Sunday, April 14, 2013

To Whom It May Concern

Religion & Philosophy

Dear _______,

You have a very good heart, my friend. You are concerned about truth and justice, but all around you see the contrary. This is extremely painful to you, and your only recourse seems to be to pour out yourself in your writings. You agonize over what you perceive as the lack of engagement on the part of the faith community. You feel that they place too much emphasis on the inner (the confessional approach) to the detriment of the outer (the public approach). You see injustice, oppression, and poverty all around you. You see Truth banished and leaders of the faith community turning their backs on her. And it does not help that you are in the midst of an environment in which more stress is placed on pontificating, analyzing, critiquing, and advancing theologies ad nauseum,  and being caught up more with theory than with theology in practice. You see the virtues of the theology of liberation, of contextual theology, of public theology, among others, but you do not see their enactment, hence your frustration. And a frustration that is definitely justified, for talk is certainly cheap.

But might not your frustration be misplaced? Might you not be using up too much energy being concerned about our faith community's lack of engagement? And would it not be more appropriate to redirect that energy in the direction in which it ought to be pointed, calling out (like John the Batist) corrupt politicians, power-craving religious leaders, profiteering corporations and financial institutions, and neo-colonialist superpowers?  Would it not be better to engage the faith community in dialogue rather than to make them feel as if they have committed some crime because of their seeming apathy, other-worldly leanings and lack of engagement real world engagement? Would it not be more advantageous to show them models of engagement, with you first providing a model, with the hope that they would catch on and follow suit? And should not some of the pontificators, the analyzers, the theologizers, and the pastorzs be the object of your righteous ire?

[Photographic Art by Ric Couchman]