Friday, June 09, 2006

“empty signifier vs. the empty shrine”: EC and American Political Discourse.

Here is my question, of which I do not have answers, just a feeling.

“If the EC has assended to the function of ‘empty signifier’, does that mean it needs to support the politics of the ‘empty shrine’?”

My feeling and hope is to answer, NO. But some (perhaps many) in the EC answer, YES.

Let me explain:

The logic of the “empty signifier” seems to give a good understanding of the emerging church and its self-understanding as a ‘conversation’ and in its perpetual mis-understanding by everyone else.

But this logic applied to politics by Ernesto Laclau [in Emancipation(s)] leads straight toward a politics of the “empty shrine” (where there is no “common good”, no common vision for society, and no telos...only the competition of ideas without any gods underwriting it all). The problem is that this vision of politics (which is Liberalism) assumes conflict and violence as the norm, assumes scarcity and loss, and usually disregards substantive theological claims/practices.

So might not the EC enter into a differential relationship not only with those in modern theological/political context, calling that context into question and thereby moving along in the logical of the ‘empty shrine’, but also question the context of antagonistic politics altogether? But to do this looks like a return to sectarian communities with ontological assurances which cannot be allowed into democratic discourse.

What say you?

(next..."political priests and sectarian theologians: is the shrine empty?")

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