Vol 26 No. 1 (2007)
Aspects of God’s relationship to the world in the theologies of Jurgen Moltmann, Bonaventure and Jonathan Edwards [+] 5-24
This paper studies how Jurgen Moltmann, Bonaventure, and Jonathan Edwards use the notion that God's goodness is self-diffusive and the doctrine of the trinity to understand why God created the world and what this means to God. It first examines Moltmann's theology, noting some problems in his thought. It then looks at how Bonaventure's approach avoids these while creating others. This is followed by Edwards’ utilization of the notion of moral necessity and a more complex understanding of infinity to provide a more coherent understanding than the other two, while incorporating insights present in the thought of both.
John Updike’s Rabbit, Run: A Quest for a Spiritual Vocabulary in the Vacuum Left by Modernism [+] 25-44
This article considers the powerful role of language and imaginative literature in cultural and self-formation. Drawing on Richard Rorty’s description of narrative forms as vehicles for meaning, I describe leading metaphors in representative literature of the Modern period. I suggest that Modernism exhibits a cultural loss of meaning, and a “death of God” zeitgeist. Works of that period also show pessimism about erotic relationships. I proceed with a close reading of John Updike’s Rabbit, Run, which was written just as the Modern period closes. In Updike, the protagonist intuits a strong spirituality and finds rich erotic experience. But in the wake of Modernism’s spiritual vacuity, and erotic pessimism, the protagonist in Rabbit, Run desperately seeks a vocabulary to voice his intuitions which his own culture cannot sustain.
Lady Anne Conway (1631-1679) and Margaret Fell Fox (1614-1702) used what Audrey Lorde has called the tools of the Master’s House, in this instance philosophy and religion, as instruments of self-expression and definition rather than silence and oppression. Through rational argument, Conway challenged philosophic and religious positions about the nature of God and his relationship with the natural world. Through disembodied spirit, Fell and the Quakers pushed Protestant doctrine beyond its belief in the authority of the scriptural Word as interpreted by the individual to the authority of Christ speaking within the individual. Drawing on my own experience as both a feminist and a spiritual seeker, I argue that their primary motivation was not political, religious, or social dissent, but rather a determination to walk a radical spiritual path towards self-transformation.
This paper analyses the process of the media in British Columbia and in Canada in the stigmatizing of members of the radical Doukhobor Russian religious community known as the “svobodniki” or the Sons of Freedom. This process lasted from the late 1920s through to the end of the 1960s. A key issue of their protest was the disruption to their way of life in the Kootenay region in British Columbia by an unsympathetic cultural environment—secularized and pro-militarist—which they regarded as the antipathy of their values. Despite the clarity of their demands and the open statements of the reasons for their protests, their methods of protest were presented by the media as acts of insanity. When women led the protests, the media portrayed them as monstrous and unfeminine. My analysis of the media shows how female Sons of Freedom protestors presented a direct challenge to the conservative gender roles which middle-class women of the 1950s were being asked to adopt. The response of the state was to declare these protestors “bad mothers” and to imprison their children for up to six years.
The Bad Side to The Good Story: Vilhjalmur Stefansson and Christian Conversion in the Mackenzie Delta 1906-1925 [+] 77-116
Between 1909 and 1913, the Inuit of the Mackenzie Delta (or Eskimos as they were then known) were all baptized and joined the Anglican Church. Th ese conversions were both sudden and surprising given that evangelization had failed for decades. Why conversion happened and how it changed them—as perceived at the time by ethnologist Vilhjalmur Stefansson and Anglican cleric Charles E. Whittaker—is what follows here, drawn primarily from diaries, and archival resources.