Art by Haven Herrin
Art by Haven Herrin
1.1.2022

Where the Light Gets In

Primordial Goodness, Excluding the Middle, and Searching for Hope in 2022

Miroslav Volf

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Flowers, light, darkness, trees
Art by Haven Herrin
Episode No. 100
1.1.2022

Where the Light Gets In

Primordial Goodness, Excluding the Middle, and Searching for Hope in 2022

Miroslav Volf

Heading
1.1.2022

Where the Light Gets In

Primordial Goodness, Excluding the Middle, and Searching for Hope in 2022

Primordial Goodness, Excluding the Middle, and Searching for Hope in 2022

Miroslav Volf

,

Heading
Art by Haven Herrin
Art by Haven Herrin
1.1.2022

Where the Light Gets In

Primordial Goodness, Excluding the Middle, and Searching for Hope in 2022

Miroslav Volf

,

Heading
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episode notes

Miroslav Volf and Evan Rosa consider audience questions and feedback about hopes and fears going into 2022. A reflective conversation about politics and theology, the aims of theological writing, suffering and the problem of evil, the loss of the middle ground in our polarized era (and Miroslav questions whether "middle" is even a Christian category), the primordial goodness of the world and seeing suffering with one eye squinted; and whether theology is for the religious only, or indeed, for the life of the world. NOTE: For the Life of the World will run highlights, readings, lectures, and other best-of features until May 1, 2022, when we'll be back with new conversations.

  • Finding light in darkness: “how do we find and recognize the moments of of light?”
  • Idea of primordial goodness, positivity more powerful than negativity
  • “Where the light gets in” Leonard Cohen
  • WWII and joy in times of darkness
  • Chrysostem – the beauty before God of the singer who doesn’t know how to sing
  • Only the Lover Sings: Art and Contemplation, by Josef Pieper
  • “A writer is his life.” – Hannah Arendt
  • The writing process as a spiritual exercise: “What are our true aspirations?” Miroslav Volf
  • “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means, what I want and what  I fear.” Joan Didion.
  • Writing in relation to reading
  • “There are those who write books and there are those who read them”. – Paul Tillich
  • The Burnout Society, by Byung-Chul Han
  • Our cultural problem of “struggling to achieve in competitive environments”
  • The Unique and Universal Christ, by Drew Collins
  • Homo Novus, by Oliver Dyer
  • The Sweet Spot: The Pleasures of Suffering and the Search for Meaning, by Paul Bloom
  • The idea of the pleasure of pain and suffering
  • Martin Luther, Carl Barth, and Jurgen Moltmann as a sources of inspiration
  • Horrendous Evils, by Keith DeRose
  • The course “The Problem of Evil” cotaught by Miroslav Volf and Keith DeRose
  • “I, myself am more interested in the suffering side of things. and I'm interested more in the especially forms of resilience that are embedded or that are there in the Christian faith in the face of suffering, because I think that Christian faith, other faiths as well, but certainly Christian faith, arose out of the situations of suffering and so presents something that a kind of resource that we often leave by the wayside, when we think of it simply as a kind of intellectual problem.” Miroslav Volf
  • Faith and suffering: “faith can both emerge and be extremely alive in situations that when you step back, you might think would disprove faith.” Miroslav Volf
  • "I can with one eye squinted, take it all as a blessing," Flannery O’Connor
  • Seeing the negative ‘”rightly and truthfully and not to be too impressed by it.” Miroslav Volf
  • "is this an evil world ruled by the Prince of Darkness with some pockets of goodness? Or is it a good world ruled by Jesus, the king of Kings with some pockets of darkness?"
  • The negative as a backdrop to the positive. Not pockets of evil, instead a twisting of the whole world in both directions
  • The Church correlated with the polarization of American culture
  • “tend to the beauty of the world within do not let the circumstances encroach upon the integrity of the self” Miroslav Volf
  • The loss of the political middle ground
  • “Christians are unreliable allies,” Ron Williams
  • “How do you expect the Church worldwide to look in 2022?”“I…hope that the Church will not be too impressed by the burgeoning nationalism, which is not simply a U.S. phenomenon and problem, but is actually a worldwide problem. So that we are then finding analogous types of polarizations and analogous types of alignment between Christian faith and politics in other parts of the world. And I think we have to resist that we have to push against the notion of kind of political Christianity. And I know that there are some significant movements both in Catholic and Protestant circles to return to Christendom. I think this is profoundly mistaken. It was profoundly mistaken from the beginning and it is even more profoundly mistaken now and we have to push back. So for me, that means a return to engaged prophetic Christianity in the footsteps of Jesus.” Miroslav Volf
  • "is theology for the religious only, or is such a way of thinking obsolete?"“I would want to hope that Christian faith isn't simply for the religious, but that it is for everyone. It's interesting that, in the world to come, if we are to follow the Book of Revelation, there is not going to be a designated sacred space. That is to say the religiosity is not the most fundamental thing. It serves now to differentiate one from the other, but fundamentally it is an orientation towards, toward God, revealed in Jesus Christ. And that can be a very much a kind of secular reality, worldly reality. And once one takes it as a worldly reality, then in principle, it becomes possible for everyone to be interested. And I think for centuries, that's what Christian faith was about. Any form of mission presupposes that it's not simply there for the religious, but for everyone.” Miroslav Volf
  • This is the 100th episode, Miroslav looks back.
  • “When I think about interviews with Charles Taylor or Marilynne Robinson or Chris Wiman, or for that matter, Willie Jennings or Carrie Day, I can go on and on. Those were very useful and often, especially with Willie and with Carrie, to the moment speaking to the moment in a way that was quite, quite extraordinary.”
  • " Ignore these walls.” Yvonne Mamarede of Zimbabwe

