Monday, February 13, 2012

Briefly introducing...

"'God with us' is the centre of the Christian message - and always in such a way that it is primarily a statement about God and only then and for that reason a statement about us men."

- Karl Barth, CD IV.1, 5.


"But with all my education,
I can't seem to commend it,
And the words are all escaping me,
And coming back all damaged,
And I would put them back in poetry,
If I only knew how,
I can't seem to understand it,

And I would give all this and heaven too,
I would give it all if only for a moment,
That I could just understand the meaning of the word you see,
'Cause I've been scrawling it forever,
But it never makes sense to me at all."

- Florence and the Machine, "All This and Heaven Too"



If you know anything about me, you'll know that I love the theology of Karl Barth. While I find various aspects of his theology to be quite problematic (his views of women in volume III for starters), I completely affirm his central conviction that the Gospel is primarily a word about the identity and work of God as revealed in Jesus Christ (Emmanuel) and only then a liberating word for humanity. I often feel like Jaroslav Pelikan when he once said that it wasn't so much that he converted to Eastern Orthodoxy, but rather he peeled back the layers to find that which he always believed. The more and more I study the theology of Barth, I realize that his doctrine of God and the identity of God as revealed in the person and work of Jesus Christ are things I always believed in the faintest sense but never had the conceptual tools to formalize them. I believe that Barth's understanding of the identity of God offers an essential and necessary corrective to the various patriarchal conceptions of God as offered by most of classical western theology. In light of this, I'm interested in bringing Sarah Coakley into conversation with Barth's christology.

As for other areas beyond Barth and Coakley, I'm also very interested in liberation theology and the corrective therein that the essential word of the Gospel is liberation for humanity. Closely related to this is my interest in apocalyptic theology insofar as it offers a helpful understanding of the distinctions among human persons, which are eradicated in Christ (Gal. 3:28). At the same time, the difficulty arises in attempting to preserve the particularities among persons that are often used as a means to gain power and secure the established structures and (often oppressive) systems in play. In the long-term and as one who happens to be a stutterer, I would like to someday explore the possible relationship between theology and the disability of stuttering. And as long as we're throwing things out there, you can add theological methodology (specifically Luther's theologia crucis), eschatology, ecclesiology, the theology of the Blumhardt's, and religionless Christianity to my never-ending list of interests. You'll find traces of (almost) all of these interests at my personal blog that I'll (hopefully) still update throughout the current semester.

This semester, I'm taking three courses: Critical Race Theory, Sexuality and the Christian Body, and Election and Ethics in Church Dogmatics II.2. When I get the time to write on this blog, my posts will probably be concerned with the topics of race, sexuality and/or Barth. This semester in particular has highlighted the reality that graduate students are bombarded with so many texts and ideas. It is routinely difficult to put all of those impressions, questions, and thoughts into written form. For this reason, I find myself playing the Flo+ song quoted above repeatedly as it all-too-accurately describes my entire graduate school experience. This trouble in finding the right words is not limited to academic papers, but extends itself to blogging as well. So I hope that anything I might offer here will be helpful and edifying for all.

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2 comments:

W. Travis McMaken said...

Thanks for writing, Kait, and for getting on board with this project! I'm looking forward to when you start writing the good stuff, especially on theological method & theologia crucis and ecclesiology.

David CL Driedger said...

And I would put them back in poetry
I think that's a pretty important line for theology right now as it addresses its place amidst the various contemporary challenges and questions posed to it.
I understand the desire to evade unnecessary or inappropriate classification but I find it interesting how a number of comments and statements on FB and in the theo-blog world have pointed to the relationship between theology and poetry (this is nothing new of course). I wonder to what extent it will be important to own that relationship more fully at least in particular expressions of theology.
I would be happy to hear your thoughts on the matter in any event.