15.1.11

Political, religious power

We are studying postmodernism. We are looking at Lindbeck and Lyotard, Derrida and Foulcault etc

It is fascinating.

I read about those bishops defecting and joining the ordinariate. I think about Reform and Anglican Mainstream. I think I am developing a healthy understanding of the pitfalls of Religion. For me this stands to the side of revelation and Jesus Christ. Religion is what Jesus came to throw-over and critique, as I understand him. It is always strange to answer 'No' to the question people ask, 'Are you religious?' It strikes them as definitely strange, especially if you are standing there in a cassock and I can understand their confusion.

Religion is full of factions and competing truth claims even inside the ultimate truth claim of meaning residing in faith in Christ. Language is also power and none of us can escape this. Even the blog is a language game, I suppose, where meaning escapes and can not be controlled and interpreters are on a large scale so that there is perhaps 'the death of the author' and of any particular meaning, when all that you say can be quibbled over and misinterpreted.

So i am not imagining that I am not both contaminated by and a contaminator of this thing we call faith, for as soon as its articulated in words, it becomes full of error.

I have been trying to understand Lindbeck and his theory that there is some way to get closer to the truth in our assertions about faith. He finds flaws with both propositional tendencies to making doctrine and liberal appeals to experience. However, his proposal for some kind of cultural/linguistic approach, an intertextual approach, which is conscious of the fact that the faith world-view maps meaning onto the world rather than the world assessing the reasonableness of faith, seems naive at best, I think.

How is this really possible?

I have found an article at Wiley, which is helping me to critique Lindbeck but also seems to speak with a loud voice into some of the experiences I have had or witnessed or believe to be occurring, within this world of 'Religion,' into which I have somehow become absorbed.

In any tradition there are multiple factions, often roughly equivalent in terms of membership and degree of religious commitment, vying for mainstream status. Even when one faction has attained a position of undisputed dominance over the others, the identification of this faction as the mainstream is not an innocent matter of empirical determination. To identify the dominant faction as the mainstream is to contribute to the recognition that sustains its hegemony. Crediting the religious mainstream with safeguarding the ‘inner logic’ of the tradition simply normalizes the religious habits of the faction that happens to have achieved social dominance. 







If anyone else knows about anything good to read on Lindbeck, please let me know.

I am beginning to learn to articulate some of my own feelings about doctrine. I will adhere to doctrine as part of my ordination ceremony in six months' time, but I am aware that within the beauty of to whom it testifies, there lies something about which I feel ambivalent:


...doctrines mobilize identity by establishing an in-group/out-group contrast. The twofold nature of doctrine thus reflects the sociological principle that conflict on one level of analysis produces solidarity on the level below it.(HUGH NICHOLSON, 870)

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