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What Makes an Ecclesiology Sufficient?

One of the central issues in ecclesiology today concerns what makes an ecclesiology “adequate” or “sufficient” enough to do the perceived work that an ecclesiology is supposed to do within an encompassing theological vision. For example in With the Grain of the Universe, Stanley Hauerwas makes the following comment about Barth’s ecclesiology: “If the world is not necessarily lost without the church, then it is by now means clear what difference the church makes for how we understand the way the world is and, given the way the world is, how we must live.” (p. 193) This comment is related to his overall question directed towards Barth, namely “whether or not Barth’s ecclesiology is sufficient to sustain the witness that he thought was intrinsic to Christianity.” (p. 39)

This whole way of putting the matter raises an important question: What exactly makes an ecclesiology “sufficient”? Hauerwas’s comments here imply two things. First, that ecclesiology must be able to sustain a certain form of the church’s witness. Second, that the church must somehow be ontologically necessary to the world’s salvation if it is to have significance. Here, I think Hauerwas leaves himself open to critique on the issue of Christology. Is his quest for an adequate ecclesiology — a vision of the church that is able to address the problems facing the church in modernity — leading him to improperly conflate the theological roles of Jesus Christ and his gathered community?

Think on the sentence from Hauerwas above. What sense does it make for us to speak of an ecclesiology being sufficient to sustain the witness of the church? Does not the church’s witness rely solely on the Messiah who is the One witnessed to? Surely the church’s own self-understanding and self-articulation will always be inadequate to sustain the witness to which Christians are called by the Crucified and Risen Lord who calls us to follow him, leading us where we did not wish to go. Rowan Williams offers precisely the right corrective to any vision that would too easily assimilate Jesus and his community of followers in his helpful portrayal of the Resurrected Christ who appears and disappears, who cannot be held onto, but who always lies beyond the grasp of those he calls.

The only thing that sustains our witness is the object of our witness, Jesus Christ, the ascended Lord of history. To attempt to look inward, to our own moral effort, or ways of narrating our identity as the ecclesial community for the power to sustain us in our mission, is to compromise it already. Or, to put it in Pauline idiom, “Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who made us adequate as servants. . .” (2 Cor 3:5-6a).

Whatever it means to measure what makes an adequate ecclesiology, it cannot be its conceptual resources for securing a persisting vision and identity for ourselves. Indeed the very attempt to make such visions of identity secure constitute a preeminent temptation for the church. The church is called to embrace a posture of foolish dislocation, of sojourning vulnerability that eschews attempts to find its sustenance within any resources of its own. The church is called, not to recognize the granduer of itself, of its narrative, of its gifts as the sustaining architecture of its witness. Rather the church is called to recognizes its vacuity, its fundamental emptiness, and only so to become an open vessel for the fullness of the Spirit’s Pentecostal presence which engrafts us ever and again into the singularity of Christ’s transformation of history in the cross and resurrection. The only way to determine ecclesiological sufficiency is on the basis of this Christocentric theological definition.

36 Comments

  1. Hill wrote:

    Is there a sense in which Christ is mediated to “the world” through the Church via its witness (as the body of Christ)? If one’s ecclesiology does not account for this, then it would seem insufficient to sustain said witnessing.

    Monday, November 24, 2008 at 2:29 pm | Permalink
  2. Hill wrote:

    I should add that “sufficient” here can be taken in the rhetorical sense that is weaker than you are taking it to mean, where sustain doesn’t refer to the ontological provision of anything by the church but just that one’s account of the church must be sufficiently adequate to the what we know about God as revealed in Christ and through the Scriptures.

    Monday, November 24, 2008 at 2:32 pm | Permalink
  3. Halden wrote:

    I think just about everyone would (or could) agree that there is “a sense in which Christ is mediated to ‘the world’ through the Church.” I suppose the question is the nature of that “sense.” That is, perhaps, what needs to be explicated.

    Monday, November 24, 2008 at 5:42 pm | Permalink
  4. Hill wrote:

    Yes, and it is possible that ones ecclesiology could be insufficient to establish that sense without making any claims about the ontological status of the Church. I take Hauerwas to mean that by saying that the Church doesn’t need the world, that Barth is in some sense not agreeing with the statement above. I can’t attest to the truth of that claim, but I think it is reading to much into it to suggest that Hauerwas is saying what you insinuate him to be saying. My only point is that you seem to be setting Hauerwas up unfairly. That doesn’t mean that your points aren’t valid. They are just unwarrantedly polemical, or at aimed at the wrong guy.

