Thursday, 27 April 2017

An Anglican missiology for #Brexit Britain? Practising radical receptivity by dis-identifying with Jesus

HEALTH WARNINGS:

(1) This is an 'academic' piece - presented to the SST (Society for the Study of Theology) annual conference. So it might not be quite as accessible as the average blogpost on here.

(2) It's also a hastily cobbled-together piece, written just before Easter, with much cut-and-pasting from the recently-submitted PhD. It's got a polemical edge to it - it argues something it doesn't fully justify. So as an academic piece, it's a bit patchy (including in its referencing). At some point I'll do something about that.

(3) It also, perhaps surprisingly, happens to feature the odd bit of sexually explicit language / imagery. If that's something that might offend / trigger you, you may want to avoid reading it in its entirety.

INTRODUCTION: IN THE WASTELAND


In one corner of the Firs & Bromford estate where I live and work, almost underneath the M6 motorway as it stretches on stilts away from Spaghetti Junction, is what we locals call ‘the wasteland’. In the 1960s, Birmingham City Council built 3 tower blocks on the land, which instantly started sinking into the mud – it was, and still is, a flood plain. The tower blocks demolished in the ‘90s, the land has been abandoned ever since, even though many local people walk through it every day to get to shops and schools.


One wintry April afternoon, framed by the concrete pillars that support the motorway, we crucified Jesus, in the very first Bromford Community Passion Play, an initiative not from the church, but from one of our passionate and gifted neighbours. ‘My God, my God, why have you abandoned me,’ cried the dying man – and the echoes seemed to resonate with some of the deepest cries of our neighbourhood. And out of the silence that followed the crucifixion, these defiant words of Maya Angelou sang out:

Now did you want to see me broken
Bowed head and lowered eyes
Shoulders fallen down like tear drops
Weakened by my soulful cries
Does my confidence upset you
Don’t you take it awful hard
Cause I walk like I’ve got a diamond mine
Breakin’ up in my front yard
So you may shoot me with your words
You may cut me with your eyes
And I’ll rise, I’ll rise, I’ll rise
Out of the shacks of history’s shame
Up from a past rooted in pain
I’ll rise, I’ll rise, I’ll rise[1]

PART 1: A CONTEXT OF DIVISION

As a country, Britain – and more specifically England – finds itself deeply divided right now. And estates like mine find themselves, ironically, at the same time on the periphery economically, geographically and culturally, and yet also at the centre of the ‘dramas of division’ played out in the rhetoric of the powerful, the politicians and the media. On the one hand, we see widespread classism and contempt for low-income white people and their perceived ‘culture’ (from ‘chavs’ to ‘Benefits Street’);[2] and on the other hand, we see an intensifying ‘ecology of fear’ and hostility towards migrants and asylum-seekers, coupled to international geopolitical insecurity.[3] Much public discourse powerfully brings these two together, pitting the interests of ‘the white working class’ against those of ‘minority ethnic groups and immigrants’, turning the former into a quasi-ethnic group, dividing people on low incomes from one another, and evading necessarily sharp questions of class inequality itself, the legacy of deindustrialization, and the manipulative interests of the super-rich.[4]

In the 2016 EU referendum and Trump presidential campaigns, political slogans of ‘taking back control’ and ‘making your voice heard’ were aimed particularly at white people on low incomes, intensifying such divisive discourse. They also tapped into something much much deeper in Western culture, as philosopher of language Gemma Corradi Fiumara has highlighted: ‘we know how to speak but have forgotten to listen’, she argues;[5] and our ‘non-listening culture’ has ‘divide[d] itself into separate discourses, which are free from the desire or obligation to listen to others’. ‘Powerful’ discourses have sought ‘to expand [their] territory through the silencing of others’, and in the process determine and define what counts as truth. One response from those on the receiving end is what Fiumara calls ‘benumbment’: a deliberate dulling of one’s receptive capacities; ‘a means of defending one’s own discursive space against the predatory invasion of other discourses’ by refusing either ‘to listen or [to] be listened to’.[6]

