I write this morning proposing a project – over the next few weeks I’d like to present, synthesize and analyze some portions of Charles Taylor’s massive and massively important tome A Secular Age. Aside from being Roman Catholic (and Canadian!), Taylor is, in my opinion, a brilliant philosopher. He is currently Professor Emeritus at McGill University in Montreal. Those interested parties among us can find a link to Taylor’s contributions to a website which sprung from A Secular Age here. A good and recent interview with him can be found here, and (of course…) there’s always Wikipedia.
But let’s take on the tough question right away: if there’s all this material out there already, why add more to it on this blog? It’s pretty straightforward actually. I want to write about Taylor’s thought here because I see this community as, in some respects, a community of ministers. As a ministerial community, a community of servant-believers, I am convinced that understanding the context of our belief and service will help us to do it better. One significant Jesuit presupposition runs something like this: in thinking we believe and serve more effectively.
So… if you buy that and are sticking with me (!) I’m going to try to do this in six parts, six interlocking blog posts, each of which will correspond to a different aspect of Taylor’s work. The first part of this effort, then, is to set the scene, to give a précis of Taylor’s project. So to it, then!