A dynamic common realm

The theology of the common realm of God, nature and humanity considers God's action towards non-human nature and un/natural humanity, and specifies the difference in God which such action presupposes. To this end, in the previous chapter a Christological reading of human-nature relations was offered. That is, if any account of nature's economy is to be persuasive for theology, it must be interpreted in relation to the Logos as agent of creation. In such fashion is both the dependence on the creator and the contingency of the created order to be understood. In engagement with a number ofdisciplines in political ecology, I have stressed the otherness ofnature to humanity together with an emphasis on encounter in human-nature relations best understood in the dynamic interaction -demand and response - of natural-human societies in processes of becoming in time and space. In exploring this theme of a worldly Christology, I stressed the dynamic, interactive shifts in boundaries which such a relational view of the ecology of humanity and nature requires. Through this chapter, I explore the logic of fellowship - that is, the pneumatology -which is indicated by the Christology of the previous chapter to answer the question: how shall we learn to act in the common realm.? In other words, what are the tendencies of the practices which are both the gift of the Spirit and to which the Spirit provides the mode of participation? Such practices will be 'excentric': the economy of that which is social, spatial and temporal surpasses itself towards new forms of organisation.1 How might this be thought?

1. Cf. Hardy, God's Ways with the World, p. 83: 'The right use of our freedom is excentric.'

I begin to answer this question by setting out some of the contours of a pneumatology of fellowship. An accent on the Spirit stresses non-human nature, the human nature of Jesus and the eschatological perfection of all creation of which the resurrection of Jesus Christ is proleptic anticipation. As will become clear, however, attention to the theme of fellowship is not the most common way of approaching the matter of Christian responsibility in an ecological age. Hence, I criticise and reject the popular themes of stewardship and valuing nature. The chapter closes with a constructive theologico-political proposal: a 'democracy of the commons' as a concrete political way of considering the fellowship in sociality of humanity and nature as the gift ofthe Spirit.

In sum, the wisdom of Christianity is reframed towards the discernment of God's particular and universal presence in the world, to which human action should reorientate itself in order to recover the fullness of God's blessing of creatureliness in fellowship. The actions of the Spirit, co-working with the Word, relate the movements of encounter through the spatio-temporal field of sociality. Through practices towards fellowship, which are the gift of the Spirit, and the enjoyment of fellowship, which is the life of the Spirit, the presence of the Spirit is to be understood. By attention to losses of fellowship, to deformations in the realm ofspatio-temporal sociality, we glimpse the counter-evidential actions of the Spirit who seeks the reprising and redoubling of fellowship and provides the means to fellowship. What is this 'reprising and redoubling of fellowship'? What are these 'means to fellowship'.?

By the Word yet in the Spirit, creatures are placed in a material order which is premised upon fellowship and oriented towards fellowship. Through the practices of the common realm, including the practices of human-nature relations, fellowship is both given and practised. In other words, the relations of the social realm are real and yet dynamic. And, of course, the quality of fellowship of these relations depends on how the agents of the social realm interact with one another - that is, towards fellowship, difference and peace or enmity and violence. The means to fellowship is provided through those practices which enhance the mutual orientation of the agents of the common realm towards one another (although, of course, the orientation is not symmetrical). I shall suggest that there are enough structural similarities between an eschatological orientation towards newness and democracy, such that the practice ofeco-logical democracy may be seen as one such 'means to fellowship'.

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