Readers may remember an old post on A Theology of Running Away, where the theme of running away in pop culture was argued to be worthy of serious theological reflection.
Whilst the post made some initial forays into the subject, it has been presented in a more developed form at the recent conference of the Centre of Theology and Philosophy at Oxford University, under the chairmanship of Oxford’s Regius Professor of Divinity, Graham Ward (an interview with whom can be found here).
The presentation looked at how the theme of escape is not just symptomatic of pop culture specifically, but also of the postmodern city more generally. In other words, our cities are not merely bits of infrastructure but configurations that institutionalise the impulse to run away. Moreover, this institutionalisation acts as a form of religiosity, harnessing the commercial powers of the postmodern city to call on the soul to escape its confines. The paper concluded by looking at how, if the postmodern city is a theological construct with a theology of running away, Christ and his Church acts as a counterpoint to the postmodern, by presenting the Christian theology of escape.
The presentation, entitled “Runaway Soul: The Postmodern City and Theologies of Escape” was recorded and was recently made available on podcast by the Sydney-based Catholic radio station Cradio.