Production Notes

  • This podcast featured theologian Miroslav Volf
  • Edited and Produced by Evan Rosa
  • Hosted by Evan Rosa
  • Production Assistance by Martin Chan, Nathan Jowers, and Logan Ledman
  • A Production of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture at Yale Divinity School https://faith.yale.edu/about
  • Support For the Life of the World podcast by giving to the Yale Center for Faith & Culture: https://faith.yale.edu/give
Miroslav Volf
Founder & Director, Yale Center for Faith & Culture

Miroslav Volf and Evan Rosa consider audience questions and feedback about hopes and fears going into 2022.

Miroslav Volf and Evan Rosa consider audience questions and feedback about hopes and fears going into 2022. A reflective conversation about politics and theology, the aims of theological writing, suffering and the problem of evil, the loss of the middle ground in our polarized era (and Miroslav questions whether "middle" is even a Christian category), the primordial goodness of the world and seeing suffering with one eye squinted; and whether theology is for the religious only, or indeed, for the life of the world. NOTE: For the Life of the World will run highlights, readings, lectures, and other best-of features until May 1, 2022, when we'll be back with new conversations.

  • Finding light in darkness: “how do we find and recognize the moments of of light?”
  • Idea of primordial goodness, positivity more powerful than negativity
  • “Where the light gets in” Leonard Cohen
  • WWII and joy in times of darkness
  • Chrysostem – the beauty before God of the singer who doesn’t know how to sing
  • Only the Lover Sings: Art and Contemplation, by Josef Pieper
  • “A writer is his life.” – Hannah Arendt
  • The writing process as a spiritual exercise: “What are our true aspirations?” Miroslav Volf
  • “I write entirely to find out what I’m thinking, what I’m looking at, what I see and what it means, what I want and what  I fear.” Joan Didion.
  • Writing in relation to reading
  • “There are those who write books and there are those who read them”. – Paul Tillich
  • The Burnout Society, by Byung-Chul Han
  • Our cultural problem of “struggling to achieve in competitive environments”
  • The Unique and Universal Christ, by Drew Collins
  • Homo Novus, by Oliver Dyer
  • The Sweet Spot: The Pleasures of Suffering and the Search for Meaning, by Paul Bloom
  • The idea of the pleasure of pain and suffering
  • Martin Luther, Carl Barth, and Jurgen Moltmann as a sources of inspiration
  • Horrendous Evils, by Keith DeRose
  • The course “The Problem of Evil” cotaught by Miroslav Volf and Keith DeRose
  • “I, myself am more interested in the suffering side of things. and I'm interested more in the especially forms of resilience that are embedded or that are there in the Christian faith in the face of suffering, because I think that Christian faith, other faiths as well, but certainly Christian faith, arose out of the situations of suffering and so presents something that a kind of resource that we often leave by the wayside, when we think of it simply as a kind of intellectual problem.” Miroslav Volf
  • Faith and suffering: “faith can both emerge and be extremely alive in situations that when you step back, you might think would disprove faith.” Miroslav Volf
  • "I can with one eye squinted, take it all as a blessing," Flannery O’Connor
