Welcome and thank you for visiting "Thoughts of a 21st Century Tillichian", a place that I plan to use to explore not only the writings of Paul Tillich, but also others who may be considered "Radical" for one reason or another.
For those of you who are not aware of who Paul Tillich as, I would like to introduce you to him using the words of his second wife Hannah:
"Now I was seeing Paulus, the man with the golden mouth, who looked like a Riemenschneider carving in his earlier years. He had a body like a Gothic statue, lean from the hungry years of World War I. His face was finely carved, with a well-shaped mouth over animal like teeth. He was the desperate child of the century, who dared to give word to dreams of disaster and hope, carrying on to an ecstatic "yes," in spite of his philosophy of the demonic, of Kairos. He preached the agony of death in war, instead of heroism. He knew about compassion and dared to ask for social justice. He called on ecstasy as the tremulous instigator of sacred action. He dared open "the doors of the deep" to the monsters of his convulsed wishes and unfulfilled desires. By boldly naming them and showing their faces, he coined a new philosophical-theological language. Courageously, he pushed the image of God beyond the concept of heaven. By dematerializing and depersonalizing Him, he threw the weight of sin and grace back upon the human soul. He said "yes" to his own being."
-Hanna Tillich, From Time to Time
Here we have a rather amazing portrait of man who wore not only his heart on his sleeve, but also his mind, and his soul. If you have, or ever intend to read Tillich, you will find a man that is full of humility, full of a type of humility rarely found in todays popular level theologians or pastors. A person who told people that doubt is not the opposite of faith, but a part of faith.
Speaking of faith, what is faith?
For Tillich Faith was a matter of "Ultimate Concern".
"Faith is the state of being grasped by an Ultimate Concern. And, since only that which is the ground of our bring and meaning should concern us ultimately, we can also say: Faith is the concern about our existence in it's ultimate "whence" and "whither." It is a concern of the whole person; it is the most personal concern and that which is determines all others. It is not something that can be forced upon us; it is not something which we can produce by the will to believe, but that by which we are grasped. It is, in biblical terminology, the divine Spirit working in our spirit which creates faith."
-Paul Tillich, Biblical Religion and the search for Ultimate Reality
Faith for Tillich was not giving mental ascent to a set of cultural propositions, but something that we engaged with, using all of our being. It influenced everything we do, what our hobbies are, who we associate with, our political stances, the way we use our time and money.
Faith for Paul was Dynamic! It was an up and down rollercoaster ride, with amazing highs, and even the darkest of lows. It was something that was not contained only within the realm of Christianity, but could be expressed in a number of different Religious or Secular practices.
Tillich often said that he lived within the boundary line, between Philosophy and Theology, and that both were dependent upon one another.
I aim to explore his thoughts, as well as the thoughts of some of his contemporaries, and some modern day Philosophers who seem to represent a large part of what he stood for.
I will be going through and giving summaries of some of his work, to make it more available to an audience that might otherwise find it difficult to understand some of his work.
This blog is as much about my passion for a thinker, or group of thinkers, who gave me a safe space to exist after I left the church, as well as the name "Christian."
This blog is a part of my journey of me more closely examining my own thoughts, as well as the thoughts of some of my inspirations.
So if you have even a passing interest in either Paul Tillich, Existentialism, or Radical Theology, I hope that you continue to walk this journey with me.
Peace be with your spirit!