan Declaration drafters, in particular, and many on the Religious Right, in general. Where they go wrong, in my view, is two fold: 1) They too often fail to translate their moral stances into a language that would give their moral intuitions a normative impetus for other groups of believers and even unbelievers. 2) They too often give jurisprudential considerations short shrift, emphasizing form over substance, paying too little heed to whether a law will, in actuality, be efficacious and bring about its desired aim, especially in a pluralistic society where demographics reveal a proposed law as not only unenforceable but possibly evencounterproductive.There is a related problem, which is that the failure to successfully translate somereligiously-derived moral intuitions results from the fact that certain of thoseintuitions are philosophically and anthropologically indefensible.More discussion follows here>>> Read the rest of this entry »Send article as PDF to Enter email address SendTags: essentialist, existentialist, Gospel ideals, Gospel norms, j u r i s p r u d e n c e, just war principles,Manhattan Declaration, p a c i f i s m, pastoral, prophetic protest, religion in the public square, ReligiousR i g h t, secularisticThe Stem Cell Challenge (in response to Jesus Creed thread)JB on December 8, 2009 in Uncategorized, the normative - Philosophy | No Comments »At Jesus Creed, there is a discussion aboutThe Stem Cell Challenge, which evoked myresponse below.The Catholic Church does not have a positionon ensoulment. Rather, the position is that,for all practical purposes, from the moment ofconception, human life is to be treated with allthe dignity of a human person. The Catholicteaching office addresses, in different ways,the sanctity of human nature, human life andhuman persons, and does not recognize aparvity of matter regarding offenses againstsame. This means that it views all offensesagainst human nature, life and persons asvery grave matter.
  • 119. Most people (most US Catholics, included) do draw distinctions in the relative gravity of suchmoral realities. The moral objects of the generative aspects of life (e.g. birth control,masturbation, erotic behaviors) are not deemed equal in significance to those of incipienthuman life, itself (e.g. abortifacients, embryonic stem cells, cloning, in vitro fertilization).Apparently, for many (most?) people, the moral status of the embryo increases as it advancesthrough gestation from incipient through sentient to sapient human life, such that anyhuman values in competition with the moral value of the embryo (e.g. medical research, lifeof the mother) must become increasingly more significant if one is to justify its destruction.The physicalist conception of the soul does not eliminate metaphysics; it advances yetanother metaphysical hypothesis. Whether one employs a substance, process or some otherroot metaphor in one’s metaphysical approach, one will encounter the classical soriteparadox, which asks when an aggregate of individual grains of sand becomes a heap of sand.This paradox results from our conceptual confusion between efficient causation (addinggrains of sand, in other words, the gestation process) and logical causation (defining a heap,in other words, a human person).The substance approach doesn’t square with our moral intuitions because its essentialism(overemphasis on logical causation) cannot account for the changing moral status of theembryo, which most people seem to – not unreasonably – impute. The process approach isequally unsatisfying because its nominalism (overemphasis on efficient causation) isdismissive of our most deeply felt epistemic and moral sensibilities regarding a person’s veryidentity, in which one’s personhood is grounded, even as a member of Homo sapiens, muchless, as an imago Dei.I mentioned Charles Hartshorne’s concept of nonstrict identity based on asymmetrictemporal relations (in another context on another thread) and it has some bearing, here. Thepractical upshot of this concept is that a human organism’s past, but not its future, comprisesits identity, which basically means that, once ensouled, personhood perdures with all of itsnecessary and sufficient conditions (notwithstanding a lack of certain traits andcharacteristics such as in sleep and coma) until death.The collective moral intuitions that seem to ground the apparent consensus regarding theincreasing moral status of the embryo as gestation advances, I strongly suspect, do not derivefrom most people’s metaphysical presuppositions and postures. Instead, they derive moreholistically from a constellation of irrational, pre-rational, nonrational, rational and supra-rational dispositions, which honor, even if only implicitly, ethical approaches that aresomewhat aretaic (virtue), somewhat deontological, somewhat consequentialist(teleological), somewhat authoritarian & traditional & scriptural, somewhat contractarianand so on. For the most part, then, they are not apposite to formal argumentation with itsclearly disambiguated and rigorously defined concepts, apodictic certainties and moralverities, but are more so an assortment of informal arguments, inclinations and dispositionsthat gift us with probabilistic notions and deeply felt epistemic, aesthetic and moralsensibilities. We must prescind from our robustly metaphysical approach to a more vague phenomenological perspective, then, which embraces a semiotic realism, while, at the same time avoiding the mutual unintelligibility, incommensurability and occlusivity of the old substance-process, essentialism-nominalism conundrum and associated paradoxes. This is to say that we are realizing values, making meaning and attaining, albeit fallibly, absolute moral truths. We have been gifted by scripture and tradition, reason and experience, with basic moral precepts, profound anthropological truths and theological insights. Beyond the most basic of precepts, however, we need to come together in charity and dialogue to wrestle with some very thorny bioethicalissues, remaining open to divine guidance and civil public discourse, wherein the Spiritmoves.Some of the most compelling arguments, then, in the public square, can indeed come fromslippery slope appeals and reductio ad absurdum arguments, notwithstanding that they areotherwise considered logical fallacies in formal arguments. We do not enjoy, in my view, theluxury of indubitable formal arguments with apodictic certainties. Metaphysics, in the end,are neither irrelevant nor unimportant, but they are only one rational appeal among manyothers and, for manifold reasons, generally lack sufficient normative impetus because theyare otherwise so descriptively elusive. Some of the most compelling arguments in the publicsquare can come from nonbelievers, even, secularists like Nat Hentoff and CharlesKrauthammer.One can read an excellent consideration of the topic at hand as articulated by Dr.Krauthammer at the following link, which has similar statements by many others on theBioethics Commission appointed by Bush: Human Cloning and Human Dignity: AnEthical Inquiry – Statement of Dr. KrauthammerIt is for reasons such as those given by Dr. Krauthammer and others, as well as deference tothe arguments advanced by the teaching office of my church and other conservativeChristian leaders, that I believe that human life is sacred and deserves respect from itsinception, requiring compelling reasons when one wants to manipulate it or interfere with it,even therapeutically.In my view, for all practical purposes, human life should be treated with the dignity ofa human person well before the origins of sapience and, absent the most seriousconsideration and very compelling reasons, should still be considered inviolable well beforethe origins of sentience. As for the earliest days and weeks following conception, it is difficultto advance a formal metaphysical or theological argument, or even to make a more informalappeal, based on ensoulment or personhood. Still, regarding this early post-conception period,any such considerations and deliberations, in my view, if too casual, could have a morallycorrosive effect and so deserve our utmost moral circumspection and dutiful deliberation.This discussion, now regarding soul & resurrection, continues here >>> Read therest of this entry »Send article as PDF to Enter email address Send
  • 120. Tags: abortifacient, a r e t a i c, Charles Hartshorne, C h a r l e s K r a u t h a m m e r, c l o n i n g, consequentialist,deontological, Divine Matrix, efficient causation, embryonic stem cells, e n s o u l m e n t, equiplausibilityprinciple, essentialism, H a n s K u n g, h u m a n l i f e, h u m a n n a t u r e, h u m a n p e r s o n, imago Dei, i n v i t r ofertilization, Jesus Creed, John Polkinghorne, Joseph Ratzinger, logical causation, moral status of thee m b r y o, Nat Hentoff, noetic contributions, n o m i n a l i s m, n o n s t r i c t i d e n t i t y, p a n e n t h e i s t, p a r v i t y o fm a t t e r, physicalist conception of the soul, radically deconstructive postmodernism, semiotic realism,sorite paradox, Stem CellHow tolerant are we to be of intolerance? (Tim King asks.)JB on December 7, 2009 in Uncategorized, the normative - Philosophy | No Comments »Brian McLaren and Tim King, among others, have been blogging about Uganda’sproposed anti-homosexuality legislation, the Bahati Bill. Both ask some pointedquestions.Tim closes with: So I have a question on top of Brian’s insightful question, but this one pointed at ‘us,’ the readers of this blog. 2,000 years ago Paul of Tarsus called those seeking to walk in the way of friendship with God ‘ministers of reconciliation.’  Reconciliation is something near and dear to my heart; reconcilers often get walked on by all kinds of shoes. Friends of God who are waking up and in the reconciling business might find themselves befriending and welcoming groups that are very different from one another; groups that do not like each other – like evangelicals and Muslims and gay people! So as we’re trying to befriend and extend hospitality to one other, what do we do with their prejudices? (What do they do with ours?) What when your heterosexism clashes with my poverty-phobia? How tolerant are we to be of intolerance? Do two intolerations cancel each other out…does one bleed into the other? How do we bear one another’s cultural convictions and burdens with integrity and love? I don’t have the answers…I’m just a guy asking questions.My musing follows:First, we acknowledge our grief and then naturally grieve all of this pain andmisunderstanding. And we allow this pain to somehow transform us that we will notcontinue to somehow transmit it. How can MY response change is my first responsibility.Where others are concerned, we must recognize that such deeply held convictions, whetherwholly or partly erroneous, are a very complex combination of irrational, pre-rational,nonrational, rational and supra-rational dispositions. As such, they do not yield in the face ofsuperior logical argumentation, debates about religious epistemology, scriptural proof-texting, pragmatic appeals, enlightened self-interest, meta-ethical reformulations or naturallaw syllogisms. Such approaches only serve to further harden hearts and close minds.To reach people holistically, with a full body-soul-spirit and heart-mind “blow,” we needparables, stories, poems, songs, plays, movies and other musical & dramatic artspresentations. And, even more than that, primarily, we need to tell our relevantpersonal stories, share and exchange our personal, real life experiences, reinforcing ourcompassionate outlooks and forming and reforming our desires in prayer and liturgy.And we need to recognize that, such seeds that we plant, we may not be around to see sproutbut others will assuredly reap the benefits. We must be willing to plant trees, the shade ofwhich will not be ours to enjoy.Ministers of Reconciliation and Story-tellers are the most important people in the world (onaverage, about two generations after they’re dead.)In this vein, below is part of my personal story-telling, which I published years ago,elsewhere.+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++How would you like it if that happened to you? My Keys Unlock Your Shackles:Our Unwitting Kinship?My fourth child, now a young man on the verge of adolescence, has always brought a greatdeal of sensitivity and tenderness to our family. From a young age, whenever he’d witness atragedy on TV, he’d exclaim, for example, to no one in particular: “How would you like it ifthat happened to your house?!”One can substitute any noun, any person, place or thing, in place of the word “house,” andyou’ll get my drift. His childhood angst remains palpable. Living in the New Orleans metroarea will do that to one nowadays.I think it was in one of Rahner’s very first sermons, around 1946, that he noted that mostpeople do not seem to experience a theodicy problem until tragedy overtakes them personally,this despite the fact that millions of “other” parents, each year, lose millions of “other” children, for example.I mention my son and Rahner’s sermon as a backdrop to my acknowledgment of how out oftouch I have often been with the depth of suffering of so many who have been marginalizedin different ways by our churches and societies.
