Wednesday, August 22, 2007

What is it Again that I am Doing?

I am beginning to challenge my sub-title of exploring A Social and Theological Cartography. I think that my work is sufficiently theological but I am not sure what I mean by exploring a “social cartography”. I do not have much of a head (or at least background) for social and political theory. I am of course concerned with the social in terms of place, people and relationships (of whatever sort; economic, physical, cultural, linguistic, etc.).

What is it exactly, however, that I am “charting”? As it stands my sub-title appears to be dividing the sacred and secular. However, my guiding image is the quote by Rilke which speaks of the other world which is this one. In many respects my cartographic method is more literary/aesthetic/poetic (with a touch of philosophy) than social (at least in terms of theory or method). Am I charting social and theological realities or am I in the end simply trying to chart The Real via these tools. If I may be so presumptuous as to assume that I hope to chart reality (leaving the term unqualified) then I think it may be unnecessary or inappropriate to speak of my work as a “social cartography” as I have been more or less convinced of the modern construction of the social. I am not entirely comfortable with the adjective “theological” mostly because I do not find myself working alongside many of the theological projects in the blogosphere (I am using this reference given my medium).

Somewhere in the midst of this is a concern for holiness or the sacred and the forms it takes or the forms we shape around it. My guiding image of what a map is flows from the Tabernacle which was embedded in the life of Hebrews and helped them navigate the reality of God-Among-Us. Perhaps I hope to map the sacred. But this too is not right. The most sacred space in the Tabernacle or Temple was between the wings of Cherubim and was an absence. Is it then a phenomenology of the sacred? Perhaps. But I don’t know enough about that term to use it.

Do I resign myself to pursue
A Social and Philosophical/Aesthetic/Theological Cartography . . . of (Sacred?) Reality.

Perhaps all that we end up charting is ourselves, our interior and exterior location (see posts and comments below) and three-dimensional structures (such as the Tabernacle and culture) are built as our maps are further constructed in relationship.
And, if prostrated, perhaps the sacred will move within.

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