Theologies (Plural): Local, Global, Comparative… Located (Process): Oceanic

As you can see, the site has set up three categories of theology: Global Theologies, Local Theologies and this section, Comparative Theologies. These names are problematic, chosen for their contradictory meanings.

Local: I have put “Liberation Theologies” and “Postcolonial Theologies” next to “North-Atlantic [meaning dominant Western] Theologies” under the heading of Local, thus to create a conceptual parity against the European propensity for universalising their claims. The former are in contest with the claims of the latter, dealing largely with the imposition of Western values, language and force on their own localities.

Global: Under Global we have the social realities present in every local society on some level, the near “universal” problems of Race, Gender and Class hierarchies, along with which we must, I now realise, put Environment. These are the sins (in theological language) that have marked the human condition since the beginning, often backed discursively by religious thought. This too is a complex, multilayered and diverse set of phenomena and social relations, yet the results are especially globalised through

Comparative: All theology is Comparative, I claim. Certainly theology is only interesting because it is a sort of conversation or argument, valuable for its dialogic contribution to the society we are forming together. In this light I want to look at “Exegesis”, “Dogmatics” and the “Public Square”. The latter is obviously associated with debate, while Exegesis and Dogmatics are often conceived, despite their obvious context, as static and universally relevant. If exegesis is delving into Bible and doctrine about narrating the insights one finds in Scripture, both are zones of contest.

Oceanic: This is my own immediate interlocutor, my Location, Oceania; where I am, who is around me, the history I am involved in. My horizons are largely shaped from experience here. In this section I have the subcategories of “Australia” (where I current live), “Pasifika” (the island countries we neighbour) and “Migrant”, the last one being something of a leitmotif for the human stories born here and arriving via the Ocean. Aboriginal, Settle-Colonial, Multicultural: this uneasy mix of variously occupied space is a parable for global themes, the work of Comparison that sharpens. “Locating”, or “situating” is a theological imperative in order to listen and speak honestly.


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