    Monday, November 24, 2008 at 6:38 pm | Permalink
  5. Halden wrote:

    Well, I’ve read Hauerwas pretty exhaustively. I know that he believes the church to be ontologically necessary for the world, which is precisely his critique of Barth here.

    And maybe you mistyped, but Barth’s argument is not that the church doesn’t need the world, rather simply that the world does not require the church for its salvation. Rather the church is the witness to the salvation of the world that is accomplished in Christ’s death and resurrection.

    Hauerwas’s essay “The Church as God’s New Language” sheds more light on this issue. It is found both in Christian Existence Today and The Hauerwas Reader. A great article, which I have a lot of sympathy with, but I am starting to think that it claims too much for the church’s ontological status vis a vis “the world” and the church’s role in mediating salvation.

    Monday, November 24, 2008 at 6:46 pm | Permalink
  6. Hill wrote:

    That clarifies it a lot. I defer to your reading of Hauerwas (and Barth). I just didn’t gather all of it from the initial post. I’m curious what it means for the world to need the Church, but not need the Church for its salvation. It seems that if one’s salvation is provided for, one needs little else. I think that’s why I collapsed the original quote into that language. Does Barth account for this? This seems to be the central question. What does it mean for the world to need the Church, but not for its salvation?

    Monday, November 24, 2008 at 7:08 pm | Permalink
  7. Hill wrote:

    I’ll have to break out my (autographed) copy of the Hauerwas reader and take a look at the article you mentioned. It’s been a while.

    Monday, November 24, 2008 at 7:09 pm | Permalink
  8. Hill wrote:

    Yeah, I horrifically mangled that, misreading and mistyping. Most of what I said doesn’t make sense…. it’s been a long day. Just ignore me :)

    Monday, November 24, 2008 at 7:13 pm | Permalink
  9. Nate Kerr wrote:

    Excellent post, Halden! And you are exactly right, it seems to me, that all of this is bound up with questions of pneumatology and the Spirit.

    Monday, November 24, 2008 at 10:27 pm | Permalink
  10. Darren wrote:

    “If the world is not necessarily lost without the church, then it is by no means clear what difference the church makes for how we understand the way the world is and, given the way the world is, how we must live.”

    I resonate immensely with this statement, but frankly I don’t understand how taking a statement like this and proceeding to say that the church is somehow ontologically necessary is helpful. Though I’ve not read as much Hauerwas as you, this seems a faithful reading to me. I suppose I don’t see how making any ontological claims about the church is biblically warranted. Some of the grandest language about the church, which Yoder comes back to repeatedly, is Eph 3:10, or even where Ephesians talks about us being seated with Christ in the heavenly places. Yet these passages don’t seem to be addressing any questions of ontology.I think the Reformed tradition’s emphasis on union with Christ is very important when the question is in what sense the church mediates Christ to the world. But I doubt the validity of making this an ontological union. Yet at the same time I don’t quite have a better way of explicating that union in mind, and I don’t just want to allow the church to be sociological association of like-minded individuals (which is what the world wants us to believe about the church). I want to just affirm a mystical union and be done with it.All that is to say that I think the church’s union with Christ might be a helpful way of framing the questions you ask. What do you think?

    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 4:52 am | Permalink
  11. Scott C. wrote:

    Hill wrote: “It seems that if one’s salvation is provided for, one needs little else. … What does it mean for the world to need the Church, but not for its salvation?”

    IMO, our conception of what it *is* to be saved must surely inform our asking and answering the question: “is the Church necessary for the world’s salvation?”

    Is “the salvation of the world” something that Christ finished, i.e. fully accomplished in His life, death, and resurrection? Or is the “salvation of the world” an ongoing process in which the Church as the ongoing representatives of Christ must participate in and see to its fruition?

    Does “salvation” have to do with the fate of souls at the final judgment? Or does “salvation” have to do with the transformation of the world and its systems to reflect divine justice & righteousness / shalom?

    I’m not a very well-studied theologian, I’m afraid, so I am probably displaying my ignorance. I welcome being taught. :)

    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 8:31 am | Permalink
  12. Aaron wrote:

    love that you included “the fullness of the Spirit’s Pentecostal presence” grafting us to Christ in our emptiness.

    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 8:34 am | Permalink
  13. james wrote:

    I was in the seminar that helped edit the final manuscript for this book. Hauerwas would always say “For the world to know it is the world, it needs the church.” Or the “The world needs the church to know it is the world.” That is the ontological necessity he means. So Hill’s first comment seems right.

