Category: Justice

In these panels and throughout his work, Tracy instantiates a tension between violence and redemption as he conscripts objects and places—material objects and physical places—into his aesthetic theology of the borderlands.

To illustrate the centrality of democratic discernment in the fate of public art, I turn to two cases where the voices of local communities have been ignored in decisions about the removal of murals from public spaces on the Northside of Denver, Colorado.

The wall at the US southern border and the wall in Israel are are material testaments to ethnic exclusion. Both walls are partially constructed. Both are resisted and ridiculed by public art.

Life in God is defined by a joyous freedom of movement, a loving and adventurous invitation to the dance of the Spirit. The book of Acts is witness to those who accepted this invitation like Peter, moved to go to a Gentile centurion’s home, thus initiating a new ministry with global implications beyond his ken.

The Trump administration’s most recent actions at the border signal the end of all pretense by the president—and many in his base—that Christian ethical principles should meaningfully inform U.S. immigration and asylum policies. Patriotism and faith have become indistinguishable.

Part of our duty is to generate the publics that we want to inhabit, not simply to assent to the publics that are foisted upon us.

…and they all crossed freely

…and they were heard without initial judgement

Criminal Communion

The social construction of the criminal other has long served as a justification for subjugation. Pope Francis has stated that the people of God can smell holiness, and perhaps there is also a greater need for the olfactory discernment of evil in our midst. Despite the risk of too literal an interpretation of this metaphor, deeper reflection is warranted of the ways in which evil must be resisted.

Agonistic practices of lively contestation constitute a practical way to love enemies and thereby to do public theology.

It seems that only a certain kind of public theologian, touting a certain kind of theology, is recognizable to the religiously unaffiliated as being, well, religious.

The vocation of the public theologian is to testify to their faith and in doing so to further the good news of Jesus in all our publics. At the same time, the aim of this public theological discourse ought not be to colonize other publics for Christianity.

To be a public theologian does not mean to do theology for everybody. It is not a matter of speaking from the particular to the universal, but of dwelling within multiple, overlapping particularities and finding theological meaning there.