(No cheap ‘tautology’ jibes!)
As I think more and more about being forced into retirement, I am inclined to ponder things I’d do if I had the time. One would be writing up my thoughts on ‘useless theology’, theological contemplation and praxis without the intrusionb of the felt need for things to be useful. The fact that uselessness is harder than it looks, harder than you’d think it would be, begins to underscore the value of such work. Self-improvement? Nuh-uh. Productivity? Get thee behind me! Edification? Only penitently, as a side effect.
There’s a kinship with ‘gift’ here, but more specifically focused on the freedom that arises when one begins to do things not so as to effect an end, but because that’s what presents itself to be done. (With a hat tip to Sir Edmund, one might call it ‘Hillary-ous’ theology.) In the much-missed Game Neverending, there was a sub-game, an internal game, called ‘Flow Tending’. It involved only moving objects as they passed in front of you at varying speeds and various trajectories, so as to avoid turbulence or collisions; there was no ‘winning’ (as there was no winning the GNE), but flow tending was a marvellous exercise in tuning in to a state of affairs and chilling. Useless theology doesn’t aim at precision, at magisterium, at ortho- or hetero- or any other doxy, but at cultivating the capacity to adore God.
So in a self-contradictory mode, this will be a productive goal at which I’ll aim when I retire.