I'm posting this in the GT forum, despite my reservations, because this is very much "Traditional Theology". But, i've been thinking about something for a while, and it has a bit to do with my thesis, and this has actually been consuming more of my time than my Thesis. Hans being in town to visit me really helped me think through this a bit, and I realized something the other night about when this made sense to me. So... here we go.
A pastor/professor would always use this term, "A Christian Ontology". It always bothered me because I couldn't help but think that so much orthodox thought is predicated upon an assumed Greek philosophy which, itself, isn't necessarily that bad. Instead, I just felt it was impossible to call any "ontology" a "Christian" one because really we're just talking about theology in light of some assumed philosophy, whichever one we pick.
Then, I saw this movie, Of Gods and Men. In it, there is a scene where the monks partake of a "last supper", where one of the monks reads an article, in the form of a sermon, to the other monks. In it there is a line about the fact that embracing weakness and forsaking the idol of power gives witness to reality, the reality of Christ. When my internet stops being so terrible, I'll find it.
There is a "Christian Ontology". It is not any particular philosophy, but it is a belief in a fundamental reality, and a fundamental understanding of history which turns everything else upside down.
We talk about a lot of things as though they're "reality", and this tempers our statements about theology and other things because we desire to make sense of "reality". Just the other day I was told that hopefully my pacifist inclinations would temper when I came to terms with "reality" (aka grew older and had children).
However, a Christian Ontology is the understanding, from the point of faith, that history is contained in a 33-year time period, and began when "The Word became flesh". "Reality" is Jesus Christ, incarnated, crucified, and risen. This is reality, and everything else competes, in varying degrees, with this reality. To be a Christian is to be baptised into this reality, and to understand the world around us in light of this reality, calling others to participate in this reality with us. Thus, our eschatological hopes are not hopes for what God "will do", or "will accomplish", but are instead hopes that reality will be revealed.
This gives a different meaning to the term "martyr." To be a "martyr" is to be a witness to one's faith through death. What we are a "witness" to, when we die for our faith, is the fundamental reality of the world - that Christ has come, Christ has died, Christ is risen, and Christ is Lord - and that all attempts at control and power in the world are a farce.
This way of talking changes everything. It changes our language. It changes the way the world looks. Now, pacifism is automatically "martyrdom", because to die in faithful obedience to the way of Christ is to witness to reality - Christ has risen from the dead and is Lord - and is to resist attempts at control and power.
This also begins to make our "good news" make sense. The "good news" is that the world as we understand it - pain, suffering, sin, death - is not reality. This is why we meet each Sunday for the liturgy, to experience and be reminded of reality and to receive water to quench our thirst from the desert of the world, and to receive forgiveness for our participation in the false reality of the world, and for the times in which we were tempted to believe it was true.