Transcendence, Immanence, and the Sixth Great Extinction by Carol P. Christ

carol christIn my recent blog “The Flourishing of Life and Feminist Theology” I discussed Grace Jantzen’s view that theology should focus on “natality” or birth and life, rather than life after death or life apart from this world. This week Tikkun magazine published its summer issue with a feature called “Thinking Anew about God.” In it two male thinkers, one Buddhist and one Christian, argue for a similar turn toward the world in their traditions. Their calls for religions to focus on this world were published the same week scientists warned that the world stands on the brink of the sixth great extinction.

I have come to believe that any religion espousing cosmological dualism (devaluing this world in favor of a superior reality such as heaven) and individual salvation (the idea that what ultimately happens to me is disconnected from what ultimately happens to you) is contributing to our world’s problems rather than offering a solution. … [Religions should] stop emphasizing the hereafter and focus instead on how to overcome the illusion that we are separate from this precious, endangered earth. –David Loy, Buddhist, writing in Tikkun Summer 2014

My aim in this regard is to reawaken in each of us an emotionally felt and primordial sense of spiritual belonging within the wider natural world. In turn, my hope is that this deep sense of belonging to the earth — to God’s body, as it were — will en-flame our hearts and empower our wills to commit us to healing and saving the earth.—Mark I. Wallace, Christian, writing in Tikkun Summer 2014 Continue reading “Transcendence, Immanence, and the Sixth Great Extinction by Carol P. Christ”

The Flourishing of Life and Feminist Theology by Carol P. Christ

carol christI first encountered the image and concept of “flourishing” in Grace M. Jatzen’s feminist philosophy of religion, Becoming Divine. For Jantzen “flourishing” is a symbol of a theology of “natality” or birth and life, which she contrasts to the focus on death and life after death in traditional Christian theologies.

Jantzen argues that the focus on death and life after death is a rejection of birth. Birth is rejected because birth through a body into a body implies finitude. Birth ends in death.  Jantzen argues that embracing natality means embracing finitude and death.

Jantzen is not arguing that motherhood is the highest calling or saying that all women must be mothers. Rather she is calling us—women and men—to embrace finite life in the body and the material world as the final and only location for spirituality. Defending pantheism as an alternative to transcendent theism, she argues further that divinity is to be found “in” the physical and material world—and nowhere else. Though she speaks of natality, Jantzen is no essentialist.  Rather she is a metaphysician making claims about the nature of life. Continue reading “The Flourishing of Life and Feminist Theology by Carol P. Christ”

%d bloggers like this: