Practicing The Passion Of Pentecost

Practicing The Passion Of Pentecost

Click to join the conversation with over 500,000 Pentecostal believers and scholars

Click to get our FREE MOBILE APP and stay connected



| PentecostalTheology.com

Pneuma 43 (2021) 43–71

Practicing the Passion of Pentecost Re-envisioning Pentecostal Eschatology through the Anatheistic Sacramentality of Richard Kearney

Monte Lee Rice | orcid: 0000-0002-2237-819X Asia Pacific Theological Seminary, Singapore, Singapore [email protected]

Abstract

Scholars are steadily situating Pentecostal Theology within the embodiment turn, recog- nizing its foci as imperative to ongoing twenty-first-century pentecostal/charismatic studies. Yet this enjoins greater movement beyond the earlier “linguistic turn,” which too often overlooked the crucial perspectival role of human flesh. For from the hori- zons of incarnation and Pentecost, Christian faith propagates God’s turn toward flesh. This suggest that pentecostal spirituality generates an eschatological urgency. Foster- ing this “urgency” into the twenty-first century, however, requires recasting its source and expression within pentecostal spirituality. Drawing from Acts 2:17 (“I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh”), this essay explores how this turn to the flesh might aptly ground and generate eschatological fervor. Doing so, however, exposes deficiencies with pentecostal sacramentality, recognizing links between it and eschatology. The essay addresses this by engaging Kearney’s “anatheistic sacramentality.” It concludes with several implications with particular attention to the violent tragedy of world hunger.

Keywords

Acts – embodiment – eschatology – hospitality – Pentecost – Richard Kearney – sacramentality – violence

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, 2021 | doi:10.1163/15700747-bja10015

1

44

rice

1 Introduction

Across academic fields, contemporary scholarship exhibits an increasing turn to issues of embodiment and how this methodically factors within a given research scope.1 Conversely, scholars are steadily situating Pentecostal Theology within this turn. For the bodily kinesthetic qualities, ritual expressions, and tac- tile practices of Pentecostalism convincingly demonstrate that embodiment issues are imperative foci to ongoing twenty-first-century pentecostal/charis- matic studies.2 Moreover, studies have observed in these an efficacy toward shalomic flourishing.3 For notwithstanding its failings, world Pentecostalism at its best—insofar as its varied discourse communities discursively will them- selves toward Pentecost as their “core theological symbol”4—demonstrates a unique vision grounded in an “eschatological orientation to mission and jus- tice” for a more equitably flourishing world order.5

I have thus far tersely specified the promising potential of pentecostal em- bodiment for our century and beyond. But in view of the painful realities of racism and race-based populist nationalism that over these past years signifi- cantly haunts both popular and scholarly discourse worldwide, I find myself increasingly drawn to Willie James Jennings’s watershed thesis about a “dis- eased social imagination,” spawned from the former Western colonialist era, that has sense plagued modern Christianity, specifically impending practiced theologies of embodied flourishing that robustly envision the saving promise of Pentecost.6 More pointedly, a “racialized” construal of human “bodies” effect-

1 Cognitive science is highly influential, for it establishes a thorough mutual causality between

the body and mind; Raymond W. Gibbs, Jr., Embodiment and Cognitive Science (Cambridge:

Cambridge University Press, 2005), 1–13; Mark Johnson, Embodied Mind, Meaning, and Rea-

son: How Our Bodies Give Rise to Understanding (Chicago: The University of Chicago Press,

2017), 1–34.

2 Michael Wilkinson and Peter Althouse, eds., Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion, vol. 8:

Pentecostals and the Body (Leiden: Brill, 2017). Especially note the essays by Wilkinson and

Althouse, “Social Theory, Religion and the Body,” 1–14 (2) and Michael Wilkinson, “Pente-

costalism, the Body, and Embodiment,” 17–35 (17–21).

3 Later in this essay I shall reference relevant research when reviewingWolfgangVondey’s work

on pentecostal sacramentality.

4 Wolfgang Vondey, Pentecostal Theology: Living the Full Gospel (London: Bloomsbury, 2017), 1,

11–12, 283–291.

5 James K.A. Smith, Speaking in Tongues: Pentecostal Contributions to Christian Philosophy

(Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010), 41–43, 44–46, 60–61; Vondey, Pentecostal Theology, 119–121,

201, 216–220.

6 Willie James Jennings, The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race (New

Haven: Yale University Press, 2010), 6–7, 265–271, 289–294; Jennings, “Theology and Race,”

Pneuma 43 (2021) 43–71

2

practicing the passion of pentecost

45

ing anaemic visions of flourishing, discursively rampant throughout the global apparatus of Christian theological discourse through its historically seminated, normalizing ideology of “whiteness” as a universal telos of human salvation.7 Herein moreover, Jennings argues, lies the primary root to an array of destruc- tive forces (for example, racism, sexism, patriarchy, nationalism, poverty, plan- etary exploitation, and so forth) that violently characterize our world today.8

I must therefore also stress how varied contemporary vicissitudes are freshly awakening many of us to their deeply entrenched, formative power operat- ing within world Christianity; indelibly consequent, as Jennings well demon- strates, to the historic “colonialist moment” of former European imperialist, hegemonically-willed expansion worldwide.9 With Jennings, however, I must stress that this anemia cannot be simply registered as solely a Western or Anglo/European matter, as the earlier “colonial moment” and ongoing pro- cess of globalization have indelibly formed local expressions of Christian life and theology worldwide.10 Yet more pointedly, my concern is how world Pen- tecostalism must conversely labor through this inferred task of decoloniza- tion, insofar and howsoever its vision of Pentecost also pathologically suf- fers through the aftermath of Western colonialism and its consequent White- ness ideologies11 that formidably fuels patriarchally rooted will(s) to hege-

7

8 9 10 11

in The Routledge Companion to Modern Christian Thought, ed. Chad Meister and James Beilby (London: Routledge, 2013), 783–794 (794).

Jennings,TheChristianImagination, 6–7, 241–249, 285–286, 293–294; “Theology and Race,” 786–789, 792; Jennings, “Can White People Be Saved? Reflections on the Relationship of Missions andWhiteness,” inCan‘White’PeopleBeSaved?TriangulatingRace,Theology,and Mission, ed. Love L. Sechrest, Johnny Ramírez-Johnson, and Amos Yong (Downers Grove: ivp Academic, 2018), 27–43 (28–32, 38). As an ongoing fallout of Western colonialism, I define “Whiteness” as social/political structures that continue producing realities of: 1. raced-based privilege, specifically, those of “White”-race descent; and 2. systemic racism embedded within those structures. A third facet I would add is that the culture of White- ness strives to assimilate and thus “normalize” non-Whites within its idealized culture of White European heritage. For a similar definition, see Johnny Ramírez-Johnson and Love L. Sechrest, “Introduction: Race and Missiology in Glocal Perspective,” inCan ‘White’ Peo- ple Be Saved?1–24 (12–14).

Jennings,The Christian Imagination, 292–293; Jennings, “Can White People Be Saved?,” 28. Jennings,The Christian Imagination, 8; Jennings, “Theology and Race,” 784.

Jennings, “Theology and Race,” 792.

Allan Anderson, An Introduction to Pentecostalism: Global Charismatic Christianity(Cam- bridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 166–170; Anderson, Spreading Fires: The Mis- sionary Nature of Early Pentecostalism(London:scmPress, 2007), 5–8, 31–32; Chris Green, “The Spirit that Makes Us (Number) One: Racism, Tongues, and the Evidences of Spirit Baptism,”Pneuma 41 (2019): 397–420 (402–409); Nimi Wariboko and Bill Oliverio, “Amer- ican Pentecostalism, the 8:46 Moment, and the covid-19 Pandemic,”Pneuma 42 (2020):

Pneuma 43 (2021) 43–71

3

46

rice

monic power that discursively shapes global theological discourse(s),12 and violence against women worldwide.13 We should thus acknowledge that the “colonial aftermath” that plagues Christianity indelibly shapes local Chris- tian expressions worldwide through the sheer discursive power of global net- works that rhizomatically structure contemporary world Christianity; includ- ing world Pentecostalism.

For such a time as this, there is, therefore, much we must mine from Jen- nings’s work. Though in this essay I particularly attend to three crucially inte- grated dynamics descriptive of pentecostal spirituality that we must assess on our way to a postcolonial vison and practice of Pentecost; namely, embodi- ment, sacramentality, and eschatology. For these reasons, I fully concur with Wolfgang Vondey, who has recently argued that, notwithstanding the intrin- sic risks of hegemonically willed power plays for ideological dominance within global theological discourse, we must nonetheless pursue the difficult and too often failed task of articulating some form of a globally funded, theological “tra- dition,” “identity,” and practiced discourse that can normalize healthier visions, pathways, and practices of Pentecost.14

Notwithstanding the challenges I have briefly described, I therefore believe that as an embodied religious movement, world Pentecostalism comprises uniquely efficacious powers for fostering global healing and shalomic flourish- ing, though contingent to fostering visions of Pentecost that evoke a practiced eschatology for materializing the eschaton through actions willed toward hos- pitablyembracinghumandifferentiation.Whileacknowledgingitshorrificfail- ures, world Pentecostalism can and should narrate how the shalomic potential of embodied practices within any Christian or religious tradition is contingent on how well these practices counter hostility against human alterity, by mate- rializingin daily mundane life the embracing hospitality of God’s kingdom.

12

13

14

169–174 (169–171). We might also rope in here the role contemporary Pentecostalism has played thus far within “Christian Trumpism” worldwide. See, for instance, Leah Payne and Erica Ramirez, “The Christian sect that has always cheered on Donald Trump,” The Washington Post, March 21, 2018, https://washingtonpost.com/news/made‑by ‑history/wp/2018/03/21/the‑christian‑sect‑that‑has‑always‑cheered‑on‑donald‑trump/ (accessed January 13, 2021); Erica Ramirez and Leah Payne, “PresidentTrump’s hidden reli- gious base: Pentecostal-charismatic celebrities,”Religion News Service (August 27, 2020), https://religionnews.com/2020/08/27/president‑trumps‑rnc‑religious‑base‑pentecostal ‑charismatic‑kari‑jobe‑paula‑white/ (accessed January 13, 2021).

Wolfgang Vondey, “Pentecostalism as a Theological Tradition: An Ideological, Historical, and Institutional Critique,”Pneuma42 (2021); 521–535 (532–533).

Linda M. Ambrose and Kimberly Alexander, “Pentecostal Theology Face the #MeToo Move- ment,”Pneuma41 (2019): 1–7 (2–3).

Vondey, “Pentecostalism as a Theological Tradition,” 535.

Pneuma 43 (2021) 43–71

4

practicing the passion of pentecost

47

Yet I would also wager that this direction enjoins greater movement beyond the earlier “linguistic turn,” particularly within hermeneutical philosophy and its predominant attention to “texts” as signifiers beyond the concrete.15For too often, this signified a shift from the crucial perspectival role of sensately func- tioning human flesh.16 More specifically, the past “linguistic turn to the text” too often comprised “a turning away from the flesh—in practice if not in prin- ciple.”17 For from the horizon of incarnation, Christian faith propagates God’s turn toward flesh: “the Word became flesh.”18 Thereby the Spirit of God incar- natesthe eschaton,making phenomenologicallypresentthe kingdomof God.19

Appropriating these trajectories suggests that at its best, pentecostal spiri- tuality generates an eschatological urgency (what Steven Land famously called a “passion for the kingdom”),20 thereby materializing the eschaton through its public acts of service. Yet I also share Daniel Castelo’s sentiment that given the delayed Parousia, doctrinally funded as it was by earlier “end-time” dispensa- tionalist-rooted schemes, fostering this “urgency” into the twenty-first century requires that we theologically “recast” its source within pentecostal spirituality and what our “eschatological expectation ought to look like.”21

Drawing inspiration from the eschatologically framed promise of Acts 2:17— “I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh”, giving us prophesy, vision, and dreams—I therefore suggest we consider how this return to the flesh might aptly ground and generate our eschatological fervor. I find a promising orientation through sacramental sensibilities that we can discern within the ethical-phenomeno- logical and materialist-ontic concerns of post-continental philosophy of reli- gion. In fact, we can situate these concerns and the embodiment turn within a broader sacramentality that twenty-first century scientific cosmology is evok-

15

16 17 18

19

20

21

Richard Kearney and Brian Treanor, “Introduction: Carnal Hermeneutics from Head to Foot,”inCarnalHermeneutics,ed.RichardKearneyandBrianTreanor(NewYork:Fordham University Press, 2015), 1–11 (10); Richard Kearney, “The Wager of Carnal Hermeneutics,” in Carnal Hermeneutics, 15–56 (17, 46).

Kearney, “The Wager of Carnal Hermeneutics,” 49, 59.

Kearney, “The Wager of Carnal Hermeneutics,” 17.

John Panteleimon Manoussakis, “On the Flesh of the Word: Incarnational Hermeneutics,” inCarnal Hermeneutics, 306–315 (306–307).

Manoussakis, “The Promise of the New and the Tyranny of the Same,” in Phenomenology and Eschatology: Not Yet in the Now, ed. Neal DeRoo and John Panteleimon Manoussakis (Surrey: Ashgate, 2009), 69–89 (72–76, 84).

Steven Jack Land, Pentecostal Spirituality: A Passion for the Kingdom, JPTSup 1 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic, 1993; Cleveland: cpt Press, 2010), 23–24, 120, 164–167, 172–178, 219– 220.

Daniel Castelo, Revisioning Pentecostal Ethics: The Epicletic Community (Cleveland: cpt Press, 2011), 111.

Pneuma 43 (2021) 43–71

5

48

rice

ing and thus further substantiates toward the growing problematic yetkairotic promise of pentecostal eschatological passion. In this essay I am thus sug- gesting what I believe is a promising philosophical foray toward theologically constructing a pentecostal practiced eschatology, oriented toward materializ- ing, through our embodied acts of witness, the embracing hospitality of God’s kingdom.

This argued turn toward the flesh, moreover, wields greater moral import toward addressing from within the passion of pentecostal eschatological ex- pectation the twenty-first-century problematics of global violence and suffer- ing toward human alterity. For example, with help from Levinasian-Derridean philosophical reflection,22 pentecostal scholarship has substantially retrieved from the imagery of “Pentecost” its implicit motifs of God’s affirming hospital- ity toward human differentiation. Yet thus far, it has given lesser weight to how or why such discussions warrant attention to its implications toward human suffering and violence, particularly noting how both Emmanuel Levinas and Jacques Derrida posited hospitality and violence as integrated phenomena, given that opportunity for hospitable action comprises a dual risk toward vio- lence.23

Crucial to their respective works was their shared conviction that inscribed on human faces, particularly those destitute, vulnerable, or in diasporic condi- tions (exemplified by theTorah’s quadric reference to the “poor, widow, orphan, and ‘stranger’”), is the divine command to “not kill,” but welcome.24 So we might say that “violence” begins whenever we engage some form of “defac-

22

23

24

Frank D. Macchia,Baptizedin the Spirit:A Global PentecostalTheology(Grand Rapids: Zon- dervan, 2006), 187; AmosYong,HospitalityandtheOther:Pentecost,ChristianPractices,and the Neighbor(Maryknoll: Orbis Books, 2008), xiii–xv, 56–59, 105–121; Daniela C. Augustine, Pentecost, Hospitality, and Transfiguration: Toward a Spirit-inspired Vision of Social Trans- formation (Cleveland: cpt Press, 2012), 18–20, 44–45, 65–72; 123–124; 145–148; Augustine, The Spirit and the Common Good: Shared Flourishing in the Image of God (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2019), 49–51, 58–60.

Granted, Augustine, who directly addresses problems of actual fleshy involved, human violence, is an exception; The Spirit and the Common Good (chap. 2, “From the Icono- clasm of Violence to Love as the Life of the New Creation”), 61–120. See Jacques Derrida,Of Hospitality: Anne Dufourmantelle Invites Jacques Derrida to Respond, trans. Rachel Bowlby (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2000), 55; Derrida, “Hospitality,” trans. Gil Anidjar, in Jacques Derrida, Acts of Religion, ed. and trans. Gil Anidjar (New York: Routledge, 2002), 358–420 (359–362).

Emmanuel Levinas, Totality and Infinity: An Essay on Exteriority, trans. Alphonso Lingis (The Hague: Martinus Hijhoff, 1979), 215; Levinas, Difficult Freedom: Essays on Judaism, trans. Seán Hand (Baltimore: John Hopkins University Press, 1997), 9, 18; Derrida, “Hos- pitality,” 363, 365.

Pneuma 43 (2021) 43–71

6

practicing the passion of pentecost

49

ing” a person or people; that is, when by not seeing them having a “face” like ours calling for “our moral recognition,” we thus diagnose them “as a threat” to our existence.25 So we might ask ourselves, is there more to what these “faces” signify before us—whether they be geographically near or far—than, as hermeneutical reflection too often primarily nuances, “traces of transcen- dence” or metaphysical truths? For as Roman Catholic continental philosopher Richard Kearney stresses, these “faces” are never merely “textual signifiers” but, rather, “living sensible flesh,” from which the possibility of divine incarnation actually gestures, calling us to loving action,26 materializing the kingdom of God.

Therefore, through this essay, I will raise some further problematics with pentecostal “eschatological urgency” that I find linked to deficiencies with the tradition’s sacramentality. Thereafter, I will further develop my proposed ori- entation by retrieving, from Kearney’s sacramental envisioning of continental philosophy of religion, his “anatheistic sacramentality,” particularly drawing on two crucial elements—namely, Kearney’s “diacritical hermeneutics” and then his “micro-eschatology.” I will then conclude with several implications, particu- larly appropriating this re-envisioning of pentecostal eschatology to the violent tragedyof worldhunger.Ithushopetoestablishhereapromisingphilosophical resource for theologically constructing a pentecostalpracticed eschatologyori- ented towardmaterializing, through our embodiedactsof witness, the embrac- ing hospitality of God’s kingdom.

2 Problems of Pentecostal Eschatological Urgency

and Sacramentality

As a caveat, I must stress that in view of the historic context I surveyed earlier, I do not correlate this assessment of pentecostal eschatological urgency with world Pentecostalism altogether, but with particular eschatological visions—

25

26

William H. Smith, “Neither Close nor Strange: Levinas, Hospitality, and Genocide,” inPhe- nomenologies of the Stranger: Between Hostility and Hospitality, ed. Richard Kearney and Kascha Semonovitch (New York: Fordham University Press, 2011), 242–257 (252). Augus- tine thus suggests we define violence as “an iconoclastic … denial of the divine face in its incarnate proximity,” beginning with our “refusal to recognize the other’s humanity”;The Spirit and the Common Good, 66.

Kearney, “Epiphanies of the Everyday: Toward a Micro-Eschatology,” in After God: Richard Kearney and the Religious Turn in Continental Philosophy, ed. John Panteleimon Manous- sakis (New York: Fordham University Press, 2006), 3–20 (6).