    Now to Halden’s question, what degree does the church mediates Christ? Hauerwas was then still a Methodist but barely (he mostly despised being one). Even then he would speculate that “if there was no church, God would not exist” which would raise eyebrows of course. Then he might sheepishly(shocking, I know) qualify it with “God could be said to not exist”.

    In any case he had a pretty strong view of the necessity of the church for knowledge of God. It cut off any possible natural theology. The world can’t know God or how to live in this world without the church who does know God, enjoying his presence either by the Spirit generally or sacramentally (where Hauerwas seemed to be heading back then). Hauerwas would respond to Halden “of course one is always being led by Christ where you might not want to go but it is precisely the church who is being led and who must then necessarily reveal what God’s life is like to the world.” …..Maybe.

    It seems like Halden is rightfully objecting that the church’s self-constructed witness will never be adequate to its object Christ while Hauerwas would respond “of course not but its the only hope the world has got.”

    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 10:21 am | Permalink
  14. To Halden, Hill and Nate (not to ignore everyone else),

    It seems to me that one way to explicate the way in which there is “a sense in which Christ is mediated to ‘the world’ through the Church,” is found in seminal form in Ephesians 3:10, which Darren mentions above: “…His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms…” Of course God does not NEED the church, but God has decided that this would be his people of witness, and I think this means that the world does in fact need the church for salvation. The church is in a sense God’s salvation, to the extent that it exists as the reconciled community, where Jew and Gentile (and other former enemies) are reconciled. Thus does not give the church some type of ontological power or something, but does this mean was can never make ontological statement about the church, other than its ontological poverty?

    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 10:27 am | Permalink
  15. By the way, Halden, I wanted to say I resonate with your deferral to Williams’s
    “corrective to any vision that would too easily assimilate Jesus and his community of followers in his helpful portrayal of the Resurrected Christ who appears and disappears, who cannot be held onto, but who always lies beyond the grasp of those he calls.”

    I just read his essay “Between The Cherubim” on Saturday, and found it profoundly unsettling (I have only recently begun reading him, and I am always made a little uncomfortable when I read him, which means it is probably very good for me).

    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 10:44 am | Permalink
  16. Halden wrote:

    Thanks for the comments, Thomas. I agree with you and the way you are formulating the church as salvation. Provided that we define that properly. The church is God’s salvation in that it is the passive recipient of God’s revelation. The church is salvation because it receives salvation. It is, as Barth would call it, the “crater” left by the irruptive event of God’s revelation in Christ. Precisely as such a “void”, such a “non-space” does the church receive the gift of God’s fullness and plenitude — its catholicity.

    This all gets at some of the posts I have planned on reimagining the contours of an apocalyptic ecclesiology. These posts will try to develop an ecclesial understanding that recoordinates certain theological relationships within our articulation of the marks and gifts of the church. Thus, reconsidering things such as the relationship between stability and mission, fullness and emptiness, being “unhanded” and being “active”, etc will all prove important toward the task of constructing an ecclesiology that takes account of an apocalyptic orientation.

    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 10:56 am | Permalink
  17. Hill wrote:

    Is it safe to assume that this ecclesiology will be sufficiently apocalyptic?

    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 11:19 am | Permalink
  18. Halden wrote:

    Let us hope…

    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 11:26 am | Permalink
  19. Darren wrote:

    Thomas picked up on what I was getting at this morning. I agree that “Of course God does not NEED the church, but God has decided that this would be his people of witness, and I think this means that the world does in fact need the church for salvation.” This sounds to me a lot more like COVENANT than ONTOLOGY. I actually kind of hate to write that because of how I’ve seen “covenant language” misapplied in the Presbyterian churches I’ve been a part of.

    Halden, I am beyond intrigued by your comment that “Precisely as such a “void”, such a “non-space” does the church receive the gift of God’s fullness and plenitude — its catholicity.” It seems that Hauerwas, or others with a bent towards Catholic ecclesiology take catholicity to be the opposite of this. In these formulations, the church is not a non-space but “bigger” than all of space, If this remains metaphorical language, I don’t have a problem with it, but it seems to me that too often these days the next step is taken and assertions about the ontological primacy of the church are made. Yet for the life of me I can’t seem to get at why the church should have its “own” ontology.

