Theology Class (#1 & #2): Williams, Augustine, Chesterton

For background on my reasons for posting this, see here.

Readings we discussed in class today (Tue, 2-10-09):

– Rowan Williams, On Christian Theology, prologue & ch. 1

– Bauerschmidt, Holy Teaching, prologue

– St. Augustine, Confessions, Bk. I.

– Chesterton, GK. “The Blue Cross” (from The Essential Father Brown).

Summary of Augustine’s Confessions, ch. 1.
God has created us with desire, desire for him. To desire is at the very depths of who we are as human persons, but only God can satisfy this desire. Which is why it is frustrating and destructive when we try to satisfy our deep desire for God with anything that is “less” than God, ie, the creatures which God has made. Christ makes it possible for our desires to be satisfied in the world, by Christ, in and even through the creation, which is intended by God to be an icon to God, and not an idol which is a (dead) end in itself.

Summary of prologue to Rowan William’s On Christian Theology. There are three registers of theology: the celebratory, the communicative, and the critical. The celebratory is the language of praise or worship of God. The communicative is the attempt to pursuade those not in the faith / tradition / church to accept the claims of theology. The critical is the church’s attempt to critique its own discourse throughout history in order to make it more honest and integral.

Summary of chapter 1 of Rowan William’s On Christian Theology. Any discourse lacks integrity when it is not really about what it claims to be about. In advertising, for example, a “text” might claim to be about the safety of your children or the attainment of satisfaction but it is really about the sale of cars or the sales of a new restaurant chain. Many theological texts claim to be about God or some aspect of God’s economy or dealings with humanity, but in fact they are really about power.

Summary of Chesterton’s “Blue Cross.” forthcoming.

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