Saturday, April 21, 2012

April Theology on the Hill

An End-of-the-Year Political Theology on the Hill
photos by William Hall and Sister Hilda Kleiman, OSB

Yesterday evening the final session of Theology on the Hill for the school year featured the topic of political theology and involved a panel of speakers from the seminary community.  A discussion between Dr. Jeffery Nicholas, an associate professor of philosophy, and Br. Jonah Wright, OSB, a monk of Mount Angel Abbey, was moderated by Bert Mello, a seminarian for the Diocese of Fresno.

Brother Jonah and Dr. Nicholas enjoyed refreshments and speaking with the guests from off the hill before beginning their discussion.

While the discussion touched on some specific political and moral issues, it primarily focused on deeper issues of unity, the meaning of suffering, and holding the tension people encounter as they live with deep and fundamental disagreements in their families and communities.

Dr. Jeffery Nicholas addresses questions from the seminarians and off-hill guests.
Bert Mello joined in the laughter during the discussion.
Brother Jonah reflecting on some of the discussion's more serious points.

For the discussion Brother Jonah drew on his experience as a theologian and professor of theology.  Dr. Nicholas works further with the points he made on his blog and in his new book, Reason, Tradition, and the Good.

Theology on the Hill will continue next school year in the Store at the Press.

1 comment:

  1. There are two points I didn't get a chance to make at last night's T on the H. One of the questions which arose at the end about "compartmentalization" of faith, family, work, and friends. I have to disagree entirely with the response that was given.because a compartmentalized god is no God at all. Any god and so any faith that can be compartmentalized is nothing more than a human concept, and idea, which becomes and ideology which can be used as a barrier to a differing ideology. God is not an ideology, faith though expressed as a system of beliefs, is rather a dynamic relationship with the living God. One's relationship with the Creator of all things, the creator even of the mental ability to "compartmentalize" is categorically different than any other relationship or any other thing in life. It is not a bi-product of a mechanized society or the result of a lack of contact with the sources of food, participation in the making of clothes, of building cars, or any other distribution of labor. It is the result of a lack of experience of the reality of God.

    The 2nd point revolves around my first point about the ideological foundations of our country. The Social Contract is a myth, we are seeing evidence of this now in our divisive political culture. We are not living together because we came to a reasoned decision that it would be a good idea to live together and conduct ourselves according to certain well reasoned principles. We were born into a world where we live together, we are social, our very existence is relational. We are defined by our relationships, and we don't define our relationships anymore than we can define ourselves. "We the People" of this country still believe we can stand together upon a reasoned declaration of the common good even as we are living witnesses to the weak kneed position of such a stance. I am not suggesting that reasoned be jettisoned, indeed, I am using it right now ... But there is something deeper than any reasoned contract behind the human social and political impulse, and this is that we are, at an ontological level, constituted as relationship.