Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Liberal Theology by Peter C. Hodgson

One of my favorite contemporary theologians, if not the favorite, is Peter C. Hodgson recent of Vanderbilt. He has another new book out, a slim one, geared in most part to general audiences I think without dumbing things down. It is called simply enough Liberal Theology: A Radical Vision. http://www.amazon.com/Liberal-Theology-Peter-C-Hodgson/dp/0800638980/ref=sr_1_1/103-2053416-6979018?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1191424736&sr=8-1. At the heart of his theology is freedom. Here he focuses his constructive theology down to freedom manifest in God, in the universe, and in humanity's struggle for liberation. He should be read by all UUs looking for a unifying vision for our theology--God works in freedom; part of that freedom comes in story form in different ways, for me the story of Jesus for others the story of evolution/science, others the story of Buddha, but it is the committment and challenge of freedom that creates the boundaries of our family, our tradition, our current covenant. So we need to understand the theology of freedom, how it works, what it isn't. Hodgson is so helpful here.

I did my own constructive theological paper in relationship to his and so I am biased, but also chagrined that so few UUs, so few liberal Christians, know of his contribution through the years. I will do some excerpting from it later, just wanted to issue an alert about the book. Especially if you liked Gary Dorrien's trilogy (see my earlier posts on it from 2006) and his historical comments and opinions on liberal theology, you will enjoy see them applied by Hodgson. If there is a caution, it is that Hodgson has an unapologetic philosophical theology, and owes much to Hegel. This can be daunting, but try him anyway; I think his arguements are getting better. Since so much of this blog is aimed at incarnating in new communities new theology, or old theology newly reframed, it is good to pause every so often and reflect on such new theological work, and understand its imperative for our getting new communities planted.