Wilderness as the Kingdom of God
Keywords:Mahayana Buddhist, Eastern Orthodox Christian, Body of Christ
AbstractThe Eastern Orthodox Christian tradition has a spirituality that gives rise to ecotheological reflections. The reflections are couched in existential terminology describing mystical experience as well as historical and ecological praxis. The reflections have a realist theology of the Body of Christ considered to comprise of the heavenly or uncreated, and the earthly or created. The ecotheology developed in this paper interprets a realist theology of the Body of Christ through phenomenology and systems theory in an attempt to face the contemporary concrete issues of institutionalized materialism and severe environmental and social crises. Cross-traditional insights with Mahayana Buddhist traditions are commented upon in exploration of the challenges and opportunities of interculturalism and religious pluralism. The central thread in the paper is the contemporary symbol wilderness, exploring how it is very effective in providing an image of community that to some speaks louder than kingdom. Further, the inherent relationships between the derivatives ‘wild’, ‘wildness’ and ‘wilderness’ are shown to reflect the paradoxical dynamics of the realist ecotheology developed. Paradoxical links are teased out between the material and spiritual, and also between the individual body and the cosmic body.
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