PART 2: THE CHURCH’S PREDICAMENT

The Church of England, while not necessarily tempted by ‘benumbment’ as a mission strategy, nevertheless also currently shows signs of struggling with the anxieties associated with not being listened to any more. Deepening economic inequality,[7] a widespread political commitment to fiscal austerity (hitting already poor communities disproportionately harder), and the accelerated dismantling of the welfare state tempt the church towards what we might call ‘the power of the provider’, seizing on the opportunity presented by the Church’s ‘unique position’ to ‘fill the gap’ left by apparently ‘failing’ public services.[8] A deep institutional anxiety about numerical decline in both church attendance and church affiliation,[9] with its direct implications for ecclesiastical resourcing (finances, staffing, buildings), sees the church yearning for ‘the power of the performer’, prioritising ‘going for growth’,[10] ‘new initiatives’, and the need to ‘demonstrate impact’. And finally, the combination of England’s increasing ethnic and cultural diversity,[11] its long-established tension between secular and religious (or ‘post-secular’) instincts, and the now sharply-focused question of national identity, leaves the CofE uncertain of its place in society more widely, but no less tempted by the allure of ‘the power of the possessor’, to be found in a paranoid defensiveness against ‘secularist assaults on Easter’, for example, nostalgic re-assertions of the country’s ‘Christian heritage’,[12] and even – albeit more in the halls of academia than in the CofE’s press office, bold claims that Christianity – in some cases, Anglicanism even – is in fact ‘the answer’ to the crises of modernity.[13] Pragmatic insistences that the church should at the very least retain its place at the table of power mingle with more theological suggestions that the real table of power has in fact been the altar table all along.

To put it in christological terms, the anxious 21st century Church of England seems on the whole to want to locate itself on an axis of passionate activity, between ‘performing’ the Christ of Teresa of Avila (who ‘has no body now but [ours], no hands, no feet on earth but [ours]... [Ours] are the feet with which he walks to do good, [ours] are the hands, with which he blesses all the world[14]), and meeting the needs of the Jesus of Matthew 25 (‘I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in...’).


‘Active’ axis:
A = ‘What would Jesus do?’ / ‘Christ has no body but ours...’ (Teresa of Avila)
B = ‘I was hungry and you fed me, a stranger and you welcomed me’ (Mt 25)

PART 3: ONE RESPONSE – ‘PERFORMING CHRIST’

Among contemporary English Anglican theologians, few are more thorough in their diagnosis of our current context, or bold in their prescriptions for it, than Graham Ward, Anglo-Catholic, Radical Orthodox, Regius Professor of Divinity in Oxford. Ward has described in depth the economic and geographic fragmentation that have resulted from deindustrialization and globalization, and the depoliticization brought about by the collapsing of the political and the social into the cultural and the economic, the erosion of intermediate associations and spaces for contestation, and the crisis of representation driven by the interests of the richest. For Ward these crises have cultural roots: we have all been reduced to ‘atomised consumers’, our physical bodies have been rendered ‘mere flesh’, and our social bodies dissolved.

For these multiple ailments Ward prescribes an ‘analogical’, and ultimately eucharistic worldview, that understands different kinds of ‘bodies’ – ‘physical, social, political, [and] ecclesial’ – as participating in the (eucharistic) body of Christ, and made ‘heavy with meaning’ through that participation. That body provides the ‘new political community’ that democracy has been searching for, an ‘ontologically founded community ... rooted in a sense of belonging to one another, to a social order, to a cosmic order ordained and sustained by God’. Within that worldview, participating in that body, our desire can be ‘re-schooled’, from the never-satisfied desire of postmodernity, which ‘commodifies’ love into ‘having’ and ‘not-having’, to an Augustinian ‘Christian desire’, ‘love fore-given and given lavishly’, which ‘moves beyond the fulfilment of its own needs’ as ‘a desire not to consume the other, but to let the other be in the perfection they are called to grow into’. The calling of the church is to an expansive ‘re-schooling of the cultural imaginary’, then, primarily through performing eucharist and acts of service, overcoming divisions through interdependence and mutual vulnerability, ‘incorporating’ both actors and recipients into the body of Christ. The role of the church as ‘erotic community’ is, in Ward’s words, ‘not only to participate in but to perform the presence of Christ’.

PART 4: CRITICAL QUESTIONS

I want to suggest that there are at least three problematic aspects to Ward’s ‘erotic’ ecclesiology, and that these might just highlight problems in contemporary Church of England missiology more widely.

