Friday, June 06, 2008

Things You Would Hear In A Medieval Youth Sunday School Class . . .

A month or two ago I was in our youth Sunday School class and asked us to go around and share the last time we experienced God. This question was perhaps not formed in the most helpful way. Nearly all of us who shared including myself referred to a time when we felt in some way threatened and that the comforting presence of God became apparent to us. This morning as I continued to slowly peck through the new edition of Milbank's Theology and Social Theory I came across his critique of the anthropological claims of religion as that which deals with the lacunae or gaps of life. He writes specifically how experiences of the sacred created appropriate life transitions when ambiguity or confusion arises, how sacrifice restores people to an ordered state when chaos or broken relationships occur, and how theodicy (hmmm theodicy does not show up on my online spell checker) functions to understand suffering and tragedy. Milbank argues that these views marginalize theology as a minor component of social reality and that pre-modern consciousness would have had a much more integrated understanding of God's presence.
All this to say that we offered very modern answers (or that I asked a very modern question) in Sunday School. I wonder what the pre-modern answers would have been?
Why I experience God in the wholeness of my body and the meaning of the words on my lips.
Any other ways a medieval youth Sunday School class would respond?

2 comments:

David said...

Hi,

sorry a little off-topic, but since you're currently reading the 2nd Edition of TST, are you aware of any significant changes between that edition and the first? I just wondered if Milbank mentioned anything of note in his preface...

Thanks,

David

IndieFaith said...

From the preface to the second edition . . .

The text of this second edition has been in places slightly modified (especially Part Four) to ensure that it is more in keeping with my original intentions, as well as substantially in line with my current thinking. In particular, I have adjusted my presentation of Deleuze; slightly modified my account of de Lubac; rendered the account of Plato and Socratic dialectics still more positive; and removed exaggerations of the differences between Augustine and Aquinas. At several points in the text certain claims have been somewhat qualified or re-configured.

Milbank goes on to acknowledge certain limitations that he would have like to have filled. I was only familiar with his chapter "Policing the Sublime" in the first edition and so far he appears a little more complementary of the anthropological work of Mary Douglas.