Pneuma 43 (2021) 43–71

7

50

rice

namely, those rooted in past Anglo/European colonialist-era-funded theologi- cal trajectories—that overly construe Christian salvation as primarily a matter of post-mortem afterlife. For example, we must acknowledge that throughout its history, world Afro-Pentecostalism substantially escapes my critique. For whether we look at Black theology, African-American Pentecostalism, Black African Pentecostalism on the African continent, or its diasporic expressions elsewhere in the world, we could amply characterize these as showing forth visions of eschatology that orientate Christian salvation as very much, teo- logically, this-worldly oriented.27 So as I have therefore earlier discussed, we may root the problems I am raising in, as Jennings stresses, the “colonialist moment”–rooted Christian imagining of flourishing28 that has funded anem- ically “deformed” doctrines of creation, soteriology, reconciliation, and mis- sion.29 And as I am particularly arguing, by way of his labor toward a better vision of Pentecost,30 this has thus caused anemic notions of embodiment, sacramentality, and eschatology.31

Having established my preceding caveat, I can now say that to the problem of pentecostal eschatological urgency I find an apt entry point through David Perry’s phenomenological study on how the pentecostal experience of Spirit baptism has effectually caused pentecostal mission and ministry worldwide.32

27

28

29

30 31

32

Frederick L.Ware, “On the Compatibility/Incompatibility of Pentecostal Premillennialism with Black LiberationTheology,” in Afro-Pentecostalism:BlackPentecostalandCharismatic Christianity in History and Culture, ed. Amos Yong and Estrelda Y. Alexander (New York: New York University Press, 2011), 191–206 (193–197, 200–201); J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyadu, “Pentecostalism and the Transformation of the African Christian Landscape,” in Pente- costalism in Africa: Presence and Impact of Pneumatic Christianity in Postcolonial Societies, ed. Martin Lindhart, Global Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies 15 (Leiden: Brill, 2015), 100–114 (107–109); J. Ayodeji Adewuya, “Constructing an African Pentecostal Eschatology: Which Way?” in Perspectives in Pentecostal Eschatologies: World without End, ed. Peter Alt- house and Robby Waddell (Eugene: Pickwick Publications; Wipf & Stock, 2010), 361–374 (366–368).

Jennings, The Christian Imagination, 6–7, 293–294; Jennings, “Theology and Race,” 788– 789; Jennings, “Can White People Be Saved?,” 27–43 (28–29).

Jennings,The Christian Imagination, 9–10, 93, 112–114. 143–145, 165–168, 232–233, 245–249, 250–251.

Jennings,The Christian Imagination, 10–11, 265–268, 270–271, 286–288, 291–293. Amos Yong similarly appropriates Jennings’s analysis to problems with pentecostal con- struals of salvation and eschatology in his essay “Conclusion: Mission after Colonialism and Whiteness: The Pentecost Witness of the ‘Perpetual Foreigner’ for the Third Millen- nium,” inCan ‘White’ People Be Saved?, 301–317 (302, 306, 317).

David Perry, Spirit Baptism: The Pentecostal Experience in Theological Focus (Leiden: Brill, 2017), 176.

Pneuma 43 (2021) 43–71

8

practicing the passion of pentecost

51

Pentecostalism commonly conceptualizes this link through reference to Acts 1:8, positing Spirit baptism as an “empowerment for ministry.”33 Perry argues, however, that the past several decades of the tradition’s “shifting eschatology” logically challenges this effectual meaning.34 For its “eschatological expecta- tion” toward the imminent return of Christ35that has largely framed thiseffec- tual cause has steadily diminished36 via factors such as pentecostal upward socioeconomic mobility, increasing affluence,37 and the cognitive difficulty of indefinite expectation of Christ’simmediatereturn.38

Against this framing, Perry proposes that we rather frame the effectual meaning of the pentecostal experience of Spirit baptism within the rubric of God’s love poured into us through the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5), thereby effecting mission and ministry.39While I strongly affirm his effectual link, for many rea- sons I do not believe we should separate the substance of God’s love from the historic notion of “eschatological expectation.” For example, I think Frank Mac- chia effectively captures this integration by casting Spirit baptism as “a baptism into divine love”40 while tightly correlating the eschatological movement of God’s kingdom breaking in through Spirit baptism, as virtually concomitant to the outpouring of God’s love.41

I therefore believe that Castelo provides a more appropriate direction, sug- gesting that, rather than displacing the effectual role of pentecostal “eschato- logical expectation,” our present historic task is theologically recasting what this should look like.42By mining the traditional pentecostal imagery of “tarry- ing,”43he proposes we temper our “urgency” with the broader “Christian virtue of patience.”44 Yet while I affirm this, I suggest instead a recasting not to tem- per but rather to foster our sense of urgency. I thus suggest we consider how we might draw our eschatological passion from discerning how and where God’s kingdom and hence the commissioning presence of Christ our coming king, is breaking into our present time—sacramentally. More specifically, propheti-

33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44

Perry,Spirit Baptism, 150, 157.

Perry,Spirit Baptism, 159, 161, 176.

Perry,Spirit Baptism, 152–159, 176.

Perry,Spirit Baptism, 159.

Perry,Spirit Baptism, 159–161.

Perry,Spirit Baptism, 160–161.

Perry,Spirit Baptism, 176.

Macchia, Baptized in the Spirit, 258.

Macchia, Baptized in the Spirit, 259–261, 269–272. Castelo, Revisioning Pentecostal Ethics, 111. Castelo, Revisioning Pentecostal Ethics, 28. Castelo, Revisioning Pentecostal Ethics, 112.

Pneuma 43 (2021) 43–71

9

52

rice

cally envisioning moments that the kingdom sacramentally materializes, as we responsivelyact before bodily spheres of human and creational suffering.

This “recasting” builds on the amply explored notion of pentecostal “sacra- mentality,” a term historically derived from the contemporary Roman Catholic affirmation that prior to the sacraments, creationincarnationallydiscloses the risen Christ and God’s kingdom, when humanly recognized.45Chris Green and Wolfgang Vondey respectively evidence the most comprehensive effort toward a pentecostal theology of sacramentality. In a 2010 jointly written essay, they argued how the concept well describes pentecostal perceptions of and engage- ment with reality. Following James K.A. Smith’s earlier work, they characterized this as “surrealistic,” suggesting a “manifoldness” to all realities, thus enjoining not singularly intellective but affectively rooted epistemologies for comprehen- sion.46 Green later published his book, Toward a Pentecostal Theology of the Lord’s Supper: Forecasting the Kingdom, which in many ways remains the most singularly focused monograph on pentecostal sacramentality.47 For the pur- pose of this discussion, the main value of Vondey’s and Green’s essay and the latter’s work on a pentecostal theology of the Lord’s Supper is that both strongly stress how pentecostal spirituality accentuates theeschatologicalsubstance of sacramentality and liturgical practices, particularly the Eucharist, and thereby the “corporeal nature of eschatology.”48

Reflecting on the Acts 2 phenomena,49 along with pentecostal liturgi- cal practices commonly observed worldwide through phenomenological studies,50 Vondey suggests we define pentecostal sacramentality as “manifes- tation of the Spirit that leads toward, makes possible, and carries further the

45

46

47

48

49

50

K.W. Irwin, “Sacramental Theology,” inThe New Catholic Encyclopedia, 2nd ed., vol. 12, ed. Thomas Carson and Joann Cerrito (Washington: Catholic University of America Press, 2003), 465–479 (473); Second Vatican Council, Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium 48–51, http://vatican.va/archive/hist_councils/ii_vatican_council/documents/vat‑ii​ _const_19651118_dei‑verbum_en.html# (accessed June 16, 2016).

Wolfgang Vondey and Chris W. Green, “Between This and That: Reality and Sacramental- ity in the Pentecostal Worldview,” Journal of Pentecostal Theology19 (2010): 243–264 (244, 247–248, 256); see Smith,Speaking in Tongues, 80–85.

Chris E.W. Green,Toward a Pentecostal Theology of the Lord’s Supper: Forecasting the King- dom(Cleveland:cptPress, 2012).

Vondey and Green, “Between This and That,” 258–260, 263–264; Green, Toward a Pente- costal Theology of the Lord’s Supper, 272–277, 286–288.

Vondey, “Pentecostal Sacramentality and the Theology of the Altar,” inScripting Pentecost: A Study of Pentecostals, Worship and Liturgy, ed. Mark J. Cartledge and A.J. Swoboda (Lon- don: Routledge, 2017), 94–107 (98).

Vondey, “Pentecostal Sacramentality,” 95; Vondey, “Embodied Gospel: The Materiality of Pentecostal Theology,” in Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion, 102–119 (103).

Pneuma 43 (2021) 43–71

10

practicing the passion of pentecost

53

meeting of the human being with God.”51 He posits that chief among these practices is the pentecostal practice of coming to the “altar” expecting a trans- forming human-divine encounter.52

From Vondey’s and Green’s respective efforts, we can observe value yet lim- itations to pentecostal sacramental sensibilities. Positively, pentecostal sacra- mentality attributes an efficacious role to the worshiper’s bodily actions within the sacramental environment of pentecostal worship. In pentecostal spiritu- ality, the physicality of the gathered community through bodily involvement constitutes its implicit sacramentality.53 Hence, while implicitly presuming a sacramental understanding of creation,54I think we might say that pentecostal sacramentality primarily describes their vision of congregational worship as a “sacramental environment” that emerges from its intensely “embodied spiritu- ality.”55 So regarding the mediating role of materiality, pentecostal sacramen- tality accentuates the mediative role of human embodiment and actions and their potential efficacy toward mediating spiritual realities.56Past and ongoing empirical research confirms this, consistently suggesting that these practices comprise efficacious and formative outcomes.57 It thus also accentuates the epicletic invocation of the Spirit on the community gathered for an expected divine-human encounter.58

Negatively, in contrast to more explicitly avowed sacramental traditions that more readily perceive sacramentality operative throughout creation, discus- sions on pentecostal sacramentality, including the works of Vondey and Green

51 52 53 54

55

56

57

58

Vondey, “Pentecostal Sacramentality,” 102.

Vondey, “Pentecostal Sacramentality,” 95, 99–102; Vondey, Pentecostal Theology, 30–31. Vondey, “Pentecostal Sacramentality,” 103.

James K.A. Smith, Thinking in Tongues: Pentecostal Contributions to Christian Philosophy (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2010), 61, 99; Castelo, “Mediation and the Pentecostal Experi- ence of God,” in Pentecostal Theology and Ecumenical Theology: Interpretations and Inter- sections, ed. Peter Hocken, Tony L. Richie, and Christopher A. Stephenson (Leiden: Brill, 2019), 180–199 (193–194).

Daniel Tomberlin, Pentecostal Sacraments: Encountering God at the Altar, rev. ed. (Centre for Pentecostal Theology: Cherohala Press, 2015), 59.

