Joel and Dave discuss the fire of Notre Dame. What does the outpouring of grief over a Christian cathedral tell us about the longings of a post-secular age? They contrast this with the tendency to create 'non-places' in late-capitalist, cosmopolitan cities: spaces transitory, ahistorical, interchangeable, empty, and unjust. Unsurprisingly, they suggest that ecclesial spaces may offer an alternative to this dehumanising trend.
Dave and Joel offer an unapologetically pretentious and exuberant review of Avengers: Endgame. They discuss narrative delight; Christian humanist heroes; desire for enchantment; and the joy of the eucatastrophe – the denial of universal final defeat. Wordsworth, Tolstoy, and Homer are mentioned. Spoilers, both emotional and narrative, are constant.
Dave and Joel discuss Paul Schrader's 'First Reformed' - what it says about a life of introspection, despair against a backdrop of cataclysmic climate change, the hope of natality, and the sense of alienation from one's own tradition. Spoilers abound.
Dave and Joel rail against a common line: "Christianity is a relationship, not a religion". Against talk of an individualised relationship, they discuss how Christian religion points to ethical formation for a common life. Religion is something - a practice, an orientation, a virtue - that shapes us personally and corporately, spiritually and politically. Cards are put on the table. Listeners will be alienated. Ministers will suggest "meeting up for coffee."
Dave and Joel discuss what it means to respect a religion. In the wake of the Christchurch terror attack, there have been renewed calls to embrace our Islamic neighbours and reject anti-Islamic bigotry. While positive, much of this (and current) rhetoric does not address Islam on its own terms, instead reducing it to a form of identity. Dave and Joel discuss how respecting religion means recognising the nature of a community or tradition, and the claim that there is in fact a (good) religious end to be sought.
Dave and Joel discuss whether loneliness is ‘baked-into’ a liberal understanding of society and political authority. They then turn to Hannah Arendt’s thought that loneliness is a precursor to totalitarianism because it reflects a loss of ‘common sense’. This, they wildly suggest, is echoed in some churches. An emphasis on an unmediated and personal relationship can mean memory loss or loss of the grammar of a tradition.
Dave and Joel discuss the religious desire for the transcendent, and how this can go in terrible and banal directions, as well as the theological task of making things in the world strange. JRR Tolkien’s essay ‘On Fairy Tales’ provides the jumping-off point. It also provides the name ‘eucatastrophe’. Convenient.
Joel and Dave lay some of their cards on the table, unpacking a few of the basic assumptions framing their conversations. They discuss how the primacy of the self-determining individual cuts across most political and religious thought and why they think that is a problem.
March 12, 2019
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