First, then, for all Ward’s ‘queering’ of sexuality in his work, his ecclesiology emerges as trapped in what Marcella Althaus-Reid identifies as the dominant (patriarchal) ‘logic of theology’: that is, it ‘follows models of spermatic flow, of ideas of male reproduction which defy modern science but are established firmly in the sexual symbolic of theology’. In Ward’s work we see the church as erotic community ‘overspill[ing] defined places’, ‘expand[ing] ever outward’, and ‘disseminat[ing]’ the body of Christ ‘through a myriad of other bodies’.

Most pertinent to urban neighbourhoods like mine, Ward insists that ‘ghettos and gated communities must be entered; the no-go zones riddled with racial and economic tensions and ruled by violence must be penetrated’. He acknowledges that there may be ‘Christians in these places’ already, but they ‘must [he demands] be hospitable’ – presumably to a church which largely ‘comes into’ such areas from elsewhere. His ecclesiology is not just gendered, then, but also implicitly classed, assuming that what is most significant about ‘church’ is largely external to the city’s social and economic margins, perhaps located instead in its cosmopolitan centres, or its affluent suburbs. (He may of course be on to something here, but it needs problematising.)

Third, then, Ward’s writing exposes a perspective trapped in white colonialism. Identifying what he calls his ‘cultural others’, he confesses his pain at ‘Afghans being bombed’, ‘people starving in Ethiopia’, ‘farmers and metalworkers in Senegal and Zambia losing their livelihood’.[15] More metaphorically, Ward insists that ‘the work and words’ of the church ‘extend out ... into the “deepest, darkest immanence”’ of the world (Barth’s phrase), as they ‘go forth’, ‘teleologically driven’, ‘tracing and performing [and here he quotes Hegel] “the march of God in the world”’. While Barth’s opposition of transcendent light and immanent darkness goes unquestioned, Ward does at least acknowledge that ‘[w]e may not like Hegel’s metaphor’, and also that the words of Jesus’ missionary imperative are ‘not only stirring and challenging ... but dangerous ... as a continuing history of colonialism, zealotry, hatred, prejudice and violence ... testifies’. However dangerous, he continues, it is nevertheless ‘upon this basis’, upon ‘[t]his movement in, through and beyond the Church’, that a Christian cultural politics, must proceed.

When Paul Gilroy argues that British (and more specifically white English) identity is entangled in a ‘postimperial melancholia’ which is unable ‘to face, never mind actually mourn’, both the ‘loss of imperial prestige’ and the ‘[r]epressed and buried knowledge of the cruelty and injustice’ of the British empire (itself entwined with the history of Christian mission),[16] I find myself wondering how much Ward’s ecclesiology, and the CofE’s current anxieties, are similarly entangled.

PART 5: CHRISTOLOGY AND PRIVILEGE

If our ecclesiologies and missiologies are trapped in patriarchy, class divisions, and white colonialism, then I want to argue that describing the church’s task as ‘perform[ing] the presence of Christ’ – whether via Graham Ward or Teresa of Avila – is to play a very dangerous game indeed. As critical white theologian Jennifer Harvey writes of the (‘enlightened’ evangelical, ‘social justice’-oriented) deployment of the ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ question:

[i]t just so happens that identifying with or as the central agent in the narratives we embody is one of the broken ways of being toward which white people are prone. It just so happens that being inclined to do “for” in postures that are paternalistic is another damaged side-effect of white racialization. And it just so happens that these tendencies are valorized in the social justice Jesus who is the central power-agent in his saga. Social justice Jesus is like a superhero standing up to evil forces around him and attempting to inveigh on behalf of suffering others. And, thus, while it is laudable that he stands with or works on behalf of the marginalized, it, therefore, just so happens that the broken ways of being toward which white people are already inclined are likely to be triggered, maybe even amplified, by identifying with such a figure. ... Simply put, identifying with the divine is about the last thing that a white person whose life is embedded in white-supremacist structures should be doing.[17]

We might easily extend Harvey’s argument to include males embedded in patriarchal structures, and largely middle-class churches embedded in unjust socio-economic structures. The axis of ‘passionate activity’ risks reinforcing and intensifying the divisions, rather than healing them.

PART 6: AN ALTERNATIVE RESPONSE – ‘RADICAL RECEPTIVITY’

So ‘how can we [in Althaus-Reid’s provocative words] cool down this erection of the logos spermatikos in theology?’ How can we, a church still largely dominated by white, middle-class men, respond to the divisions and anxieties of our contemporary context, just as passionately, but in a way that is much more radically receptive to the gifts and challenges that come to us from marginal places; receptive, that is, to the voices that cry out from the wasteland with defiant hope?

