A Theology for the End of Modernity
Apparently great minds think alike and when they do they appear as alter-egos to one another. Or so I would like to think as a theological layman who has exerted a lot of effort into envisioning what a postmodern theology might look like over these past several years of research and writing. And lately, what a Radical Christianity might look like as it emerges from the shadowlands of crisis to become a postmodern tribute to things we have attested, acclaimed, embraced, and vouchsafed, as a worthy theology for the end of modernity.
But all kidding aside, my theological radar has now locked onto a fellow theological twin who has spent a lot of time writing of a theology at the end of modernity. Someone who was onto this gig a lot earlier than I was but whom I had no personal knowledge of until today. "Oh!" I thought, "How those years of feeling so alone might have been gathered up into the hopes and dreams of encouragement had I known there were fellow exegetes similarly burdened and seeking a theology for the end!" How grand this might have been! But in hindsight I doubt I would have been so greatly moved by the Spirit in my labours of research to envision a new kind of theology. One that was postmodern, radical, relational, and contemporary with science and technology. A theology both mysterious and personal, wonderful and meaningful, in every possible way that it could be. And so, by the Spirit of God, I laid down my visions through digital pen and paper to describe what a postmodern theology might look like and never looked back to the fatherlands of my faith. A faith that had come into crisis and required a rewrite if it were to be relevant once again.
And so, it seems that in the not so distant past (or, in a galaxy far, far away) there was a Professor by the name of Gordon Kaufman who dwelt in the lands of Harvard of Boston who also was gripped in his imaginations to express the great mystery of God in light of science and technology. Who wished to re-fit his Christian faith into the larger plan of the Divine than currently presented within the chambered halls of Christian modernity.
For Kaufman, part of that conception was to envision God as an act of Being (or, more simply, God as a creating process) which he described by the phrase "God as creativity." In this way he might focus on not defining the mystery of God ontologically (or personally) but through the evidences of His Being. Or by the fingerprints of His Soul left behind on the foundations of creation's firmament. Whose Divine imprint is evidenced by the evolutionary processes spanning creation cosmologically, geologically, and biological. Processes which we have focused on here at Relevancy22.
But I would also add the relational components of spirituality (Godwards), sociologically (outwards), psychologically / psychoanalytically (inwards), and ecologically (cosmologically). So that in every part, whether by the process of serendipitous creation (meaning, an evolution that was massaged by our Creator towards a furthering ends of presenting humanity with the opportunity for spiritual life with the Creator-God). Or within its divine components of Godly mystery, mankind (and all creation by extension) might be brought into a fully rounded and beautiful relationship with all that is God. Both to His Being and well as to His activity of creativity (or, in my line of thinking, "activity of re-creation"). So that in every way, and in every possible manner, we are presented with the opportunity to meet both the holy Personage and the Art of our Creator-Redeemer.
A Theology Not of the Dark Side but Full of Light and Grace
So where do we begin? As good fortune would have it you may begin with me and many others as we join into a series of studies produced by Homebrewed Christianity's Summer School of 2015 where Gordon Kaufman's theology will be investigated over a period of six-weeks (holidays excluded, of course). The cost is $30 through the links provided. Please consider joining this weekly forum with many other like-minded brethren wishing to envision a theology come to the end of itself in modernity and what it might look like on the other side of its modernal chasm of crisis. For myself, it has never been a theology of the dark side (in homage to the newest Star Wars film soon to be released) but a theology full of light and grace.
May 19, 2015
Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens
Official Teaser Trailer #2 (2015) - Star Wars Movie HD
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Summer School – Living Options in Christian Theology
Gordon D. Kaufman
|Born||June 22, 1925|
|Died||July 22, 2011 (aged 86)|
|Progressive Christianity, Modern theology|
|In Face of Mystery: A Constructive Theology|
Gordon D. Kaufman (22 June 1925 – 22 July 2011) was the Mallinckrodt Professor of Divinity (Emeritus) at Harvard Divinity School, where he taught since 1963. He also taught at Pomona College and Vanderbilt University, and lectured in India, Japan, South Africa, England, and Hong Kong. Kaufman was an ordained minister in the Mennonite Church for 50 years. He was the subject of two Festschriften. He was a past president of the American Academy of Religion(1982) and of the American Theological Society, as well as a member of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies. Kaufman was the author of 13 books, which influenced how many mainline Christians have considered God language and religious naturalism. Among these are An Essay on Theological Method, God The Problem, Theology for a Nuclear Age, and In the Face of Mystery. This work earned him the 1995 American Academy of Religion Award for excellence among constructive books in religion. 
Views on God
In a review of Kaufman’s In The Beginning…Creativity –
In a second review of In the beginning …Creativity .
Kaufman in his Prairie View lectures says –
A Zygon abstract on a Kaufman article states –.
God as Mystery
For Kaufman, the only “available referent” for the word “God” is the construct we hold in our minds, a construct that has developed over the centuries. There may be a “real referent,” but even if there is, it remains “a transcendent unknown.” Thus, Kaufman thinks of God as “ultimate mystery.” He does not speculate whether there is an “extra-human reality” called God.” Thus, as a theologian, he views his work as dealing with “profound, ultimately unfathomable, mystery.”
The “ultimate mystery” called “God” serves as a living symbol in our culture. For many people, it functions as the primary point for “orientation and devotion.” Being oriented on the “ultimate mystery in things” is an awareness of one’s “bafflement of mind” over the mystery “that there is something and not nothing.” When the mystery is thought of as God, it evokes not only bafflement but trust and confidence.
- In Face of Mystery - Harvard University Press (October 7, 2006), ISBN 0-674-44576-7
- Jesus and Creativity - Fortress Press (July 30, 2006), ISBN 0-8006-3798-4
- In the Beginning-- Creativity - Augsburg Fortress Publishers (July 2004), ISBN 0-8006-6093-5
- God, Mystery, Diversity: Christian Theology In A Pluralistic World - Augsburg Fortress Publishers (March 1, 1996), ISBN 0-8006-2959-0
- An Essay on Theological Method, An American Academy of Religion Book; 3rd edition (January 2, 1995), ISBN 0-7885-0135-6
- Theology for a Nuclear Age - Westminster John Knox Press (May 1985), ISBN 0-664-24628-1
- Theology an Imaginative Construction - Edwards Brothers (1982), ASIN: B0016JFF9A
- The Theological Imagination - Westminster John Knox Press; 1st edition (January 1, 1981), ISBN 0-664-24393-2
- Nonresistance and Responsibility, and Other Mennonite Essays - Faith & Life Press (June 1979), ISBN 0-87303-024-9
- God the Problem - Harvard University Press (December 12, 1972), ISBN 0-674-35526-1
- Systematic Theology - Scribner's (1968), ASIN: B001OXJ7DS
- The Context of Decision;: A Theological Analysis - Abingdon Press; 1st edition (1961), ASIN: B0007EB8QY
- Relativism, Knowledge, and Faith - University of Chicago Press (1960), ASIN: B001P5RABQ
- Theology at the End of Modernity: Essays in Honor of Gordon D. Kaufman - Co-editors Sheila Greeve Davaney & Gordon D. Kaufman, Trinity Pr Intl (October 1991), ISBN 1-56338-017-X
- Mennonite Theology in Face of Modernity: Essays in Honor of Gordon D. Kaufman - Cornelius H. Wedel Historical Series 9, co-editors Gordon D. Kaufman & Alain Epp Weaver - Bethel College (July 1996) - ISBN 0-9630160-7-5
|Christianity caught in the wastelands of Modernity|
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