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My Theology Is: A Summary

In an attempt to articulate some of the basic moods, motifs, and styles that determine my own way of trying to approachtheology, I’ve decided to do a short series of posts on this.  As Robert Jenson has stated, it is the fate of all theological systems to be dissected.  While I don’t have anything approaching a theological system, I am happy to offer some of these more self-revealing statements of my own theological proclivities, priorities, and sentiments to be dissected in whatever way people see fit.  Personally, I think writing something like this would be a good exercise for anybody who does theology intentionally.

So, that said, here are the posts that will be forthcoming in the next few days:

My Theology Is…

  • §1: Christocentric-Trinitarian
  • §2: Logocentric
  • §3: Ecclesiocentric
  • §4: Apocalyptic
  • §5: Iconoclastic
  • §6: Sacramental


  1. Andrew wrote:

    can you have more than one category of ‘-centric’?
    subsequent points would seem to orbit or revolve around a singular, centrifugal point.
    correct me if i’m wrong…

    Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 4:04 pm | Permalink
  2. Halden wrote:

    I think its possible to do theology in a multi-focal way, yes. I think theologies that insist on a unitary center point that has to orient the whole tend to be myopic and forced. To my mind a polycentric approach is the only way to go to avoid flattening out the particularities of the Christian narrative.

    Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 4:14 pm | Permalink
  3. hillharman wrote:

    This is an interesting point that I was also considering. I think the problem is that these are convenient adjectival forms of certain concepts. Their use in this way, however, is somewhat odd. I suggest a reformulation along the following lines:

    Things I think are cool: Christ, the Trinity, the Logos, the Church, the Eschaton, eschewing representation, and the Sacraments.

    I’m kidding, sort of.

    Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 4:14 pm | Permalink
  4. Hill Harman wrote:

    I don’t think the issue is with the actual structure of theology as it is with the concept of polycentrism itself. “Center” is an inherently physical concept, even when used metaphorically. Having many centers at least approaches not having a center. The English language acknowledges “polycentric” as a word, so it’s not your problem. It’s just difficult to understand how something has multiple centers. Typically when the suffix -centric is used, it is to emphasize something over against possibilities. I realize this isn’t universally how the suffix is employed, but it seems to lose its meaning when it simplies indicates one emphasis among many. I think it makes more sense to say your theology is Christological, Logo…logical?, Ecclesiological… etc. I’ve been accused of being “ecclesiocentric” the implication being that because I am ecclesiocentric, I can’t be Christocentric. While I disagree with the characterization, I think this is closer to the natural use of the concept of -centrism. Of course, this is all more or less irrelevant and we all know what you are saying. I just really enjoy semantics.

    Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 5:11 pm | Permalink
  5. Halden wrote:

    Ahh, semantics. Well, regardless of the physical conceptualities that may attend the qualifier of “centric”, the terms to which I applied that qualifier (and their order) and the ones I did not were intentional. To my thinking to be centered on the object of theology, the Triune God is to be simultaneously centered on Christ, the Church, the Word. Distinguishing between those three is necessary, but supremely difficult as they are in a sense a whole. Hence thier “centric” nature to my thinking.

    Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 5:31 pm | Permalink
  6. Hill Harman wrote:

    Touche. Well put.

    Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 6:19 pm | Permalink
  7. dphenreckson wrote:

    Or you could just say that perspectivalism fixes everything, and duck.

    Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 6:50 pm | Permalink
  8. Andrew wrote:

    yeah, hill harman kinda hit the point i was riffing on. :D

    Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 6:51 pm | Permalink
  9. Fred wrote:

    iconoclastic AND sacramental?

    Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 7:26 pm | Permalink
  10. Fred wrote:

    and speaking of icons, I usually read you in Google Reader now, but today I see you changed your header. I like it your resurrected Jesus stained glass a bit more than that orangey Holy Spirit sunburst from St. Peter’s.

    Thursday, June 26, 2008 at 7:34 pm | Permalink
  11. iconoclastic AND sacramental?

    I like it. Both/and, not either/or.

    Tuesday, July 1, 2008 at 9:46 pm | Permalink
  12. Araglin wrote:

    “iconoclastic AND sacramental?

    I like it. Both/and, not either/or.”

    One problem: Iconoclasm itself presupposes an indefensible either/or, which is why commitment to iconoclasm has tended to go hand in hand both with a rejection of sacramentalism but also with any kind of orthodox (non-Nestorian) understanding of the Incarnation. Yet another reason, I think that Western Christians need to finally get around to taking seriously the Second Counsel of Nicaea.

    Saturday, July 26, 2008 at 10:33 am | Permalink

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