Australian theologian Scott Cowdell explores how "having faith" has changed under the influence of modernity and post-modernity in the West. He returns faith from pious sentimentality and arid philosophy of religion to the realm of "participating knowing," "paradigmatic imagination," and personal transformation where it belongs-as a "form of life," shaped by encounter with Jesus Christ and worked out through the Eucharistic community. This is shown to have been the typical understanding of faith from Saint Paul to the Fathers to the medieval monastic theologians. Since the rise of nominalism, however, modern individuals have struggled to maintain this participatory vision of faith as a formative habitat. Mysticism is as close as modernity got, while "officially" faith was annexed by modern Western culture, coming to share its anxious need for certainty and control-systemic, exclusive, and violent-tending.
Scott Cowdell has written a wide-ranging book, bringing together several normally separate debates while tackling the problem from a distinctive perspective. He explores faith against the backdrop of secularization, the collapse of community, and the encroachment of an intentionally destabilizing consumer culture. He expounds the nature of desire in terms of imitation and rivalry, and the violent false-sacred roots of cultural formation evident in the modern West's many victims, all according to the uniquely comprehensive vision of René Girard. Finally, he dismisses today's growing mood of millitant religious skepticism as philosophically outdated and out of its depth before the resilient confidence of a genuine living faith. What Cowdell calls "abiding faith" emerges asa venerable yet strikingly contemporary possibility. This is good news for today's "homeless hearts"-there is the gift of a secure identity and a mature spirituality on offer, within a liberating, inclusive, world-affirming, ecclesial form of life.
|Publisher:||Wipf & Stock Publishers|
|Product dimensions:||5.70(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.60(d)|
About the Author
Scott Cowdell is an associate professor at Charles Sturt University, Australia and holds a research fellowship in public and contextual theology. An Anglican priest, he is Canon Theologian of the Diocese of Canberra and Goulburn.
Table of Contents
Part 1 Faith in the Crucible of Modernity
1 Homeless Hearts: Faith and the Modern Self 7
2 Faith in "the System": The Modern Captivity of God 48
3 The False Sacred: Modernity and Its Victims 75
Part 2 Belonging, Believing, and Behaving
4 At Home in Jesus Christ: Abiding Faith 103
5 Faith's Knowledge: Abiding Faith and Modern Doubt 137
6 Behold, I Make All Things New: Vision, Self, Spirituality 178