Saturday, February 26, 2011

"colonies of divinity and secret agents of heaven"

"Faith claims to have 'overcome' the world, but the victory is pursued in steadily hostile territory by colonies of divinity and secret agents of heaven.  Monastic and Utopian communities make up the colonies, and images of reversal and renewal comprise the secret agents.  Even the Church as firmly established in the seats of power still sings 'He hath put down the mighty from their seat and exalted them of low degree.'"

David Martin as interviewed by Rupert Shortt in God's advocates: Christian thinkers in conversation (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2005), 164.  "I want to make a distinction here between the ironic and the innocent.  A Christianity conscious of its own whispering gallery of contrary notions will generate irony on account of the gap between hope and reality.  But Enlightenment (as the very word suggests) seeks a point of innocence from which to judge where lies the source of corruption.  Bien pensant thinking, understood as the infinite resource of the high-minded, elevates itself to the secure ground of innocence to comment on the ubiquity of failure and identify its source, which in the cases already cited [(Dawkins, Pullman, certain forms of feminism, Marxism, etc., from p. 161)] may be religion itself. . . . [¶] There is no innocence, and the closest we may come to the perfect society and Yeats' 'ceremonies of innocence' is in the special liminal time of liturgy" (166).

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