1. Listening to the ghosts

We might start with a little Lacanian psychoanalysis, observing that Ward refers repeatedly to Lacan’s analysis of the ‘imaginary’ and the ‘symbolic’, but has little time for Lacan’s third term, ‘the real’. For Joerg Rieger, Lacan’s notion of the ‘real’ highlights ‘something [that] has been lost or, more precisely, repressed’ in the struggles in Western philosophy between the imaginary and the symbolic orders, and in theology between ‘the self’ and ‘the tradition’. What ‘the discourse of the tradition really wants’, Rieger argues (following Lacan), ‘is the “subject being built up as insufficiency,” a self that it can teach and mould into its own image.’ Central here is the task of ecclesial formation, ‘the production of culture’: ‘to integrate the uninitiated (students, non-Christians, and so on) into the system, enabling them to repeat and reproduce the language and tradition of the church’. However, Rieger argues, ‘unless we can reconnect with what we have repressed and excluded, it will always come back to haunt us.’ What we need, he continues, is a Christian theology which ‘grow[s] out of “attention to the continual tendency of ... the church not-to-see things”’; a theological approach where ‘receptivity, listening, and reflecting are more important initially than establishing foundations and identities’.[18] The key questions, Rieger suggests, are, ‘“Who is the stranger?” and “Who is ‘unintelligible’ now?”’[19]

Marcella Althaus-Reid shares with Ward a deeply politicized concern about ‘disembodiment’, but in Althaus-Reid’s work, we find not the ordered hierarchies of theological idealism but their disruption, a ‘fetishist’ theological methodology, an ‘aesthetics of the fragment’, which ‘foregrounds concrete experiences and material struggles’, and directs our attention to ‘unruly bodies and body parts’, to ‘bodies that refuse their places within the ordering structure of the socio-economic system’ – and often within dominant theological systems too.[20] Where Ward insists that ‘bodies only speak when they are made heavy with [theological] meaning’, Althaus-Reid insists we pay the closest attention to those human beings who appear to us as ‘ghostly apparitions, ... material bodies rendered barely perceptible by economic forces’, ‘poor, displaced people who haunt the living cities only in the shadows of the night’. We need to learn to listen to the ghosts, she suggests.

2. Dwelling in the tension

Out of a critically appreciative evaluation of both the ‘teleological’ directedness (or ‘tradition’) of MacIntyrean communities of virtue, and the ‘ateleological’ openness-to-the-other of Derridean deconstruction, political theorist Romand Coles argues that we need to seek ‘ethical modes of learning how to live that are stretched between’ the two, neither ‘collapsing’ the tension nor trying simply to ‘find the “right” tension’, but something ‘more like perpetual reanimation of our dis-adjustment’.[21] We need to develop, says Coles, a more genuinely ‘tragic sensibility’ which ‘stretches its listeners between calls to the importance of articulating, mediating, and striving toward the highest values of a community, on the one hand, and painful evocations of the unacknowledged suffering often wrought by a community’s ideals (or constitutive failure in light of them) and the inextinguishable need to be transformed through receptive engagements with those a community marginalizes and subjugates, on the other’[22] – a kind of ‘confession’, if you like, a genuine ‘mourning’ rather than an endless melancholia – but one that can be practised only with, and with the help of, those we have been complicit in marginalizing.

3. ‘Flipping the axis’

A third tactic for shifting our ecclesiology towards radical receptivity returns us to critical white theology’s christological critique that I raised earlier with Jennifer Harvey’s work. Rather than asking ‘What Would Jesus Do?’, Harvey argues that white Christians should seek to dis-identify with Jesus, perhaps reflecting instead on ‘What Would Zacchaeus Do?’, finding himself on the receiving end of Jesus’ call and challenge. Also writing from a critical white perspective, Jim Perkinson points us to a Jesus who is put on the back foot in his encounter with the Syro-Phoenician woman, has his prejudices challenged and changed in her feisty exchanges with him, and leaves the interaction with signs of being ‘schooled’ by her. Whether through dis-identifying with the active Jesus, or identifying with a radically receptive Jesus, critical white theology seems to ‘flip’ our earlier christological axis, redescribing faithfulness for white Christians – and, to extend the argument, for male Christians, and middle-class Christians – as predominantly receptive to the initiatives of our ‘others’.


