Reconciling Ourselves: On Consolation, Part 7
The Lying Life of Adults

Political Theology of the Earth

Political Theology of the Earth: Our Planetary Emergency and the Struggle for a New PublicPolitical Theology of the Earth: Our Planetary Emergency and the Struggle for a New Public by Catherine Keller
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Keller writes "in a time of heightened political disarray and lowered planetary hope" wondering if we have time to solve our problems, including the climate crisis? She refuses to give up, ceding to the ideologues on the right with a nihilism or hopelessness on the left. She does believe we yet have time to create a new public who can face our issues. That in fact our moment of overlapping crises can be a kairos moment, when a new public emerges. And she thinks that theology has a key role to play, largely because theology was complicit in getting us into our problems. Traditional theological categories have continued to influence contemporary secular politics and economics, and so alternative theologies (long existing in the tradition) must speak up in order to undermine the continuing secular power of the damaging categories.

After reading Ignatieff's On Consolation, I thought it was important to gain some perspective on how we deal with the issues we are facing. And Keller writes so beautifully. One of the best prose stylists in theology (not a discipline known for writing style).

I'm not sure I come away with any radically new ideas or energy. For one the theological position she advocates (Process based) has been mine for almost thirty years. Also, the book was published in 2018 and it's even more difficult after the crises of the ensuing years to muster hope that this is a kairos moment (though people taking to the streets in the summer of 2020 sure felt that way and I believe planted seeds that will have lingering affects in our body politic). Instead one wonders if we aren't headed for the Dark Years predicted by Richard Rorty? And if so if we've then lost the struggle to avoid the worst effects of climate change?

But, even if we have and even if we are headed to an ever darker period, the sort of vision and conviction that Keller evidences will be the sorts of lights we'll need to guide us through.

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