Thursday, December 20, 2012

Creative tension between plurality, tradition and resisting domination

From Chapter 1Remembering Esperanza: A Cultural-Political Theology for North American Praxis,
                                 by Mark Kline Taylor, Orbis Books, Maryknoll, NY 1990

We need a creative tension between tradition, plurality, and resisting domination.

Singular attention to TRADITION alone =
·       provinciality unaware of other traditions, shallow understanding of the plurality of forms within one's own tradition may reinforce domination by failing to attend to oppression and the needs for thoroughgoing critical resistance

Singular attention to PLURALITY =
·       celebrates flux and play of relative forms, but may fail to marshal resistance to dis-membering nihilism
·       lacking a sense of one's tradition often blinds us to a knowledge of how traditions have also nurtured and might yet help to create a sense of play and appreciation of difference 

Singular attention to DOMINATION
·       without the other two postmodern emphases, easily fails to actualize its own vision and strategies for achieving justice and freedom from oppression
·       w/o plurality, it can founder on the divisiveness that springs up  with different visions of 'the just'
·       w/o tradition (some traditions of myth and ritual, at least -- not necessarily the established Tradition), the struggle for freedom is impoverished, lacking the resources of communal memory and symbolic heritage (often providing minimal dialogical consensus for marshaling critique and action)

Correlations of only TRADITION and PLURALITY, leaving out resisting domination:
·       can easily become a Christian liberalism centering on tolerance, one which is repressive through its lack of a specific critique of oppression.
·       this repressive tolerance finds it difficult to stop the "grand conversation" among many voices in order to point out sin/wrong/evil, in order to envision a just future, in order to take a stand.

Correlations of only TRADITION and RESISTANCE TO DOMINATION, w/o pluralism
·       undermines the Christian struggle for justice by ignoring the need to orchestrate differences among the communities working for justice (and defining it)

Correlations of PLURALITY and RESISTANCE TO DOMINATION, w/o tradition:
·       forges a link between the greatly valued virtue of tolerance and the need for freedom as the priceless conditions for a full humanity -- BUT tolerance and freedom can be sustained on their own terms with their own rhetoric only for a short, unstable time.  The forging of tolerance and the struggle for freedom (no easy link to make) often require the resources of myth, ritual, memory -- in short, tradition.
·       w/o tradition, the rhetoric of tolerance/freedom may inspire and appeal, but the power to nurture the common good is likely to be short-lived. 

From Chapter 1
Remembering Esperanza: A Cultural-Political Theology for North American Praxis,
 by Mark Kline Taylor, Orbis Books, Maryknoll, NY 1990

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