Monday, October 31, 2011

New Resource for Online Study of Theology and Ethics: Global Digital Library on Theology and Ecumenism

The posting I've just uploaded about Alice Walker emphasizes (without explicitly talking about this) a theme foundational to my own theological thinking, which is among the reasons I started and continue with this blog: this is that academic theologians ignore the profound theological reflection going on in the world around them among non-academically trained theologians at our peril.  Much of the most significant theological reflection taking place in the world today takes place outside the walls of the academy.  

Much of the theological analysis that occurs in the academic context is flawed, beside the point, and downright deceptive, to the extent that it refuses to engage the real-life context from which ideas arise and to which they point back, once they move beyond the confines of the classroom.  As I noted recently, some centrist Catholic intellectual leaders in the U.S. continue, even now!, to ask if there is really proof that Pope John Paul II was apprised of the criminal activities of his friend Marcial Maciel--in the face of overwhelming proof that John Paul did, indeed, know the score about his friend, and refused to discipline him.

And as my posting noting this baffling ongoing discussion about what John Paul knew re: Maciel argues, the entire superstructure of Catholic "truth" that these centrist defenders seek to build with their positions of academic, social, and media influence is shaky, when it is built on a foundation that comprises untruth about a matter as basic and important to many real-life human beings as this.  When it refuses to deal with such an obvious, well-documented truth, and with the shattering real-life implications for many fellow Catholics and those outside the Catholic church of the discovery that John Paul knew of Maciel's criminal activities and refused to move against or punish his friend Maciel, who had surrounded himself with exceedingly wealthy backers.

These remarks are a preface to something I'd like to note now.  I want to bring to readers'  attention an important new resource for theological education (and collaboration) at both academic and popular levels.  This resource has apparently been up and running for some time now, though I've discovered it only recently, through a posting at the Ekklesia website from late September.

As this posting notes, the World Council of Churches and have recently launched a very important new site full of theological sources for anyone interested in pursuing theological issues and current reflection about them.  The site is called the Global Digital Library on Theology and Ecumenism, and is replete with valuable theological resources, including books, articles, theological and church documents, etc.

It's also an interactive site that allows you to register (at no cost) and then, if you wish, to enter various networks discussing specific theological and ethical issues.  The site permits registered members to upload their own theological work, as well.  All of these resources are provided gratis.

Needless to say, I'm encouraged by developments such as this, which promise to extend the process of theological reflection beyond the walls of academies, and to begin giving a theological voice to "ordinary" people who have often been barred from the circles of academic theology, but whose theological reflection is vitally important to what is happening in the world of theology today.  I invite readers interested in this site to take advantage of its many resources.

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