Posts

Showing posts from March, 2013

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

…or, Something to keep you busy over the weekend…

…or, The Past Fortnight in the Theoblogosphere.

Well, I guess it has been three weeks since the last installment. It has been a busy month in the theoblogosphere. My collection of links is larger than usual, so get ready for a glut of good reading. But first, what’s been happening here at DET?

This is the most recent post and, judging by traffic and referrals, folks seem to find it interesting: Is Atheism Evil? Karl Barth on Truly Dangerous AtheismKarl Barth on Christianity, Religion, and Western CultureKarl Barth’s Reflections Christianity in America vs. in SwitzerlandThose three posts all deal with March’s Book-O-The-Month: March Book ‘O the MonthFinally, I really like this post so I’m putting it in here again: The Significance of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones: A Humorous Interlude
But enough about me. What about all the other great theoblogs out there?!?!? I’m glad you asked. Et voila!

“Abrahamic Religions”: Historical Revisionism or Ecumeni…

Is Atheism Evil? Karl Barth on Truly Dangerous Atheism

Image
Is atheism evil? Is atheism good or bad? Ask the average self-described “Christian” on the street in North America and you’ll get a decisively negative answer. But it is a bad question, a misleading one. For there is not only one form of atheism, and most of them tend not to be straightforwardly “good” or “bad.” In the below quote, Barth addresses three types of atheism. The first two types were much more prevalent in his day than in ours, although in recent years we’ve seen a particularly loud form of the second type emerge (here is one news clipping that comes to mind). Barth does not believe that these two types are particularly worrisome. In fact, he speaks not only of their weaknesses but also of their strengths. Rather, it is the third type that is “the real enemy.” And in discussing this third type Barth indicts your average North American “Christian” who—as a body—seems absolutely incapable of recognizing this critical point. 


Karl Barth, Fragments Grave and Gay, 46–47. Bold i…

Karl Barth on Christianity, Religion, and Western Culture

I was going to present this quote entirely without comment (shocking, I know…), but then I realized that a little context must be provided or else certain bits of this quote will hit the ear a bit strangely. So, know this: the title of the talk that this quote comes from is “Christianity or Religion?” and it was presented to a group of incoming international students at the University of Basle in 1963. This context is particularly poignant in my own context since it shows Barth seizing an opportunity in the midst of a kind of bureaucratic necessity to say something interesting. Something very interesting, indeed.

Karl Barth, Fragments Grave and Gay, 29–30. Bold is mine.
You are visitors to this old Europe of ours, and our good city and university of Basle and the sample fair offers you a vivid picture of its traditions and civilization. Adopt as much of our science and technology, our art and politics, as you can and may. You will also come across signs of what is called Christianity…

Karl Barth’s Reflections Christianity in America vs. in Switzerland

Finally, a quote I can present entirely without comment! 

*pauses*

Did that count as a comment? 

*sighs*


Karl Barth, Fragments Grave and Gay, 49. 
As for Christian America and Christian Switzerland, one thing struck me most of all, and that was that in American Christendom the congregation is still a real thing. People do not just attend divine service and then go home again, as they do with us; they do not go just to listen to the minister, but also to be with one another. They ‘gather together’ for worship. Even in the big cities I visited, such as Chicago, Washington and Richmond, they knew, greeted, talked to one another. Going to church is not a mere private matter; it is a ‘social gathering’, as the Americans call it. This may have its dangers, but basically it is a good and gratifying thing; the Gospel binds people together. On the other hand, with us the preaching is on the whole better, or at any rate deeper. American Protestantism is still strongly marked by the somewhat supe…

Meanwhile, back at the ranch…

…or, Something to keep you busy over the weekend…

…or, The Past Fortnight in the Theoblogosphere.

Or, whatever. Here’s another link post. There has been a lot of good stuff floating around lately. Of course, I would be remiss not to highlight what’s gone on here at DET since the last installment…

What if Marx and Engels had been Englishmen? Helmut Gollwitzer’s answer...Karl Barth on the Trinity, Dogma, Scripture, and RevelationMy Most Recent PublicationsThe Significance of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones: A Humorous InterludeReading Scripture with John Calvin: Malachi 1.6-10
Some of those posts have even generated comments, which is quite gratifying. In any case, be sure to catch up if you missed them. Also catch up on all the following links from around the theo-blogosphere. Happy reading!

Karl Barth: Protestant Thought: From Rousseau to RitschlPreacher as Pastor: Shepherding the Community in the WordWhen the “Good Book” is Bad: Challenging the Bible’s Violent Portrayals of God - See more at: ht…

Reading Scripture with John Calvin: Malachi 1.6-10

Malachi 1.6-10

[6] A son honors his father, and slaves honor their master. If I am a father, where is the honor due me? If I am a master, where is the respect due me?” says the LORD Almighty. “It is you priests who show contempt for my name. But you ask, ‘how have we shown contempt for your name?’ [7] By offering defiled food on my altar. But you as, ‘How have we defiled you?’ By saying that the LORD’s table is contemptible. [8] When you offer blind animals for sacrifice, is that not wrong? When you sacrifice lame or diseased animals, is that not wrong? Try offering them to your governor! Would he be pleased with you? Would he accept you?” says the LORD Almighty. [9] “Now implore God to be gracious to us. With such offerings from your hands, will he accept you?” – says the LORD Almighty. [10] “Oh, that one of you would shut the temple doors, so that you would not light useless fires on my altar! I am not pleased with you,” says the LORD Almighty, “and I will accept no offering from …

The Significance of Dr Martyn Lloyd-Jones: A Humorous Interlude

Image
Those who know me offline, or who have been long-time DET readers, know that I like to have a laugh from time to time. This is one of those times. Through the mysterious workings of the internet, it came to my attention that the Metropolitan Tabernacle in London (yes, Spurgeon's church!) has put online a piece written long ago by Martyn Lloyd-Jones. It is a magzine-style piece that is very critical of the thought and legacy of Karl Barth. It is entitled, "The Significance of Karl Barth."

Now, the things that Lloyd-Jones says about Barth are laughably and obviously misguided to anyone who knows Barth, so there is humor in that alone. The sorts of claims that he makes have been debunked again and again in the secondary literature (even if, unfortunately, there are plenty of people walking around who still hold them - even people who should know better). But an idea popped into my head whereby I might use humor to make even more obvious the absurdity of his take on Barth.

S…

March Book ‘O the Month

It’s time for a new book of the month! This month, DET will feature the little collection of Barth’s late occasional writings entitled Fragments Grave and Gay. Those of you who read DET closely and have good memories for detail might recall that this is one of the books that I read cover-to-cover last year. While reading I noted a number of juicy bits that I wanted to share with you all, gentle readers, so I will be doing that as the month progresses. But for now I would like to point out that this collection contains short theological appreciations of both Kierkegaard and Calvin that are both substantive and whimsical. Below I include a quote from the text wherein Barth discusses the role of a theology faculty vis-à-vis both its subject matter and the church. 


Karl Barth, Fragments Grave and Gay, 23–24. 
The Bible speaks of Jesus Christ – the name is unavoidable since he is the very essence of it. This source of theology (which can also be called Gospel) is also its subject-matter, to…