I’ve been a bit bored at work today in the arctic cold of Los Angeles, so a few items from my Read-it-Later catalog have been subsequently check off. Therefore, I would like to direct you, the blogsurfer, to a recently conducted interview of esteemed Marxist biblical scholar and all around quality progenitor of penis jokes, Roland Boer, done by none other than good friend of the blog, Dan from Poserorprophet. I’ve been following Boer’s blog for quite awhile, and am quite familiar with his Criticism of Heaven and Earth work, but it is his enlightening subtraction narrative (to upend Taylor’s usage of the term) that is of most interest to me (and I would hazard a guess, you as well). Take a look:
I usually say that the church and especially its theological college made me an atheist for a while, or at least that every time I walked in the front door, I became an atheist. But I would identify myself as a somewhat heterodox believer, assisted to that position not merely by Calvin (there is no such thing as apostasy), but also by the likes of Bloch, Kautsky and Engels. Not your usual collection of ‘theologians’, but they gave some substance to my instinctual feeling of a radical dimension to Christianity, one that I can affirm. Nowadays I am able to hold that position since I am not directly involved in the church (although I do attend small gatherings of evening prayer in a regular basis). Recently, the Christian communist and left Barthian (!), Dick Boer (in a conversation in Amsterdam) put it this way: at a gathering of socialists of various persuasions, he said at one point that he feels sorry for his atheist comrades since they cannot pray. That pretty much sums it up for me, although I am committed to a politics of alliance – the line is not between theism and atheism, but between progressive and reactionary politics.
It is that last line that really got me thinking: this line of transgression is where any future notions of ecumenism should begin to form: not on purely ideological or dogmatic grounds (there are no apostates, after all!), but on how we should live together (and perhaps the principles of this politics will retroactively set the terms for dogmatic negotiation (note: please don’t confuse this with Hauerwasian or postliberal ecclesiological primacy)). Or maybe I have no idea what I’m talking about. Anyway, while we’re at it, here’s Roland Boer with a great comment on bizarro Tolkienism in Britain. In regard to Milbank’s ideal implementation of a Tolkienized “distant monarchy” he writes:
Maclagan argues that the tories are really implementing the red tory/blue labour dream, but the dream has become a nightmare. In other words, if we deploy Maclagan’s laughable model for the UK, Tolkien’s ‘shire’, we see that the hobbits have become orcs, Gandalf is actually Sauron.
And I would gather that Maclagan himself, the lonely halfling tasked with the unenviable charge of saving the world from the ubiquitous threat of nihilism, will actually fail in the exact way those at the council of Elrond feared, by bringing the ring straight to Sauron, for he will not be able to tell one wizard from another.