Alrighty… So I am trying to get in the habit of doing things that nourish me before 9am, when I start doing the things that (a) get errands done and/or (b) earn me income. Who knows how long this pattern will last, but it has, at least for today, brought out another vid. While not a direct response to anything other folks said, it is certainly prompted by the thinking going on in the comments (and Blake Huggins' post) responding to the vid I posted earlier this week.
As far as I can tell, the thrust of the thinking that is emerging is that while a physical science like, say, geology is about understanding the present state, process, and components of various geological systems and formations, theology cannot be restrained to the present. Of course, at some level, science must also be able to predict future effects, for example, we like to know in advance if an earthquake is coming, and we attempt to learn new, more detailed things about systems under study; the difference here seems to me to be that science is about predicting the future as it emerges from what has come before while theology (writ large) is invested in the exploration of that which arrived, is arriving, and has yet to arrive again fully. God is unpredictable: the realities of human life (not just biological functioning) are bewilderingly not something we can predict. Why do good people die and not others? Why does some art make us cry? How exactly does a poem manage to evoke so much in so little? While there may be precise scientific answers to some of these, the truth is that that science cannot (perhaps cannot yet) predict how or when that will happen again and/or what the human response to it will be. All the more crazy it all becomes when the humans involved are attempting to live into the Kingdom of God in which things are all topsy-turvy (Kraybill's The Upside-down Kingdom is awesome by the way). Insert the study of God into all this swirl of not-quite-predictibleness and we start to get to the point from which I jumped off.
I quote Blake from his post:
I would want to put a highly eschatological gloss Deleuze’s claim that “theology is now the science of nonexisting entities, ”radicalizing Moltmann’s insistence that eschatology must be the heart and soul of theology from beginning to end. A theology of the event, then, is not so much about what is but what is yet to come in the future. It is a discourse of possibility, a poetics of the (im)possible, one might say, which locates itself in the interstitial space of the Pauline already-not yet.
This kind of poetics of the (im)possible such as Caputo addresses in his book and that Blake points toward are interesting and yet they make me wonder about what has come before. If we are always pointing (Moltmannically) toward the hopeful future yet to come, some significant questions are raised about the inbreaking of the future that has already arrived: what do we do with the Christ event? Both in terms of the ministry and crucifixion of Jesus and the presence of the Holy Spirit as some kind of experiential phenomenon we are left with our theological hands in the air if we can only look toward that which is yet to be.
Perhaps this is why I am so fascinated by incompleteness: to hope for the completed future of some holy eschaton is to hope for some cosmic get out of jail card. Instead, I think we are called to live in the nexus of becoming the impossible. It is easy to become an idolitrous cult of the impossible, because the idea of the "crazy-and-Just-yet-to-be" is so appealing, but unless that ideal "lavishly flings us forth" into some engagement with that which already is, I'm not sure that what we're doing is Christian Theology. Interesting to be sure, but perhaps not Christian Theology. We are called to that sloppy, in-between place of almost-but-not-quite. We are in this world to be sure, and have access to that which is beyond at the same time, yet hoping for, and attempting to live into, something which has not yet come in its fullness.
Woah. Writing takes me soooo much longer than blathering into a camera.
This is a great counterweight to what I'm trying to get at (and iterates some points commenters have pressed me on). It seems to me that there are two pieces you are describing here that have to be present in order for the poetics of the impossible to work for Christian theology: the political (the actively being in the present part) and the Christological.
LIke you, I am very indebted to Caputo's work here but I think Christology may be one of the weakest points of his weak theology. He has a fairly strong theology of the Cross as a display of God's weakness but I'm not sure if he adequately addresses the significance of the Christ Event like you are suggesting. Using the messianic trope from Derrida and Blanchot he wants to say that the coming of the messiah is always predicated upon the messiahs return or coming again (the "to-come"). I like that but I wonder if it still neglects or even trivializes the singularity of the Christ Event. Too bad that interview is over, this would have been an excellent question to ask!
So how can we have a theology of the event which is radically eschatological and still recognizes the singularity and importance of the Christ Event? I don't think I have come across anyone who is addressing the question that way, at least not someone who also takes continental philosophy into account.
I wonder if a pneumatologically (it is interesting to me that Spirit is also noticeably absent in Caputo) situated Christology might help us?