Showing posts from October, 2006


Greetings, From the sanctuary of reading week – which for me is always a week of insane activity for me (my “to do” list is 14 items long and growing!) – comes what I hope will be a valuable reference resource. Earlier today I realized that it would be helpful to have at hand some simple information on important theologians. So, I thought that I would post a list of links to Wikipedia entries for a number of important theological thinkers – more for myself than anything else. This list may expand as I think of more people and find more Wikipedia entries to stick into it. Enjoy! Athanasius St. Augustine of Hippo St. Thomas Aquinas Karl Barth Emil Brunner Rudolf Bultmann Martin Bucer Heinrich Bullinger John Calvin Colin Gunton Adolf von Harnack Wilhelm Herrmann Robert Jenson Hans Kung Peter Lombard Martin Luther Philip Melanchthon Jürgen Moltmann H. Richard Neibuhr Reinhold Neibuhr Andreas Osiander Wolfhard Pannenberg Karl Rahner Albre


Greetings! I've been able to make some slight progress in the face of my workload, but it has not yet abated to a sufficient degree to warrant my full return. However, I had the below link lying around and thought that I would post it. I may also throw up some quotations over the next week as well, although, I don’t know if they will be worthy of “Choice Quotation” status. Until then! Academic Fraud Wow. This blew my socks off. I had not heard about it previously, and I must say that it is perversely fascinating. Take is as a cautionary tale about what can happen when you begin to crack under the pressures of coming up with an original contribution. Read the sorid tale here.


I must offer you all a sincere apology, as this morning I had to make a decision that I wish could have been avoided. Because all of my time has been occupied either with utterly insignificant, banal, menial, and otherwise unworthy assignments imposed upon me by professors and classes from which I have learned absolutely nothing, or it has been occupied by doing research in German theology (that is, theology of a German origin AND as extant only in the German language), I have been unable to keep on top of my self-imposed blogging out-put. Never fear! My current plan is to be back in two weeks or so, running full bore. Until then, I thought that I would do a copy-cat post. My friend and colleague David over at Fire & Rose recently posted a picture of the book shelf above his computer. I am not blessed with a shelf above my computer, but I do have one in the hallway upon which I keep my “all-stars,” as it were. In other words, this shelf contains the bulk of my research in


I'm Outnumbered! You are too if you are married. Is this cause for concern? Decide for yourself, but read about it first so that you can make a (semi-) informed decision. I would simply comment, shooting from the hip, that perhaps establishing a distinction between civil union and marriage would shift the terms of this entire conversation in very interesting and helpful ways. Don't let the Bed-bugs Bite It seems that this is easier said than done. Hopefully, the new menace of New York won't migrate South too quickly... Susan B. Anthony As interesting as this article is, I probably would not have linked to it, if it were not for this quote: "Now we are Photoshopping rather than airbrushing; with enough slicing and dicing, an argument can be made for anything. The doctorate in sophistry is optional " (bold and italics are meant to show my delight!). And, let you think that I made it up, you can read it for yourself . The Universality of the Internet Wherein d

What Am I Reading? Karl Barth's Letters

Geoffrey W. Bromiley (Ed. And Trans.), Karl Barth: Letters, 1961-1868, (Eerdmans, 1981). This volume represents 350+ pages of Barth’s correspondence during the last years of his life, stretching from his retirement to his death. Also included are a number of replies from the recipients of Barth’s correspondence. In this volume Barth addresses such diverse figures as Emil Brunner, Pope Paul VI, Barth’s sons and other family, personages Barth met in the United States, a number of those whom Barth confirmed during his time at Safenwil, Hans Küng, Jürgen Moltmann, Wolfhart Pannenberg, Karl Rahner, Martin Neimöller, James I. McCord (former PTS president), Josef Hromadka, Paul Tillich, Eberhard Jüngel, Eberhard Bethge (Bonhoeffer’s close friend, student, and biographer), and numerous others. This really is a very fine collection, with excellent notes to help you grasp the many allusions, both literary and to Sitz im Leben . I heartily recommend it. One useful and gratifying thing tha

Reading Scripture with John Calvin: 1 Peter 1.23-25

1 Peter 1.23-25 (23) For you have been born again, nor of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God. (24) For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass wither and the flowers fall, (25) but the word of the Lord endures forever.” And this is the word that was preached to you. ========================== COMMENTARY: Calvin’s comments on these verses were much more brief than usual, but then again, these verses are brief. They also mark the end of chapter 1, so we can now rejoice in having made a good beginning of this project of reading Scripture with Calvin. Further reason for self-congratulation is that we have made it through 60 pages of Calvin’s commentaries! This excites me and I hope that it excites you as well. This has been a very rewarding undertaking thus far. We will discuss two themes in light of today’s material: (1) Calvin’s Ethical Imperative (2) Calvin’s understanding of the ‘w


Blogs Suck! Find out why by reading this essay written by a professor at my alma mater . I think that he is entirely correct. So, why do you persist in participating in this phenomenon? Good question. It would take a series of posts to entirely figure that out, and I don’t intend to subject the few of you who read me regularly to that horror. Suffice it to say that I’m still here and that you may expect your weekly installments of Reading Scripture with John Calvin for the foreseeable future. Singing Comes Before Speaking Or does it? Get into the debate about the origins of the human language by reading this article . Renegade Elephants Here is a teaser quote. Go read the article for more. "Since the early 1990’s, for example, young male elephants in Pilanesberg National Park and the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve in South Africa have been raping and killing rhinoceroses." The Angelic Doctor Do yourself and the world a favour - learn about Thomas! It just so happens

