Monday, November 29, 2010

A Violent Being: Milbank and Fanon Between Love and Power

"However, this means that the realm of total mutual exposure, the realm of weakness within which "all defences are down," might ironically be seen as requiring defence against an exterior which refuses this exposedness."  John Milbank, "Power is necessary for peace:  in defense of Constantine"

It would probably be better to keep my peace and not read John Milbank.  Ever.  But I did and I want to engage what he has written from another trajectory of violence, the germinal violence of Frantz Fanon's Black Skin, White Masks.  Fanon, like Milbank, is looking for a space of intimacy.  Consider the beautiful and prayerful lines at the end of the book:  "Superiority?  Inferiority?  Why not simply try to touch the other, feel the other, discover each other?  Was my freedom not given me to build the world of you, man?" (206).  It's a desire for a world with intimate possibilities, a world where the mediation of whiteness ("there will always be a world--a white world--between you and us" 101) no longer disrupts every relationship.  

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Blasphemous Confessions

Such blasphemies, because they are violently extorted from men by the devil against their will, sometimes sound more pleasant in the ear of God than a hallelujah or some kind of hymn of praise (Luther, Lectures on Romans).  

A recent post at AUFS has enticed me to make a few comments on my own understanding of "confessional" theology.  Duke is a place that prides itself in producing confessional theologians, theologians who write in and for "the church," whose theology is situated within the historic confessions of faith ("orthodox"), who take seriously "the grammar" and "liturgical performance" of "the historic Christian faith."  To put it briefly and polemically, Duke intends to produce Christian theologians.  As such, it has placed much emphasis on what it means to be "properly" Christian.