Thursday, September 01, 2016

J. T. Young - Introducing A New Contributing Author

"If you feel or imagine that you are right and suppose that your book, teaching or writing is a great achievement... then, my dear man, feel your ears. If you are doing so properly, you will find that you have a splendid pair of big, long, shaggy asses' ears."

- Martin Luther [1]

Stuart Hall at Princeton
Theological Seminary
My name is J.T. Young, and I am a new contributing author here at DET. I am from St. Louis, MO where I grew up and went to college. I attended Lindenwood University where I majored in religion and initially met our beloved DET editor, W. Travis McMaken. However, my program there was directed by another Barthian, Matthew J. Aragon-Bruce, which helped my program in religious studies to quickly become a program in Barthian theology. Due to these influences in my academic life, after graduation in 2015 I decided to head to Barth Land and attend Princeton Theological Seminary where I am currently a second year MDiv student.

As is seen in my bio on the authors’ page, my primarily interests lie in the theology of Johann and Christoph Blumhardt, heavily influential pietists in Barth’s early pastoral years, as well as the early Safenwil Barth himself. If you listened to the “Why Go Barthian?” webinar with Travis McMaken and Tripp Fuller, you might remember the “which Barth is your Barth?” question, with the three options being the early Safenwil Barth, the young academic Barth, and the mature dogmatic Barth. For myself, the answer to that question has always been the early Safenwil Barth. I see much life and hope in the Red Pastor of Safenwil and how his eschatology informed his political sympathies.

Through this engagement with the young Barth, I was necessarily led to engage with the theology of the Blumhardts. The Blumhardts’ eschatology held to a concept of the kingdom of God which took humanity as its instrument to break into the world. Though they would eventually come to disagree on a number of fundamental systematic loci, I believe that without the Blumhardts, we wouldn’t have gotten the Barth that we know and love today. That being said, the eschatology of the Blumhardts is where much of my current attention is and it has led me to continually consider the intersection of politics and dogmatics, law and eschatology and our duty as Christians, much the same way it did for Barth.

All my nerdy theological interests aside, though, I am the pastor of a small UMC church in Neshanic Station, NJ which is about 45 minutes from PTS. My hope is that God uses my feeble attempts at preaching and pastoral care to somehow make peoples’ lives a little more like Jesus’s. Also, I did somehow manage to land a wife who is way out of my league. Amy is a personal trainer, a furniture restoration enthusiast, and a kick-ass mom. She is my best friend, my faithful companion, and, to use the words of Charlotte von Kirschbaum, my “bearer of hope.” We also have a little boy, Boston, who is way too cute for his own good and another baby on the way due this coming spring 2017.

When I’m not spending time on the PTS campus or working at my church, I am usually found in a coffee shop with my nose stuck in a book or making a fool out of myself trying to make my son laugh. So that’s a little bit about me; sorry I’m not more interesting. But I am very excited to be a part of the DET team and look forward with engaging with all of our faithful readers and other contributors. Please don’t hesitate to comment on my posts or engage in conversation with me either on the blog or on Twitter. Hopefully I will never reach up to the top of my head and feel a pair of long, shaggy asses' ears.

Lastly, I'm not too proud to give my other online publications some publicity (a shameless plug never hurt anyone, right?). I have recently contributed to Princeton Seminary's Institute for Youth Ministry blog. My article, which focuses on athletics as a mission field for youth, can be found here. Feel free to check it out!

Warmest wishes to you all!

Best,
- J.T.



[1] Luther quoted in Eberhard Busch, Karl Barth: His Life From Letters and Autobiographical Texts, trans. John Bowden, (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1976), 121.

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5 comments:

W. Travis McMaken said...

Welcome, JT!

As a side note, "beloved" might be a bit much... ;-)

Fernando said...

Does anyone know a reference for that Luther quote? All the instances I could find with Google seem clearly derived from Jungel's book as translated!

Ross Sutherland said...

First:I look forward to reading your articles J.T. in future blogs.Secondly in answer to Casper's question the Luther quote is from his "Preface to the Wittenberg Edition of Luther's German Writings" [text in American edition of Luther's Works vol 34 pages 283ff & also in various editions of Timothy Lull's "Martin Luther's Basic theological Writings" eg 3 edition pages 39ff].

Ross Sutherland said...

Sorry for Casper's read Fernando's !-Ross

Fernando said...

Thanks!