This is a response to Christian Piatt’s Patheos blog from Thursday, part of an ongoing dialogue about Subverting the Norm 2.
I wrote a blog about Diversity in STN2 but never posted it. I’m still struggling with that issue. Let me share two thoughts however.
1) Diversity is a product of capitalism, a way to promote community ideologies in order to comfort the privileged and to hide the material disparities that continue to exist. For me, ending material disparities is the goal, not mingling races and cultures. (I’m in an interracial marriage, so I realize that’s a little easier for me to say).
2) Subsequently, I don’t believe in “having” diversity. If encountering the other is truly important to you, go where you are the minority. Be the diversity. Suspend your own space in other spaces.
That being said, I have no problem with the Radical Theology movement being primarily white male movement; although I think there is growing heterogeneity with females and LGBTQ in this realm. It provides an important space for self-critique, and structural critique for the church. On the other hand, I, like Piatt, have been asking around about possible Liberation/Radical hybrids, to borrow a phrase from @postmodernegro : “a hyrbridity of critical postures.”
Personally, I would love to sit with a handful of thinkers and practitioners in the field of liberation theology and talk about how – if at all – these radical theology concepts dovetail with what they’re doing on a daily basis.
I’m a little confused, however with Piatt, whether or not he sees a connection between the Latino Reformation and Liberation Theology. I’m sure there must be some places of overlap, but politically, I can only imagine that they go in opposite directions. Still, I believe his basic assertion is a fair statement of the problem. Let me frame it in my perspective:
Radical tradition doesn’t “do” anything (to embody Christ, necessarily). And Liberation theology (and those from the non-white traditions) fail to adequately deal with its metaphysics (see this article from the Other Journal), which in my opinion replicate and perpetuate oppressive powers within their racial and ethnic spaces (i.e. strong patriarchy).
In the future, I’m not sure if there’ll ever be a theological friendship between Liberation and Radical, the way that was found between Process and Radical at Subverting the Norm 2. Perhaps (intended), there can be one formed over Christology, a direction I believe and hope the Radical tradition is heading.
It is probably closer to the truth to say that I do a form of radical Christology rather than theology—
Peter Rollins (@PeterRollins) April 21, 2013
Founded upon early forms of historical materialism, a foundational Materialist Christology, similar to Fernando Belo’s commentary on Mark and Ted Jennings Insurrection of the Crucified, can form the basis for a Radical Liberationist Christology, one that could challenge all colors of the church into challenging the problems of capitalism and institutionalized power, perhaps even through alternative forms of labor within the church.
I couldn’t bring myself to title this post, “In Defense of Radical Theology,” in part because, I believe the metaphysical divide with Liberation theology is too large. Also, I am not a fan of the theological endeavor. And yet, like @JesKastKeat from this podcast, I think ‘Radical’ is a also a bad name. Perhaps Radical Theology is in need of rebranding, but certainly, as a white movement, it is doing its job challenging white privilege by challenging its metaphysics, and pointing our gaze, not at our navels, but at our material practices (albeit, they are still just gazes). Material Christology, anyone?