Interruptions: Mysticism, Politics, and Theology in the Work of Johann Baptist Metz

By Mikulich, Alex | Anglican Theological Review, Winter 2000 | Go to article overview

Interruptions: Mysticism, Politics, and Theology in the Work of Johann Baptist Metz


Mikulich, Alex, Anglican Theological Review


Interruptions: Mysticism, Politics, and Theology in the Work of Johann Baptist Metz. By James Matthew Ashley. Studies in Spirituality and Theology 4. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1998. xiv + 293 pp. $34.00 (cloth).

James Matthew Ashley elucidates how the mystical-political theology of Johann Baptist Metz creatively disrupts preoccupations with the self, not only in contemporary spiritualities, but in the reasoning of Western epistemologies, theologies, and ethical theories. Ashley helpfully unpacks Metz's indebtedness to, and evolving critical separation from, his theological mentor. Karl Rahner.

Ashley traces the development from Metz's earlier "poverty of spirit," defined in the very Rahnerian spirit of "trusting surrender to God," to the more recent Metz who x4ews mysticism in terms of "suffering unto God." He incisively compares Rahner and Metz in terms of their common roots in ignatian spirituality, Rahner's roots in neoplatonic apophaticism, and Metz's mysticism of apocalyptic and the "historic-at event.

Grounded in the paradigmatic example of Jesus' cry on the cross: "My God, My God, why have you abandoned me?" (Mark 15:34), Metz's spirituality, interrelates the "poverty of spirit" of Israel and Jesus. This poverty of spirit embraces a prayer of complaint, born in the midst of suffering which passionately and incessantly questions God in solidaristic hope. Metz calls for an open-eyed mysticism of solidaristic suffering nourished by the interruptive and dangerous memon.a passionis, mortis et resurrectionis Jesu Christi. For those unfamiliar with Metz's most recent work, I suggest the collection of his essays in A Passion fin- God: The Mystical-Political Dimension of Christianity (translated and edited with an introduction by James Matthew Ashley, Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 1997) as a companion volume to Interruptions.

Ashley refutes commonly mistaken criticisms of Metz by underscoring Metz's articulation of the hope and love at the heart of the intimate connection between the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

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