Blake Huggins

The Impossible Kingdom


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.

Interpretive Communities, a Request, and a Heraldic Gospel

On a recent video from the Transforming Theology project, Phillip Clayton asked Tony Jones how the internet and Google have been at work changing theology. Jones replied that it allows for a greater, more broad based, access to information, and forum for feedback.  I agree.

In a Dec. 14 post on his blog, Jonathan Brink writes about uncertainty, truth, interpretation, and Stephen Colbert’s interview with the Conservative Bible Project guy.  Those are all things I love thinking about.

In a Dec. 14 post on his blog, Blake Huggins writes about Jurgen Moltmann, Jean Francois Lyotard, and Chris Rosenbrough commented that “… these are first and foremost the questions that need to be asked and definitively answered and those answers are found no where else than in the inerrant and inspired text of scripture.”  Blake replied that “… I think it is impossible for anyone to simple “begin in the text” or pose the question “what does the text say?” I don’t think the text or us as readers exist in a vacuum.”  This reminds me of Stanley Fish’s comment that “”strictly speaking, getting ‘back-to-the-text’ is not a move one can perform, because the text one gets back to will be the text demanded by some other interpretation and that interpretation will be presiding over its production.”

In a serendipitous convergence of things, this very day I finished writing a piece called “Towards a Heraldic Gospel: From Monorthodox Doctrine to Theopoetic Perspectives on Revelation and Repentance.”  It addresses all the things that Jonathan, Blake, and Chris were discussing, and I wonder, if, in the spirit of the Tony Jones and Phillip Clayton conversation, real people are interested in chomping down on some theology with me and giving it a read. That’s my request: given that you are a hyper-extended community of interpretation that might actually be interested in theology, is there anyone out there who would be interested in chatting?

There have been a few great back and forths on The Image of Fish already, and I thought it might be worth testing the waters to see if this larger scale communique would be received as well.

Anyone who would be interested and giving it a read can download it directly here.  If anyone does bite, I’d love to do a back and forth via skype for a few minutes so that it could get posted here as well… Comments are good too though.

“strictly speaking, getting ‘backto-
the-text’ is not a move one can perform, because the text one gets back to will be the text
demanded by some other interpretation and that interpretation will be presiding over its