Friday, August 29, 2008

Rowan Williams on 'Critical Theology'

Nowadays often I ponder over a sub-enterprise of theology reckoned by Williams as 'Critical Theology'. According to him, this strand of theology is different from 'Celebratory Theology' and 'Communicative Theology'.

The former is epitomized in sermons and psalms and hymns, while the latter in apologetic and, to some extend, systematic theology. As for 'Critical Theology', it discusses uncomforting, disturbing, and, to some degree, radical questions on theology. Hence radical or very liberal theologies are usually stemmed from such discussion. And often the participants in such enterprise ended up being agnostic or too radical that their end products became unrecognizable as Christian theology (for eg. from popular writer like John Shelby Spong to critical theologians like Don Cupitt; probably Rudolph Bultmann too).

Yet Williams' comment on the nature of such discussion shows that he went the other side of the debate,

"...it may move towards a rediscovery of the celebratory by hinting at the gratuitous mysteriousness of what theology deals with, the sense of a language trying unsuccessfully to keep up with a datum that is in excess of any foresight, any imagined comprehensive structure. And the cycle begins again."

(As quoted by Rupert Shortt in Rowan Williams: An Introduction, p.7)

Emphatically Williams phrased it well some of the thoughts that I have but unable to articulate. Simply marvelous.

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