Faith in Space

In an interview with Eric Jacobsen on Mars Hill Audio Journal, Ken Myers hinted at the impossibility of forming real community without any reference to geography. In other words, communion between persons becomes impossible when it takes place away from concrete practices in real space and time. 

In a similar fashion Lumen Fidei, the latest encyclical from Pope Francis (with some significant contributions from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI), has suggested that it is impossible to speak of a genuine Christian faith without a similar reference to geography and space. Beginning with the point that faith is not to be found within the isolated individual. Rather, as Francis made explicit in paragraph 4:

Faith is born of an encounter with the living God who calls us and reveals his love, a love which precedes us and upon which we can lean for security and for building our lives

Because of this essentially interpersonal encounter, a space must necessarily exist between the person of faith, and the God who gives faith to the believer. It is a space then that must be traversed by the person of faith. This is why Francis considers it it significant that the story of faith begins with Abraham's response to God by leaving his own town towards a promised country. Faith, as Francis explicitly mentions in paragraph 9, thus cannot be conceived without a reference to a journeying within that space. 

This intimate link between faith and space promises to open up a very fruitful avenue of theological inquiry, for it resists certain conceptions of faith that, for instance, link faith with indivdiual thought stricken from practice (in particular liturgy). In addition, the matrix that the encyclical makes between faith, seeing, relation and journey, would also provide an important foundation into the central role of mystery in future discourses on faith, in a way that critiques any association of faith with full comprehension (in terms of epistemology) or full articulation (in terms of its content).

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