‘Active’ axis:
A = ‘What would Jesus do?’ / ‘Christ has no body but ours...’ (Teresa of Avila)
B = ‘I was hungry and you fed me, a stranger and you welcomed me’ (Mt 25)
‘Receptive’ axis:
C = Jesus & the Syro-Phoenician woman (identifying with a ‘challenged’ Jesus)

D = ‘What would Zacchaeus do?’ (dis-identifying with Jesus)

Of course, few of us find ourselves in the position of greater power or privilege in all our relationships and interactions. If Luce Irigaray can be understood as practising a ‘strategic essentialism’ in her poetic development of a ‘feminine imaginary’ beyond a dominant ‘phallogocentrism’,[23] then from the ‘privileged side’ here I am proposing a ‘tactical essentialism’, grounded in a careful, relationship-specific, context-specific analysis of the multiple (and not all one-sided) power imbalances within any particular encounter between people.[24] ‘Tactical essentialism’ simply asks, ‘which of the many identity markers, or power imbalances, in this encounter, do we attend to first?’ While wanting to resist making any universalising prescriptions (even of the value of receptivity), I want to make the case here for the particular importance of introducing a radically receptive inflection into the kinds of theological discourse that are dominated by the experience of white, middle-class males (like me).[25] To digress for a moment to the film The Full Monty, we might reimagine our theological role less as the brave blokes getting their kit off in public, and more as what J.K. Gibson-Graham call the ‘constitutive outside’ to the group of men, those (largely women) who encounter them on the street, who gather to watch their rehearsal, who raise an eyebrow in the job centre, who ‘call forth’ through their teasing and wolf-whistling, their desires and delight, possibilities in the men, and solidarities between them, that none of them could ever have dreamed of.[26]


4. From ‘body of Christ’ to ‘flesh of Jesus’

Re-positioning ourselves as a ‘constitutive outside’ leads us to my final suggestion. Romand Coles identifies in the recent postliberal turn to ‘liturgical ethics’ a ‘concentric imaginary’ that:

constitutes the borders between church and world in a way that makes the border secondary to an interior volume that is at the center and that only prepares for rather than is itself partly constituted by the borders themselves. This accents in turn,’ he notes, ‘the voice of the church, its service to the world that it “leavens and nourishes”,’ construing itself as ‘the footwasher (but not also in need of being foot-washed by non-Christians), as Eucharistic host (but not also in need of following Jesus’s call to non-Christian tables and of sitting at the lowest spot), and as server more generally (but not also in need of being served by others beyond church walls in order to be able itself to serve). ... It is as if there is a people called and gathered prior to encountering others, rather than a people equiprimordially gathered and formed precisely at the borders of the encounter.[27]

Coles, drawing on Merleau-Ponty as well as a suggestive insight from Rowan Williams, points us to the possibility that ‘penumbral flesh’ – the thick yet vulnerable, porous ‘surface’ that we Christians share intimately with those not-so committed to the Christian faith – might be ‘elemental and constitutive of the body of Christ’, the place where we might find ‘intercorporeal illumination’.[28] Moving beyond the need to either ‘penetrate’ or ‘make space’ within a phallic ecclesial imaginary, a shift from the language of ‘the body of Christ’ to ‘the flesh of Jesus’, might illuminate, as Linn Tonstad highlights, the relational possibilities of ‘surface touch’ and ‘copresence’ – pleasure, as Tonstad labels it provocatively, that is ‘clitoral’ rather than ‘phallic’ in its shape – an enjoyment of relation where ‘[t]here need be no coming-from’ or coming-into.[29]

PART 7: CONCLUSION

I am not sure what the current mission strategists of the Church of England would make of such a proposal, but I would suggest that it might mark the beginnings of a renewed and deepened missiology of ‘passionate presence’, beyond current phallic obsessions with ‘initiative’, ‘growth’ and ‘impact’. In an increasingly fragmented world, swirling with both indifference and hostilities, intensified by the divide-and-rule discourses of the powerful, where many choose ‘benumbment’ as a mode of survival, the church needs to find new ways not of ‘penetrating’ communities with the gospel and the eucharist, but rather of being radically receptive to the gifts and challenges, struggles and longings, deaths and resurrections, of our neighbours.



