Dominicans: Term 2, Week 1


Radcliffe: Part One, 1-3; Verboven Ch. 1-3

In his book (p. 31), Radcliffe writes, “theology is always rooted in a particular cultural and social context.”  In these first six chapters, identify two or three aspects of Dominican spirituality that support this idea. 

The proclamation of the Gospel remains central to Dominican Spirituality as witnessed in the lives of these three individuals and although it is certain that this included proclamation through preaching, for them, the proclamation of the Gospel is in no way limited to preaching, and it is through this non-verbal proclamation that the Dominican Spirituality is most evident.

Radcliffe, Pérennès, and MacMillan each speak of seeking the truth, yet their seeking comes with great humility because they do not seek the truth to be right, but to understand ‘the other.’ This has given them great self-actualization, which in turn has given them freedom to impact the culture through their Christian lives, without having the need to convert the culture. This can be seen in the work in Rwanda and amongst the Muslims. The goal of ‘getting the heathen saved’ has been set aside and in its place the new goal is established: relationship. This is a particularly wise approach given the hostilities towards Christianity that were expressed by all. This then leads to a second aspect of Dominican Spirituality: mediation.

It was in my final assignment for last term that I was able to see this particular trait, but these readings help to further refine it. Then, I had in my mind the trait of mediation more closely associated with arbitrator, but the mediation of the Dominicans is more a mediation of presence than of mediator / arbitrator of formalized agreements. Instead of focusing on our differences, we identify that which we have in common. An excellent example of this is IDEO. A tremendous endeavor, seeking to impact culture by simply living out a Christian life while respecting and honoring ‘the other.’ (This is so contrary to the crusader evangelism of most western churches: conquer and convert!) MacMillan also painted the perfect picture of this in action with Rostropovich playing in the White House and the soldiers not shelling the building, simply because he was present.

The freedom to be and the freedom to allow ‘the other’ to be.

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