Oppositional Communities as Locations of Grace: Karl Rahner and Postcolonial Theories in Dialogue


DOI: https://dx.doi.org/


Discussions amongst theologians about the relationship between faith andculture often operate from an impoverished and presumptive understandingof culture rooted in European modernity, and complicit in the history ofcolonization and exploitation that emanates from it. Postcolonial theoristsinterrogate the meaning of culture and its varied manifestations andreveal how power has been used to frame and define cultures with an aimtowards coercive manipulation. These critiques create space for oppositionalcommunities to coalesce and resist identity co-optation and oppression.However, the tendency amongst postcolonial theorists toward deconstructionwithout positing a reconstructed alternative rooted in subjectivity, createsa challenge for theologians who wish to articulate the positive value of arevelatory creator. Karl Rahner’s account of grace and freedom providesa potential dialogue partner to respond to this challenge. Rahner’s accountof grace can be critically melded with postcolonial theory to create spacefor reconstructing his tendency towards essentialism, while developingoppositional communities that serve as incarnated challenges to oppressionand violence in our contemporary church and world.

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