Vondey thus argues that pentecostal spirituality operates from and suggests a highly mate- rialist soteriology stemming from its radically embodied liturgical practices; “Pentecostal Sacramentality,” 98–101; Vondey, “Embodied Gospel,” in Annual Review of the Sociology of Religion, 102–103, 114; Vondey, Pentecostal Theology, 18, 28, 30–32, 51, 114.

Martin Lindhardt, “Introduction,” in Practicing the Faith: The Ritual Life of Pentecostal- Charismatic Christians, ed. Martin Lindhardt (New York: Berghahn Books, 2011), 1–48 (1); Joel Robbins, “The Obvious Aspects of Pentecostalism: Ritual and Pentecostal Globaliza- tion,” in Practicing the Faith, 49–67 (51, 65).

Vondey, “Pentecostal Sacramentality,” 101; see also Castelo, Revisioning Pentecostal Ethics, 22.

Pneuma 43 (2021) 43–71

11

54

rice

I have reviewed earlier, consistently restrict it primarily if not exclusively to the topic of worship settings. I thus pose the question, might it therefore be possible that this restriction significantly gestures why Pentecostals have his- torically prioritized evangelistically oriented endeavors over such endeavors as social/societal justice, cultural development, and creational/earth care— hence, endeavors that broader notions of sacramentality naturally evoke?59

As Perry assessed, Pentecostals have usually, cognitively correlated their eschatological “urgency” to doctrinal belief in a rapture of the church out of the world just prior to the Lord’s return. This expectancy has thus usually pri- oritized evangelistic and missionary endeavors (though I would qualify both as oriented toward the aim of church planting) over concerns for social/soci- etal justice and activism, notwithstanding the tradition’s impact within these spheres.60Notwithstanding that pentecostal soteriology is highly materialistic, aiming toward physical healing and thus bodily flourishing,61 in many ways, like their Evangelical counterparts, Pentecostals have tended to cognitively understand ‘salvation’ experience as preparatory for “future other-worldly post- mortem existence” rather than asbodilyflourishing within present life.62

As Yong notes, we can especially see this within the “therapeutic existential- ism” significantly operative within typical contemporary pentecostal/charis- matic “praise and worship” worldwide. For, on one hand, this far too often functions as a “feel good” sedative pitched toward the “affective domain.”63 I say “sedative” to stress that the problem is not its affective orientation per se, for this is certainly crucial to the nature and aims of Christian music and worship practices,64but rather, following James K.A. Smith’s definition of litur- gies as “pedagogies of ultimate desire,”65its lack of telostoward shaping within

59

60 61 62

63

64

65

Mathai Kadavil,The World as Sacrament: Sacramentality of Creation from the Perspectives of Leonardo Boff, Alexander Schmemann and Saint Ephrem (Leuven: Peeters, 2005), 86, 306–307.

Perry,Spirit Baptism, 164–166.

Vondey, Pentecostal Theology, 114–121.

Wayne Morris,Salvation as Praxis: A PracticalTheology of Salvation for a Multi-FaithWorld (London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2013), 42, 44.

Yong, “Improvisation, Indigenization, and Inspiration: Theological Reflections on the Sound and Spirit of Global Renewal,” in The Spirit of Praise: Music and Worship in Global Pentecostal-Charismatic Christianity, ed. Monique M. Ingalls and Amos Yong (University Park: Pennsylvania State University Press, 2015), 279–288 (282).

On its positive integral role see Peter Althouse and Michael Wilkinson, “Musical Bodies in the Charismatic Renewal: The Case of Catch the Fire and Soaking Prayer,” inThe Spirit of Praise, 29–44 (33–36).

James K.A. Smith,DesiringtheKingdom:Worship,Worldview,andCulturalFormation, vol. 1, Cultural Liturgies(Grand Rapids: BakerAcademic, 2009), 24–25, 53, 86–87.

Pneuma 43 (2021) 43–71

12

practicing the passion of pentecost

55

worshipers important theological foci regarding the mission of God within cre- ation. On the other hand, Yong stresses that far worse is how the contemporary praise and worship industry and consuming market thereby fosters a “debilitat- ing otherworldliness that disempowers Christian engagement with the present world and its challenges.”66

Meanwhile, Perry also notes the growing dissonance that Pentecostals face toward maintaining the effectual links among Spirit baptism, eschatological urgency, and evangelistic/missionary action, thus transitioning to a more“inau- gurated eschatology of the kingdom of God.”67 Arguably, these developments are tightening the evangelistic and social/societal justice poles of pentecostal ministry.68Vondey also addresses this dissonance through his notion of “escha- tological practices,” defined as church “practices” for enacting its mission to “transform the world.”69 He argues that while other traditions express these, Pentecostalism grants them an “eschatological intensification” expressed through “apocalyptic urgency,” also believing that God accompanies them with miraculous“manifestations”of theSpirit’soutpouring,signalingtheinbreaking of God’s kingdom.70He notes, too, how Pentecostals are increasingly engaging ministry endeavors attending to present-life bodily flourishing,71 adding that their “apocalyptic vision” can effectually foster this aim.72

ButVondeyultimatelyreturnstothe same impasse diagnosed by Casteloand Perry, namely, the steady waning of pentecostal “apocalyptic urgency” given the seeming delay of the Parousia according to earlier dispensationalist schemes of

66

67 68 69 70 71 72

Yong, “Conclusion,” inThe Spirit of Praise, 282. For helpful analysis on how today’s culture industry formidably drives the preceding comments on contemporary Christian praise and worship music, see Dave Perkins, “Music, Culture Industry, and the Shaping of Charis- matic Worship: An Autobiographical/Conversational Engagement,” inThe Spirit of Praise, 230–246 (230, 232, 243–244). Nimi Wariboko also attends to how “late capitalism” thereby interpellates the Christian worship industry for the aims of inculcating consumer compli- ancy to its profit-making aims; The Split God: Pentecostalism and Critical Theory (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2018), 113–120, 128, 130–131; see also Smith, Desiring the Kingdom, 24–25, 93–110. N.T. Wright helpfully discusses how this otherworldliness shapes popularnotionsof “heaven”inmannerstheologicallyopposedtoitsmaterialimplications, in Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church (New York: HarperOne, 2008), 16–26.

Perry,Spirit Baptism, 160–162.

Perry,Spirit Baptism, 161–167.

Vondey, Pentecostal Theology, 136.

Vondey, Pentecostal Theology, 137; also 148–151.

Vondey, Pentecostal Theology, 139–141.

Vondey, Pentecostal Theology, 148.

Pneuma 43 (2021) 43–71

13

56

rice

eschatology.73Thus we come back to the question on whether “eschatological expectation” and “urgency” are effectually and constitutively integral to pen- tecostal spirituality. I have been arguing that it is, though our contemporary setting enjoins us rather toward a more carnal grounding of our “eschatologi- cal urgency.”

3 Sacramental Sensibilities in Post-Continental Philosophy

of Religion

Therefore, my suggested recasting of pentecostal eschatological fervor car- nally grounds it and its resultant practices on the very promise of Pentecost: Spirit immanentizing flesh. As earlier noted, I find a promising philosophi- cal orientation for funding this move in the sacramental sensibilities of the post-continental philosophy of religion. I should thus note that this argued re- envisioning of eschatological urgency represents one argued trajectory within the presently increasing development of pentecostal philosophy and thick philosophically funded theological methodologies within pentecostal stud- ies.74 But I have been observing that with the exception of Nimi Wariboko’s increasing effectiveness toward popularizing the critical and ethical import of continental philosophy,75 this development presently exemplifies a decid- edly North American orientation toward analytic philosophy, striving to capi- talize on its nuanced concerns for reasoned, cognitively-conceptual precision and analysis.76And as J. Aaron Simmons notes—with which I agree—thus far “the vast majority of pentecostal philosophical work” is generally transfixed within the defensive apologetical contours of “Plantinga-type Christian phi- losophy,” thereby perpetuating, I would argue, the colonialist-rooted malaise that I have earlier summarized (Simmons indeed concludes how it reinforces

73 74

75

76

Vondey, Pentecostal Theology, 137.

Wariboko and Oliverio, “American Pentecostalism,” 172–173; J. Aaron Simmons, “Prospects for Pentecostal Philosophy: Assessing the Challenges and Envisioning the Opportunities,” Pneuma42 (2020): 175–200 (176–177, 185–194).

Wariboko, The Split God: Pentecostalism and Critical Theory (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2018); Wariboko, The Pentecostal Hypothesis: Christ Talks, They Decide (Eugene: Cascade Books, 2020).

Note the essays that notably argue or at least suggest preference for the analytic rather than continental tradition: Christopher A. Stephenson, “Should Pentecostal Theology be AnalyticTheology?” Pneuma 36 (2014): 246–264 (248–249, 258–264); Simmons, “Prospects for Pentecostal Philosophy,”Pneuma, 188–194; Yoon Shin, “Confessing at the Altar: A Call and Response,” Pneuma 42 (2020): 201–219 (216–219).

Pneuma 43 (2021) 43–71

14

practicing the passion of pentecost

57

“the theological insularity that underwrites so much of our contemporary social discourse”).77

Thus, contra this rather North American-sourced, analytic-Plantinganian direction, I am pleading that the problematics I have thus far reviewed war- rant significant turn toward (as Simmons rightly describes) the “embodied material,” though I would add, critically ethical orientation of the continental philosophy of religion.78 Following are several relevant descriptives. First, the continental philosophy of religion labors toward “critical, phenomenological, political, and cultural analyses of religious beliefs and practices” within human life.79 It thus generally approaches theism or transcendence with respect to embodied life and its vicissitudes.80 Among foundational influences, I find most pertinent Levinas’s stress on ethical practice toward human alterity in religion and Derrida’s justice orientation via his deconstructive methodology.81 Hence, its methodology has been generally phenomenological and its resultant ethic oriented toward just practices toward human alterity.82

77 78 79

80

81

82

Simmons, “Prospects for Pentecostal Philosophy,” 194–195.

Simmons, “Prospects for Pentecostal Philosophy,” 192.