  • Seeing the negative ‘”rightly and truthfully and not to be too impressed by it.” Miroslav Volf
  • "is this an evil world ruled by the Prince of Darkness with some pockets of goodness? Or is it a good world ruled by Jesus, the king of Kings with some pockets of darkness?"
  • The negative as a backdrop to the positive. Not pockets of evil, instead a twisting of the whole world in both directions
  • The Church correlated with the polarization of American culture
  • “tend to the beauty of the world within do not let the circumstances encroach upon the integrity of the self” Miroslav Volf
  • The loss of the political middle ground
  • “Christians are unreliable allies,” Ron Williams
  • “How do you expect the Church worldwide to look in 2022?”“I…hope that the Church will not be too impressed by the burgeoning nationalism, which is not simply a U.S. phenomenon and problem, but is actually a worldwide problem. So that we are then finding analogous types of polarizations and analogous types of alignment between Christian faith and politics in other parts of the world. And I think we have to resist that we have to push against the notion of kind of political Christianity. And I know that there are some significant movements both in Catholic and Protestant circles to return to Christendom. I think this is profoundly mistaken. It was profoundly mistaken from the beginning and it is even more profoundly mistaken now and we have to push back. So for me, that means a return to engaged prophetic Christianity in the footsteps of Jesus.” Miroslav Volf
  • "is theology for the religious only, or is such a way of thinking obsolete?"“I would want to hope that Christian faith isn't simply for the religious, but that it is for everyone. It's interesting that, in the world to come, if we are to follow the Book of Revelation, there is not going to be a designated sacred space. That is to say the religiosity is not the most fundamental thing. It serves now to differentiate one from the other, but fundamentally it is an orientation towards, toward God, revealed in Jesus Christ. And that can be a very much a kind of secular reality, worldly reality. And once one takes it as a worldly reality, then in principle, it becomes possible for everyone to be interested. And I think for centuries, that's what Christian faith was about. Any form of mission presupposes that it's not simply there for the religious, but for everyone.” Miroslav Volf
  • This is the 100th episode, Miroslav looks back.
  • “When I think about interviews with Charles Taylor or Marilynne Robinson or Chris Wiman, or for that matter, Willie Jennings or Carrie Day, I can go on and on. Those were very useful and often, especially with Willie and with Carrie, to the moment speaking to the moment in a way that was quite, quite extraordinary.”
  • " Ignore these walls.” Yvonne Mamarede of Zimbabwe

Production Notes

  • This podcast featured theologian Miroslav Volf
  • Edited and Produced by Evan Rosa
  • Hosted by Evan Rosa
  • Production Assistance by Martin Chan, Nathan Jowers, and Logan Ledman
  • A Production of the Yale Center for Faith & Culture at Yale Divinity School https://faith.yale.edu/about
  • Support For the Life of the World podcast by giving to the Yale Center for Faith & Culture: https://faith.yale.edu/give

Miroslav Volf
Founder & Director, Yale Center for Faith & Culture

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