The Need for Contemplation
The Land of Green Plums

Public theology

"And what if the political is not just some procedural gambit to manage our mundane affairs but an expression of creational desire and need, a structural feature of creaturely life that signals something about the sociality of human nature?"

I've begun reading Awaiting the King: Reforming Public Theology, the third volume in the Cultural Liturgies project of James K. A. Smith, and I found the Introduction to be quite good.  I'm looking forward to the rest.

He is writing about how politics is inherently religious and religious is inherently political and what is the best way for the church to do public theology.  A few highlights from the Intro.

"While we often speak of the public 'square,' the metaphor is antiquated and unhelpful. . . .  The political is less a space and more a way of life; the political is less a realm and more of a project."

"The polis is a formative community of solidarity . . . political participation requires and assumes . . . a citizenry with habits and practices for living in common and toward a certain end, oriented toward a telos."

"Politics is a repertoire of formative rites."

"What unites a 'people,' an 'us,' is a project, something we're after together.  We collaborate in a common life insofar as we find goods to pursue in common; and we establish institutions, systems, and rhythms that reinforce the pursuit of those goods."

"Worship is the 'civics' of the city of God."

He believes Christians need to cultivate "a sort of engaged but healthy distance rooted in our specifically eschatological hope, running counter to progressivist hubris, triumphalistic culture wars, and despairing cynicism."


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