  • 121. Growing up in South Louisiana, I was sensitized to racial discrimination and am gratefulthat my conscience was properly formed by family and church in that regard. Regrettably,however, there is too much truth in one of my favorite jokes: “I was almost forty years oldbefore I learned that not every serious sin is sexual!” That may sound like hyperbole but,realistically, possibilities for larceny, murder and heresy weren’t really blips on my ethicalradar screen (so, if I wanted permanent existential alienation from God, illicit sex was one ofmy only options, as I understood such things).I say all of this by way of admitting that, earlier on my journey, I simply did not seriouslyengage many church-related issues and enjoy any ensuing aha moments until those issuesovertook me, personally. For example, only when I got married did I seriously look at thebirth control issue. Only when I had to catechize children did I try to better understand whatthe church was trying to say regarding masturbation. Teachings on liturgical renewal, socialjustice and just war theory were stimulating and engaging, compelling even, for those of uscoming of age in the sixties; a natural law discussion of homosexuality was not eveninteresting to me.Long story short, the more I dug into the underlying philosophy and metaphysics of thechurch’s theology regarding gender and sexual behavior, prompted by my attempt toreconcile my own personal experiences and beliefs regarding same with that of the teachingoffice, the more it dawned on me that I had uncritically swallowed a doubtful perspectiveregarding other matters, too, especially such as masturbation, celibacy, women’s ordination,homosexual orientation and homoerotic behaviors. This realization was painful becausecertain of my earlier responses to certain of my very good friends had been tremendouslyhurtful and the resulting long estrangement so very unnecessary. (This is NOT to say thatmy response at all squared with the church’s supposedly sensitive pastoral guidance.)What could I say to my friends? How have I said it in so many ways? I am SO sorry.Forgive me; I did not know what I was doing. It was only in my attempt to free myself thatI opened the gates that would free you, too.The Archbishop of Canterbury has been in town the past few days and the wounds of my pasttransgressions were feeling somewhat raw because of my again-raised consciousnessregarding this divisive, almost schism-inducing misunderstanding. I am slowly learning toask, more often: “How would you like it if that happened to you?”It seems that gender and sexuality issues have broad implications. People need to be able tosee and understand that the keys that unlocked their fundamentalist shackles regardingmanifold moral doctrines and church disciplines are the very same keys that will free all whoare marginalized, in this way or that, by such as the “intrinsic disorder question.”If one group remains bound, all of us remain enslaved.Send article as PDF to Enter email address SendTags: Bahati Bill, Brian McLaren, T i m K i n g, U g a n d a’s proposed anti-homosexuality legislationGod is not a syllogism, Love is not a formal argumentJB on December 7, 2009 in Uncategorized, the interpretive - Religion, the normative -Philosophy | No Comments »Jesus Creed introduced Peter Kreeft’s series on Thomas Aquinas in a post called LearningSt. Thomas Aquinas, recently, evoking these thoughts below.I can relate to people’s ambivalence regarding “proofs” of God.I like many of the distinctions Charles SandersPeirce offers. He says that we can interpretOccam’s Razor vis a vis the word “simple” interms of epistemic facility rather thanontological complexity. In other words, it’snot the needless multiplication of ontologieswe need to avoid; instead, we need to payattention to the facility or ease with which anabduction or hypothesis comes to mind whenwe’re confronted with a problem because that,in my words, is often truth-indicative. He alsodistinguishes between an argument, the initialabduction or hypothesis formulation, or, in hiswords, “any process of thought reasonablytending to produce a definite belief,” andargumentation, in his words, “an argumentproceeding upon definitely formulatedpremises.” Peirce devised what he called the “Neglected Argument for the Reality of God,” but he derisively considered formal argumentation, where God was concerned, a fetish. Hedistinguished, too, between God’s so-called “existence” and God’s “reality.”I found it curious, at first, that folks like Charles Hartshorne and Kurt Godel would fool with(modal) ontological arguments but better came to appreciate what they were doing throughtime. One of the better modal arguments, in my view, has been advanced by ChristopherMcHugh. Those are all names worth Googling if one likes this type of approach. Also,Mortimer Adler and Ralph McInerny.Peirce employs a cable metaphor for knowledge, which takes our different arguments to bestrands, any which alone could not lift this or that epistemic load without breaking (my crudewording), that when wound together gain strength and resiliency.
  • 122. In other words, most of our knowledge in life does not proceed from mere formal argumentation via indubitable premises with clearly disambiguated concepts and logical validity to incontrovertible proof. Most of our knowledge comes from a cumulative case-like approach, is very much informal and probabilistic. From a rigorously philosophical approach, formal proofs of God, taken alone, lead only to Scottish verdicts of unproven. Taken together as arguments (facile abductions) along with other evidential, experiential, presuppositional and existential strands, we have quite a strong and resilient cable of belief that is eminently reasonable and existentially actionable, which is to say, with more than sufficient epistemic warrant. There is a reason that radical empiricism, logical positivism, scientism and modernistic rationalism fell into general disrepute, philosophically: pragmatically, they don’t work. Common sense is a better guide, as fallible as it is. Most people may not be able to articulate the reasons for their beliefs using epistemological jargon and many may thus be unconsciously competent, but they are competent, indeed, and their beliefs are very well warranted. My chief caveat is that metaphysical formal argumentation, taken to an extreme, can lead to a sterile, scholastic and naive realism, foundationalism and essentialism (with their overly a prioristic, physicalistic, biologistic, absolutistic, infallibilistic and rationalistic approaches to human moral realities, such as regarding gender roles and human sexuality). Postmodernity has gifted us a more critical realism, which comes in the form of weakened foundationalism, nonfoundationalism or postfoundationalism, all pretty much the same from a practical perspective as long as they affirm metaphysical and moral realism. Of course, it has also “gifted” us with postmodernISM, which as a radically deconstructive approach is epistemically bankrupt. I appreciate aristotelian-like thinkers as long as they do not caricaturize as strawmen all postmodern approaches, such as fallibilism, in terms of radical deconstruction. The postmodern, in and of itself, is not the bogeyman. Sometimes, Peter Kreeft and his ilk can be a tad too syllogistic, in my view. Send article as PDF to Enter email address Send Tags: a prioristic, absolutistic, biologistic, cable metaphor for knowledge, Charles Hartshorne, Charles Sanders Peirce, Christopher McHugh, c r i t i c a l r e a l i s m, c u m u l a t i v e c a s e, e p i s t e m i c w a r r a n t, essentialism, fallibilism, foundationalism, infallibilistic, Kurt Godel, logical positivism, m e t a p h y s i c a l r e a l i s m, m o d a l o n t o l o g i c a l a r g u m e n t, m o r a l r e a l i s m, Mortimer Adler, n a i v e r e a l i s m, Neglected Argument for the Reality of God, nonfoundationalism, Occams Razor, Peter Kreeft, p h y s i c a l i s t i c, postfoundationalism, p o s t m o d e r n i t y, Proofs of God, r a d i c a l e m p i r i c i s m, Ralph McInerny, r a t i o n a l i s m, rationalistic, scientism, syllogistic, weakened foundationalism« Older Entries Newer Entries » © 2010 christiannonduality.com Blog is Proudly Powered By WordPress | Theme by The Cloisters
  • 123. CHRISTIANNONDUALITY. C O M BL O G beyond thinking & proposing to imagining & participatingHome About T o d a y’ s L i t u r g ylove eternal will not be deniedJB on December 6, 2009 in Uncategorized, the interpretive - Religion | No Comments » Translator By N2H Amos Yong apophatic Axiological axiologically- Bernard integral Lonergan Brian McLaren Charles Sanders Peirce contemplative cosmology emergence emerging church Enlightenment epistemology faith False Self fideism Hans Kung James K. A. Smith Jesus Creed John Duns Scotus kataphatic Kevin Beck Kurt Godel Merton metaphysics Mike Morrell NaturalMike Morrell muses in an evocative, for some, and provocative, for others, post at his blog, Theology nihilismBlessings Not Just for the Ones Who Kneel – the Promiscuous Love of God: nondual nonduality orthodoxy radical emergence radical orthodoxy rationalism Bottom-line: God is love. Love is orthodoxy. (Agapetheism, as my friend Kevin Richard Rohr Science Beck likes to put it) It’s God’s kindness that leads to repentance, not the big stick that you imagine God’s holiness to be. Let’s join together in the Great scientism semiotic theodicy Theological Work of our age – becoming the leaves of the Tree of Life for the healing of our relationships, our neighborhoods, our ecosystems, our economies – in Anthropology short, our world. This begins, as Brennan Manning says, with healing our Thomas image of God – and the ones God loves. Which is all of us. God brings Merton Tim King transformation abundant blessings…not just for the ones who kneel. May we model this same lavish, indiscriminate, sloppy, positively promiscuous love. True Self Walker Percy W P-C u m u l u s b y R o y T a n c k Amen and amen. a n d Luke Morton requires F l a s h P l a y e r 9 or better. PS: What songs, art, poetry and cultural artifacts remind you of God’s blessing Cultivating the breaking out of the confines of empire and religion? Roots, Nurturing the Shoots MARCH 2010As far as theological constructs go, I reckon one must affirm a reality like hell as necessary, M T W T F S Sin theory, only because true love is not coercive and God would force no one into relationship 1 2 3 4 5 6 7with Him, respecting our freedom. (How such a self-imposed alienation might be experienced 8 9 10 11 12 13 14in an atemporal existence, who knows? I doubt seriously fire and sulphur are involved.) 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31  As far as theodicy questions, trying to reconcile such disparate God-concepts such as « FEB    omnipotence and omnibenevolence, I’d affirm the latter and ditch the former. For one thing,if creation was any less ambiguous for us and seemingly less ambivalent toward us, we might Recent Postsexperience the reality of God too coercively, diminishing the need for faith and therebylimiting our freedom. The Emerging Church is BIGGER t h a n C h r i s t i a n i t y – how to spotIn my view, we should abandon our puerile it in other traditionsnotions of substitutionary and penal Abortion & the Senateatonement. We needn’t conceive of the Healthcare Bill – a p r u d e n t i a lincarnation as some type of divine initiative in judgmentresponse to some so-called felix culpa, as some 10 historical developmentstype of cosmic repair job for an ontological propelling Emergingrupture that took place in the past. Rather, Christianity ~ Richard Rohrfrom an emergentist perspective of cosmic Why Brian McLaren’s Greco-evolution, we can conceive of a God who so Roman Narrative is NOT aloved created reality that the incarnation was caricaturein the plans from the cosmic get-go. THE BOOK: Christian N o n d u a l i t y – PostmodernWhat we experience, then, is His and our teleological striving ordered toward the future, Conservative Catholicwhere our role as created co-creators is robustly participatory, where our questions change Pentecostalfrom Why is there suffering? to What am I going to do about it? That all of creation isgroaning in one great act of giving birth need never be conceived as divine punishment or Recent Commentsretribution but can instead be envisioned as God’s shrinking to make room for creation,finally shrinking so far as to take on human flesh without ever deeming equality with God as christiannonduality.com Blog » something to be grasped at. Blog Archive » Thoughts re:
  • 124. t o d a y’s debate – Philip ClaytonOnce we’ve recognized this divine initiative and fully vs Dan Dennett on Intelligentexperienced its efficacies in our lives, any notion that God Design – a poorly designedemploys the created order to punish us earthly heathen (as inferencetemporal punishment) seems rather facile. As for a christiannonduality.com Blog » theological construct like hell (an eternal punishment), Blog Archive » W h y B r i a nsuch a theoretical necessity increasingly seems to be a McLaren’s Greco-R o m a npractical improbability, for our God may be coy but She’s Narrative is NOT a caricature onnot timid, for, as a wily seductress and charming temptress, A New Kind of Christianity?She will, eventually, have Her way with each and everyone McLaren didn’t make this up. It’sof us, I just have to believe. And so did many of the Church worse than that!Fathers, who articulated the notion of apokatastasis, which christiannonduality.com Blog » means that God’s loving initiatives are so overwhelmingly Blog Archive » W h y B r i a nefficacious that, in the end, no one will escape them. McLaren’s Greco-R o m a n Narrative is NOT a caricature onIt might be heterodox to deny the reality of hell as E v e r y t h i n g T h a t’s Old is Newan indispensable theological construct but it is A g a i n – this (McLaren’s “ N e w”  manifestly not heterodox to hope and believe that Christianity) is truly an oldthere ain’t a snowball’s chance in the Superdome time religionthat anyone will ever end up there. K i e r a n C o n r o y on A New Kind of Christianity? McLaren didn’t Rather, I believe that every make this up. It’s worse than beginning of a smile, every trace of that! human goodness, will be Philip Clayton on Thoughts re: eternalized. We will each adorn the eternal firmament, filled to our t o d a y’s debate – Philip Clayton capacity with the ever unobtrusive but finally inescapable love of vs Dan Dennett God, some of us, perhaps like Mother Teresa, a blindingly bright and blazing helios, others, perhaps like that little altar boy, Hitler, but a tiny votive candle. Type, Hit Enter to Search Often, I imagine God singing, to each of us, that Moody Blues song: We Distinguish in Order to Unite Select Category 6 Blogroll I Know You’re Out There Somewhere Moody Blues Andrew Sullivan Beyond Blue I know you’re out there somewhere Brian D. McLaren Somewhere somewhere Commonweal I know I’ll find you somehow Crunchy Con And somehow I’ll return again to you Cynthia Bourgeault Emergent Village The mist is lifting slowly Emerging Women I can see the way ahead First Thoughts And I’ve left behind the empty streets Fors Clavigera That once inspired my life Francis X. Clooney, S.J. And the strength of the emotion Joseph S. OLeary Is like thunder in the air NCR Today – the Catholic Blog ‘Cause the promise that we made each other Per Caritatem Haunts me to the end Phyllis Tickle Post Christian CHORUS Postmodern Conservative I know you’re out there somewhere Radical Emergence Somewhere somewhere Sojourners I know you’re out there somewhere Tall Skinny Kiwi Somewhere you can hear my voice The Website of Unknowing I know I’ll find you somehow Transmillenial Somehow somehow Vox Nova I know I’ll find you somehow Weekly Standard Blog And somehow I’ll return again to you Worship Blog The secret of your beauty Zoecarnate And the mystery of your soul I’ve been searching for in everyone I meet Worthwhile Sites And the times I’ve been mistaken Amos Yong It’s impossible to say Boulder Integral And the grass is growing Brother David Steindl-Rast Underneath our feet Center for Action and Contemplation CHORUS Christian Nonduality
  • 125. The words that I remember Contemplative Outreach From my childhood still are David Group International true Dialogue Institute That there’s none so blind Ecumene As those who will not see Franciscan Archive And to those who lack the Innerexplorations courage Institute on Religion in an Age of And say it’s dangerous to try Science Well they just don’t know Metanexus That love eternal will not be Monastic Interreligious Dialogue denied National Catholic Reporter Radical Orthodoxy CHORUS Shalomplace Sojourners You know it’s going to happen Thomas Merton Center I can feel you getting near Virtual Chapel And soon we’ll be returning Zygon Center for Religion and To the fountains of our youth Science And if you wake up wondering In the darkness I’ll be there Cloud of My arms will close around you Unknowing And protect you with the truth Amos Yong apophatic Axiological axiologically- Bernard integralThus imagined, that song gives me chills and brings a tear. Lonergan Brian McLaren CharlesSend article as PDF to Enter email address Send Sanders Peirce contemplative cosmology emergence emerging church E n l i g h t e n m e n t epistemology faith False Self fideism Hans Kung James K. A. Smith Jesus Creed John Duns Scotus kataphatic Kevin Beck KurtTags: A g a p e t h e i s m, apokatastasis, cosmic evolution, created co-c r e a t o r, felix culpa, h e l l, i n c a r n a t i o n, Godel MertonKevin Beck, Mike Morrell, p e n a l a t o n e m e n t, s u b s t i t u t i o n a r y a t o n e m e n t, t h e o d i c y metaphysics Mike Morrell Natural Theology nihilism nondual nonduality orthodoxy radical emergence radicalthe Emerging Church Conversation as Strategic Planning Exercise orthodoxy rationalismJB on December 4, 2009 in Axiological, Cosmological, Practices & Experiences, Provisional Richard Rohr Science scientismClosures & Systems, Uncategorized, the descriptive - Science, the evaluative - Culture, the semiotic theodicyinterpretive - Religion, the normative - Philosophy | 1 Comment » Theological AnthropologyBelow, I will employ a Strategic Plan Thomasparadigm to characterize and organize theemerging church conversation employing Merton Tim King transformation Truewhat might, at first, appear to be Self Walker Percycharacteristically Catholic categories. In doing Join Otherso, I hope to emphasize how this conversation Visitors in Prayerproceeds more from a consideration of Light A Candle & Prayquestions rather than answers, practicesrather than conclusions, methods rather than Join Us in thesystems. Liturgy of the HoursWhile there is certainly an implicit assumptionthat one will take from these conversationssome best practices, which will then beintegrated into some otherwise disparateecclesial systems, we hope to show how such approaches as descriptive science, normativephilosophy, evaluative culture and interpretive religion can be methodologically autonomouseven while, at the same time, being axiologically integral, which is to say that each method isnecessary, none alone sufficient, in every human value-realization.For example, put more plainly, how can we answer the normative question How does onebest acquire or avoid that? without first answering the descriptive question What is that? Get the C a t h l i m e r g e n t o nmuch less the evaluative question What’s that to us? (I say to “us” rather than “me” in Twitter widget and many otherrecognition of our radically social nature). And we dare not ignore our interpretive grand great free widgets a t Widgetbox!narratives, which, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse, contextualize all of these Not seeing a widget? (More info)questions with their (often implicit, very often unconscious even) answers to the question TweetsHow does all of this re-ligate or tie-back together? johnssylvest: Abortion & the Before laying out a Cathlimergent approach, I Senate Healthcare Bill – a want to build a conceptual bridge to the prudential judgment approaches taken by many of our Protestant http://bit.ly/aS2DwT sisters and brothers. Dialogue about johnssylvest: 10 developments prescriptive realities is very much dependent propelling Emerging on fair and accurate descriptive Christianity ~ Richard Rohr representations (avoiding unnecessary http://bit.ly/a4AMtg strawmen and ad hominems). When it comes johnssylvest: RT @pdclayton7: to good scholarship and civil discourse, few "Theology After Google" opens have gone about it better than the author of Wed. - 23 of the best speakers on Deep Church, Jim Belcher,  so I will employ  emerging religion in Google Age; his categories in our bridge-building effort. live stream at http://o ... johnssylvest: RT @jonestony: To wit, when Jim — New Blog Post: Society for
  • 126. Pentecostal Studies Paper: What prescribes Deep Truth in response to a Pentecostals Have to Learn from captivity to Enlightenment rationalism he’s Emergents http://ow.ly/16KREUbreaking open our category of normative philosophy; johnssylvest: THE BOOK: Anprescribes Deep Preaching in response to ineffective preaching he’s breaking open our Emerging Church Conversationcategory of orthodoxy vis a  vis boundary establishment and defense; with a Postmodern Conservativeprescribes Deep Evangelism in response to an overemphasis on belief before belonging he’s Catholic Pentecostalbreaking open our category of orthodoxy vis a vis inclusivism and boundary negotiation; http://bit.ly/91D570 #fbprescribes Deep Worship in response to uncontextualized worship he’s breaking open ourcategory of orthopathy; John Sobert Sylvestprescribes Deep Gospel in response to a narrow view of salvation he’s breaking open ourcategory of orthopraxy in relationship to orthodoxy;prescribes Deep Ecclesiology in response to weak ecclesiology he’s breaking open our categoryof orthocommunio vis a vis church as institution and tradition;prescribes Deep Culture in response to tribalism he’s breaking open our category oforthocommunio vis a vis church as organism, in the world, transcending boundaries topermeate and improve the temporal order by being tribal not tribalistic (cf. Rohr).The emerging church conversation is lyrical in a sense as a pattern presents that reveals afugue-like interplay of boundary establishment, boundary defense, boundary negotiation andboundary transcendence.Does everyone come out singing the same lyrics even if we all seem to be humming the samemelody? Of course not! But there’s a not too distant drumbeat that has us all marching,sometimes swiftly with little hindrance, often bumbling and stumbling, to the same beat andbeckoning us into a banquet hall where the banner over us all is love.To some extent, boundary establishment is largely a discursive, descriptive enterprise whereorthodoxy enjoys its moment and has its say; it describes such as our essential creeds,  theological anthropology and social ontology (marriage, children, family, institutions, etc).Boundary defense is a normative enterprise where orthopraxy exerts its influence in lovingand compassionate action ordered to the end of orthocommunio or authentic unity incommunity, where we realize our telic aim of boundary transcendence. Johnboy Was Here Feedjit Live Blog StatsNone of these boundary dynamics enjoy any efficacy in and of themselves, however, apart Feedjit Live Blog Statsfrom the boundary negotiation that occurs in orthopathy, where our desires, themselves, arefirst shaped and formed by liturgy, whether of the mall, the marketplace or Eucharist. (Icannot more highly recommend Jamie Smith’s Desiring the Kingdom, in this regard.) Follow this blogLiturgy, then, nurturing our nondual, contemplative stance, enjoys an epistemic primacy inthe fugal movement of orthopathic, orthodoxic, orthopraxic and orthocommunal moments.This is to recognize that sacrament and song and psalmody and story-telling andgathering for bread-breaking came first in our tradition, our ecclesial phylogeny, so tospeak, and that it remains first, even now, in each of our lives, our spiritual ontogeny, inother words, as ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny in religion as well as biology and everyother emergent reality.A question that begs regarding this exercise is if we are primarily about finding questions,exploring methods and exchanging practices, where might the theoretical rubber hit the roadin next proposing concrete ecclesial changes?Where I hope to take my questions and concerns is here:American Catholic CouncilThe outline below is meant to be comprehensive butnot exhaustive. In each category are samplestrengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities andsample resources. It is intended as a catalyst forconstructive conversation and a guideline fordialogue, a conceptual bridge-builder or heuristicdevice. It is expected that you will engage thisoutline, perhaps even suggesting an entirely differentparadigm, certainly adding different strengths, Visit Cathlimergent Conversationsweaknesses, threats, opportunities and resources,raising new questions and concerns, breaking open Visit Anglimergentnew categories. MetaI’m a retired Bank CEO so thought, immediately, Log inthat this resembles strategic planning. A spiritual Entries R S Sdirector might look and see a prayer ladder of lectio, Comments R S Smeditatio,  operatio, contemplatio. A social media  WordPress.orgconsultant might see a P2P platform or a viralmeme. A conflict resolution mediator might see(Greg, what DO you see?) … What, then, do YOUsee?So, Catholics and nonCatholics, alike, please join usat Cathlimergent!What’s Up? wussup? or WOTS up?: the Emerging Church Conversation asStrategic Planning Exercise (Risk Management) EXTERNAL OPPORTUNITIES & THREATSAxiological Visions as amplification of risks (through beliefs) ordered toward augmentation ofvalue thru:DESCRIPTIVE SCIENCE (a cosmological methodology) asking What’s that?Threats:ScientismOpportunities:Technological AdvanceDualistic, problem-solving approachResources:The Cosmic Adventure: Science, Religion and the Quest forPurpose by John F. Haught
