Radical Orthodoxy and Prophetic Imagination

I have been reading books on political theology.  Just finished one this afternoon that is Introducing Radical Orthodoxy by James K. A. Smith.  He is a prolific writer and a clear thinker.  His writing is lucid and easy to understand.  But my point is not about his writing.

The Prophetic Imagination
The Prophetic Imagination

This new sensibility called Radical Orthodoxy seems to clear out a new ground in discussing Christian integration with other disciplines.  It ground itself in platonic philosophy, especially the one espoused by Augustine.  In arguing that every ontology is a participation in the divine life of Trinity, criticizing that those who are not grounded in that divine life as nihilist, they intend to hail theology back as the queen of the sciences.  If there is no neutral standpoint, then why take the modern one?  RO argues that Christianity has exactly the resources for what the modern project was looking altogether—but failed miserably.

Indeed it will sound exclusivistic and intolerant in modern minds.  But that is exactly what the project aims for.  The church has been too accommodating with the modern metanarratives that is governed by Reason.  This captivity must be judged prophetically and in doing so this sensibility risks itself to be called unreasonable by the modern Reason standard.

Upon finishing this enlightening neo-traditionalist book, I find myself reading The Prophetic Imagination of Walter Brueggemann.  Reading this book is another light-bearing experience for my mind.  His nice remark was, “Thus, I submit, prophetic must be imaginative because it is urgently out beyond the ordinary and the reasonable” (xv)  Now, that sounds like RO!  Indeed, as I delve deeper Brueggemann made reference to Torture and Eucharist of William T. Cavanaugh, one of RO thinker.  There is a relationship after all.

It seems to me that there is an emerging awareness of theologian that they have been accommodating too much with the spirit of the age, whether they be conservative or liberal.    These books (Brueggemann’s and Smith’s) were written at 2001 (rev. ed.) and 2005.  It marks the beginning of major theological movement in the church, and where am I all these time?  Theology is always exciting, indeed.  I hope you, the reader, will find theology as I find it too—exciting.

Vincent Tanzil

18 November 2013



  1. TEOLOGI menjadi asik karena menemukan kita tidak sendiri & sekaligus menemukan arti kesendirian. hari ini bersyukur sekali diberi mata sehingga saya dapat berteologi dengan membaca, mensyukuri telinga saya, mulut saya, waktu & pikiran saya, karena ternyata semua itu untuk berteologi. mungkin kita memang diciptakan menurut rupa AnakNya agar berteologi denganNya. Teologi tak lain adalah hidupku, sebab Teologi itu ialah hidupNya.


  2. Mantap broo!!! I fully agree that theology has to beware of conformism to the spirit of the age, and what is the most dominant ideology at present if not capitalism? Hahaha…


    1. Whoa bro! I cannot take a stand about capitalism for now. I do believe that there are some excess of capitalism, but to reject them altogether, wait I must! References for further reading would be welcomed bro.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s