Saturday, September 13, 2008

Critical Theory - the preliminaries

In my directed reading course we divided the texts into four groupings: Ideological criticism, Christological, Biblical, and Eschatological (Kingdom). These groups represent attempts to develop a theology of praxis from various starting points. My initial observation is that many evangelicals want to start with the Bible to do develop their theology. There is a problem with the Bible as the starting point, namely "who's reading of the Bible are you going to use?" However, as an evangelical I also feel that there needs to be a committement to the Bible in the process of building a theology of praxis. I'm going to start with the notion that it is not the reading that is primary, but the context in which that reading is being done. This is James Cochrane's proposition in Circles of Dignity (an excellent read BTW). The thing is we do this anyway. We read in a context. We look, especially those of us from a preaching tradition, for application of the texts we read. This is the process of developing what Schreiter calls a 'local theology' (Cochrane calls it an incipient theology). By taking this process of local theology construction seroiusly, we can begin to develop context appropriate ways of reading the Bible to construct a theology of praxis. At least that is my initial intuition, I'll probably adjust it as I look back at my own assumptions, especially concerning the context in which I read the Bible.

If the Bible is the definitive authority for faith and life, as many of us evangelicals claim it is, then the onus is on us to pay close attention to how we read and employ the Bible in seeking to understand our faith committment to this world.

No comments: