The book written by Lieven Boeve, Interrupting Tradition: An Essay on Christian Faith in a Postmodern Context deals about his argumentations on the new context that challenges Christian tradition to recontextualise itself. The fact that the Catholic Church and the Catholic faith gives meaning to life and existence facing the new reality in recent years wherein the transmission of the Christian tradition is a struggle in a large part of Western Europe particularly in Flanders.
Boeve divided the book into three parts contain three to four chapters each. The first part deals with clarifying the situation in which the Christian tradition finds itself. Part two shows a radical confrontation between the Christian faith and modernity, and part three provides an historical line of thought to the present day and offer an analysis of the problem of fundamental life options (postmodern context).
In the first three chapters, Boeve discus tradition and its development from modern and postmodern context. Tradition, which defines as belief, passed down in a society that can presently be experienced. In Christian tradition, it is evident that these beliefs show an important role in the very foundations of Christianity. The mere fact that truth has history led the theologians on the idea of the development of tradition. Therefore, it is indeed necessary by the passing of time that every shift in context comprises a challenge to the Christian tradition to reformulate itself in dialogue in present context. This is done through a process of recontextualisation where it shows a fact that tradition is undergoing a process of development.
In line with this part of the book shows tradition viewed in the modern context that has something to do with cultural modernisation process where secularisation to which religious tradition lost its primary role as source for human values, and the generalization of values presents that respect in value and truth was only viable only in private arena. On the others hand, these evolution leads to another perspective which is the modernity’s ‘master narratives’ where human desire of progress in his own way. In the postmodern context, it views tradition with a definitive end. This happened because of the primary issues facing it – individualisation and pluralisation. Boeve in this part of the book shows not really the end of the tradition but rather it shows a wider perspective, that a person should have an individual reflexive decision that can only be experienced in faith but it lies always the reality of choosing because this remain an option.
In part two, faith in the postmodern context leads to a comparison between an open and closed narrative, which shows a clearer view, more importantly with the importance of the open narrative which does provide an adequate opportunity for a recontextualisation of the Christian narrative in our postmodern context. From these, Boeve shows way that leads closed narrative towards an open narrative and experience the modern experience of transcendence.
Boeve, finally tackles in the last part of the book about the foundation of an open Christian narrative. This deals with the recontextualisation of Christian narrative in the actual context. It shows here in giving purpose to a Christian narrative. This purpose showed by the author is done by God who definitely revealed Godself in a specific human person which is Jesus. It also stated in this part about the negative theology. It is the author’s intention that through this negative theology, may see the interruption of Christian narratives by God that the God who is incomprehensible, hidden and absent still can be revealed.
In addition, Christianity Interrupted by the world religions, Boeve pictures different parables as a way of explaining Christianity interrupted by the world religions. In the present day situation, we may include ourselves having different narratives because in light of searching for truth, we are engaging on the same reality of being blind or having different perspective- plurality. It can also be like the parable of the ring, which indicates and tries to reveal who is the best among religions and who had the ultimate hold to the truth, but in line with the interpretation, no one can claim as the best holder of the truth. Final judgement is deferred until God comes.
At the last part of the book, which is the epilogue, Boeve conclude with a reflection on the position of the Christian in the contemporary world. It is clearly stated here that faith is no longer a socio-structural option but it is a genuine ‘faith option as an explicit choice for the Christian narrative to build human framework for a particular narrative. Faith as a ‘faith option’ implies a religiously-motivated critical consciousness. Lastly, the content of the faith in the end under the pressures of modernity, one may gain nothing but worthlessness. However, Boeve shows still a positive outcome behind this situation that one may misled but soon he will find the right direction.
Interrupting Tradition effectively shows the situation of Christian faith in the postmodern context by providing a perspective about the current situation of the tradition. This is the reality in that challenges tradition to be recontextualised itself.
The author achieved his goal by providing this book a title that is relevant and really interrupts tradition. Likewise, it also interrupts the reader by showing arguments and facts of the reality facing by tradition. This book presents a new understanding in the part of the reader that eventually affects his own perspective and to be aware of the Christian tradition facing a dilemma. It also provides material that can lead a person to rethink what he believes. Nevertheless, even though this is the reality, every reader of this book must gain enough courage to engage in a dialogue and turn to praxis. Moreover, after reading this book we end full of hope with strength to face the new tomorrow and thanking God for giving us our own tradition as a source of foundation of our Christianity. We are in the darkness but soon find the light. As what is stated in the last part of the epilogue (p. 183), “Perhaps such an open concept may be compared with a compass that, wherever one may be in the world, always points north and thus helps one finding the right direction to follow”.
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