[1] Ben Harper, ‘I’ll Rise’ (1994), from the album Welcome to the Cruel World. Original words by Maya Angelou, ‘Still I Rise’ (Angelou 1978:41-2).
[2] Skeggs 2009, Jones 2012, McKenzie 2015
[3] Snyder 2012:118
[4] Sveinsson 2009:5, 3
[5] Fiumara 1990:2, quoted in Muers 2004:53.
[6] Muers 2004:54-6
[7] See e.g. Krugman 2015, Dorling 2015, Berry 2016, Hastings et al 2015.
[8] Noyes & Blond 2013:3. See Milbank & Pabst’s bold claims: ‘in very practical terms, it is the Anglican establishment that today uniquely sustains in Britain a parish system that helps to structure and coordinate local life in diverse ways. This system provides a ready-made platform for a great extension of such involvement in the future by reaching further out into the spheres of education, welfare, health, business and finance. Such extension can potentially start to qualify the control of either the centralised bureaucratic state or the profit-seeking free market, both of which began to become dominant in part because of the Church’s historical retreat from its civil role and social action... It is just this extension that can help to restore the Church’s spiritual mission, by vividly demonstrating religious relevance in terms of a link between belief, practice and consequence’ (2016:238).
[9] Church attendance figures are notoriously difficult to find consensus on. Peter Brierley, a prominent statistician of religion, charts a decrease in attendance in the Church of England from 1,370,400 (3.0% of the population) in 1980 to 660,000 (1.2%) in 2015. People identifying themselves as ‘belonging to the Church of England’ decreased from 40% of the population in 1983 to 17% in 2014 (British Social Attitudes Survey). See www.brin.ac.uk/figures/
[10] Church of England 2011
[11] See e.g. Kenny 2012, MacPhee & Poddar 2010.
[12] See e.g. Cameron 2011, Welby 2016.‘David Cameron says the UK is a Christian country’.
[13] Dormor, McDonald & Caddick 2003. Milbank & Pabst name five ‘metacrises’ facing the 21st Century West – metacrises of ‘liberalism’, ‘capitalism’, ‘democracy’, ‘culture’ and ‘nationhood’ – and argue that ‘the only genuine alternative is a post-liberal politics of virtue’ rooted in Classical and Christian thought, ‘a novel and paradoxical blend of two older and nobler traditions: a combination of honourable, virtuous elites with greater popular participation’ (Milbank & Pabst 2016:1-3).
[14] Quoted in Markham & Warder 2016:124, in a section entitled ‘The Christological Basis of Pastoral Care’.
[15] Ward 2005a:135-6 (section 3.4.ii, above)
[16] Gilroy 2004:102, 98
[17] Harvey 2012:86-9, 94-5.
[18] Rieger 2001:106
[19] Rieger 2001:106, quoting Fulkerson 1995:174.
[20] Rivera 2010:87, 80-81.
[21] Coles 2005a:182 (my emphasis)
[22] Coles 2005a:2 (my emphasis). See also Williams 2016:142-151 for a similarly insightful summary into the value of tragedy (in conversation with Gillian Rose), and Williams 2016:112-115 & 124-127, which locates that within a specifically Christian theological conversation (in particular, that between Milbank and Donald MacKinnon).
[23] (section 4.3, above)
[24] Cf Gudmarsdottir 2012:170
[25] I would want to read Valerie Saiving’s foundational text for early feminist theology (Saiving 1960), which outlines ‘masculine’ and ‘feminine’ conceptions of ‘sin’, as much as a ‘tactical’ resistance to a universalising of the masculine conception, as a ‘strategic’ development of an essentialised ‘feminine’ conception.
[26] Gibson-Graham 2006:17-18 (my emphasis)
[27] Coles 2008c:212 (see also 2008c:222, 226).
[28] (section 5.5.ii, above)
[29] Tonstad 2015:106, 136 (see also p.48). Cf. Ward, for example: ‘If desire can only be desire through an economy of distance, then the economy of response is intertwined with an unfolding of distances, differences, exteriorities that pass in and out of interiorities. This movement in and out, separation and penetration, is not only the heartbeat of the economy of response; it is an exchange, a giving and reception, and a communication. One recalls that the word “intimate” in its verbal form comes from the Late Latin verb intimo – to flow into...’ (Ward 2005b:72).

4 comments:

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