  • 127. Institute on Religion in an Age of ScienceMetanexusZygon Center for Religion and ScienceEVALUATIVE CULTURE (an axiological methodology) askingWhat’s that to us?Threats:Practical NihilismConsumerismNarcissismOpportunities:Story-tellingMusic & Dramatic ArtsResources:Inter Mirifica, Decree On the Means of Social Communication, 1963.Gaudium et Spes, Pastoral Constitution On the Church In the ModernWorld,1965.Ad Gentes, Decree On the Mission Activity of the Church, 1965.NORMATIVE PHILOSOPHY (a cosmological methodology) asking How do we acquire oravoid that?Threats:Enlightenment Rationalism – naïve realismRadically Deconstructive PostmodernismOpportunities:Critical Realisms thru weak foundationalism and nonfoundational (fallibilism) &postfoundational epistemologiesSemiotic RealismResources:Donald L. Gelpi, S.J.Centre of Theology and PhilosophyINTERPRETIVE RELIGION & IDEOLOGY (an axiological methodology) asking How doesall of this re-ligate or tie-back together?Threats:Religious FundamentalismEnlightenment FundamentalismColonialismPaternalismOpportunities:EcumenismInter-religious & Inter-ideological DialogueResources:Dialogue InstituteEcumeneDavid Group InternationalFrancis X. Clooney, S.J.InnerexplorationsDignitatis Humanae, Declaration On Religious Freedom,1965.Monastic Interreligious Dialogue INTERNAL STRENGTHS & WEAKNESSESReligion as a further amplification of risk ordered toward the further augmentation of valuethru:ORTHODOXY & TRUTH ARTICULATED IN CREED (DOGMA) or boundaryestablishmentWeaknesses:DogmatismEcclesiocentric ExclusivismStrengths:Pneumatocentric VisionChristocentric InclusivismTheocentric InclusivismHonest Jesus Scholarship (cf. Rohr)Resources:Dei Verbum, Dogmatic Constitution On Divine Revelation, 1965.Fides et RatioGravissimum Educationis, Declaration On Christian Education, 1965.Unitatis Redintegratio, Decree on Ecumenism, 1964.Orientalium Ecclesiarum, Decree On the Catholic Churches of the EasternRite,1964.Nostra Aetate, Declaration On the Relation Of the Church to Non-ChristianReligions, 1965.ORTHOPATHY & BEAUTY CELEBRATED & CULTIVATED (CULT / RITUAL) INLITURGY or boundary negotiation
  • 128. Weaknesses:RitualismDualistic ApproachTraditionalismStrengths:Retrieval, Renewal, Revival of TraditionContemplative StanceNondualityResources:Center for Action and ContemplationFors Clavigera (Jamie Smith)Brother David Steindl-RastChristian NondualityCynthia BourgeaultContemplative OutreachWorship BlogThe Website of UnknowingShalomplaceSacrosanctum concilium, Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, 1963.ORTHOPRAXY & GOODNESS PRESERVED IN CODE (LAW) or boundary defenseWeaknesses:LegalismStrengths:Social JusticeResources:Religion Online – Social IssuesSojournersCenter for Action and ContemplationORTHOCOMMUNIO & UNITY ENJOYED IN FELLOWSHIP or boundary transcendenceWeaknesses:Institutionalism, Heirarchicalism,Patriarchalism, SexismStrengths:Magisterial ReformDemocratizationOrganic GrowthNoninstitutional VehiclesResources:Lumen Gentium, Dogmatic Constitution On the Church,1964.Christus Dominus, Decree Concerning the Pastoral Office ofBishops In the Church, 1965.Perfectae Caritatis, Decree On Renewal of Religious Life,1965.Optatam Totius, Decree On Priestly Training, 1965.Presbyterorum Ordinis, Decree On the Ministry and Life of Priests, 1965.Apostolicam Actuositatem, Decree On the Apostolate of the Laity, 1965.GENERAL RESOURCESBrian D. McLarenCommonwealEmergent VillageEmerging WomenPer CaritatemPhyllis TicklePost ChristianRadical EmergenceTransmillenialZoecarnateAnglimergentBoulder IntegralCatholicaEmerging Church Portal (international)Phyllis TickleTaming the Wolf
  • 129. Thomas Merton CenterVirtual ChapelSend article as PDF to Enter email address SendTags: a x i o l o g i c a l l y-i n t e g r a l, belief before belonging, best practices, boundary defense, b o u n d a r ye s t a b l i s h m e n t, b o u n d a r y n e g o t i a t i o n, b o u n d a r y t r a n s c e n d e n c e, C a t h l i m e r g e n t, c o n t e m p l a t i v e s t a n c e,Deep Church, descriptive science, Desiring the Kingdom, e m e r g i n g c h u r c h c o n v e r s a t i o n, E n l i g h t e n m e n tr a t i o n a l i s m, e v a l u a t i v e c u l t u r e, g r a n d n a r r a t i v e, h u m a n v a l u e-realization, interpretive religion, JamesK . A . S m i t h, Jim Belcher, l i t u r g y, methodologically autonomous, n o n d u a l, n o r m a t i v e p h i l o s o p h y,o n t o g e n y r e c a p i t u l a t e s p h y l o g e n y, social ontology, S t r a t e g i c P l a n, Theological Anthropology, t r i b a l i s m“Introverts In The Church: Finding Our Place In An ExtrovertedCulture” by Adam McHughJB on December 3, 2009 in Uncategorized | 2 Comments »Adam McHugh’s “Introverts In The Church:Finding Our Place In An Extroverted Culture” hasjust been released. A few months ago, Jamie Arpin-Ricci interviewed Adam McHugh (<<< click on linkto read this interview).This brings to mind a post I wrote seven years ago alongthe same lines. Enjoy!Jesus was a Capricorn, but was He an ESFJ? anEnneagram 2?There are some religious sects that have been turning outESFJ’s based on research conducted utilizing MBTIpersonality testing. Critics of such groups and movementscharge that leaders of these sects are 1) making membersover after their own image, 2) controlling them in such away that their personalities are changed to conform to thegroup norm and 3) argue that such personality changesare destructive psychologically and spiritually. Leaders ofthese groups claim that such research simply proves thatJesus was an ESFJ !These are the ideas explored in __The DisciplingDilemma__ the Second Edition by Flavil R. Yeakley, Jr.,Editor, Howard W. Norton, Don E. Vinzant and Gene Vinzant, which can be read online atthe above link.They write: quote: “In some religious sects, it is a fact that the observed changes presented a clear pattern of convergence in a single type: ESFJ. There was a strong tendency for introverts to become extraverts, for intuitors to become sensors, for thinkers to become feelers, and for perceivers to become judgers. The observed results indicate a dangerous falsification of type produced by some kind of group pressure.” What do you think?The discussion continues with a poem, here>>> Read the rest of this entry »Send article as PDF to Enter email address SendCathlimergent – its originsJB on December 3, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments »Below is an e-mail response to an inquiry about my writing an article to explain whatCathlimergent is and how it came about.
  • 130. The emerging church conversation is an ecumenical meta-dialogue. While our differentdenominations all have their propositional elements, which are not unimportant, such adialogue goes beyond the propositional to those aspects of religious experience that are morerobustly relational and participatory. Our focus, then, is less on what to think and see andmore on how to think and see. We search, then, less for the right answers and more forthe right questions. What we take away from our exchanges are new and differentpractices, not so much new and different conclusions. In many ways, what we converseabout are methods and, from these conversations, what we take away are best practices;we then discern for ourselves what their implications might be for our otherwise disparatesystems. Our conversation radically “roots” its orthodoxy in Jesus, orthopathy incontemplation, orthopraxy in social justice & orthocommunio in authentic community.Cathlimergent is only 9 days old today!The most astonishing reality that has emerged with the network’s launch is the geographicdiversity of the site visitors. See this in real-time:http://live.feedjit.com/live/cathlimergent.ning.com/I quit counting the number of different countries represented, but one can look at theVisitors’ Map in the right column toward the bottom of the page:http://cathlimergent.ning.com/I agree that an introductory article would be of interest to the wider emergent community, inpart because Catholics remain quite the curiosity to so many. In such an article, one wouldneed to address the historical-theoretical-theological context of the emerging churchconversation, in general, and then demonstrate how the Catholic participants are situated inthat context, in particular. A separate issue would be from the social-practical angleregarding what’s been happening on the ground with Catholics and their emerging churchconversation partners.Regarding the first matter, the context, if one understands how the Anglicans are situated,then a conversation regarding how the Roman Catholics fit in would be something of aredundancy, especially to those of us who maintain that we are one in essentials or coreelements or first order realities and differ only in accidentals or peripheral elements or secondorder realities. In other words, when it comes to creed, sacrament, incarnational outlook andliturgy, for example, we’re one. When it comes to certain moral doctrines, church disciplinesand church polity, we differ. Other than that, as Andrew Jones points out, there are manythings the emerging church movement inherited from the Catholics: Tall Skinny Kiwi: 3Things the Emerging Church Took From the Catholics .Regarding the second matter, the most visible concrete social reality has been the recentcollaboration between Fr. Richard Rohr of the Center for Action & Contemplation inNew Mexico and other leaders like Brian McLaren & Phyllis Tickle.Less visible, but still very real, are the individual Catholics like myself who’ve been cyber-squatting and inter-loping on the virtual real estate of the Protestant leaders of the emergingchurch conversation, variously lurking or actively contributing to their conversations indiscussion forums, networking sites, Twitter, Facebook and so on.Also, there are a few of us Catholics who have been blogging as individuals, perhaps mostnotably, Carl McColman and Alan Creech, both whom personify, in my estimation, whatit means to be a Catholic in this emerging church conversation. Bryan Froehle is anotherhigh profile Catholic participant, whom I met through Brian McLaren.In my case, which may be typical for most bloggers and tweeters (Twitter), Mike Morrell (aspiritual networking cyberforce extraordinaire) tapped Tim King’s cybershoulders, whichled to me “meeting” Kevin Beck, Brian McLaren, Tony Jones, Steve Knight, DougPagitt and very notably, both TransFORM (a missional community formation network)and Anglimergent, which are also on the ning network and from whom I got the idea forCathlimergent.Cathlimergent had only 8 Google hits a week ago (abstract references) but now has 800 orso (de novo virtual reality!).And why?Well, because everyone of my sisters and brothers aforementioned either implicitly endorsedthe Cathlimergent network launch by joining and/or by explicitly mentioning andsoliciting members for the network via their blogs, Twitter or Facebook. In other words,they made a proactive and selfless effort to help me gather in my emergent coreligionistsfrom the vast regions of our great cyberdiaspora, with never a concern about poaching orterritoriality or cannibalizing their own bases (alas, there’s a lesson there, too, n’est pas?).Here, I need to especially thank the Reverend Bosco Peters of @Liturgy, who is theOprah Winfrey of Twitter & Facebook, tens of thousands of followers but interacting witheach of us like BFFs (best friend forever, for those without access to urban dictionaries)!A few short months ago, when my annual domain subscription came around, I had resolvedto surrender my domain name for http://christiannonduality.com/ . Instead, I evenstarted to blog and decided to keep my cyberhomestead intact, mostly because Tim King,whom I did not know from Adam’s cat, was gracious and kind enough to e-mail me andsay that he was so happy to find me, so appreciated my writing and research and encouragedme to persist because he thought it was a valuable contribution to inter-religious dialogue.(Object lesson: encouragement matters. It’s a primary mode of the Spirit.)And I’m here at Cathlimergent because Brian McLaren, about 10 days ago, encouraged meand said to stay in touch regarding ways to reach out to “Catholic folk.” The next day itdawned on me. No need to reinvent the wheel! Just look at what’s being done by my sistersand brothers at Agmergent (Assemblies of God), Anglimergent (Anglicans),Anglicans Fresh Expressions (Anglicans & Methodists in UK), Baptimergent(Baptist), Convergent Friends (Quakers), Emerging Church (Emerging ChurchEurope & UK), EmergeUMC (Methodist), Emerging Penetcostal, Emergent Village(ecumenical, USA), Luthermergent (Lutheran), Presbymergent (Presbyterian),Resonate (Canada. ecumenical) and The Common Root (Mennonite).More than anything else or anyone else, from the standpoint of religious formation, I’m herebecause of the ministry of my brother in the faith, Richard Rohr, whose books and othermedia, over recent decades, have continued to inspire me to go on making friends andexchanging stories, which is what Cathlimergent is all about, the greatest story of all beingthe One, Whose life we’re getting ready to celebrate: Jesus.If nothing else, this missive is a shout-out of gratitude to all of my sisters and brothers,especially those mentioned above (some whom I’ve omitted only due to neglect on my part),who are mentoring me and companioning with me on life’s journey. In some sense, thisjourney, itself, has been my destination; this quest for Jesus has, itself, been my grail.
