Wednesday, December 13, 2006


Radical Orthodoxy graduates with honors? In this segment Graham discusses the implications and possibility of Radical Orthodoxy graduating from college and moving into the local church:

Listen here (3 minutes) Let me know what you think about this stuff, cause I find it intriguing.

Listen to posts from Monday, Tuesday

Coming up:

Thur: Christian Practices, How we live, Christian suffering and Christian pleasure

Frid: "isms"

Sat: Cultural Transformation and the Christian moral imagination

Sun: Faith, Reason, Scripture and Negotiation




daniel greeson said...

Glad to see an icon of St. Herman of Alaska, Im guessing it is because the Orthodox remember him tommorow (13th)?

(I thought I had responded to the first RO post, but its not posting so....)

Graham Ward was quite impressive @ AAR (Panel Discussion on Political & Theology). He really grounded his discussion in scripture and a Christocentric turn that I highly appreciated.

I really appreciate Radical Orthodoxy (? the people associated with them?) and think they have some great insights..

thanks for doing this jonathon...
where did u find these interviews??


daniel greeson said...


update my link.

and u should come into alektor some saturday soon (January that is because im gone for the rest of Dec.)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to see that there is an entire segment devoted to RO moving out of the academic world.

It seems that so much of academia is out of touch with the real world that the teachings have no real application (all one needs to do is casually browse a text book and note the language used to see that it is meant for other academics, not normal people). Among these, I would say that religous scholars are some of the worst.

I wonder though, how do we get radical orthodoxy from the Church to the rest of the world?


Eric Lee said...

In this part of the interview today, I particularly liked how Graham Ward reminded us (via that woman's question mentioned at the panel), that what RO is doing is not different from what the Church is already saying. Now, of course, people who are bent on being cynical about RO use this as a blatant excuse to just not read them. Which is fine, but for the type of work that they are doing, specifically engaging with postmodern and post-secular ideologies (as he says was always stated from the get-go), I think it's important.

For as hard as it is to read them sometimes (although I admit I enjoy it), I'm pretty saddened that so many people find it to be their 'right' to just dismiss them as if the right hand could tell the left foot of the body of Christ that we don't need each other.

Keep it goin'! :) Lookin' forward to tomorrow.



Zoomdaddy said...

Here is the question I have, if RO is no different than what the Church has always said, and is doing, that it is more a "sensibility" and an "apologetic," is it legitimate to classify it as a kind of theology other than just regular orthodoxy? It seems to me that the term "radical" was used to give the movement the academic equivalent of slick media packaging.

Here's commercial I mentally produced while listening: "No-one listens to old-fashioned orthodoxy anymore; but now we have a new digitally-remastered 'radical' orthodoxy with never released bonus studio tracks. And if you engage in dialogue with these theologians in the next 2 months you'll get free guaranteed journal publication if you produce a paper from your interaction with them. "

I think the "radical" tag is meaningless.

St.Phransus said...

Like Graham says in the first part of this interview that I have on day 1, what they are doing is both radical and orthodox- it's orthodox in that they are looking at what the church "tradition" has said through the ages on all kinds of matters.

it is coined radical in these folks are engaging areas of "secular" philosophy, economics, sociology, etc... through the lens of the historic church teachings. AND I think "radical" is fitting because they are using orthodox teaching and tradition in ways that are more outside the box of traditional (aka 17th century-20th century thinking) and pushing the envelope a bit.

in response to your question, "how do we get RO from the church and into the world?" I think RO is the answer in and of itself. The way I see it, we, the church, are suffering from an identity crisis because we have lost our voice, we have lost our unique culture, we have lost our practices, and we have lost our language.

what are we left with when we don't have a common identity or a common language? maybe worship that isn't remotely tied to our uniqueness and tradition but does look and feel a lot like those areas of entertainment that make us happy and content.

without a common "liturgical language" we fail to pass our narratives, stories and cultural identity from one generation to the next.

So what I am trying to say is that maybe RO's gift is to help the church rediscover who it always has been through it's own unique practices, culture, langage, and shared experiences AND then it is in a place to transform the world.

I'm a little rambly tonight, must be the cold medicine I just took.


Anonymous said...

As per Zoomdaddy's comment, I think he misses the point, which is two-fold.

First, RO never espouses to offer a product, let alone a 'new' product, which, I would hope even cursory readings of their material would easily bring to light. And the second part of this first misunderstanding is that they have never intended their writings to have a grand audience of everybody, at least for now. Ward admits up-front that their work is largely academic, because their are engaging with post-modernists whose language is rather swampy. It is, as they have said in many places, a kind of 'apologetic' against postmodern writers. Now, not everybody reads, say, Lacan, Zizek, Derrida, Levinas, Heidegger, et. al., so those same people most likely won't be interested in reading RO. Sadly, people often assume that RO is trying to be normative and don't assume the best intentions, or let alone acknowledge the gifts they provide to the Body of Christ, so let's just be hostile.

The second part of this misunderstanding concerns what Zoomdaddy above mentioned about the word 'radical.' As Graham Ward has tried to clarify in the interview, as well as what they explicitly state in their own book (see the introduction by the editors), the word 'radical' has nothing to do with a 'new' product but in fact has everything to do with the literal mean of the word, whose root, radix, means 'root'. So they are trying to get to their roots in a recovery, or ressourcement of the sources of Christianity. Again, doesn't sound like a new product to me! Yet I am continually perplexed that people want to project their own stuff onto RO without reading or acknowledging what they actually have to say.



Eric Lee said...

Dang, oops, that was me above. Blogger was acting weird.

St.Phransus said...

thanks for the clarification eric.


Zoomdaddy said...

the anonymous eric, i like it

per your first response, just run with my metaphor for what it's worth--an initial (probably) representative way in which the pew would respond to RO. the Church is so used to new theological "products" that it is going to be viewing it through that lens. therefore, it is incumbent upon those who support RO to clarify its identity up front before building the academy/parish bridge.

per your second point, good clarification. i concede the latin etymological point. however, i still think that the radical tag is going to be interpreted as a way of marketing theology instead of being truly desriptive if RO's introduction to an average congregation is not clearly defined from the get go. in other words, because RO's origins and ties to the academy, there needs to be a parallel apologetic of its sensibilities to the Church.

St.Phransus said...

good thoughts y'all.

Eric Lee said...

Heh, there's always Milbank's original "Postmodern critical Augustinianism" that appeared in Ward's The Postmodern God reader. It's quite a bit more specific, although one could also say they are jumping on the 'pomo' bandwagon. But Milbank was doing it before it was cool -- that book came out in '97! :P