Churches are in crisis. The turn to praxis in ecclesiology appears to attend to the current crisis; yet, the appearance might be deceptive. Since post-liberal ecclesiologies – such as John Milbank’s – consider neither quantitative-empirical nor qualitative-empirical accounts of concrete churches, the turn might be assessed as a turn to talk about praxis instead of a turn to praxis. Confronting Milbank’s concept of praxis with the ecclesiology of Ernst Troeltsch (1865–1923), I argue that Troeltsch allows for accounts of concrete churches since he conceptualises the identity of Christianity not as a proposition but as a project. Hence, praxis is the criterion for the evaluation of concepts of identity. Both churches and reflections on churches are to be ‘elasticised’ in order to attend to the current crisis.
As of 1 June 2018, the symbol of the cross has to be shown in all state offices of Bavaria in Germany. In order to chart the churches’ reaction, I return to a conversation that Robert N. Bellah and Martin E. Marty had during the 1960s and the 1970s. Drawing on the core concepts of this conversation, I analyze and assess today’s cross controversy as a case of what I call the ‘populist predicament’. I argue that Marty’s programme of public theology provides a path out of the populist predicament because it combines the celebration and the critique of identity. Ultimately, I advocate for a pluralist position of public theology in the post-migrant context.
Religious Experience Revisited explores a dilemma which has haunted the study of religion since William James. Is religion rooted in experiences? Is religion rooted in expressions? How are experiences and expressions related? The contributors to this international and interdisciplinary compilation explore the possibilities and the impossibilities of a hermeneutics of religion. Combining theology and philosophy with biblical, cultural, historical and literary studies, they examine how religious experiences and religious expressions have been entangled in the past and in the present. These entanglements call for interdisciplinary conversations in which those who study experiences and those who study expressions can learn from each other in order to carve out important and instructive spaces for the study of religion.