I wrote a quick post a couple of days ago about my struggle with the centrality of the Eucharist in the sacramentalism of Catholic and other Christian traditions. It prompted a bit of a conversation on Facebook about ontology, time, and being stuck in the seventeenth or nineteenth centuries. Some suggest that quantum mechanics can illuminate what theologians and others mean by "ontology." For me it boiled down to this essential question: Why ontology?
Why bother with it at all? What is the fundamental state of being to which liturgical symbols refer? What about the rite of Communion and other such symbolic performances? What is the fundamental truth to which the behaviors that are liturgy refer? These are the questions that plague some theologians. I want to explore a different set of questions.
I want to talk about the people. I want to talk about their intentions. More specifically, I want to know what people believe they are doing. In this way, one may understand that crafting ontological theo-philosophies are behaviors as well. To use a common phrase, what is the "constructed theology" of the people creating and performing liturgical rites? To be certain, people will employ ontologies, teleologies, anthropologies, and other philosophical thought systems. They will also employ not-so-systematic human expressions like nostalgia, sentimentality, and taste. Let me also be clear that I am aware that the approach I myself am taking is a particular thought system. That reality, too, will have to be taken into consideration. Thus, I will have to explain why it is of value to approach liturgical theologies from the vantage point I suggest. I'll do all of this through analysis of sonic objects and the people who create and engage them.
The next question: Why does this make me happy?