Monday, February 19, 2007


What is radical about Christianity? Feb 19, 2007. Simon Barrow argues that living tradition is about change not fixity (Ekklesia).

"My experience of being a Christian is that of a surprising, continual and contested process of reformation and rediscovery. In the events and narratives concerning Jesus, which remain central to my life, everything I thought I knew about the world, myself, God and humanity turns out to be nothing like what I expected, and indeed finds itself in need of ongoing transformation.

"The social and political challenge of the Gospel flows, it seems to me, from its radical core. But ‘radical’ has become something of a dirty word, implying (for many) extremism, intolerance or violence; and (for others) an abandonment of historic commitments. These are distortions of its originating meaning.

"By radical (radix, from the Latin) I mean something like ‘rooted-to-be-routed’ – a personal, communal and intellectual re-exploration and re-expression of a deep tradition of reading, reasoning and responding to the world which propels us to its most risky frontiers. That is what is at the heart of Christianity.

"Whereas the conservative tends to be oriented to the past, and the liberal tends to regard tradition as baggage or inhibition, the radical seeks to live out of a wisdom which is malleable and resilient enough to go on changing without breaking, and which has a capacity to bring both surprise and coherence in a way that ‘starting from scratch’ cannot.

"...Call the approach I am taking a type of theological ressourcement, if you will." More.

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