Monday, 30 August 2010

My Last Presentation

On Tuesday I make my last presentation to the In Depth Group. There was a consensus that, in the words of one, "we've done it all to death," and that's the point in which to leave what was still to do undone.

So my last session is my own theological outlook as a kind of completion statement, regarding some of the implications of the theology we have discussed down the months.

Some of you will identify that it is not particularly Christian. There might be a reason for this. I came to the conclusion that a particular Christian theology cannot be upheld any longer. There is no mystery about this: it just does not receive surrounding support, and has become sectarian and institutional. Now just because I think this does not mean others in the group think this - but it is up to them, if individuals want, to counter the presentation.

Clearly, issues raised within Christian theologies can be starting points, but I conclude that all Christian theologies are institutional theologies that talk to insiders. It seems to me you have to have a gnosis of Christian belief, a gut-certainty that this is true, before there is any theology. Either that, or you can opt for a Church telling you what are the boundaries of theology - which is fine but then please leave the universities. You might have some people jumping up and down that the Bible is a magic book, but they are the least interesting of people.

In the end, Christianity is a cult of a personality, and I find that uninteresting. I'm interested in what anyone has to say, how they live, and what others make of them, but there is no league table approach to any of this or a hand-me-down preset position that I have to keep maintaining. What I am more interested in is, well, us and the rest that surrounds us, and theology should be about the awe and wonder as to how it all works and how we end up drawing ethical behaviours. Why do people become over attached to things that will pass away, how can we helpfully self-sacrifice for the better of all, how can we be more creative, how can we by sympathetic and add to compassion and reduce pain?


Murdoch Matthew said...

Christianity is a cult of a personality.

Is it even that? People talk constantly about Christ, and being led by the Holy Spirit, but is there enough of the person of Jesus in the Gospels to get a sense of personality? The biography obviously is cobbled together from Jewish scriptures, with only Passion Week from life. (The glib phrasemaker of John seems someone else entirely.)

I was never able to connect with, or construct, an invisible friend to call Jesus despite all the promises of church people. I suspect them of searching their feelings to support some sense that what they constantly hear about is happening. (If not to them, to someone.)

Yes, Paul made it a movement about Christ (to come quickly to an end in his own generation), but the personality Christians cosy up to seems miles from the first century inspiration.

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

Well the personality is a construct, of course. Even Passion Week, in Spring, starts with (in one presentation) palm leaves going down, which exist about autumn... Passion week also makes all the references back, for example the thirty pieces of silver. Now that may have happened, to 'fulfil', but then it becomes a kind of dubious divine manipulation.