Shaking of the Foundations

Paul Tillich, the theologian, wrote a book in the 1960s that influenced a whole generation. It was entitled The Shaking of the Foundations. At the time it was the set of fundamental theological concepts that underpinned the belief systems of most Christians, including Catholics, that was in question. It was a challenge to Christians to take the world more seriously and in many ways Tillich prepared the way for the emergence of liberation theology.

We are witnessing these days a new shaking of the foundations. Except this time what is undergoing revolution is that whole world that most of have known since World War II. This is no mere evolutionary step-change but a genuine crisis in world affairs triggered by the spreading and deepening financial disturbances. Add to that the strong possibility that we shall see a young, articulate and passionate African-American as the head of what we once referred to as the world’s “one remaining superpower”. The foundations are shaking. The prophets of biblical times would have no difficulty in acknowledging the ‘signs of the times’.

We are right to be worried, concerned. But we should also be excited and energised. Somewhere in all of this the creative energy of God’s Providence is at work.

See article “America to lose superpower status” in the Irish Times online edition.

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