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

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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

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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

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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…

DET Enters its Teen Years

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As of July 27, 2019, DET is officially a teenager.

Many things are different since I published the first post, way back in 2006—that's 13 years ago, for those who are (like me) bad at maths (as the Brits might say). But a lot of things are the same as well. I don’t think I’ve quite lived up to some of the promises in that first post, but – you live, you (hopefully) learn.

The blog has slowed down. I was a MDiv student when it started, and needed a place to interact with people an ideas. These days, however, I’m at a very different place in my professional life, with increasing administrative burdens directing most of my time and energy. As a result, I’ve writing about theology less and talking about it more. Some of you may be thankful (although, I’m sure some of you would rather not be afflicted) that I have started posting on YouTube and The McKrakenCast podcast. But if you prefer to just keep an eye on the blog, I’m posting all that material here too.

There are still some oth…

Karl Barth's "Göttingen Dogmatics" - Introduction

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Travel with me back to the early 1920s and Karl Barth's first attempt at writing a dogmatics. Launched while teaching at the University of Göttingen, this was the genesis of the material that would become Church Dogmatics approximately a decade later. What we call the Göttingen Dogmatics in English is especially interesting to me because it is much closer to Barth's work as pastor-cum-socialist organizer.

This is the first of a multi-part series, and it is the first series that I have produced primarily for the podcast medium. It is also available on YouTube. Make sure to subscribe via your preferred site.





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McKrakenCast (Podcast) Update

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As I’m sure you’ve noticed, gentle readers, I’ve been publishing a podcast for the last few months called The McKrakenCast. I posted about it back when I started it, and I also explained the name.

Also included in that previous post was a list of all the content that I had migrated over from my YouTube channel to the podcast. I wanted to update that with this post since I have finally finished migrating everything that I previously had on YouTube that I wanted to migrate.

You can find that list of content below.

Moving forward, I will be cross-posting between the podcast and YouTube as much as possible. That said, there will likely still be some bits of content that are unique to one or the other platforms. So make sure you subscribe to both!
















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Helmut Gollwitzer on Karl Barth and Socialism: An Excerpt

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This is an excerpt from an essay by Helmut Gollwitzer about Karl Barth and socialism. It is available in both podcast and video formats.





Excerpt source: Helmut Gollwitzer, "Kingdom of God and Socialism in the Theology of Karl Barth," in George Hunsinger (ed., trans.), Karl Barth and Radical Politics, 2nd ed. (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2017), 83-85.

Image source and attribution: Stiftung Haus der Geschichte [CC BY-SA 2.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)].

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