Back to the start…writing and deconstructing

Accountability is good. Partnership and collaboration are better. I’ve learned that I need all three in order to keep myself to some sort of writing/blogging schedule. Fortunately for me, and hopefully for you as well, my best friend, cohort, colleague, and accomplice in all things deviously religious–Alex Roller–has agreed to help me with these three ingredients for happy writing and posting. He and I will be blogging together individually, meaning that we will each post on our own blogs and link to the other’s posts. While we have a number of blog series/posts in mind, we’ve decided to start with the none-too-intimidating subject of Jesus and Derrida (read more on this below). We hope you’ll follow our conversation and reflection on both blogs as we delve into a variety of topics. We PLAN to post two to three times per week (schedules willing), but we hope you’ll forgive us if we slip up here or there.

Simultaneously, but only partly connected to the blog series, we are beginning a “Theology at the Pub” group as a part of MissionGathering Christian Church that will meet each Wednesday evening (Oct 9 to Dec 18) at 7:30pm at Thorn Street Brewery in North Park. If you live in San Diego and enjoy both theological reflection and beer, or even just one of those two (drinking isn’t required), we encourage you to join us. This group will focus on process theology and theology after the Holocaust, looking particularly at how a theology of remembrance can be helpful as we continue sorting through the fact that fellow human beings can and do cause so much devastation and destruction of life. We do plan to continue the discussion of our group through our blogs and will potentially even post audio recordings of our conversations for those unable to attend every or any meeting.

Our first blog series, however, deals with a different theme–deconstruction. My interest in writing these posts was sparked by a sermon that Alex preached last spring on the story of Jesus and Nicodemus. Last spring I also participated in a conference that asked the question: can postmodern theology live in the church? I think the (always tentative) answer is that postmodern theology can and, in fact, does live in some churches. Of course postmodern thought/theology comes in many modes, deconstruction being but one of those modes, and churches come in many forms–many of which are not accepting of postmodern thought. As one who finds himself in a church community in which postmodern thought receives both sometimes critical and sometimes enthusiastic engagement, I am interested in pursuing this question further in order to see where postmodern thought in the mode of deconstruction takes us, and in order to see what it is that we choose to reconstruct after the critical maneauvor.

In this first blog series, Alex and I plan to follow the Derridean trace as we look at the story of Jesus and Nicodemus in Luke’s gospel. While Jack Caputo wrote an incredibly insightful and accessible book on Jesus and Deconstruction, which we don’t wish to repeat, I think that this story deserves and requires some reflection (a la Caputo) in order to think about the role of metaphor in religious language and in order to deconstruct those assumed meanings that many within churches take for granted. We hope you’ll continue to drop by this site and Alex’s and engage with us in this discussion.

Check out Alex’s most recent post, which gives a bit more detail on the writing process, why we’re doing this, etc.


Author: Jeremy

I am happiest outside, surrounded by trees or water. I rarely go anywhere without my camera, and I actively seek ways to connect my work as a philosopher and theologian with regular people who are trying to make sense of this world.

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