John D. Caputo, “Continental Philosophy of Religion,” in A Companion to Philosophy of Religion, 2nd ed., ed. Charles Taliaferro, Paul Draper, and Philip L. Quinn (Malden: Black- well Publishing Ltd, 2010), 667–673 (667).

Eugene Thomas Long, “Self and Other: An Introduction,” in Self and Other: Essays in Con- tinental Philosophy of Religion, ed. Eugene Thomas Long (Dordrecht: Springer, 2007), 1–7 (2).

Morny Joy, “Introduction,” inContinental Philosophy and Philosophy of Religion, ed. Morny Joy, Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy of Religion, vol. 4 (New York: Springer, 2011), 1–16 (3–4); Philip Goodchild, “Continental Philosophy of Religion: An Introduction,” in Rethinking Philosophy of Religion: Approaches from Continental Philosophy, ed. Philip Goodchild (New York: Fordham University Press, 2002), 1–39 (14, 19–22). I should point out here that contrary to popularized but mistaken assumptions that Jacques Derrida’s “deconstruction” concept and links between hospitality and violence are conclusively nihilistic, I rather urge recognition that underwriting both themes was his drive toward “justice”: hence, “Deconstruction is justice,” and justice is not deconstructible; Jacques Derrida, “Force of Law: The ‘Mystical Foundation of Authority,’” in Acts of Religion, ed. Gil Anidjar (New York: Routledge, 2002), 230–298 (243); and “Hospitality,” 358–420 (361– 362). More specifically, then, driving these themes was Derrida’s impassioned urgency toward fosteringattentiontohuman rights against the backdropof global migration,while proposing philosophical frameworks for negotiating global problematics of race/ethnic/ cultural-based violence against one another; Elisabeth Weber, “Introduction: Pleading Irreconcilable Differences,” in Living Together: Jacques Derrida’s Communities of Violence and Peace, ed. Elisabeth Weber (New York: Fordham University Press, 2013), 1–17. See also Nicole Anderson, Derrida: Ethics under Erasure (London: Continuum International Pub- lishing Group, 2012), 1–2.

Clayton Crockett, B. Keith Putt, and Jeffrey W. Robbins, “Introduction: Back to the Future,”

Pneuma 43 (2021) 43–71

15

58

rice

I draw the prefix “post” from John Mullarkey’s reference to a turn within the tradition, signifying an increasing prioritizing of the “immanence” over “transcendence” category, thus further accentuating focus on materiality and embodiment.83This trend thus also explains how we might understand “tran- scendence” operative within “immanence.”84 Yet the immanent turn thus frames the embodiment turn within the emerging twenty-first-century cosmol- ogy that increasingly posits quantum-level, mutual causality between elements of spirit, mind, and materiality, all existing in “mutual entanglement.”85 Physi- cist Karen Barad thus argues that “anachronistically” prior to our engagements with living entities, this causality obliges us toward responsibly discerning our best ethical actions, for “our (intra)actions matter—each one reconfigures the world in its becoming.” Moreover, our “(intra)actions” thereby “become us.”86 To reiterate, our material movements always comprise ethically charged deci- sion points and outcomes that either foster or hinder mutually just flourish- ing.87

83

84

85

86 87

inThe Future of Continental Philosophy of Religion, ed. Clayton Crockett, B. Keith Putt, and Jeffrey W. Robbins (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2014), 1–18 (2). Brian Treanor helpfully associates “otherness” with “similitude,” meaning aspects of things or others that are in some ways “familiar or understandable to us,” and “alterity” with things or others that are “unfamiliar, alien, or obscure” to us. Alterity thus refers to how encountering oth- erness presents us with new or unforeseen phenomena, and similitude refers to aspects of otherness that we can understand more adequately or comfortably; Aspects of Alter- ity: Levinas, Marcel, and the Contemporary Debate (New York: Fordham University Press, 2006),229.Treanor’sapproachthusparallelsRichardKearney’s“diacriticalhermeneutics,” which I will soon discuss; 224.

John Mullarkey, Post-Continental Philosophy: An Outline (New York: Continuum Inter- national Publishing Group, 2006), 1–2; see also Goodchild, “Continental Philosophy of Religion,” 25–27; Patrice Haynes, Immanent Transcendence: Reconfiguring Materialism in Continental Philosophy(London: Bloomsbury Academic, 2012), 1–2.

John D. Caputo and Michael J. Scanlon, “Introduction: Do We Need to Transcend Tran- scendence,” inTranscendence and Beyond: A Postmodern Inquiry, ed. John D. Caputo and Michael J. Scanlon (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2007), 1–14 (7).

Karen Barad, Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning (Durham: Duke University Press, 2007), ix, 33, 147, 152; Davies,Theology of Transformation: Faith, Freedom, and the Christian Act (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013), 47–48. More accurately, continental philosophy is increasingly suggesting a “non-reductive material- ism” that appreciates concepts such as spirit and matter or mind and body as integrated throughout; hence best described through the “paradoxical notion of immanent transcen- dence”; Haynes,ImmanentTranscendence, 3.We might best, then, theologically appreciate the “transcendent/immanent” pole as a heuristic device rather than actual “binary” poles; Davies, “Holy Spirit and Mediation: Toward a Transformation Pneumatology,” Interna- tional Journal of Systematic Theology16, no. 2 (April 2014): 159–176 (160).

Barad, Halfway, 392, 394.

Barad thus defines responsibility as not a “commitment that a subject chooses but rather

Pneuma 43 (2021) 43–71

16

practicing the passion of pentecost

59

4 Richard Kearney’s Anatheistic Sacramentality

Richard Kearney is widely recognized as one of the most inspiring and respected early twenty-first-century voices in continental philosophy regard- ing its so-called “theological turn”88 and a sacramental turn within continen- tal philosophy of religion.89 Since his 2010 book Anatheism: Returning to God after God, we may sum up his key themes as “anatheistic sacramentality.”90 On one hand, Kearney’s project thus falls within the historic “death of God” theological discourse, yet on the other it critically exemplifies a post–death- of-God trajectory, for—working from unique readings within radical Chris- tian apophatic theology—it innovatively aims toward fresh ways of articu- lating theism (coupled with the notion of “sacredness”) beyond both com- monly defined, atheistic (and agnostic) and metaphysically grounded the- istic categories either “against” or “for” sacred divinity within today’s post- Shoah/secular/Christendom religiously pluralistic context.91 Briefly, Kearney appreciates God as posse (“possibility of being”) rather than esse (“actuality of being as fait accompli”) as being.92 Hence, he stresses that contingent to the efficacy of God’s saving power or action toward suffering humanity and creation is the human reply to the divine summons for responsible action.93 I thus feel that Kearney’s posse-grounded understanding of God actually res- onates well with pentecostal sensibilities toward a deeplypassible, immanently

88 89 90

91

92 93

an incarnate relation that precedes the intentionality of consciousness.” Hence, “an obli- gation which is anachronistically prior to every engagement” with other living creatures, human or otherwise; Halfway, 392.

John Panteleimon Manoussakis, “Introduction,” in After God, xv–xx (xvi–xvii). Kearney, “Epiphanies of the Everyday,” in After God, 362.

Kearney, Anatheism: Returning to God after God (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010), 3–7, 16.

Kearney, Anatheism, xiii–xiv, 16, 53–53, 58–61, 72–73; Kearney, “Preface,” in Reimagining the Sacred: Richard Kearney Debates God, ed. Richard Kearney and Jens Zimmermann (NewYork: Columbia University Press, 2016), vii–vii (xiii); Kearney, “Epilogue: In Guise of a Response,” in Reimagining the Sacred, 240–249 (244, 248–250). Kearney more thoroughly develops his “anatheistic” articulation of God in his earlier work,The God Who May Be: A Hermeneutics of Religion(Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2001); see also Kearney, “Enabling God,” in After God, 39–54 (45).

Kearney,The God Who May Be, 4; Kearney, “Enabling God,” 41–49.

Kearney, “Enabling God,” 40, 43–45, 53–54. For an excellent summary of Kearney’s think- ing and its contemporary relevance as, moreover, a theistic apologetic, see Christina M. Gschwandtner, “Richard Kearney: Postmodern Charity,” in Postmodern Apologetics? Arguments for God in Contemporary Philosophy (New York: Fordham University Press, 2013), 265–286.

Pneuma 43 (2021) 43–71

17

60

rice

nuanced doctrine of God94 that appreciates the efficacious role of human action in the divine cause toward creation.95

The prefix “ana” (“back again, anew”) signifies the return, after experiences of loss, to one’s “primal experience” in newer, fuller, and forward-moving epiphanic receptions.96 Kearney’s root issue is theistic: a “returning to God after God.”97 He experiences this as a “loss of God” according to ontological “omni-” descriptions,98 to a more phenomenologically ethically nuanced and ontically grounded understanding of God.99To use the Ricoeurian expression, “anatheism” signifies a “second naïveté” by discovering “ourselves before God” in new ways. More specifically, though retrieving yet crucially differing Lev- inas’s abstracted notion of the “face” (“prosopon”) as a “trace” of God, anatheism discerns calling us through the “concretely enfleshed phenomenon” of “faces from” before us, particularly through “strangers.”100

Now, given that I may represent the first fairly extended engagement with Kearney’s work within Pentecostal Theology, let me more pointedly note now how our contemporary setting warrants this retrieval, particularly given its placement within the “death of God” discourse, which I also don’t think has received much attention. Here I think the key foray is, as just mentioned, Kear- ney’s “ana”-nuanced conception of a “second naïveté” stressing the “retrieval” of something lost but now re-found in some surprisingly new ways.101 Fol- lowing the post-Shoah/theodical reflections of Jürgen Moltmann and Paul Chung vis-à-vis Levinasian-Derridean discourse, this discussion references the metaphor within our “late Capitalist” setting to the death God shares within

94

95

96 97 98

99

100 101

Samuel Solivan, The Spirit, Pathos and Liberation: Toward an Hispanic Pentecostal Theol- ogy, Journal of Pentecostal Theology Supplement Series 14 (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1998), 54, 59–61, 149; Clark H. Pinnock, “Divine Rationality: A Pentecostal Contribu- tion to the Doctrine of God,” Journal of Pentecostal Theology 16 (2000): 3–26 (6–7, 13–16, 18–21); Keith Warrington, Pentecostal Theology: A Theology of Encounter (London: T&T Clark, 2008), 28–29, 33; Kenneth J. Archer,The Gospel Revisited: Toward a Pentecostal The- ology of Worship andWitness(Eugene: Pickwick, 2011), 84, 91; Andrew J. Gabriel,The Lord Is the Spirit:The Holy Spirit and the Divine Attributes (Eugene: Pickwick, 2011), 133f., 156–157; Wariboko,The Split God, xvi–xix, 2–5, 10–11, 16, 72, 195–196.