  • 131. So, I wrote this all as a prelude to protesting that I am not the one to write such an articleand that it may be too early to do so. On the other hand, I may have provided a Letter to theEditor of some interest, which tells folks: Stay tuned!Send article as PDF to Enter email address SendTags: A l a n C r e e c h, Andrew Jones, A n g l i m e r g e n t, best practices, Brian McLaren, Bryan Froehle, C a r lM c C o l m a n, C a t h l i m e r g e n t, Center for Action & Contemplation, Doug Pagitt, Fr. Richard Rohr, K e v i nBeck, Mike Morrell, n i n g n e t w o r k, Phyllis Tickle, S t e v e K n i g h t, T i m K i n g, Tony Jones, TransFORMTheology & Anthropology – body, soul, spirit?JB on December 3, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments »Consider this quote by Marc Cortez in EMBODIED SOULS, ENSOULED BODIES — ANEXERCISE IN CHRISTOLOGICAL ANTHROPOLOGY AND ITS SIGNIFICANCE FOR THE MIND/BODYDEBATE: quote: The thesis thus comprises two major sections. The first develops an understanding of Karl Barth’s theological anthropology focusing on three major facets: (1) the centrality of Jesus Christ for any real understanding of human persons; (2) the resources that such a christologically determined view of human nature has for engaging in interdisciplinary discourse; and (3) the ontological implications of this approach for understanding the mind/body relationship. The second part of the study then draws on this theological foundation to consider the implications that understanding human nature christologically has for analyzing and assessing several prominent ways of explaining the mind/body relationship. This study, then, is an exercise in understanding the nature of a christocentric anthropology and its implications for understanding human ontology.This doesn’t deny that science and metaphysics and philosophy are autonomous and evennarrower foci of human concern that get appropriated by theology as a broader focus ofhuman concern, but it does illustrate how theology can inform some of our axiomaticcommitments or presuppositions for these other foci, such as, for example, requiring moraland metaphysical realism, epistemological realism, fundamental human dignity and so on.Cortez closes with: quote: In this study, we have not attempted to resolve this theoretical conundrum. In fact, the approach developed in the course of this study suggests that theologians should resist the temptation to wed Christian theology to any particular theory of human ontology.This is echoed by Alfredo Dinis, who is the Dean, Associate Professor, and Lecturer of Logic,Philosophy of Science and Cognitive Science, Faculty of Philosophy of Braga, CatholicUniversity of Portugal, in this paper , which is entitled Body, Soul and God: Philosophy,Theology and the Cognitive Sciences. Dinis writes: quote: The concept of a soul is not theological but rather philosophical. As a consequence, one may leave it out of the theological discourse. Concepts like ‘mind,’ ‘soul,’ ‘self,’ and ‘consciousness’ are not specifically theological concepts. They are rather philosophical concepts. Theology has over the centuries used such concepts to express some religious beliefs, but such beliefs do not have a necessary connection with those concepts and certainly not with the metaphysical meaning they have in some philosophical traditions. Today, however, it is the sciences, especially the cognitive sciences, that wish to clarify such concepts.
  • 132. In this task, they are most of the time against religious beliefs because such beliefs seem to be necessarily connected with those concepts. I want to argue that this is a mistake, and that most authors in the cognitive sciences are basing their analysis on misleading presuppositions. But it is also true that a new theology needs a new anthropology, one that is less dependent on the traditional metaphysics of Thomas Aquinas and more in line with a relational paradigm.And in the spirit of those two papers cited above, I commend the following work of NanceyMurphy to all:THEOLOGY IN A POSTMODERN AGE: which included three lectures: 1) BEYOND MODERNLIBERALISM AND FUNDAMENTALISM; 2) BEYOND MODERN DUALISM AND REDUCTIONISM; and3) BEYOND MODERN INWARDNESS.A more concise summary can be found here and also here at Counterbalance, entitledNeuroscience & the Person and Neuroscience, Religious Experience and the Self,respectively.Finally, here are some interview transcripts of Nancey Murphy’s The Conscious Mind.Alfredo Dinis amplifies this: quote: The metaphysical mind-body dualism is now being systematically challenged by a growing number of Christian philosophers and theologians (Murphy 1998, Brown 1998, Clayton 1999, Gregersen 2000). Nancy Murphy, for example, argues philosophically in favour of a non-reductive physicalism, which she describes as “the view that the human nervous system, operating in concert with the rest of the body in its environment, is the seat of consciousness (and also of human spiritual and religious capacities).” (1998, 131) These Christian philosophers and theologians believe that we do not need either the concept of a metaphysical self or that of a metaphysical soul. A relational self seems more adequate to understand the nature of human beings than a metaphysical self. Indeed, every traditional metaphysical category appears increasingly to be inadequate and in need to be abandoned in our search for knowledge. A relational view of the person, and indeed of God, needs no immortal soul to assure immortality. Instead, immortality is a relational situation. Human relationships constitute the individuals as persons. For those who believe in God, it is God’s foundational relation with the whole creation that makes human immortality possible.Now, let me say that the metaphysics of the human person remain an open question,especially vis a vis philosophy of mind issues and the hard problem of consciousness. Andlet me reassert that, on matters metaphysical, I am agnostic. I incline, however, to themore nondual approaches to the human person. And to the human person’s relationship toGod as being only quasiautonomous. My panentheism is indifferent to metaphsyics, for themost part, and very much indifferent to whether or not any subjective aspect of humanpersonhood is immortal.Now, as to any teachings, dogmas or creedal elements, those are distinctly theological,necessarily vague, and certainly open to interpretation and rearticulation, metaphysically andphilosophically. They certainly do not presuppose aristotelian or thomistic metaphysics, ingeneral, or the soul, in particular. The “descent into hell” was possibly understood by the earlychurch as an emphasis on Jesus’ death and the resurrection of the body is foundational forthe doctrine of the Communion of Saints, the church militant, penitent and triumphant. Forthose in the church penitent (a state) and the church triumphant (heaven), we needn’tconceive of them as disembodied. With Kung, we can argue against the idea of a separatedsoul between particular judgment and the general resurrection as understood in either aplatonic or aristotelian-thomist way, recognizing that, in Kung’s words, “man dies a whole,with body and soul, as a psychosomatic unity … into that eternity of the divine Now which,for those who have died, makes irrelevant the temporal distance of this world betweenpersonal death and the last judgement.”While theology certainly does have implications for our metaphysical and philosophicalpresuppositions, our authors above affirm, one will note that all of the above-listed authorsconsider other anthropological approaches, other than the distinctly dualistic conception, tobe live options for the inquiring theological anthropologists.A reader wrote: quote: Some of these teachings are dogmas, one is even in the Creed — all long before the rediscovery of Aristotle and the teachings of Thomas Aquinas, Scholasticism, etc.and, in fact, many of the earliest Christian writers of both the 1st and 2nd centuries, andeven later Athanasius, did not believe in human immortality. It came later with hellenization.Nancey Murphy summarizes: quote:
  • 133. Both Judaism and Christianity apparently began with a concept of human nature that comes closer to contemporary nonreductive physicalism than to Platonic dualism. But, both made accommodations to a prevailing dualistic philosophy, and combined a doctrine of the immortality of the soul with a doctrine of the resurrection of the body. The pressing question now, concerns whether to return to those earlier nonreductive physicalist accounts of human nature, as many Christian theologians have urged throughout this century.As for any persistence of the soul after death, while Kung, in Eternal Life, finds a two-foldview of human nature unscientific and any life based thereon untenable, he allows forresurrection, as does John Hick, right after death. Kung has tried to rehabilitate the conceptof purgatory, which is less problematical conceived as a state not a place (thanks JPII forclearing that up).Alfredo Dinis also wrote: quote: From this externalist point of view, it is possible to think about immortality within a non-dualistic framework – within a relational and dialogical framework. In his book Introduction to Christianity Joseph Ratzinger, the actual Pope, has put forward a relational view of the soul: “ ‘having a spiritual soul’ means precisely being willed, known, and loved by God in a special way; it means being a creature called by God to an eternal dialogue and therefore for its own part capable of knowing God and of replying to him. What we call in substantialist language ‘having a soul’ we will describe in a more historical, actual language as ‘being God’s partner in a dialogue’.