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Theology on Tap - "Catholic Renaissance: From the Ghetto of Christian Culture to New Epiphanies of the City"

Please take note of the location as it is different than the last several months!


Thursday, October 24th:

The 20th century saw a remarkable renaissance in what we can controversially call "Catholic fiction." But we who are committed to Catholic culture have already discussed these authors --Graham Greene and Evelyn Waugh in the UK; Leon Bloy, Francois Mauriac, and Georges Bernanos in France; Flannery O'Connor, Walker Percy, and J.F. Powers in the United States--we have already talked and analyzed these authors and their works to death, have paid more than due homage, and this in part because we don't know where else to turn. The lively debate over Catholic art and the dominant culture still marches on, a debate sparked anew in 2012 with Paul Elie's New York Times article "Has Fiction Lost its Faith?" We saw a provocative response from Image: Art, Faith, Mystery founder Gregory Wolfe and novelist Randy Boyagoda. Joshua Hren will take has his foundation the big question: Inevitably existing in the midst of a culture war, are contemporary Christian artists and writers doomed to reside in a counter-cultural "ghetto"? To answer this question Joshua will set forth three fundamental approaches to a Catholic renaissance. 1) Interpretation of “postmodern” literature and film using a Catholic hermeneutic (with an emphasis on the "atheist" Krzysztof Kieslowski's film The Dekalog, which grapples with contemporary infractions against the Ten Commandments, on Pope Francis' favorite films, including Fellini's La Strada (clips) 2) Art that takes as its subject matter Divine Revelation (clip from the notoriously "Marxist, atheistic," Pasolini's The Gospel According to St. Matthew, which Pasolini dedicated to Blessed Pope John XXIII) 3) Art that is intrinsically Catholic but which is also catholic in the political sense--art, culture that can serve as the soil for a new city.

If, as Catholic thinkers from Guardini onward have noted, we are living at the end of the “modern” world, at, so to speak, the end of an age, we need artists who will become monastic without being quietistic, monastic without being pietistic, monastic without being apolitical and cowardly in that it goes inside, so to speak, in order to see with a realism of distance, a realism that, so to speak, “sees into the future,” compose works/a work that will serve as the poetic birth of a new city. Joshua will unpack Catholic political philosopher Pierre Manent's Metamorphoses of the City, specifically his discussion of the Iliad as preceding the Greek city, as educator of the city. He will read from the work of a contemporary Christian poet who embodies this last approach of writing in order to educate the new city.

Speaker: Joshua Hren, Ph.D.

After having seemingly heard Christ call him to the priesthood while he worked with the Franciscans, Joshua Hren had his ears fixed and entered into the sacrament of marriage with his wife Brittney in 2008. Within about three and a half years they had two children, and he earned his Ph.D. in English (emphases in Theology and Fiction and Political Philosophy and Fiction). Joshua serves as Fiction Editor for Relief Journal, Managing Editor for Catholic literary magazine Dappled Things: A Quarterly of Ideas, Art and Faith, and in 2013 he launched Wiseblood Books, a publishing line born of the Catholic (and catholic!) literary tradition.


What is Theology on Tap?

Theology on Tap is a monthly event, generally the fourth Thursday of the month, where 20s&30s are invited to join us for free beer and engaging talks by some of the leading thinkers, speakers, educators, innovators, and activists in the nation as they share their insights on various contemporary issues facing young adults today.

Contact: Nicole Garcia