Archer,The GospelRevisited, 84–85; Wariboko,The Split God, 2, 4, 10–12, 71–73, 79–80, 107– 110, 116, 165, 168.

Kearney, Anatheism, 3.

Kearney, Anatheism, xvi, 3, 167.

Manoussakis describes these as “omnipotence, omniscience, omnipresence” and their produced “triumphalist teleologies” and “ideologies of power”; “Introduction,” xvi, xviii. Kearney, “God after God: An Anatheist Attempt to Reimagine God,” in Reimagining the Sacred, 6–18 (10).

Kearney, “Epiphanies of the Everyday,” in After God, 6–7.

Kearney, “Epiphanies of the Everyday,” 8, 12.

Pneuma 43 (2021) 43–71

18

practicing the passion of pentecost

61

violence toward and in solidarity with oppressed, excluded, or peripheralized human alterity, consequent to the will-to-hegemony indelibly operative within human civilizational progress.102 I thus establish warrant for this engagement in response to, as I have earlier surveyed, all the contemporary vicissitudes I have noted regarding our increasing grappling with historic Western colo- nialism in all its ongoing aftermath, coupled with how these interface, more- over, with the deepening problems with pentecostal eschatological passion and sacramentality.

Though in many ways Kearney’s broader theological reinvisioning reaches beyond orthodox Christian theism,103let me stress that I especially find a com- pelling fittedness between his work and Pentecostal Theology through (accord- ing to Justin Sands’s assessment) his passionate grounding and engagement “within biblical and theological texts” coupled with his evident aims not toward replacing “traditional or orthodox belief” but, rather, atteasing out, I think, the notion of divine summons to responsible action toward “Otherness and alter- ity” that oftentimes gets “obscured” through more mainstream conceptions of Christian theism.104Particularly whenessetakes precedence overpossetoward the topic of establishing the role of human action within the healing mission of God. I believe this essay’s subsequent discussion should make this conviction even more convincing.

Two concepts compose Kearney’s sacramentality: his “diacritical hermeneu- tics” and “micro-eschatology.” Both derive from an archetypical narrative of human-divine encounter that Kearney finds throughout Scripture and that thus structures the primal narrative of anatheistic sacramentality: namely, God coming before us as a “Divine Stranger” summoning us to ethical response and bodily welcome, calling us to repentance (“turning”) from “hostility” to “hos- pitality” (for example, Genesis 18 and 32; Matthew 25; Luke 1 and 24).105 He thus calls these encounters “threshold” events106 comprising the potential of

102

103

104

105 106

Jürgen Moltmann The Crucified God: The Cross of Christ as the Foundation and Criti- cism of Christian Theology, trans. R.A. Wilson and Jon Bowden (London: scm Press, 1974; Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1993), 200–201, 207, 277–278; Paul S. Chung, Critical Theory and Political Theology: The Aftermath of the Enlightenment (Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019), 32–33, 63–64, 311–318.

For critical concerns see the varied response essays in After God (particularly William Desmond, “Maybe, Maybe Not: Richard Kearney and God,” 55–77).

Justin Sands, “Passing through Customs: Merold Westphal, Richard Kearney, and the Methodological Boundaries between Philosophy of Religion and Theology,” Religions 7, no. 83 (2016): 1–13 (10).

Kearney, “God after God,” in Reimagining the Sacred, 10; Kearney, Anatheism, 4, 17–30. Kearney, Anatheism, 4.

Pneuma 43 (2021) 43–71

19

62

rice

Epiphany (Heb 13:2).107 His “diacritical hermeneutics of alterity” is thus the practice of anatheistic sacramentality.108 Recalling traditional medical prac- tices of “diagnosing” bodily “symptoms,”109 it discerns between a “good” (the stranger, the widow, the poor, and the orphan) and a “bad” alterity, the latter meaning a genuine evil willing violence against us.110

This “diacritical” practice represents what Kearney and similar advocates describe as “carnal hermeneutics,” stressing that hermeneutics begins not with linguistic understanding, but with the sapiential (etymologically derived from sapere, “to taste”) causing “sensation” of tactile, fleshly embodied human life (16–17).111As the prefix “dia” (“between”) infers, diacritical hermeneutics is thus a phenomenologically oriented “dialogical” method.112Through it we diagnose the “other” before us, and though we might perceive this “other” as “strange,” we might also discern variables in our “self” that might be causing us to respond with rejection or hostility rather than with welcome,113 or, more pointedly, to discern the possible sacred summons these encounters present us.114

Within anatheistic sacramentality, Kearney’s micro-eschatology exempli- fies a “retrieving” of eschatology “after” (ana) standard “macro-eschatological” depictions of the kingdom’s coming via notions of “sovereignty, omnipotence, and ecclesiastical triumph.”115He constructs this from a “sacramental method- ology” that discerns “the divine” operative within kairotic “events of quotidian existence.”116 Thus, as a phenomenological practice in the form of diacritical

107

108

109

110 111

112 113 114 115 116

Kearney, Anatheism, 29, 31, 38; Kearney, Strangers, Gods, and Monsters: Interpreting Oth- erness(London: Routledge, 2003), 3; Kearney and Kasha Semonovitch, “At the Threshold: Foreigners, Strangers, Others,” in Phenomenologies of the Stranger, 3–29 (4–5, 8). Kearney and Semonovitch, “At the Threshold,” 20; Kearney,Strangers, Gods, and Monsters, 17, 229.

Kearney, “What is Diacritical Hermeneutics?,” Journal of Applied Hermeneutics (Decem- ber 10, 2011): 1–14 (3).

Kearney and Semonovitch, “At the Threshold,” 17.

Carnal hermeneutics thus corrects past continental philosophical and postmodern themes that have approached the physical body as “signifier” within cognitive reality construction (through both the “hermeneutical” and “linguistic” “turns”), thereby bypass- ing its primordial role toward human understanding; Kearney and Brian Treanor, “Intro- duction,” in Carnal Hermeneutics, 1–2; Kearney, “The Wager of Carnal Hermeneutics,” in Carnal Hermeneutics, 16–17; Treanor, “Mind the Gap: The Challenge of Matter,” in Carnal Hermeneutics, 57–73 (58–59).

Kearney and Semonovitch, “At the Threshold,” in Phenomenologies of the Stranger, 20. Kearney,Strangers, Gods, and Monsters, 18.

Kearney, “What is Diacritical Hermeneutics?,” 9.

Kearney, “Epiphanies of the Everyday,” 8, 42.

Kearney, “Sacramental Imagination and Eschatology,” inPhenomenology and Eschatology: Not Yet in the Now, 55–67 (55–56).

Pneuma 43 (2021) 43–71

20

practicing the passion of pentecost

63

hermeneutics, “micro-eschatology” discerns the “eschaton” bodily breaking out before us, particularly in the most banal of settings and the lowliest forms of suffering humanity.117

Temporal and spatial metaphors clarify Kearney’s “micro-eschatology.” He draws the temporal from the continental philosophical construal of “messianic time” via the works of Levinas and Derrida,118 yet particularly through Wal- ter Benjamin’s reflection: “at the heart of every moment of the future is con- tained the little door through which the Messiah may enter.”119 Benjamin’s statement reflects Jewish rabbinical notions of the messianic waiting within human suffering, thereby summoning our moral response.120 Kearney calls this a “weak messianism,” for it characterizes “messianic” events coming to us through weakness rather than through power.121 Here we can readily appreci- ate Kearney’s “spatial” metaphors from the Gospel descriptions of the kingdom as “a mustard seed, a pearl, a reed, an infant,” and Jesus’s reference to how a blessed “judgment of the Kingdom” is contingent to our response to the “least of these” (Matt 25:40).122

Kearney stresses how these metaphors converge through fleshly incarnated loving actions—the extended “cup of cold water” to thirsty people, particu- larly to the “least”—whereby we materialize God’s kingdom.123 He thus posits that the hope of messianic eruption ethically summons our response to moral action, beginning with our expectancy toward these moments,124 which pri-

117 118

119

120

121 122 123 124

Kearney, “Epiphanies of the Everyday,” 4.

Kearney, The God Who May Be: A Hermeneutics of Religion (Bloomington: Indiana Uni- versity Press, 2001), 45. In continental philosophy, messianism speaks of the promise of transcendence breaking into immanence, though as a potentially unsettling ethical sum- mons (particularly via Derrida’s and John Caputo’s deconstructive themes) toward human “alterity”; Clayton Crockett et al., “Introduction,” in The Future of Continental Philosophy, 3–4.

Walter Benjamin, “Theologico-Political Fragment” (1921), in Benjamin, One Way Street (London:nlb, 1979), 155f.; quoted in Kearney, “Enabling God,” 39–54 (43). Elsewhere Wal- ter Benjamin similarly writes, “the ‘time of the now’ … shot through with chips of Mes- sianic time … for every second of time” is “the straight gate through which the Messiah might enter”; “Theses on the Philosophy of History,” in Illuminations: Essays and Reflec- tions, trans. Harry Zhon, ed. Hannah Arendt (New York: Schocken Books, 1969), 263–264. This reflects the rabbinic fable of a rabbi asking the prophet Elijah: “When will the Mes- siah come?” Elijah replies, “Go and ask him himself.” After the rabbi asks, “Where is he?,” Elijah replies, “He is sitting among the lepers”; Levinas, Difficult Freedom, 71. Kearney,The God Who May Be, 45–46; Kearney, Anatheism, 59.

