theological language

A Study in Theological Language: A Series of Definitions

I’ve been working on a series of definitions that I hope will grow progressively larger over time. This effort is partially to help clarify and re-orient how I understand or think theological concepts behind words should be understood. This is also the beginning of an attempt to shore up and re-examine Christian language, as it is located within the Christian community. Each definition will be set up as its own post, but will also be linked within the list on the page, titled “A Study in Theological Language: A Series of Definitions,” for future reference.

So far, I have sought to re-define:

Freedom: “To be free to do something necessitates a certain communal allegiance. To go willy nilly after pleasures at the expense of others, or to seek to live one’s own life style come hell or high water, means that this pursuit is defined by a certain notion of freedom that comes from a community. Freedom largely understood is at the heart of what a community cares about. Freedom is what the community urges its people towards. … Christian freedom is the space and power provided by the Christian community (and God) to be and do the things your Christian community (and God) needs or asks of you. The emphasis of a Christological freedom is both highly political, as it is part of the complex nature of salvation, but also entirely in line with some liberation theology. … Liberation, salvation in all its complexity, is the aim of God.”

Justice: “Setting aright relationships. … The justice of Jesus, setting the possibility of righting relationships is grounded in the rule of God. God doesn’t weigh the misdeeds, but rather she redeems the people and their dysfunctional relationships. Redemption and new creation are the paradigms through which justice is done. … in the church, the communal body founded around the memory of Christ, redemption and new creation, found in the in-breaking of the basileia, is the entire idea.”

I have in the works, posts on Peace and Solidarity.

I also hope to start connecting the definitions together to other concepts, like pacifism.


3 thoughts on “A Study in Theological Language: A Series of Definitions

  1. Zach says:

    Pacifism is tricky. I identify myself as a pacifist to others, but only because that is the nearest communicable approximation I can come up with. Many Christian ‘pacifists’ have qualms with the term. ‘Non-violent’ or ‘non-resistant’ are not much better.

  2. Same here. However, I’ve found even though I add context to the word for others to understand that its a complicated thing, I still find some hang onto the idea that pacifists and non-violent people are passive people with passive stances. I do find when that false notion is cleared up, a better conversation occurs. Hopefully this conception of pacifism, or whatever it is, will be better understood and stronger.

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