Sunday, July 12, 2015
Delio, Ilia (2011-11-09). The Emergent Christ
The key to evolution is openness to the environment. Open systems can be influenced by the environment and change in relation to the environment. Closed systems cannot evolve, because they cannot be influenced by the environment; thus they seek to preserve their resources within. The systems theorist Erich Jantsch wrote that "to live in an evolutionary spirit means to engage with full ambition and without any reserve in the structure of the present, and yet to let go and flow into a new structure when the right time has come." 3 Do we as Christians live with an evolutionary spirit? It is my belief we do not; rather, we live in two world systems. In our everyday world we are open to the changes of culture in consumerism and technological progress (we have no problem keeping up with the latest technological gadgets), but in our theology and ecclesiology we live in the closed system of a pre-scientific, medieval church, the world of Plato, Aristotle, Dionysius, and Thomas. On the whole we Christians are more comfortable with scholastic thought and Aristotelian philosophy than with process theology or chaos theory. Jesuit scientist and mystic Pierre Teilhard de Chardin was suspicious that Christianity makes its followers inhuman— that it becomes a series of rote doctrines devoid of life, pointing believers to a starry heaven away from the world. Christians are not conscious of their divine responsibilities, he claimed, but see Christian life as a series of observances and obligations, not the realization of the soul's immense power. 4 This leads to a static Christianity, a mechanization of Christian life whereby the language, symbols, and metaphors of theology and ecclesial life resist growth and change. As a result Teilhard said, Christians lose consciousness of their divine responsibility, which, in his view, is to evolve.
I can't say that I have a good intellectual grasp on Chardin, Plato, Aristotle, Dionysius and Thomas. I have never studied them formally or personally, just read quotes.
I do have a grasp on what it means to remained closed theologically.
A Good Sabbath to All.