Kearney, “Enabling God,” 41–42.

Kearney, “Enabling God,” 42.

Kearney,The God Who May Be, 46.

Pneuma 43 (2021) 43–71

21

64

rice

mordially open before us through encountering suffering human alterity.125 The messianic moment especially summons our hospitality to those different from ourselves.126 To use Derrida’s language, in these decision-making events between violence or hospitality comes the possible deconstructive “advent” of “Messiah” standing before us.127

Let me now briefly summarize Kearney’s project. First, in “micro-escha- tology,” the logic of Christ’s incarnation is kenosis, and the logic of kenosis is embodied response to human and creational suffering within their fleshly existence. The eschaton thus works through the sacrament of incarnation, for its “logic … obeys that of an inaugurated eschatology.”128 As I read Kearney, his phrase “the sacramental move,” which describes God’s kenotic “descent into flesh,” captures this logic yet “depends on our response” to the messianic moment’s “sacred solicitation.”129 Its resultant outcome is a “sacramental ethics” that kenotically translates “epiphanies of transcendence” into the “immanence of hospitable everyday action.”130 Second, Kearney’s themes demonstrate how “incarnation” is thoroughly an “eschatology” concept, mak- ing our actions the “eschaton embodied” when responsive to messianic erup- tion.131

Finally, as earlier stated, Kearney’s anatheistic sacramentality insists that God’s kenotic aims are contingent on human response, a principle he denotes through his dictum “God of the possible.” This he constructs from contrasting the fifteenth-century German mystic Nicholas of Cusa’s rendering of the Latin term posse as “the possibility of being” with the term esse (actuality of being). From this, he argues that God’s loving action in the world asposserequires our response in the moments of potential messianic eruption. Hence, God waits for us “to hear the call” and “answer thepossewithesse, to make the word flesh.”132 Within this interplay, Kearney thus suggests a divine-human dialogue: “I can-

125 126 127

128 129 130 131 132

Kearney, Anatheism, 17–22, 29, 54.

Kearney, Anatheism, 54.

Derrida, “Avowing—The Impossible: ‘Returns,’ Repentance, and Reconciliation: A Lesson,” trans. Gil Anidjar, in Living Together: Jacques Derrida’s Communities of Violence and Peace, ed. Elisabeth Weber (New York: Fordham University Press, 2013), 18–41 (40); Derrida, “Let- ter to a Japanese Friend,” in A Derrida Reader: Between the Blinds, ed. Peggy Kamuf (New York: Columbia University Press, 1991), 269–276 (273–274); Derrida, “Hospitality,” 362, 364; Derrida, “Force of the Law: The ‘Mystical Foundation of Authority,’” in Acts of Religion, 230–298 (243).

Kearney, “Sacramental Imagination,” 55.

Kearney, “Sacramental Imagination,” 56.

Kearney, Anatheism, 133.

Manoussakis, “Toward a Fourth Reduction?” in After God, 21–33 (31).

Kearney, “Enabling God,” 45.

Pneuma 43 (2021) 43–71

22

practicing the passion of pentecost

65

not become fully embodied in the flesh of the world, unless you … answer my call ‘Where are you?’ with the response ‘Here I am.’”133 Hence, God does not “become incarnate … until we open the door, until we give the cup of cold water, until we share the bread, until we cry, ‘I am here.’”134

5 Conclusion

What I have broadly proffered by engaging the “embodiment turn” within the humanities and sacramental sensibilities of post-continental philosophy of religion illustrated in Kearney’s anatheistic sacramentality is a recasting of pentecostal “eschatological expectation.” Such a recasting is also respon- sively attentive to the decolonizing task and ethos that must, I believe, increas- ingly negotiate our search for better readings and visions of Pentecost and thus human and creational flourishing: namely, one that grounds and gen- erates this “urgency” from discerning God’s kingdom sacramentally breaking out within our quotidian opportunities to act lovingly, with our lives sensibly turned, as Kearney stresses, to the “micro” places where the eschaton sum- mons our responsive action. More specifically, in those moments that the con- tinental philosophical tradition calls the deconstructive events of “messianic” possibility; thus the moments when we must decide whether to act with hostil- ity or hospitality—thereby eschatologically practicing salvation toward bodily spheres of human (yet perhaps also broader creational) suffering.

What emerges is a pentecostalpracticed eschatology, oriented towardmate- rializing, through our embodied acts, the embracing hospitality of God’s king- dom. Recalling, on one hand, Kearney’s notion of “diacritical hermeneutics” and, on the other, the eschatologically framed promise of Acts 2:17—“my Spirit on all flesh”—this orientation moreover suggests a discerning critique to our resultantactsof public witness and service. Grounded in the generated passion of Pentecost, this re-envisioned eschatology thus enjoins our periodic critique toward the “worth” of our public acts,135 that we may indeed bodily enact and

133 134 135

Kearney, “Enabling God,” 43.

Kearney, “Enabling God,” 40.

Following Augustine’s deference to the book of Acts, I use the term “acts” to ascribe a pen- tecostally “pneumatological emphasis” to our “vision of Christian service,” an emphasis that theologically assumes that the Spirit imbues theseacts“with the hospitality of God”; The Spirit and the Common Good, 200, n. 7. Also in this context, my reference to the term “service” calls to mind an understanding of “liturgy” in its broad etymological sense (lei- tourgia), denoting “the work of a people” organizing their lives in behalf of the public good.

Pneuma 43 (2021) 43–71

23

66

rice

materialize God’s coming kingdom through the Holy Spiritactingon us. More- over, as Daniella Augustine notes, these actsascetically embody the kingdomas we missionally practice them for the world’s transformation. For through their “ascetic respacing and kenotic self-sharing” movements, they heal us as well from our own inward turn.136

Yet moreover, this practiced eschatology of discerning the disruptive events of Pentecost also questions how we might best materialize the blessing of Christ as Spirit baptizer exalted not beyond but withinbodily sufferinghuman- ity, thereby beckoning our urgent response to this fleshly locality.137 For beck- oning us here is a crucial revelatory site where God wills “divine causality” for the world’s healing.138 For as Christian ethicist Clemens Sedmak argues, the Matthew 25 parable suggests the “least of these” functions as a divine “source of revelation;” as a morallymatteringplace,139where the Spirit of God is “causally” present for effecting the world’s healing.140 Though a dense statement, I will unpack this through three concluding ramifications emerging from this essay’s preceding themes.

First, as I have earlier inferred, pentecostal intuitions would situate this sacramentally tuned practiced eschatology within a strong pneumatological grounding. Drawing on the pneumatology of Eastern Orthodox theologian Eugene Rogers, we could thus say that pentecostal sacramentality theologically demonstrates the “paraphysicality” of the Spirit, meaning that the Spirit proac- tively“re-befriendsthephysical,”particularlythehumanbodytoredeem,trans- figure, and exceed it (Acts 2:17–18).141 This is why Pentecost and all Christian experiences of Spirit baptism are sacramental outcomes of Christ’s ascension

136

137

138

139

140

141

Augustine stresses these themes via the term’s earlier athletic etymology (askesis); The Spirit and the Common Good, 21, 51–53, 129–130, 137–138, 159. Also pertinent is Steven Jack Land’s description of pentecostal spirituality as an ascetically oriented spirituality, par- ticularly given its practices of “pentecostal prayer” that generate eschatological passion; Pentecostal Spirituality, 69, 74–91, 120–121, 133–177 (esp. 163–172), 182–183, 219. Frank Macchia, “ATheology of Christ as Act: A Response to Oliver Davies,”Journalof Pente- costalTheology24, no. 2 (2015): 145–153 (148); Macchia, JesustheSpiritBaptizer:Christology in Light of Pentecost (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2018), 124, 127, 342–343.

Paul D. Janz, “Revelation as Divine Causality,” in Oliver Davies, Paul D. Janz, and Clemens Sedmak,TransformationTheology: Church in theWorld(London: T & T Clark, 2007), 63–88 (68).

Barad argues that our actions always ethically “matter” given the realities of “quantum entanglement”; Halfway, ix–xi, 3, 384.

Clemens Sedmak, “The Disruptive Power of World Hunger,” in Davies et al., Transforma- tion Theology, 115–141 (115–116).

Eugene F. Rogers Jr., After the Spirit: A Constructive Pneumatology from Resources Outside the Modern West (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005), 2, 15, 49, 57–58.

Pneuma 43 (2021) 43–71

24

practicing the passion of pentecost

67

as Spirit baptizer.142 While addressing platonic tendencies implicit in many Christian hermeneutical approaches thereby effecting a “spiritualizing” of the “flesh,” Eastern Orthodox philosopher-theologian John Panteleimon Manous- sakis thus argues that the “the claim by which Christianity stands or falls” is that “the Word became flesh.” Thus, he moreover argues that the aim of Chris- tian ascetics is not turning “flesh into spirit,” but spirit into flesh, “rendering the suprasensible sensible.”143 For in this mattered place, the Spirit of God incarnates the eschaton, making phenomenologically present the kingdom of God.144

Second, this essay suggests we situate the notion of pentecostal orality within current embodiment studies while conversely bringing it into dialogue with what Kearney and others are calling “carnal hermeneutics,” particularly conversing with his “diacritical hermeneutics.” Beginning with Walter Hollen- weger’s research, which closely corresponded to anthropologist Walter Ong’s seminal 1960s/1970s-era work on orality studies and epistemology, pentecostal orality has long been described as a physically embodied sensory, transrational, and dialogically oriented way of communication and knowledge perception.145 Pentecostal Theology, however, have tended to orientate orality research on the phenomena characterizing pentecostal congregational worship practices, though substantially demonstrating how pentecostal orality has granted the tradition worldwide, its twentieth-century deep resonance with the world’s poor, who, though often print-illiterate, have found in Pentecostalism a spiri- tuality deeply congruent to their “oral literacy.”146Hollenweger thus called this the “oral root” of Pentecostalism.147

142

143

144 145

146

147

Macchia, Jesus the Spirit Baptizer, 153, 183; 185; Vondey, “Pentecostal Sacramentality,” in Scripting Pentecost, 101; Vondey, Pentecostal Theology, 97, 100–101.