Choice Quotations: Karl Barth presents, “Pastor vs. Prophet”

"A prophet is, in all things, precisely the opposite of that which most people expect from a pastor these days and of that which most pastors have really been…Of a pastor people think: he is our employee. We have chosen him and we pay him and therefore it is the first responsibility of his office to strive to get along with everyone, to be nice to everyone and give offence to no one. The prophet is the employee of God. For him, it is a matter of indifference what people think of him and what they do to him. He cannot be comfortable with those to whom he is sent. He knows that if he does his duty, they will be shocked by him and indignant. Of a pastor, people expect above all that he preserve and care for the old customs…The prophet is the representative of the unaccustomed…he says: Either-Or!" From Karl Barth’s sermon of May 4, 1913 – as quoted in McCormack, Karl Barth’s Critically Realistic Dialectical Theology , 99-100.

Reading Scripture with John Calvin: 1 Peter 1.17-22

I would like to say at the outset here that one of the most challenging parts of my task in providing these mediations of Calvin’s commentaries to you is in attempting to order the material. Calvin’s comments move with the shape of the biblical text, indeed, he keeps to it quite remarkably, resisting spending too much time on tangential matters (often resisting by referring his readers to his Institutes of the Christian Religion , as might be seen from this quotation from our section today: “If the reader wishes for more on this subject, he may find it in my Institutes.” ). However, I have found that attempting to keep with the movement of the biblical text and Calvin’s comments would have the effect of protracting these reflections of mine to at least the length of Calvin’s comments themselves, and that would be counter-productive. Simply know that I am ordering the material and that all the shortcomings of my individual subjectivity are included in this ordering. Let this be an i


Think Education is Important? Think again! This 10 point list will use sound biblical reasoning to clear that evil notion from your head. Punk Rock and Jesus For all of you who have bubblegum pink hair, wear studs in various places, or otherwise identify and/or appreciate punk music, have I got a link for you! Check out Never Mind the Bibles: A Theology of Punk . It is a failed book proposal that the author was kind and determined enough to share despite the lack of enthusiasm shown by publishers. Amazing Story You aren't supposed to survive when on a little corporate jet that has a mid-air collision with a Boeing 737. But, then again, sometimes things don't work out exactly how they are supposed to. Read this article and prepare to be amazed. Scared Evangelicals? Most think evangelicals are scary; some think they are scared. For an instance of the latter hypothesis, check this article by the NYTimes . Apparently, they are afraid that their teenagers won’t be evangeli

Choice Quotations: George Hunsinger on the shape of Barth's theology

George Hunsinger, How to Read Karl Barth: The Shape of His Theology (Oxford:OUP, 1991) 4-5. If Barth’s theology will not yield its treasures to a single overriding conception, and if inherent limits accompany the loci approach, is there perhaps another interpretive possibility? This essay proposes that there is. Several recurrent “motifs” or modes of thought, it is argued, can be seen to run throughout the Church Dogmaitcs and to shape the doctrinal content of Barth’s mature theology as a whole. “Actualism,” “particularism,” “objectivism,” “personalism,” “realism,” and “rationalism” are the names that will be used to designate these motifs… “Actualism” is the motif which governs Barth’s complex conception of being and time. Being is always an event and often an act (always an act whenever an agent capable of decision is concerned). The relationship between divine being and human being is one of the most vexed topics in Barth interpretation…For now let it simply be said, howeve

Reading Scripture with John Calvin: 1 Peter 1.13-16

1 Peter 1.13-16 (13) Therefore, with minds that are alert and fully sober, set your hope on the grace to be brought to you when Jesus Christ is revealed at his coming. (14) As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. (15) But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; (16) for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” ========================== COMMENTARY: In keeping with our habit of selecting a few themes from within Calvin’s broader discussion with which to occupy ourselves, in this installment our thinking will be centered around the notions of “loins,” “ignorance,” “asymmetry.” Loins Calvin, like Augustine, is often charged with harboring such a dislike for earthly human existence so as to overlook the positive aspects of that existence. (Side note – in a class about Augustine, one of my professors commented that she thought that Augustine wanted to be an angel. For what its worth…) Leaving aside the disc


A 3rd Sacrament? While it may be too soon to start making pronouncements about Protestant doctrine, the practice of foot-washing has been getting increased attention lately, partly because of some who would understand it as a sacrament. I’m not ready to set it on par with Baptism and the Lord’s Supper just yet, but it certainly deserves more attention in our churches. My friend and colleague (both from Wheaton and now from PTS and the theo-blogsphere) has a reflection about these things up currently. Check it out. Opera – It’s cool! What? You don’t think so? Read this article in the New York Times about the Met’s recent season opening, and think again. Don't think you can honestly make your argument? Try one of these 5 tricks posted over at GOTT. They are sure to at least buy you a bit of time. But, now that the word is out, they may not work as well...