Miroslav Volf / Where the Light Gets In: Primordial Goodness, Excluding the Middle, and Searching for Hope in 2022
Play • 50 min

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?” - Miroslav Volf
  • Primordial goodness, positivity more powerful than negativity
  • “Where the light gets in” Leonard Cohen
  • WWII and joy in times of darkness
  • "The beauty before God of the singer who doesn’t know how to sing" - Chrysostom
  • Josef Pieper, Only the Lover Sings: Art and Contemplation 
  • “A writer is his life.” – Hannah Arendt 
  • The writing process as a spiritual exercise: “What are our true aspirations?” 
  • “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
  • Byung-Chul Han, The Burnout Society
  • Our cultural problem of “struggling to achieve in competitive environments”
  • Drew Collins, The Unique and Universal Christ, Refiguring the Theology of Religions
  • Oliver Dyer, Homo Novus
  • Paul Bloom, The Sweet Spot, The Pleasures of Suffering and the Search for Meaning
  • The idea of the pleasure of pain and suffering
  • Martin Luther, Carl Barth, and Jurgen Moltmann as sources of inspiration
  • Keith DeRose, Horrendous Evils
  • The course “The Problem of Evil” cotaught by Miroslav Volf and Keith DeRose
  • The forms of resilience that are embedded in the Christian faith in the face of suffering 
  • The relationship between Christianity 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 
  • Miroslav’s father finds faith as a Prisoner of War
  • "I can, with one eye squinted, take it all as a blessing." Flannery O’Connor
  • Not being ‘too impressed’ by the negative 
  • The relationship between the Church and polarized America 
  • “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 
  • The political middle ground versus the political common ground
  • Nationalism and the Church in 2022 
  • Resisting the notion of a political Christianity 
  • Resisting the return to Christendom 
  • "is theology for the religious only, or is such a way of thinking obsolete?"
  • The lack of a designated sacred space 
  • An orientation towards God as a secular reality, a worldly reality 
  • This is the 100th episode, Miroslav looks back. Some favorites: 
    • “Charles Taylor
    • Marilynne Robinson 
    • Chris Wiman
    • Willie Jennings
    • Carrie Day
  • " 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
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