part of being Post-foundational is a move away from thinking in “foundation stones” – building blocks that become unmovable or unquestionable over time – and moving to more a “web” of meaning or interpretation. The advantage of the web-mentality is that it is flexible and you can adjust one part of it without the entire project crumbling into ruins.
I like this switch a lot. Of course, no system or structure comes without it’s complications, glitches, and obstacles.
A web is not a liquid existence. It still needs to be anchored somewhere. It has to be connected to something.
I am fond of saying that I want to be innovative, but in a way that honors the original idea and provides continuity with the tradition. This desire means that I am not floating from thing to thing as if I was un-anchored. We are all, at some level, tied to both the original vision and to the modern manifestation. The first asks for accountability and the second one calls for integrity.
navigating between the original vision and the historic progression is demanding. It takes time, a little bit of research, and a whole lot of grace. In fact, I see why some people don’t want to do it. It would be easier to either A) be conservative and just set the foundation stones in place and then never need to move them or ask the original questions again or B) be destructive and/or pragmatic and just do what works now without consideration for the road that brought us here.
I have noticed a pattern lately in my conversations. There seem to be four ideas or movements that I use to anchor my web of meaning / interpretation to. I ran this by a couple of friends and it has led to some really interesting conversations.
I am a post-conservative, emergent, progressive with charismatic leanings. – this allows me to be in conversation with process thought as well as post-modern thinkers.
Emergent thought appeals to me as an evolutionary, organic, naturalistic, holistic way.
Progressive is not the same a liberal. A liberal locates meaning in their experience. That is the loci for beginning theological reflection. Progressive are more influenced by Liberation thought and compelled (haunted) by a liberative concern.
My Charismatic leanings are both a remnant of my past and a reality of my disposition. It is no longer my go-to way of knowing (epistemology) but it is also not something I am entirely willing to discount / disparage. It is a part of my christian journey and a part of who I am. I just think that across the board, it needs to be updated for the 21st century. The way we talk about the work of the Spirit is so antiquated (ie. the 3 tiered universe) that it makes us and the Bible we read seem like more of an artifact of curiosity than a subversive danger to the systems of this world.
SO – that is the pattern that emerged. The more I talk and think about this, the more these seem to be the anchor points for my theological web.
Link: Marjorie Suchocki on Process [pdf]