“ (2004, 355) A dialogical concept of the human soul has for Ratzinger an immediate consequence: an equally dialogical concept of immortality: “man’s immortality is based on his dialogic relationship with and reliance upon God, whose love alone bestows eternity” (2004, 355). A dialogical concept of immortality needs no body-soul scheme, no natural-supernatural dualism. Thus, according to Ratzinger, “it is also perfectly possible to develop the idea [of immortality] out of the body- soul schema” (2004, 355), and so “it becomes evident once again at this point that in the last analysis one cannot make a neat distinction between ‘natural’ and ‘supernatural’,” (2004, 355-6), since it is the dialogue of love between God and the human beings, and among the human beings themselves, that is truly the essence of every religious experience.It is precisely Occam, who applied his razor to any philosophical demonstration of theimmortality of the soul. Scotus, too, saw such arguments as inconclusive. Proper scripturalexegesis doesn’t allow proof-texting either on this metaphysical issue. While it remains, in myview, an open question, parsimony doesn’t needlessly multiply ontological layers forexplanations that have ever increasing probabilities based on empirically falsifiable andverifiable observations regarding those faculties of the human brain once explained by thoseof the soul.With Peirce, I’m all for the mattering of mind and the minding of matter. Against Kung,however, I’m not ready to toss out psychic phenomena and other paranormal evidence. It istoo early to draw such conclusions. Neither, however, do I want to foreclose on physicalistand/or naturalist accounts of the soul.I think we have a situation where revelation and theology can certainly help us with anaccount that elevates human nature and dignity via a Christocentric anthropology. But I alsobelieve that theology has overstepped its bounds if it leaves anyone with the impression thatthe metaphysics of philosophy of mind are loaded with inescapable philosophicalpresuppositions.This conversation continues at this link >>> Read the rest of this entry »Send article as PDF to Enter email address SendTags: Alfredo Dinis, Chesterton, emergentist perspective, First Principles, god-of-t h e-g a p s, H a l d a n e, H a n sK u n g, h e u r i s t i c, h u m a n s o u l, implicate order, John Hick, K a r l B a r t h, Marc Cortez, m a t e r i a l i s m,m e t a p h y s i c s, m o r a l r e a l i s m, N a n c e y M u r p h y, negotiated concepts, Nietzsche, n i h i l i s m, philosophy ofm i n d, radical deconstructionism, reductio ad absurdum, r e l a t i v i s m, root metaphor, scientism, semiotic,semiotic realism, semiotic science, solipsism, s p e c u l a t i v e m e t a p h y s i c s, theoretic, theoretical physics,u n c e r t a i n r e a l i t y, W i t t g e n s t e i n
  • 134. K994RATW26YUAdministrator on December 1, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments »K994RATW26YU oh come onSend article as PDF to Enter email address SendK994RATW26YUAdministrator on December 1, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments »K994RATW26YUSend article as PDF to Enter email address SendThe Manhattan Declaration – yes & noJB on December 1, 2009 in the evaluative - Culture, the interpretive - Religion, thenormative - Philosophy | 2 Comments »The dignity of the human person, the sanctity of human life, legaljustice & the common good, and the primacy of our responsibility toprotect the weak & vulnerable are the core values being addressed inthe Manhattan Declaration. The document makes an appeal –not only to religious foundations, but – to the nature of the humanperson, the light of human reason, the historical institutions ofhuman society and vast human experience. The declaration, in myview, presents an honest portrayal of how the Christian consciencehas influenced civilization with a tone and tenor that is both irenicand self-critical (not triumphalistic). This appeal is philosophically rigorous and psychologically holistic in that it honors the integral nature of our empirical, rational, practical, prudential, relational and religious approaches to all human value-realizations. The language is authentically dialogical. This document represents a legitimate entrance of religious voices into the public square. And these voices, because of the manner in which they have spoken (at least, in this instance) deserve respect, deference and earnest engagement. I don’t think anyone could seriously disagree that our world is badly ailing from the evil that flows from the disregard of human dignity and human life. I do think that people of large intelligence and profound goodwill can honestly disagree on a number of things declared in that document. People might disagree about various specific moral realities, about what is indeed right or wrong, good or evil, and why. People might more broadly or narrowly conceive the concepts employed in the document. People might disagree about specific diagnoses of societal problems and/or about the prescriptions devised to cure those ills. People might disagree about specific sociological facts and practical solutions, including administrative (executive), legislative and judicial remedies. It is for these types of reasons that I would not wholly endorse the Manhattan Declaration. It is for all the reasons I listed further above, though, that I welcome its introduction into ourpublic discourse.This discussion continues at this link: Read the rest of this entry »Send article as PDF to Enter email address SendTags: common good, dignity of the human person, Manhattan Declaration, sanctity of human life
  • 135. It’s a small, small world – global dialogueJB on November 28, 2009 in Uncategorized, the interpretive - Religion | No Comments »A few days ago, I launched a social networking site called Cathlimergent for Catholics andothers who are participating in the Emerging Church Conversation. At midnight last night, Iinstalled a widget to keep track of where our visitors are coming from. When people joinCathlimergent, it’s easy enough to know where they live but I also wanted to get some senseof who might be listening in on our conversation.Below are the flags of the countries  and the names of the places from those first few hours. I thought I would freeze-frame these hours for posterity because my first impression was howso very small our world has become. My next impression was that I was literally watchingthe sun rise and set around the globe. (Place your cursor over each flag to see that country’sinitials.)If you are interested, you can click HERE and watch visitors come and go in real-time. Oneobject lesson is that we need to behave in cyberspace. Another is that we should not toonarrowly define participation in terms of active content contributors but should realize thatthe listening audience, however quiet or lurking, can be much larger than we mightotherwise imagine and is an integral part of our global dialogue.Here’s how the sun came up on Cathlimergent on one of the very first days of its presence incyberspace: Madurai, Tamil Nadu (India) Tehran, Esfahan (Iran) Philippine, Benguet
  • 136. Chongqing (China) Palembang (Indonesia) Antipolo, Rizal (Phillipines) Bombay, Maharashtra (India) Singapore Palembang (Indonesia) Calcutta, West Bengal (India) Johor Bahru, Johor (Malaysia) Hilo, Hawaii Middlewich, Cheshire (United Kingdom) Islamabad (Pakistan) Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Malaya, Donets’ka Oblast’ (Ukraine) Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan (Malaysia) Algeria Okinawa (Japan) Killara, Victoria (Australia) Warri, Rivers (Nigeria) San Juan, Batangas (Phillipines) Bombay, Maharashtra (India) Fernando De La Mora, Central (Paraguay) My Tho, Tien Giang (Viet Nam) West Babylon, New York Bacoor, Cavite (Phillipines) Bangkok, Krung Thep (Thailand) Beijing (China) Central District (Hong Kong S.A.R., China) Pune, Maharashtra (India) Ephrata, Pennsylvania San Antonio, Texas Versailles, Kentucky Oak Park, California Toronto, Ontario Warsaw, Warszawa (Poland) Others in the Emerging Church ConversationAgmergent (Assemblies of God).Anglimergent (Anglicans)Anglicans Fresh Expressions (Anglicans & Methodists in UK)Baptimergent (Baptist)Convergent Friends (Quakers)Emerging Church (Emerging Church Europe & UK)Emerging PenetcostalEmergeUMC (Methodist)Emergent Village (ecumenical, USA)Luthermergent (Lutheran)Presbymergent (Presbyterian)
  • 137. Resonate (Canada. ecumenical)The Common Root (Mennonite)Update: In addition to visitors from many of the countries listed-above, last night, manyothers from around the world visited Cathlimergent: Rome, Lazio (Italy) Nairobi, Nairobi (Kenya) Bogot, Cundinamarca (Colombia) Kathmandu (Nepal) Radauti, Suceava (Romania) Cairo, Al Qahirah (Egypt) Prague, Hlavni Mesto Praha (Czech Republic) Seoul, Seoul-t’ukpyolsi (South Korea) Abidjan, Lagunes (Ivory Coast) Doha, Ad Dawhah (Qatar) Maracaibo, Zulia (Venezuela)Send article as PDF to Enter email address SendTags: A g m e r g e n t, Anglicans Fresh Expressions, A n g l i m e r g e n t, B a p t i m e r g e n t, C a t h l i m e r g e n t,Convergent Friends, E m e r g e n t V i l l a g e, EmergeUMC, e m e r g i n g c h u r c h, global dialogue, L u t h e r m e r g e n t,P r e s b y m e r g e n t, S u b m e r g e n tIn Search of the Emerging Church? – look on the marginsJB on November 26, 2009 in Practices & Experiences, Uncategorized, the interpretive -Religion | No Comments »Tom Roberts is editor at large for the National Catholic Reporter. To get a better feel forparish life today, he has been on the road visiting Catholics along the way.Watch NCRonline.org for updates. He recently turned in his 19th installment.http://ncronline.org/blogs/in-search-of-the-emerging-churchFrom reading Tom’s series, a reality that has been impressed upon me is how well so manyare doing and being church. And the way they live and move and have their being emulatesthe aspirations our leaders have articulated in our emerging church conversations.Many of these people will never blog, never tweet and never use Facebook or friend as a verb,but they competently (even if unconsciously) integrate contemplative lives with socialjustice in an honest relationship to Jesus finding, sometimes founding, authenticcommunity. And there you have it: Emergence with a capital “E”!
