Sunday, March 7, 2010

Eugene McCarraher on the "ecclesial fetishism" of Radical Orthodoxy

"I’ve noticed that among RO’s American avatars there seems to be something of a Wendell Berry cult. You’d never know it from the way that they talk about him that the agrarian proprietary ideal is also what fueled Indian genocide and segregation. So enough already about rural life from disaffected suburbanites.

Like all intellectual laziness, that of RO has political implications that are debilitating and even insidious. I’ve long thought that what I’ve called the ecclesial fetishism of the movement is a problem. As Eric Gregory reminds us, the kingdom is much bigger than the church. By the same token, the movement’s portrait of church is sociologically unreal; it certainly doesn’t correspond to any church I know. If they want to say that their conception of church is an ideal, I wish they’d put the adjective eschatological in front of the word; but then, come the eschaton, there will be no church, only the kingdom. Like all fetishes, the church comes to bear an imaginative and political weight that it just can’t bear."

"Meet the New Boss, Same as the Old Boss: An Interview with Eugene McCarraher, Part Three of Three," by Chris Keller, in The Other Journal, January 27, 2010.