    As Nate said earlier, this is all bound up with the Spirit. This role of being what the world needs is not something within the church’s being, but something that the church receives as a gift – the Holy Spirit. The world needs the church because the world needs the Holy Spirit to be poured out on all flesh, and the church is the people who is being led by and learning to live according to the Spirit. This accords nicely with the language of void and non-space that Halden hints at.

    I’m looking forward to future posts!

    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 12:23 pm | Permalink
  20. james wrote:

    Darren said:
    “It seems that Hauerwas, or others with a bent towards Catholic ecclesiology”

    Indeed, Hauerwas said in the last class meeting concerning this book, “I guess the only remaining question then is why the hell aren’t we all catholics then?” (crickets chirping….as he cackled)

    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 12:51 pm | Permalink
  21. Halden,

    Thank you for the feedback. Maybe you will be covering this in one of your future posts, but I would be curious to see what you make of Colossians 1:18 in this conversation. The church is here identified as Christ’s body, and I wonder to what extent is the church is an extension of Christ’s body (though I don’t want to short circuit the hard work of good exegesis). What are we to make of the church as the Body, or part of the Body of Christ? Does this not have something ontological about it? I could be wrong of course.

    Interesting enough, this came up a little bit on class today (I am in a Christology seminar with Steve Long, here at Marquette where I am a first- yea PhD student). Steve thinks that Colossians 1:18 means that the church is “ontological necessary,” which is of course something being rejected by Halden and Nate.

    Darren, I know this is more covenant language than ontology. Thanks for making this explicit. I have a proclivity towards ontology over covenant though, and I need to figure out why. Maybe because I think the church is actually holy? Of course it would be the presence of the Spirit that makes the church holy.

    I am still working through all of this, and look forward to more thoughts from others.

    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 5:51 pm | Permalink
  22. Halden wrote:

    Thomas, I’ll see if I write anything more about that. Personally I want to argue for a strong notion of the church as Christ’s body, but its all a question of who we understand the “strength”. I’ve written a bit about that elsewhere on this blog, and I don’t know for sure how I’d recast much of that now, given what i’ve learned/thought more about.

    Look for a post called “Is the Body of Christ a Metaphor” and see what you think.

    Also, if you’re at Marquette do you know Dave Horstkoetter? He and I go way back and I like to consider myself partially responsible for his “corruption”. :)

    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 7:29 pm | Permalink
  23. Halden,

    Thanks for the pointer to the post on the Body of Christ.

    And yes I know David – better than I know most of the other students in the program. He is in the same Christology course as I am, and a nice guy. David, Ben Suriano and I hang out a lot together, and Ben and I tease David a little bit, mostly about his Union connection, but sometimes about his enmity towards metaphysics – I don’t know if you helped him in that direction :-). But I want to make clear that I am no metaphysician, or someone defending a “position.” I am just trying to work through some important issues, like the ones you have brought up in this post.

    Take care,
    Thomas

    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 9:11 pm | Permalink
  24. Nate Kerr wrote:

    Thomas:

    I want to resist somewhat the way in which this whole question gets framed. Part of the problem, I think, is that we have been so conditioned to think “church” first and foremost as primarily what it “is” vis-a-vis ‘the world.” The problem I have with strong claims for the ontological necessity of the church (or for the strong claims to the church as constituting some kind of counter-ontology) is that they miss just what the church really “is”: a sacrament, a sign, of precisely the world’s conversion to and participation in Christ. In one sense, then, the church ontologically “is” no different from the world, it is just rather that “non-space” of the world in which God’s coming Kingdom in Christ is breaking in. And so I think what both Halden and I are trying to do is to say that we reconfigure the terms according to which we think “church,” as primarily oriented to the apocalyptic inbreaking of God’s Kingdom in Christ (and in this respect it is interesting that it is not “the world” as such to which the church of Eph. 3:10 makes God’s wisdom known, but “the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” ). And so the church is “ontologically necessary” only insofar as we think of the identity of Jesus as an identity that is ontologically explicable as such (qua metaphysical). But it is just such explication that I think the identification of the singular historicity of Jesus of Nazareth with the eternal Word of God (i.e., John’s Gospel) forbids. If we thus think the singularity of Jesus as irreducibly constitutive of the church’s identity (and refuse the temptation to reverse this relation) then we are freed from the compulsion of having to think the church as somehow “guaranteeing” the truth of Christ’s being vis-a-vis the world. And in this we are free to think “church” more concretely and less obsessively as “participation in Christ,” which participation is nothing less than the world’s conversion and transformation to God’s coming Kingdom, which Paul names “new creation.”