  • 138. Of course, we recognize and affirm a diversity of ministry in our unity of mission. When I was in Louisiana’s nonpartisan think tank on poverty, I sought out the Fourth World Movement, which was working with the radically poor in New Orleans (a precious little French missionary family, at that; in other words, foreign missionaries in America!). I learned that what the desperately poor want, sometimes more than a crumb of bread or a sip of water, even, was a place at any table of dialogue where there destinies were being worked out. (And I sigh and think of the lines that were drawn on Middle Eastern maps by departing colonial powers.) Another thing that was impressed upon me was that they wanted to tell their stories and to have their stories passed along, such that they might matter as persons to somebody. My eyes were opened by one quote relayed to me by one of the 4th World missionaries. A desperately poor person crying: “I don’t want to be an icon of your fucking Christ!” That made me a post-patriarchal, post-colonial, post-paternalistic, post-hierarchical, post- institutionalistic, post-whatever faster, smoother and more efficaciously than all of my immersion in abstract postmodern philosophy and theology. We objectify people when we make them a salve for our hurting consciences or a badge of honor for our heroic strivings. And we learn this from Merton, that we all have crises of creativity and continuity, the first corresponding to our need to feel like we make a difference to someone, the latter, all the forms of death we encounter, literally and metaphorically. And in this regard, I realized how poverty-stricken so many in America’s board rooms, war rooms, classrooms, living rooms and even bedrooms are, how utterly miserable are so many of the people we all rub elbows with daily. And I resolved to minister to what I came to call The 5th World, in other words, this litany of rooms, which all too often has so much less joy than we can find in either the 4th or 3rd world. And this is no naive romanticization of poverty. I know, now, in my heart of hearts, that the preferential option for the poor is the Gospel because it is Good News for all, for at some time or another, sooner or later, it is going to be consolation for every last one of us. This is reproduced from my post at Cathlimergent Conversation: Catholics in the Emerging Church Conversation. Please, join us there! Send article as PDF to Enter email address Send Tags: e m e r g i n g c h u r c h, Fourth World Movement, Merton, National Catholic Reporter, preferential option for the poor, Tom Roberts« Older Entries Newer Entries » © 2010 christiannonduality.com Blog is Proudly Powered By WordPress | Theme by The Cloisters
  • 139. CHRISTIANNONDUALITY. C O M BL O G beyond thinking & proposing to imagining & participatingHome About T o d a y’ s L i t u r g yCatholics in the Emerging Church ConversationJB on November 24, 2009 in Practices & Experiences, Uncategorized, the interpretive -Religion | No Comments » Translator http://cathlimergent.ning.com/ By N2H Amos Yong apophatic Radically “rooting” orthodoxy in Jesus, Axiological axiologically- orthopathy in contemplation, Bernard integral orthopraxy in social justice & orthocommunio in authentic Lonergan Brian McLaren community Charles Sanders Follow Cathlimergence on Twitter Peirce contemplative http://twitter.com/Cathlimergent cosmology emergence emerging church Enlightenment epistemology faith False Self fideism Hans Kung James K. A. Smith Send Jesus Creed John Duns Send article as PDF to Enter email address Scotus kataphatic Kevin Beck Kurt Godel Merton metaphysics Mike Morrell Natural Theology nihilism nondual nonduality orthodoxy radical emergence radical orthodoxy rationalism Tags: C a t h l i m e r g e n t, c o n t e m p l a t i o n, e m e r g i n g c h u r c h, e m e r g i n g c h u r c h c o n v e r s a t i o n, o r t h o c o m m u n i o, o r t h o d o x y, o r t h o p a t h y, o r t h o p r a x y, social justice Richard Rohr Science scientism semiotic theodicy Theological Anthropology ThomasVatican declares new Saint for New Orleans Merton Tim King transformationJB on November 23, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments » True Self Walker Percy W P-C u m u l u s b y R o y T a n c kIn the Catholic Church (both the Latin Rite a n d Luke Morton requiresand Eastern Rites) the act of canonization is F l a s h P l a y e r 9 or better.reserved to the Holy See and occurs at the Cultivating theconclusion of a long process requiring Roots, Nurturingextensive proof that the person proposed for the Shootscanonization lived in such an exemplary and MARCH 2010holy way that he or she is worthy to be M T W T F S Srecognized as a Saint. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14The Church’s official recognition of sanctity 15 16 17 18 19 20 21implies that the persons are now in heavenly 22 23 24 25 26 27 28glory, that they may be publicly invoked and 29 30 31  mentioned officially in the liturgy of the « FEB    Church, most especially in the Litany of theSaints (Ricky Jackson, Morton Anderson, Recent PostsArchie Manning, Dalton Hilliard, Hokie Gajan, Pat Swilling and so on). The Emerging Church is BIGGER Beatification is a statement by the church that it t h a n C h r i s t i a n i t y – how to spot is “worthy of belief” that the person is in heaven. it in other traditions To be canonized a saint, one (or more) miracle Abortion & the Senate is necessary. The Pope can place these processes Healthcare Bill – a p r u d e n t i a l on a fast track as he’s apparently done in this judgment New Orleans case. 10 historical developments propelling Emerging First declared the Venerable Drew after Christianity ~ Richard Rohr leading the Saints to their first NFC Title Game Why Brian McLaren’s Greco- ever, the Blessed Drew was declared after he Roman Narrative is NOT a led the Saints to their first 9-0 record in caricature franchise history. He was declared Saint Drew THE BOOK: Christian when the 10-0 season start was declared a N o n d u a l i t y – Postmodern miracle. Can there be any serious doubt that Conservative Catholic this man is now in heavenly glory? It is most Pentecostal certainly worthy of belief. Assuredly, the faithful will continue to petition this man for more Recent Comments miracles. christiannonduality.com Blog »  Blog Archive » Thoughts re: t o d a y’s debate – Philip Clayton vs Dan Dennett on Intelligent Design – a poorly designed Send article as PDF to Enter email address Send inference christiannonduality.com Blog »  Blog Archive » W h y B r i a n
  • 140. McLaren’s Greco-R o m a n Narrative is NOT a caricature on A New Kind of Christianity? McLaren didn’t make this up. It’s worse than that! christiannonduality.com Blog »  Blog Archive » W h y B r i a n McLaren’s Greco-R o m a n Narrative is NOT a caricature on E v e r y t h i n g T h a t’s Old is New A g a i n – this (McLaren’s “ N e w”   Christianity) is truly an oldThe Folk Mass Revolution time religionJB on November 23, 2009 in Uncategorized | No Comments » K i e r a n C o n r o y on A New Kind of Christianity? McLaren didn’t make this up. It’s worse thanYou either hated it (see The Fire Is Out by Jeffrey Tucker) or you loved it (see Susan that!Bailey’s review), but the Folk Mass Revolution is an integral part of every Roman Philip Clayton on Thoughts re:Catholic Baby Boomer’s formation and heritage. t o d a y’s debate – Philip ClaytonI’m not going to review the book, here, other than to agree with Susan Bailey: vs Dan Dennett Type, Hit Enter to Search We Distinguish in I had expected a wonderful, nostalgic read but Keep the Fire Burning Order to Unite proved to be so much more. Ken Canedo lay the ground work for what was to become the folk mass by reviewing the history of reform (and how it affected Select Category 6 music) in the Roman liturgy. Canedo takes this history and weaves it through the lives of people who were the movers and shakers in the reform movement, Blogroll some of whom eventually became key players in the folk mass revolution. Andrew Sullivan Beyond Blue Brian D. McLaren CommonwealSo, let it be resolved that this book is much more than a walk down memory lane. I devoured Crunchy Conit in one, rather long, sitting. It took me extra time to read because, as the names of the Cynthia Bourgeaultdifferent composers, artists and songs came up, I could not resist singing the songs to myself. Emergent VillageI could not keep reading without constantly putting the book down and pausing to reflect on Emerging Womenthe places and the faces – not just of the singing artists, but – of the storyline of my young First Thoughtslife in the Spirit. ♫♪ We are one in the Spirit. We are one in the Lord.  ♪♬ (See what I mean!) Fors ClavigeraLet me just share with you a copy of the book cover, which I optimized to fit this blog space. Francis X. Clooney, S.J.Below that, I will list a sampling of some of the artists and songs which are not only Joseph S. OLearydiscussed in the book but made available via podcasts at Ken Canedo’s website. That’ll be NCR Today – the Catholic Blogenough to set the hook for friends, family and acquaintances who walked right to that Glory Per CaritatemLand with me! Phyllis Tickle Post Christian Postmodern Conservative Radical Emergence Sojourners Tall Skinny Kiwi The Website of Unknowing Transmillenial Vox Nova Weekly Standard Blog Worship Blog Zoecarnate Worthwhile Sites Amos Yong Boulder Integral Brother David Steindl-Rast Center for Action and Contemplation Christian Nonduality Contemplative Outreach David Group International Dialogue Institute Ecumene Franciscan Archive Innerexplorations Institute on Religion in an Age of Science Metanexus Monastic Interreligious Dialogue National Catholic Reporter Radical Orthodoxy Shalomplace Sojourners Thomas Merton Center Virtual Chapel Zygon Center for Religion and Science Cloud of Unknowing
  • 141. Amos Yong apophatic Axiological axiologically- Bernard integral Lonergan Brian McLaren Charles Sanders Peirce contemplative cosmology emergence emerging church E n l i g h t e n m e n t epistemology faith False Self fideism Hans Kung James K. A. Smith Jesus Creed John Duns Scotus kataphatic Kevin Beck Kurt Godel Merton metaphysics Mike Morrell Natural Theology“The Witness Song” composed by Robert Blue, performed by the Dameans on their 1969FEL recording Tell the World nihilism nondual nonduality orthodoxy“Here We Are,” “Of My Hands,” “Hear, O Lord,” “And I Will Follow,” “Clap Your Hands,”  radical emergence radical“Hear, O Lord,” “Come Away,”  and “Shout from the Highest Mountain,” by Ray Repp from orthodoxy rationalismthe 1966 FEL recording, Mass for Young Americans Richard Rohr Science scientism“The Spirit Is a-Movin’” by Carey Landry semiotic theodicyfrom the 1973 NALR recording, Hi, God Theological Anthropology“The New Creation” by Gary Ault Thomasfrom the 1970 FEL recording, Songs of the New Creation by the Dameans Merton Tim King transformation True“Sons of God” by James Theim, OSB from the 1966 FEL recording, Mass for Young Self Walker PercyAmericans Join Other Visitors in Prayer“Allelu” by Ray Repp from the 1968 FEL recording, Sing Praise! Light A Candle & Pray“They’ll Know We Are Christians by Our Love” by Peter Scholtes from the 1966 FEL Join Us in therecording, Missa Bossa Nova Liturgy of the Hours“All of My Life,” “You Are My People,” “Fear Not,” “Jerusalem,” and “Love One Another” bySister Germaine Habjan from the 1966 FEL recording, Songs of Salvation“Take My Hands,” “Sing, People of God, Sing,” “The Living God,” “We Are One,” and “TheBlessed Sacrament” by Sebastian Temple from the 1967 Franciscan Communicationsrecording, Sing! People of God, Sing!“Make Me a Channel of Your Peace (Prayer of St. Francis)” by Sebastian Temple from the1967 Franciscan Communications recording, Happy the Man“Let All the Earth” by Gary Ault from the 1969 FEL recording, Tell the World by the Get the C a t h l i m e r g e n t o nDameans Twitter widget and many other great free widgets a t Widgetbox!Send article as PDF to Enter email address Send Not seeing a widget? (More info) Tweets johnssylvest: Abortion & the Senate Healthcare Bill – a prudential judgment http://bit.ly/aS2DwT johnssylvest: 10 developments propelling Emerging Christianity ~ Richard Rohr http://bit.ly/a4AMtg johnssylvest: RT @pdclayton7: "Theology After Google" opens Wed. - 23 of the best speakers on emerging religion in Google Age;Ode to Mothers Who’ve Lost Children live stream at http://o ... johnssylvest: RT @jonestony:JB on November 22, 2009 in Uncategorized | 1 Comment » New Blog Post: Society for Pentecostal Studies Paper: WhatLong ago, in pain, I wrote an Pentecostals Have to Learn fromOde to Mothers Who Had Lost Their Boys. Emergents http://ow.ly/16KREU johnssylvest: THE BOOK: AnIt expresses truths that satisfy no questions in our heads but that respond, instead, to broken Emerging Church Conversationhearts. We realize through time that our hearts have broken, not in two, but open. And we with a Postmodern Conservativerecognize that we never get over such enormous pain and immense loss, only through it. Catholic PentecostalTogether. http://bit.ly/91D570 #fb Mary: Our road began with the Word of God, John Sobert Sylvest Where a witness, Elizabeth’s son, In a town in the hills of Judah, Spoke of Jesus, the Chosen One. Elizabeth: Little boys we carried in our wombs Knew one another, even there ! And were destined, both, for early tombs, Any mother’s worst nightmare. Mary: My son was killed by Pilate,With indignity and disgrace.Elizabeth: My John was brutally murdered,Beheaded at Herod’s place.Narrator: I asked of Mary: “What of Pilate ?” Johnboy Was Here
  • 142. Feedjit Live Blog Stats“What of Herod ?” of Elizabeth. Feedjit Live Blog Stats“Of the people who rejected themEven in Nazareth ?” Follow this blogThey both were silent, for a whileThen each, in their own turn,Spoke openly and lovinglyOf the lessons they had learned.Mary: Like my Joseph, through King David’s line,Did my baby, Jesus, comeA Savior given unto usEach and every one.Elizabeth: Yes, adulterers and murderersLike Herod (King David, too)Were the reason that Our Lord was bornMary: And also me and you.Elizabeth: No it’s not for us to understand. Visit Cathlimergent ConversationsIt’s not for us to see: Visit AnglimergentWhat of David ? Pilate ? Herod ? MetaMary: What of them or you or me ? Log in Entries R S SMary: Like the criminals murdered with Him Comments R S S WordPress.orgOn His left and on His right‘Til one’s dying breath He’ll save youBathe you in Eternal Light.Narrator: Elizabeth stood, took Mary’s arms.They embraced with loving tears.Then as at The VisitationJohn and Jesus then appeared !I watched in silence and in aweWith love and peace and joy,As with such warmth and tendernessEach mother hugged her boy.They were little kids like yours and mine !With faces oh so fair !Their mommies kissed their little headsRan fingers through their hair.They pinched their cheeks, held little facesIn between each hand,Looked proudly down into their eyesEach mother’s little man.There they saw the face of God and livedAs the prophet said they’d see.They all stared in little Jesus’ faceThen turned and said to me:All: We’ll have all been there ten thousand yearsBright shining as the sunEach generation’s moms and dadsEach daughter and each son; The loves we’ll have shared continuing on, The pains we’ll have shared forgotten, With the God we’ll have known from ages hence From Mary’s womb begotten. For nothing can quench the love of God Not anguish nor distress Persecution, famine nor the sword Peril nor nakedness.
