Posted by: pastordarren | April 26, 2013

Blog Tour of Religion, Politics and the Earth – Religion

I have agreed to be part of a blog tour looking at different parts of a new book  called Religion, Politics, and the Earth: The New Materialism by Clayton Crockett & Jeffrey W. Robbins.  Each person agreed to take a different chapter of the book and talk about it, encouraging comments from others.  Of the different chapters in the book including, Digital Culture, Religion, Politics, Art, Ethics, Energy, Nuclear Energy, Being (a Brain), and Logic, I choose to look at their discussion on religion.  This choice was based primarily on my faith and calling but also in that is my hope for the future of the church and how we express our faith within the global community.

First a couple of confessions.  I was not sure what to think of the book as I began to read.  I think as I went into it, I had an idea of what it was going to be like and those expectations were turned around.  The parts that I read were not necessarily an easy read.  It was not something that I could give a casual read but the more I focused, the more meaning was discovered.  The second is that this is not a book about giving simple answers (at least the part that I have read), but is about asking the questions of what can be and encouraging the readers to explore answers.  Now with that said, let me talk about the chapter on religion.

The authors spend much of the first part of the chapter talking about the historical view of religion from such people as Feueerbach, Schleiermacher, Freud and a few others and talking about the views that religion is primarily a construct of the human mind to reflect the culture in which it is created in.  This idea of religion has been used keep the status quo of the culture while also empowering those in control.

While this historical discussion  can be interesting, I believe that we can all look at religion today and see that it has many problems and issues that are easily brought to mind.  The meat of the chapter begins with this questions, “What if, on the contrary, religion had the capacity to subvert the status quo? In what ways has religion in fact functioned as a source of change?”

Within these questions, we have the crux of where religion and the church must move and act in the world today.  As I understood the basis of their argument, Crockett and Robbins argue that the change religion needs to be in the world goes beyond just the spiritual, personal salvation, to standing against the status quo of the world, including meeting the physical  or material needs of all those in need, non-violent responses, and the sharing of the resources in the world.  All of these are embodied in the person of Jesus.  They quote Žižek and Milbank, The Monstrosity of Christ, by saying, “Humanity is material; thus the material world cannot be written off in favor of some kind of retreat into an ethereal transcendence.”

This basic theme, that religion’s focus moves beyond just the ethereal to working in the material world, I believe is one that will not just change the church and religion, but will also make a huge change in the world as a whole.  Again, as the authors talk about different areas where religion must make a difference and stand against the status quo of culture, they don’t offer hard and fast ideas, but encourage the readers to work for ideas that will be faithful following Jesus’ life and teaching.  Looking at the different challenges that face our world today, the different attitudes, policies and practices, religion, and in my position, the church, has to play a leading role in making a difference in changing and challenging the status quo of the world.  How that is played out in different settings will look differently but the base line of following Jesus must remain the same.

I’m sure that the remaining chapters in the book will offer some further ideas on living this out and I look forward to reading them.

What are your ideas on this?

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Responses

  1. Is this book available at the Library? It is 72.00 at Amazon. I would like to read some of it, before buying it or making any comments to your blog. The information seems very comprehensive.

  2. […] Dan examines the understanding of religion in the book from one who rocks the […]


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