December 10, 2020

Chapter 5 of David Tracy’s Fragments, Part Two I said in a previous post that I don’t much like infinity. It makes me think of things like size and speed. Most obtrusively, it’s power—not my favorite factor in human relationships. So why would I adore an infinitely powerful God? But still, thinking of God as infinite seems universal if not natural. David Tracy, in his later years of God searching, has increasingly focused on the Infinite, a category he finds… Read more

November 14, 2020

Imagine a second term for a truly pro-life Donald Trump and a congratulatory phone call from Pope Francis that went like this: President-elect [enter Trump’s name] spoke this morning with His Holiness Pope Francis. The President-elect thanked His Holiness for extending blessings and congratulations and noted his appreciation for His Holiness’ leadership in promoting peace, reconciliation, and the common bonds of humanity around the world. The President-elect expressed his desire to work together on the basis of a shared belief… Read more

October 17, 2020

On David Tracy’s Fragments, Chapter 5, “Metaphysics, Theology, and Mysticism” How do I write about our infinite God? Besides being only finite, my mind has an extra problem – I don’t like infinity. I remember learning that scientists found the universe wasn’t infinite. I realized then that I liked the world better that way. What’s to like about an infinite world, anyway. It’s not a place to feel at home in. As soon as I learned that the scientific world… Read more

August 27, 2020

An article by The Guardian’s liberal columnist George Monbiot could have been written by any of the last several popes. It explains why a movement to limit births had a change of heart. BirthStrike was founded by women who want the world to focus on impending environmental collapse. Their attention-getting strategy was to announce their intention not to have children. Next week the group will dissolve itself. Founders Jessica Johannesson and Blythe Pepino explain that they had “underestimated the power… Read more

July 15, 2020

On Tracy’s Fragments, Chapter 4, Christianity and Suffering Suffering looms large in Tracy’s recent thought, so it’s disappointing that the chapter on “Christianity and Suffering” is the shortest in the book. This chapter also demonstrates a quality almost inevitable in a collection of essays written at different times in an author’s career. It repeats themes found elsewhere in the book without expanding on them much. Central realities of suffering Tracy lists five “central realities,” things we need to say about… Read more

July 2, 2020

On David Tracy’s Fragments, Chapter Three Suffering and tragedy has been an important theme for David Tracy’s theology for a long time. It appears in many places in Fragments and in the titles of two chapters. The chapter presently under consideration intensifies suffering with the addition of “horror.” The Christian response waits for Chapter Four. In Chapter Three, “Responses to Horror and Suffering,” Tracy considers the human, pre- or extra-revelation responses to suffering and horror. He finds such responses in… Read more

June 19, 2020

Now everybody knows about Juneteenth because Trump, unwittingly, was about to desecrate that day of remembrance for Black people. That is, until he postponed his political rally by a day. June 19 is the day in 1865 that Black slaves in Texas finally heard about their “Emancipation.” (See this post.) It is not a day for a campaign rally by a president for whom Black lives don’t matter. Trump didn’t deliberately schedule his rally for Juneteenth. In fact, he says,… Read more

June 17, 2020

Part 4 on David Tracy’s Fragments: The Existential Situation of Our Time, Chapter Two Continued Modern Christians easily think of God as infinite – Infinite power, infinite love, limitless patient endurance. But it wasn’t always this way. Christianity grew from Jewish roots but quickly absorbed Greek ways of understanding their experience of God through Jesus. And for centuries before and after Jesus, Greek philosophers wanted nothing to do with the concept of infinity. But Tracy goes so far as to… Read more

June 10, 2020

Part 3 on David Tracy’s Fragments, Chapter Two I’m returning to David Tracy and his new publication Fragments: The Existential Situation of Our Time. Two earlier posts on Fragments are here and here. In Chapter Two Tracy takes up two topics that most people associate with divinity–the invisible and the infinite. Questions on Tracy’s mind include: Do these concepts make sense, or are they just empty words when we apply them to God? Do these concepts apply to anything else… Read more

June 3, 2020

  The dangerous use of analogy over protest marches People often resort to the literary technique of analogy when arguing about emotional issues. In fact, it’s unavoidable. Pure logic simply won’t do for the matters that are closest to the heart, like God, beauty, morality, politics and what we ought to hope for. To my elementary school students I taught what I had learned in college classes, namely, that these are all matters of opinion. I had learned wrong and… Read more

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