Manoussakis, “On the Flesh of the Word: Incarnational Hermeneutics,” in Carnal Herme- neutics, 306–307, 310.

Manoussakis, “The Promise of the New,” in Phenomenology and Eschatology, 72–76, 84. Walter J. Ong called this the “sensorium,” referring to the bodily sensory modes humans use for engaging their exterior world;The Presence of the Word: Some Prolegomena for Cul- ture and Religious History (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1970), 1–16, 88; see also 22–35, 111–113; Ong,Orality and Literacy: The Technologizing of the Word, 3rd ed. (Methuen & Co., 1982; New York: Routledge, 1982, 2002, 2012), 31–32, 45–49, 67–68; Walter J. Hollenweger, Pentecostalism: Origins and Developments Worldwide (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1997), 18–19, 34, 38, 294; Néstor Medina, “Orality and Context in a Hermeneutical Key: Toward a Latina/o-Canadian Pentecostal Life-Narrative Hermeneutics,” PentecoStudies 14, no. 1 (2015): 97–123 (114).

Walter J. Hollenweger,The Pentecostals(London:scmPress, 1972; Peabody, MA: Hendrick- son, 1988), 457–467; Hollenweger, Pentecostalism, 20, 33–34, 196, 198, 270, 273, 293. Hollenweger, Pentecostalism, 19–23.

Pneuma 43 (2021) 43–71

25

68

rice

Yet, noting that pentecostal sacramentality seems too categorically re- stricted to the tradition’s worship practices, Kearney’s “diacritical hermeneu- tic” challenges us to a better missional orientation. I thus also argue that a pentecostal “diacritical” or “carnal”-oriented hermeneutic should be “sensibly” (referring to sensory phenomena) discerning God’s “divine causality” presently operative within specific situations of human embodied life as well as through- out the world within acute settings of violence, hostility, and suffering.148Con- versely, pentecostal/charismatic Christianity proffers to Kearney’s anatheis- tic sacramentality and the notion of carnal hermeneutics a pneumatologi- cally rich and charismatic orientation that it could benefit from through this exchange.

Third, this essay’s broad themes closely dovetails with similar methodologi- cal premises and outcomes characterizing the “Transformation Theology” ori- entation of Roman Catholic theologian Oliver Davies, philosophical theologian Paul D. Janz, and Christian ethicist Clemens Sedmak. This confluence proba- bly stems from my past and ongoing affinity with their shared efforts. In fact, a 2015 issue of the Journal of Pentecostal Theology extensively explored this orientation as a promising conversation partner with pentecostal theology.149 Transformation Theology is a triadically integrated “doctrinal,” “methodolog- ical,” and “ethical” reflection oriented toward a confessed belief that divine revelation vis-à-vis the ascended Christ is materially present—incarnationally as an “embodied reality”—within our existing space and time, causing its trans- formation toward God’s eschatological aims as the New Creation.150

148

149

150

Paul D. Janz, “Revelation as Divine Causality,” in Davies et al., Transformation Theology, 63–88 (68–69, 76–78).

Castelo, “Transformation and Pentecostal Theology,” Journal of Pentecostal Theology 24 (2015): 137–144.

Oliver Davies, Paul D. Janz, and Clemens Sedmak, “Prologue: Transformation Theology,” in Davies et al.,Transformation Theology, 1–8; Davies,Theology of Transformation, 60. The “doctrinal” refers to Davies’s Christology of the ascended commissioning Christ, bodily or incarnate present within the church and beyond in suffering humanity;Theology of Trans- formation, 3, 18, 54–55, 58–62, 68–70, 85–86, 126–127; Davies, “The Interrupted Body,” in Davies et al., Transformation Theology, 37–59 (44, 47–53). The “methodical”: Janz’s “reve- lation as divine causality” dictum, positing “sensible human embodiment” and the world as “indispensable” sites of divine transcendence, and thus also theological authority and accountability; “Revelation as Divine Causality,” in Davies et al.,Transformation Theology, 63–88 (76–84); Davies,The Command of Grace: A New Theological Apologetics (London: T &T Clark, 2009), 54, 118, 132, 137, 139, 141, 144. And the “ethical” refers to Sedmak’s stress that Christian ethics is primarily not “conceptual” articulation but a “causal” praxis demand- ing the practitioners’ sensible encounter with actual bodily suffering and tragedy; “The Disruptive Power of World Hunger,” 115–141 (115–116); Davies, “The Wound of Knowledge:

Pneuma 43 (2021) 43–71

26

practicing the passion of pentecost

69

Moreover, Transformation Theology correspondingly emerges from engag- ing continental immanentist-phenomenological themes151 yet more deeply still, increasing scientific understandings of mind/spirit and physical material- ity as integrated in mutual causality.152 Presuming this cosmology, it thus sub- stantiates the “pentecostal witness” to the “objective” and thus “material aims” (Acts 2:33, “what you see and hear”) of Pentecost; for the Spirit comes to semi- nally transform not our spirit or mind but, rather, matter into new creation.153 I must also add that Transformation Theology thereby further suggests how we can indeed draw our eschatological passion from discerning the commission of Christ calling us to action toward suffering humanity; that his kingdom may sacramentally erupt through our actions, thereby grounding our “passion” to the “disruptive urgency” of varied yet tragic forms of bodily suffering world- wide.154With an eye toward Jesus’s word, “whatever you did for … these … you did for me” (Matt 25:40), this orientation suggests, then, that suffering humans theologically reveal God’s causative presence in the world aimed also toward our owntransformation—contingent to how rightly we respond to their suffer- ing.155

Finally, we must not construe this practiced eschatology as merely discern- ing how the eschaton waits for us, but rather as a practiced “naming” to grave violence worldwide. For underlying this study is the conviction that a crucial formational outcome of pentecostal orality-rooted liturgical ascetics is bodily healing from our inward turn, making us outward-facing, primed for tactile union with God’s mission to heal creation. Hence, contingent to the integrity of Christian liturgical ascetics are how well they capacitate us for loving action in the world.

Emerging from this essay’s thrust is one worthwhile ascetical practice that can involve us as loving agents of “divine causality,” even when living far outside their proximity.156 I draw this from Sedmak’s effort toward delineating ethical implications of Transformation Theology for world hunger and acute material

151 152 153

154

155

156

Epistemic Mercy and World Hunger,” in Davies et al., Transformation Theology, 142–166 (145, 150–151, 160–161).

Davies,Theology of Transformation, 199–200, 216–217.

Davies,Theology of Transformation, 12–14, 29–30, 48–52.

Davies, “Transformation Theology and Pentecostalism,” Journal of Pentecostal Theology, 172–186 (176–177).

Sedmak, “The Disruptive Power of World Hunger,” 135–136; Sedmak, “The Wound of Knowledge,” in Davies et al.,Transformation Theology, 150.

Janz, “Revelation as Divine Causality,” in Davies et al.,Transformation Theology, 68, 76–82; Sedmak, “The Disruptive Power of World Hunger,” 115–116.

Sedmak, “The Wound of Knowledge,” 154.

Pneuma 43 (2021) 43–71

27

70

rice

poverty, which, if we accept his assessment that its existence always impli- cates ourselves as well, we might name a “violence” against humanity.157 As Sedmak argues, at a very basic level we can causally involve ourselves through the Christian—and I would stress historic—pentecostal liturgical practice of fasting.

For as Sedmak explains in the specific cases of world hunger and material poverty, it is one thing to have a “non-wounded” though well informed con- ceptual comprehension of global sufferings. Yet it is another to sensibly gain, throughourownbodilydeprivation,a“personalknowledge”thatcomprisesthe power to disrupt our conceptual awareness with the divine summons implicit within this pain, to act morally and lovingly158—hence, to take small steps toward extending the “boundaries of our self” in ways that make us “epistem- ically vulnerable”159 and thus postured toward the “disruptive power of divine causality.”160 For if regularly practiced, fasting can familiarize us with hunger pains, so that at least in some small ways those pains can create in us compas- sion, which may generate greater action.161

This practiced food deprivation, may thus ready us for the “disruptive” and thus “deconstructive” event of world hunger, turning us to Christ, who, among the poor and hungry of the world, summons us to act lovingly, mercifully, and justly for the world’s healing (1John 3:18). More immediately, it thus transforms us into compassionate people, feeling a growing kinship with global pain. We may extrapolate this logic to a plethora of other endemic suffering and violence whether near or across the world.

To conclude, from within bodily suffering worldwide, Christ our coming king commissions us to action. There are people who need miracles from “heaven” that can “part the red seas” before them. Yet on us comes the Spirit of Christ, that we may cause these miracles. For as Karl Rahner earlier stressed, ever since the incarnation, our coming to “the God whom we confess in Christ” contingently comprises our kenotically causing union to him within suffering humanity.162Hence, the closer wesensiblymove to the world’s pain—to cause justice, mercy, and healing—the closer we move to God in his mission to heal

157 158

159 160 161 162

Sedmak, “the Disruptive Power of World Hunger,” 125–129, 156.

Sedmak, “The Disruptive Power of World Hunger,”; Sedmak, “The Wound of Knowledge,” 148–156.

Sedmak, “The Wound of Knowledge,” 149.

Sedmak, “The Wound of Knowledge,” 155–156.

Sedmak, “The Wound of Knowledge,” 162.

Karl Rahner, Foundations of Christian Faith: An Introduction to the Idea of Christianity, trans.WilliamV. Dych (NewYork: Crossroad, 1987), 226; see also Janz, “Revelation as Divine Causality,” 85–86.

Pneuma 43 (2021) 43–71

28

practicing the passion of pentecost

71

the world.163We might also conclude that if little we do evertouchesthe world’s poor—or causes them to touch us—we know nothing about Pentecost (1Cor 13).

163

Sedmak, “The Wound of Knowledge,” 162–163; Janz, “Revelation as Divine Causality,” 86. See also Augustine,The Spirit and the Common Good, 153–154.

Pneuma 43 (2021) 43–71

29

Be first to comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.