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Open AccessArticle

Creaturely Communal Ontology in Practice: John Zizioulas in Dialogue with Ritual Theory

Center for Biomedical Ethics and Society, Vanderbilt University Medical Center, Nashville, TN 37232, USA
Religions 2019, 10(9), 506; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10090506
Received: 1 August 2019 / Revised: 23 August 2019 / Accepted: 25 August 2019 / Published: 28 August 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sacramental Theology: Theory and Practice from Multiple Perspectives)
This article is born out of a deep concern for our current ecological crisis and serves as a beginning foundational work for how the Christian tradition can address global climate change. Our current way of being gives precedence to the autonomous individual, whose freedom is characterized by disregard for other creatures. John Zizioulas’ communal ontology demonstrates that as the world was created out of God’s loving will, it is comprised of relationship. Living into individuation and division is a refusal of this communion with other creatures and God, but the Eucharist serves as the ritual that brings Christians into communion through the remembrance of Christ. Ian McFarland’s work on the theology of creation provides the helpful nuance that creaturely movement in communion must include the full diversity of creatures. I then turn to Bruce Morrill’s work to demonstrate that the Eucharistic practice must have bearing beyond the walls of the church. It leads practitioners to live into eschatological hope and kenotic service to the world. John Seligman’s ritual theory demonstrates that ritual practice can accomplish these goals because it creates a subjunctive ‘as-if’ world in the face of the world that is perceived as chaotic. Through the continuous practice of the ritual, participants are then formed to live into this subjunctive ‘as-if’ world without ritual precedence. In this way, the Eucharistic practice can prepare practitioners to live into the kenotic service to a world broken by individuation that has led to global climate change and creaturely destruction. View Full-Text
Keywords: John Zizioulas; communal ontology; ritual theory; creation; climate change John Zizioulas; communal ontology; ritual theory; creation; climate change
MDPI and ACS Style

Compton, J.W., IV. Creaturely Communal Ontology in Practice: John Zizioulas in Dialogue with Ritual Theory. Religions 2019, 10, 506.

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