Showing posts from August, 2019

Karl Barth, Theology, and Secularism. And the Numinous.

It seems as though I’m going through something of my own, personal Barth revival.

After years of focusing elsewhere, especially on Helmut Gollwitzer, I have – for one reason or another, at least for the time being – returned my attention to the fleshpots of Egy...I mean…to Karli. There’s that podcast series on his Göttingen dogmatics, for instance. And this post.

Anyway, I’ve been reading the first Barth in Conversation volume (I feel like I’ve heard that title, or something very like it, somewhere before…), and thought that I would share some of it with you, gentle and patient readers.

In this passage, a journalist named Seiler interviews Barth and asks, among other things, about the state of contemporary theology. And of course, when we say “contemporary” here we mean 1960. Seiler suggests that Christianity had once been a question of confession, but has now become silent – part of the sociocultural furniture without anything in particular to add to the conversation. As you can …

Barth's "Göttingen Dogmatics" - §1: The Word of God as the Problem of Dogmatics

Continuing our dive into Karl Barth's first attempt at writing a dogmatics, this episode tackles the first section: The Word of God as the Problem of Dogmatics. He discusses what it means to think of dogmatics as a science, and we also encounter an early version of his doctrine of the three-fold Word of God (revelation, Scripture, and preaching). Barth also reflects on why he thinks a prolegomena is necessary when doing theology, and I riff a bit on his recommendations for how to go about studying theology. 

This series in indexed on the serials page.


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Evangelical Patriarchy and the World of Sports

As those of you, gentle readers, who follow me on Twitter will have already become aware, I’ve been reading Randall Balmer’s book on Evangelicalism in America.

I first became aware of Balmer when he published an essay on how the rise of the Religious Right wasn’t really about abortion so much as it was about defending racially segregated private “Christian” schools from IRS revocation of tax exempt status.

Yeah, I know.

That essay is in this book, or at least a version of it. It’s good. You should read it. But that isn’t what this post is about. This post is about evangelicals and sports—and more specifically, how sports create alternative worlds in which to live and how those worlds mesh with evangelicalism. And in general, I think, it explains the appeal that many folks find in spending a great deal of time, energy, mind-space, and money on being a sports fan in the contemporary United States. Spoiler alert: it comes from a deep sense of insecurity and a longing for an orderly wo…