One thing that has always puzzled me about Radical Orthodoxy is their refusal to acknowledge that they are a school of thought. Recently, this befuddlement has been reawakened by reports that a Theology Studio member regards their group as highly diverse compared to the more homogeneous viewpoints represented here. What could this mean, I wondered? Are we to take such claims seriously, or are they nothing but “I know you are but what am I?”-style provocation?
And then it hit me: from their perspective, they are very diverse among themselves, because their various differences and disagreements are relevant and meaningful to them. By contrast, the differences among AUFS contributors all fade into the background compared to the Big Difference that divides us from them: what one might variously call our nihilism, heresy, “bad faith” — or, in short, our failure to be Radical Orthodox.
Now of course one could make the case that every meaningful difference must take place against the background of shared similarities, etc., etc. — but there is a question of degree here. Case in point: Tony Baker’s apparent conviction that the best way to respond to the lack of women’s engagement with his blog was not, for example, simply to ask women what the disconnect is, but rather to extrapolate what a “feminine” contribution might look like based on what they’re already doing, a contribution that is already called for by the Radical Orthodox approach in its best sense. Surely, if they are more faithful to their calling, women will engage more as a matter of course! (And presumably if they don’t, it’s their loss.)