    Tuesday, November 25, 2008 at 9:45 pm | Permalink
  25. Nate,

    Thanks for the response. I suppose I need to do some more work on the relation between historicism and metaphysics before I could respond much, but I cannot get around the fact that the church has mediated the “identification of the singular historicity of Jesus of Nazareth with the eternal Word of God.” We cannot ‘get behind’ the church to a separate Jesus, can we? And I think we can maintain the crater metaphor (thanks for that Halden) in saying this.

    Also, I am uncomfortable in saying the church is a ‘non-space,’ (other than as one legitimate metaphor among others that are more positive) if it is a sign and sacrament, and I add that I don’t see any necessary opposition between participation and concrete in speaking of Christ and his Body the church.

    Again, thanks for the conversation; I am not staking out a position to defend, but trying to work through this.

    Wednesday, November 26, 2008 at 9:19 am | Permalink
  26. Nate Kerr wrote:

    Thomas:

    A couple of questions of clarification. First of all, what does it mean for the church to “mediate” the “identification of the singular historicity of Jesus of Jesus of Nazareth with the eternal Word of God”? Such a sentence only makes sense to me right now from within an idealist paradigm. This doesn’t mean that it might not make sense otherwise; it is just to say that I have yet to be convinced or shown how it makes sense otherwise.

    Secondly, I don’t understand your second paragraph. What is the opposition that is being referred to here? The sentence just doesn’t make sense to me. Is there a typo?

    Wednesday, November 26, 2008 at 10:12 am | Permalink
  27. Nate,

    Sorry – those were supposed to be two separate sentences.

    1. am uncomfortable in saying the church is a ‘non-space,’ (other than as one legitimate metaphor among others that are more positive) if it is a sign and sacrament. What does non space mean? That is what I am getting at.

    2. I was responding to your statement:

    “in this we are free to think “church” more concretely and less obsessively as “participation in Christ,” which participation is nothing less than the world’s conversion and transformation to God’s coming Kingdom, which Paul names “new creation.”

    I was saying I see no need for an opposition between “participation in Christ,” and thinking about the church more concretely.

    I don’t think I understand why saying the church mediates Jesus is idealist. Maybe you can point me to somewhere in your book where you explain this, or maybe we can postpone that issue for another time. But I think the church historically mediates Christ, especially in that the church affirms the canon, and the New Testament was written by the church, etc. What I am saying is that the church is the bearer of the identity of Christ into the world. Or put differently, how would the world know about the identity of Christ without the church?

    Wednesday, November 26, 2008 at 1:32 pm | Permalink
  28. I should add: in what sense does the Spirit continue the Incarnation in the church.

    Wednesday, November 26, 2008 at 2:49 pm | Permalink
  29. Nate Kerr wrote:

    Thomas:

    Unfortunately, I’m not sure I have the time or the energy to address all of your questions right now. So let me try just to indicate how I might begin to address some of the issues you raised.

    1.) On the question of the Church as “non-space.” All I mean when I take up Halden’s use of that term is to say that as the sacrament of Christ, the church lives as a sign and sacrament of that one who, as Rowan Williams puts it, is not and can never be “a competitor for space in this world.” This is not to deny concreteness to the church at all. In fact, I insist in my book that church only ever happens at a point of real, concrete encounter with the world. So the church occurs in space for sure, but precisely as that body whose very movement is a critique of the logic of spatialization, as such.

    2.) The point of emphasizing the concrete historicity of Jesus, as an eternally lived and living reality, is to insis that Jesus is always irreducibly other from the church. The refusal to identify Christ with the church is not only to say that Christ is not the church’s possession, but also to say that the church cannot deliver Christ to us. The church is the sign of the fact that Christ can only ever be given to us (and received) as the gift of another (the Spirit). And this is what I mean when I tie the idea of liturgy (and so also of sacrament) with mission. This is not to say that there is some Jesus “behind” the church: rather, Jesus is out ahead of us, and church happens as disciples are made by way of the following of that Jesus into the world. So, no, the church is not the bearer of the identity of Christ in the world. Jesus Christ is the bearer of the church’s identity in the world, as the church is what happens as we are given and so receive our identity from God, through Christ, in the Spirit. But there is no “vice versa” to be had here.

