I was in a board meeting yesterday for a committee at the GTU (to protect the innocent, I’ll leave out the name of said committee) during which one of the members mentioned something about contextual theology. Now, the GTU is by design an interdisciplinary and multi-faith institution, which means that folks routinely drop discipline-specific terms in ways that folks from their same discipline understand while leaving others, like me, sort of scratching our heads. Not that I’m bothered by that; each of us uses language in this contextually specific way. Were I to say “Critical Buddhism” at a meeting of the International Association Buddhist Studies, I’m sure the folks the room would immediately get the reference while, sitting here, decontextualized in this paragraph, it may not be immediately clear to others.
But what this person said about contextual theology struck me, so I thought I’d do some quick digging. Unfortunately, there’s no Wikipedia page about it (which may mean that it doesn’t really exist), and the few articles that did pop up in my one-and-only Google search were pretty specific to a Christian theological context and, as a result, were either over my head or not interesting enough for me to really want to spend the afternoon doing any further research. If I’m going to spend an afternoon doing further research, chances are it’s gonna have the word “Buddhism” in it!