- The "Truth and A/theistic Orthodoxy" paper from Boston (3,000 words), and
- A hashing out of ideas concerning a persistent problem with my thesis (about 4,000 words): "Truth, Representationalism, and Research."
- Can my research be said to present “the truth,” i.e. the external reality, about how the emerging church milieu conceive of the notion of truth, if many of them (and I) are sceptical about
- a) the extent to which reality can be represented in language (representationalism) and
- b) the extent to which truth is a correspondence between language and reality (correspondence theory of truth)?
- "Translate" the rather dry, concise, representationalist, and (of course, given it's history) scientific sociological discourse into Derridean vocabulary and syntax - a both daunting and exciting proposition; OR
- Write the different chapters (sociological, philosophical, etc.) in the language of their respective disciplines and allow the resultant jolt when reading from chapter to chapter to occur as an event in the reading experience which might highlight that the different disciplines are operating within different language games; OR
- Attempt to produce different introductions for readers with different understandings of truth (a little like Brian McLaren writes introductory paragraphs for different readers of his Generous Orthodoxy) - for example, readers who hold a correspondence theory of truth, which can be said to be the majority of conservative emerging church critics, might assume that my writings relate fully to the reality that is the emerging church milieu. If such readers do not like what they read, they can either question my academic credentials and research abilities (i.e. the methods I used to discover reality), or they can use my research for further evidence of the dangers of post-modernism. Either way, for them, there is a “truth” of the emerging church out there, waiting to (certainly) be discovered by (perhaps) more astute or discerning (or “biblical”) researchers than me.
What I've decided to do is to write a sociological chapter enumerating what I see as six ideological commitments open to those involved in the emerging church milieu - a classical sociological approach to a social fact.
But, simultaneously, I am going to problematise a number of the assumptions just made in such an approach to the emerging church milieu. There are, however, still a number of ways in which to present this "undercut."
- I could include what could be called an Interlude between this sociological chapter and the rest of the thesis chapters - considering the other alternatives, this option is a bit tame (!) and Derrida's work suggests a further two possibilities.
- In Derrida's (1986) Glas, the pages are divided into two columns, each column taking a different subject matter, so that the reader has to decide whether or not to read all of one first and then return to the beginning of the book and read all of the other.
- Writing alongside (or, rather, below!) Geoffrey Bennington's "Derridabase," intended to systematize Derrida's work, Derrida has constructed another piece of writing, "Circumfession," intended to slip out of such an endeavour. "Derridabase" occupies the top of the pages, whilst "Circumfession" is positioned on the bottom of each.
- Taking into consideration the format of the doctoral thesis, however, a fourth possibility presents itself:
Doctoral theses are printed only on one side of the page, on the right, with a blank page (the back of the preceding page) opposite it on the left. Pagination ignores these blank pages, with readers only paying attention to the pages with words on them as they turn and read. I have decided, therefore, to write a piece which delivers a post-structuralist blow to the sociology of religion and to print it on the pages opposite to the sociological Chapter One, Emergence. The reader will, first (foremost?), be shocked to find print on this side of the bound thesis, and will then have to decide which way to read it: sociology, then critique?; or critique first?