    Wednesday, November 26, 2008 at 10:53 pm | Permalink
  30. Nate,

    Thank you for the charitable response, which you do not “owe” me, especially in light of your schedule. The church as a “body whose very movement is a critique of the logic of spatialization” sounds especially rich. Though I have issues with some of what you say, I probably just need to wait until break, when I can read your book, before I ask more questions of you.

    Take care,

    Thomas

    Friday, November 28, 2008 at 11:34 am | Permalink
  31. Dave Belcher wrote:

    I should add to all of this, that Michel de Certeau’s use of “non-place” [non-lieu] corresponds to the way in which he is conceiving the term “space” [espace], as over against that of “place.” And this technical distinction is at work not only in the last chapter of Nate’s book, but throughout, operating in the distinction between the church as “given” (a presupposed datum), and “gift” (as sign and sacrament in engaged, embodied doxological action). It is thus only within this technical distinction (drawing on the work of both Foucault and Bourdieu) that Certeau can frame his understanding of the body of Christ as diasporic existence as “u-topic” (no-place). As Certeau frames the distinction: “In our examination of the daily practices that articulate that experience, the opposition between ‘place’ and ‘space’ will rather refer to two sorts of determinations in stories: the first, a determination through objects that are ultimately reduced to the being-there of something dead, the law of a ‘place’ (from the pebble to the cadaver, an inert body always seems, in the West, to found a place and give it the appearance of a tomb); the second, a determination through operations which, when they are attributed to a stone, tree, or human being, specify ‘spaces’ by the actions of historical subjects (a movement always seems to condition the production of a space and to associate it with a history),” The Practice of Everyday Life, Vol. 1, 118. In short the ‘operations’ of the ‘production of a space’ works upon the given place in order to interrupt, subvert and divert it (this, incidentally, is the entire meaning of the title of my blog).

    Sunday, November 30, 2008 at 1:39 pm | Permalink
  32. Dave Belcher wrote:

    Just to clarify again:

    I took Halden’s use of his phrase “non-space” to be borrowing from Nate Kerr’s use of the term “non-place” or “non-site” in the last chapter of his book, where Nate is drawing upon the work of Michel de Certeau. I felt it needed to be clarified, since the conceiving of even “non-place” or “non-site,” in the sense in which Certeau uses those phrases, as a void is not correct. I was thus simply trying to offer a more precise terminology that would lend itself more to what Nate is trying to do in that last chapter, as I see it.

    Monday, December 1, 2008 at 7:20 am | Permalink
  33. Dave Belcher wrote:

    And it should also be clear that Nate is not taking up Certeau uncritically (my analogy between Certeau’s “place/space” to Nate’s “given/gift(ed)” should indicate already somewhat of a distance between the two, given the role of the Spirit who brings us into the “excess” of the apocalyptic event of God’s act in Jesus Christ in what Nate is attempting to do…Certeau doesn’t entertain those questions explicitly) — and this is why there is in fact a place at which Nate must supplement Certeau with Yoder…and I do think that this is necessary. Peace.

    Monday, December 1, 2008 at 7:24 am | Permalink
  34. Nate Kerr wrote:

    Dave:

    To be fair, I’m not sure Halden had either myself or Certeau in mind when he used the language of “non-space” and of “void.” He might have, I don’t know. But I think he probably had more the earlier Barth in mind here, which perhaps resonates with what I am doing with Certeau, but I think does not draw directly upon it.

    Monday, December 1, 2008 at 8:04 am | Permalink
  35. Apolonio wrote:

    Nate,

    Can you clarify your point about #2? I do think that Christ and the Church coincides, but of course, Christ is always “ahead” since he himself 1) points to the Father, the ever-greater and 2) He is the Son. At the same time, I do think that the Church possesses Christ in some way: “I will be your God and you will be my people.” The Church bears Christ just as Mary did in the womb. Maybe it’s because in my Catholic thinking, when we unite ourselves to the divine will, the will becomes one without confusion; there is synergism not mongergism. So we can say that God possesses a human nature but I think we can also say that the man Jesus possesses God because 1) God has assumed a human nature and 2) Jesus has united his will to the divine. A proper form of receptivity includes an embrace, a fiat, a “not my will but thine.”

    I think it would be better to say not that Jesus is “behind” the Church, but within the Church.

    Tuesday, December 2, 2008 at 10:41 am | Permalink
  36. Steve wrote:

    I’m trying to get my head round the idea that an ecclesiology has “work to do”. It seems to be substituting talk for action.

    It seems to be a bit like substituting “work study” for work.

    Sunday, December 7, 2008 at 9:00 pm | Permalink

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