A blog - always room for one more - devoted to thinking things through to the end. But not in a gloomy, doomy, or weird mushroomy kind of way, but in the roomy & quietly empty tomby kind of way that the God & Father of Jesus seems to work.I changed it to make it snappier, but also to highlight a slight shift in focus here. The old description focused on "thinking things through to the end", i.e. on eschatology, the Christian doctrine of the 'last things' and of God's promised future in Christ. I then distinguished what I see as a properly Christian hope, based on the resurrection of Jesus from the dead ("empty tomb"), from dark apocalyptic scenarios of destruction ("gloomy and doomy" eschatologies) as well as from unfounded speculation and wild conjecture ("weird mushroomy" eschatology). I have long had in my profile that one of my nemeses is "escapist eschatologies", that is, understandings of God's promised future that lead us away from engagement with the world and our neighbour based on the misunderstanding that this present life is either irrelevant or mere preparation, and that our physical existence is a problem from which we must be liberated. In short, I wanted to distinguish Christian hope for the redemption of the world from sub-Christian hope for redemption from the world.
I still hold to all that, but the emphasis has shifted.
Reflecting the focus of my PhD work, this blog now spends more time on the ethical implications of hope based on an empty tomb. I am now writing more about eschatological ethics than ethical eschatology.
And the particular context that interests me is pursuing such ethical reflection amongst the gloom and doom of our present situation of interlocking ecological crises, which threaten the viability of life as we currently know it. Anyone with a passing acquaintance with these threats knows things are bad, and the more you look, the worse things seem: complex, intractable and menacing.
How is it possible amidst such nightmares to maintain Christian hope? One solution is to deny the darkness of the gathering gloom, or declare it irrelevant in comparison to the glorious news of a resurrected saviour. But such answers are shallow and ultimately irrelevant because they are once more escapist. Good theology leads us back into our situation to see it afresh, not off into comforting timeless truths. Unless we can face the shadows with honesty and integrity (which will include grief and lamentation as ways of groaning in hope), then I suspect that our theology might not be walking the way of the cross. Only a theology that sits with those in darkness can hope for the coming dawn.