  • 143. Neither death nor life nor angelsNot any principalityCould stifle the love of these mothers’ boysFrom here to Eternity.The entire poem is here:http://christiannonduality.com/the_passionSend article as PDF to Enter email address SendWhat makes a Catholic, catholic? (nothing cultural, scientific,philosophical or metaphysical)JB on November 20, 2009 in Axiological, Cosmological, Methods & Approaches, ProvisionalClosures & Systems, Uncategorized, the descriptive - Science, the evaluative - Culture, theinterpretive - Religion, the normative - Philosophy | No Comments »We must remain mindful of an importantdistinction re: so-called common views, doesone mean a view commonly held byacademics & theologians or that held by themajority of persons no matter their education.That will be in play, below. Another criticaldistinction is that between the Catholichierarchy or magisterial teaching office (a/k/aRome) versus mainstream theologians versuseven what the faithful (sensus fidelium)actually believe and practice.Perhaps the most critical distinction in play,however, is that between more progressiveand more traditional believers. At the extreme,progressives have a tendency, it seems, to treat what might really be essential or core asaccidental or peripheral. For their part, ultra-traditionalists have a tendency to treat whatmight really be accidental or peripheral as essential or core. A question that begs, then, is what could one possibly mean by the qualifier REALLY core or peripheral. While it is true that, in addition to Scripture & Tradition, Faith & Reason, Mysticism & Experience, Catholics have another leg to our stool called the Magisterium or hierarchical teaching office, in THEORY the Magisterium is NOT structured as a TOP-DOWN reality, although IN PRACTICE, that dynamic does seem to be in effect, at least in part, because their’s is a “temporal” power of the purse and of juridical authority that very much controls the destiny of many people’s lives vis a vis their expression of and experience of church. Being less abstract: 1) women cannot be ordained 2)some priests must remain celibate 3) some politicians get visibly interdicted at thecommunion rail 4) some ex-priests cannot teach in a parochial school because they weren’tlaicized via a formal dispensation 5) some divorced and remarried teachers, similarly, areturned away from church employment because they did not obtain a marriage annulment.In theory though, the Magisterium is only supposed to articulate the faith and morals that ithas faithfully, diligently and dutifully observed via an active listening process, whereby it hasdiscerned, BOTTOM-UP, what has already been received through the aid of the Holy Spiritby the Faithful, the sensus fidelium. In other words, the universal church asks: What is thesense of the faithful? And the Magisterium, speaking on our behalf, should respond withwhat the church, broadly conceived, has properly gathered and practiced via scripture,tradition, reason and experience. Let’s just say that many of us recognize that, just like withscriptural exegesis and interpreting God’s Word, this process of interpreting the sensusfidelium and articulating its beliefs is a tad more problematical than many, including thoseboth in the hierarchy and the laity, seem able to imagine.What do I think is going on?
  • 144. Catholic progressives, both Roman and Anglican,are more closely related hermeneutically to eachother than they are to their coreligionists in theirrespective denominations. Same thing with ourtraditionalist brothers and sisters. Increasingly, Ihave found that progressive Roman and Anglicancatholics have a GREAT deal in common withmuch of liberal Protestantism and the emergingchurch conversation(s). This is to say that we arein large agreement regarding essentials vsaccidentals, core vs peripheral beliefs. I am inmuch more agreement with the Anglicanapproach to moral doctrine, church disciplinesand church polity than I am with my ownRoman tradition, but these are not essentials inmy view, while our creeds, our sacraments, ourliturgical traditions and incarnational outlooks are.Otherwise, out of personal integrity, I’d have tooffer myself up in the recent prisoner swap (yes,that’s a euphemism for a recent impolitic event).What makes one distinctly catholic?It is not atonement theory. Most Franciscans, following Scotus, don’t buy into the notion thatthe incarnation was a divine initiative in response to some earthly felix culpa. It’s not Greek metaphysics. Even the hierarchy is clear in that science and philosophy are autonomous from faith. While theological discourse will employ inculturated language in articulating beliefs, it is no more tied to this or that metaphysical concept than it is tied to a particular language. It simply translates the essentials of the faith into this or that idiom. I am heavily invested in the American pragmatist tradition (Peirce, less so James, much less so Dewey) and the best parts of our Transcendentalist tradition (Josiah Royce) and don’t do substance metaphysics or Thomism, so my (meta)metaphysical constructs are going to be nondual vis a vis a triadic semiotic. Rome doesn’t publish catechisms in this idiom, only a group of folks who belong to the John CourtneyMurray Society at Berkeley find it engaging (best I can tell, anyway; I’m not an academicand I do not get around much).I could go on dismissing what is not essential and trying to overcome stereotypes, which wehave earned, but …Essentially, the catholic outlook on created reality is radically incarnational, rejects moraldepravity, sees all of creation as intrinsically good even if flawed, sees created realitiesmediating the God-encounter & is thus sacramental. Catholicism embraces faith and reason(fides et ratio) but rejects any conflation of science, philosophy and faith, viewing theseapproaches to reality as methodologically autonomous, hence rejecting fideism andscientism. Essential dogma is contained in the creeds with other stuff up for grabs, althoughcontroversy surrounds the only two so-called infallible pronouncements ever articulated, theAssumption and Immaculate Conception, which is more vs less problematical depending onhow one conceives so-called “original” sin. There is the matter of the Petrine Ministry, butthat, too, could be more narrowly or broadly conceived (e.g. creeping infallibilism).Finally, coming full circle back to the aim of this thread, there is the question of whether ornot there can even be such a thing as a Christian Philosophy or a Theological Anthropologyor a Religious Epistemology. And my answer, and I’m pretty sure the orthodox Catholicanswer, is no. Anthropology is science. Epistemology is philosophy. Metaphysics belong tovarious philosophical schools. Do people articulate anthropologies, epistemologies, metaphysics and philosophies that would be incompatible with faith? Of course, but that’s because they are doing bad anthropology, bad epistemology, bad metaphysics and bad philosophy, in ways that don’t employ philosophical rigor and can’t withstand philosophical scrutiny. Do believers articulate scientific and philosophical perspectives derived from their religious stances? Sure, but that’s because they’re doing bad science and bad philosophy. In other words, category errors are not uncommon. From the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, yesterday, 19 November 2009: Therefore the major question that remains is whether in the light of that depth of agreement the issues that still divide us have the same weight – issues about authority in the Church, about primacy (especially the unique position of the pope), and the relations between the local churches and the universal church in making decisions (about matters like the ordination of women, for instance).  Are they theological questions in the same sense as the bigger issues on which there is already clear agreement?  And if they are, how exactly is it  that they make a difference to our basic understanding of salvation and communion?  But if they are not, why do they still stand in the way of  fullervisible unity?  Can there, for example, be a model of unity as a  communion of churches which have different attitudes to how the papal primacy is expressed? The central question is whether and how we can properly tell the difference between ’second order’ and ‘first order’ issues. When so very much agreement has been firmly established in first-order matters about the identity and mission of the Church, is it really justifiable to treat other issues as equally vital for its health and integrity?”
  • 145. This discussion continues below >>> Read the rest of this entry »Send article as PDF to Enter email address SendTags: A m e r i c a n p r a g m a t i s t t r a d i t i o n, a t o n e m e n t t h e o r y, c a t e g o r y e r r o r s, Catholic progressives, CharlesSanders Peirce, Christian Philosophy, church disciplines, c h u r c h p o l i t y, creeds, creeping infallibilism,deontology, e l i m i n a t i v e m a t e r i a l i s m, Faith & Reason, fideism, fides et ratio, Immaculate Conception,interaction problem, J o h n C o u r t n e y M u r r a y S o c i e t y, John Duns Scotus, Josiah Royce, l i t u r g i c a ltraditions, magisterial teaching office, M a g i s t e r i u m, m a t e r i a l i s m, m e t a p h y s i c a l, m e t a p h y s i c s, m o r a ld e p r a v i t y, moral doctrine, nature of the soul, o n t o l o g y, p a r t i c i p a t o r y i m a g i n a t i o n, P e t r i n e m i n i s t r y,phenomenological, Religious Epistemology, root metaphor, s a c r a m e n t a l, s a c r a m e n t s, scientism,scriptural exegesis, Scripture & Tradition, sense of the faithful, sensus fidelium, s u p e r n a t u r a l, t h eA s s u m p t i o n, Theological Anthropology, W i l l i a m J a m e sSearching for Reenchantment in all the wrong placesJB on November 20, 2009 in Practices & Experiences, Uncategorized, the evaluative -Culture, the interpretive - Religion | No Comments »The New Age seems to be a dysfunctional response to postmodernity.I use the word response to indicate an over against or counter-movement. For example, itseems to me that the emerging church conversation is a response to Protestantfundamentalism (and, I’m hoping, Catholic fundamentalism). For its part, the New Atheism,is a form of Enlightenment fundamentalism. Another example, in the Catholic church ournew priests are tending toward a reactionary traditionalism, what sociologist, Fr. AndyGreeley, has called “young fogeys.” Radical Orthodoxy seems to be another response to bothmodernism and postmodernism; I’m sympathetic to and interested in RO’s response.If I had to choose one word to describe whatmany, many people seem to be searching forit would be reenchantment and I wouldreckon it is motivated by a nostalgia for anexperience of the world prior to it beingdemythologized. (If only they understood ourtrue myth.)If the transformative journey is marked bymovement from a naive understandingthrough reflection to a novel hermeneutic ofthe second naivete’, then some movements,as responses, seem to entail an en masseregression back to an original, first naivete’.I’m no sociologist of religion but this dynamicdoes seem to capture at least part of what isgoing on. I would like to add that, in my view, the New Age movement has done violence to the wisdom of the Eastern traditions. It has engaged