Theology’s Crippled Imagination

Posted on December 28, 2015 by PLT Staff

Video recording of a lecture given by Willie Jennings at the Spring Institute for Lived Theology 2013 in Charlottesville, Virginia. Jennings discusses how settlers related Christian theology in the New World with that of the Old World, thereby narrating the disfiguring of Christian identity within New World theology. He also reflects on modern Christian theology’s “moment of crisis” in identity and character. He specifically focuses on how the interplay of three agents, the merchant, the solider, and the missionary, spurred the conditions for the identity-performing character of theology. The lecture begins at the 6:30 minute mark.

Excerpt: “Here I want to tease out the historic activation of a particular constellation of identity performances that grew in theology at the emergence and flourishing of the colonial moment. Christian theology is yet caught in the forces unleashed by that activation. I don’t mean that we see ourselves as merchants, soldiers, and missionaries. I mean that these forces set in place the ways we imagine ourselves to be doing creative work, creative activity. In proper theological language, they perform a created order, and we are yet caught in seeking lifelong alignment with that order created by merchant, soldier, and missionary.”

  • Video Information
  • Date Recorded:May 22, 2013
  • Location Recorded:Charlottesville, VA
  • Speaker: Willie Jennings
This video is published by the Project on Lived Theology (PLT). For any questions related to its use, please contact PLT ( Copy available for use subject to Creative Commons License CC-BY-NC-ND (Attribution required, Non-Commercial use, No Derivatives, 3.0, Unported).