Join me in a theological mashup. The beginnings of this mashup are below (likely above, given how blogs work). Please add your comments - and the section you want your comments inserted into, and I'll "edit" them in. Apologies for not being media savvy enough to insert some kind of "wiki" gadget to accomplish this. This comment style may work better, however, since I want eventually to produce a more polished theological mashup.
Consider yourself, as I did in producing this mashup, as a DJ, or mixologist, grabbing vinyl out of crates and incorporating theological "breaks" into this mashup, or pulling theologically attenuated "samples" out of a file or loop browser within a digital audio workstation such as Acid Pro, Logic, Garageband, or Pro Tools and trying it out in the mix.
The focal point of this mashup (for starters) were these three books:
Wendy Farley, The Wounding and Healing of Desire: Weaving Heaven and Earth (WHD) Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2005.
Wendy Farley, Eros for the Other: Retaining Truth in a Pluralistic World (EO) Pennsylvania University Press, 1996.
Edward Farley, Good and Evil: Interpreting a Human Condition (GE) Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1990.
Ok. Now let's get the sampler turned on, set up the turntables, boot up the computer, and get my digital audio workstation (Logic Pro) fired up.
Here is the first installment of this theological mashup. Other installments will follow. Please add comments, including other references, trajectories of thought, ideas, paragraphs to insert, quotes (with reference to hyperlink please), etc. If you don't tell me where to introduce your comments into the mashup itself, I'll make that decision. Feel free to suggest links, pictures, videos of songs, other videos, artwork, etc. I'll revise according to your wishes, and keep re-posting, and we can watch our little theological composition develop.
With respect to desire, Edward Farley points out how some modern anthropologies of desire “reduce desire to the need system we share with other primates or to the complex of interests that constitute advanced industrial societies.” (Good and Evil, 98) In a postmodern context, Farley observes “cynical versions of both desire and reason…reducing desire to a visible and manipulable phenomenon of the marketplace.” (98)
In this mashup, let's identify a deeper and more “elemental” desire – a wholly O/other directed power (eros) as the central resource for developing a practical theology for a church emerging into our new post-institutional situation. I.e we are not positing a phenomenology of existential need which “seeks to fill a lack of negation in the subject” but a phenomenology of an eschatological or messianic (to use Derrida’s language) desire “which is positively attracted by something other not yet possessed or needed.” (see John Wild, Introduction to Totality and Infinity, (TI), p. 19.)
Our anthropology (idea of the human condition), therefore, is not taken from the analysis of the structures of finitude and lack deduced from the estrangement of existence from essence. Rather, it asserts that the state of separation or estrangement is better understood as a “separation with regard to the Infinite” (Levinas, TI, 105) that opens not upon fulfilling need, but upon the creation of desire in its positive aspect. This desire, according to Levinas, “does not coincide with unsatisfied need; it is situated beyond satisfaction and nonsatisfaction. The relationship with the Other, or the idea of Infinity, accomplishes it. Each can live it in the strange desire of the Other that no voluptuosity (Levinas’ word for eros oriented toward erotic, sensual relationships) comes to fulfill, nor close, nor put to sleep.” (TI, 179) Although, as W. Farley observes, eros “thrives on absence” (EO, 69), this absence is not existential lack, but eschatological “reaching, never grasping.”
Wendy Farley’s theological method in The Wounding and Healing of Desire is fundamental to our method of thinking theologically in this mashup. The goal is to identify the key “woundings” of desire among religious seekers, and to initiate a conversation about the nature of those desires, how they are wounded, and how to bring healing to those wounds.
Note: we will not assume that desire is an unqualified good.