2009 Karl Barth Blog Conference: Conclusion and ToC

It is time once again for the most unsavory blogging business that I ever have to execute as the proprietor here at DET, namely, declaring this year’s Karl Barth Blog Conference to be officially over. You are welcome, of course, to continue commenting and conversing with one another. In fact, you are encouraged to do so! But, regretfully, there are no further posts forthcoming.

As unsavory as closing the blog conference may be, it gives me nothing but pleasure to thank all those who have participated. You have made this year’s blog conference an even greater success than last year! Special thanks to all our plenary authors and their respondents – you folks are the lifeblood of this enterprise. Still, these authors would not want to put in the time writing plenary posts and responses for an event like this were it not for the host of you readers willing to surf by and check things out, and especially for those of you who stop to comment and converse. Those who stop by to comment are the ones for whom this conference is organized – so thanks for making our efforts worthwhile! Finally, extra-special thanks to Shane Wilkins for being so cheerily willing to stick it to us Barthians, and who almost single-handedly made this conference what it has been.

How worthwhile, you ask? Well, our traffic numbers have already outdone last year as of the time of writing (Friday afternoon, EST), and we still have a bit more time to go. But, traffic is secondary to the conversation that traffic spawns, and on this score we have outpaced last year’s blog conference and lapped it a few times! At the time of this writing, we have had 120 comments in this years conference, compared 74 last year and – again – we’re still going.

I find it nearly impossible to express how gratifying it is to see these rich fruits of organization and authorial labor.

By way of conclusion, I want to take a step back and reflect on the conversation we have had. It seems more than clear that neither side in this argument has convinced the other to change their minds. Some tactical victories have been won on each side, but no strategic victor has clearly emerged – although I’m sure each side would claim such victory for their efforts! What can we learn from this? (1) We can learn that arguments can be had without a loss of humor, and without the rupturing of relationships. Theology can be fun! Even, or especially, when people disagree. (2) We are reminded of the baggage – theological, theoretical, etc – that one always brings to exegesis. There is no way around this, and that is why conversations like the one we have had are so valuable. (3) There are a lot of fertile theological minds surfing the internet. :-)

Finally, a comment about the future of the Karl Barth Blog Conference. I am pleased to announce that David W. Congdon will be joining me as co-organizer for the upcoming year. There are big plans in the works for the 2010 Barth Blog Conference, so stay tuned! We’ll publish more information as it becomes available. Suffice it to say that the theme will Barth in Conversation, with posts dedicated to exploring the relationship between Barth and numerous other theological thinkers of the modern period. If you are interested in participating as an author in next year’s conference, please e-mail me at the address posted in the sidebar on the right. See you all next year!

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Shane said…
Had a lot of fun. Thanks to Travis and David and all the other authors, responders and commentators for some stimulating conversation.

Michael Leyden said…
It really has been a very good conference - I have looked forward every day to reading the contributions. Looking forward to next year...

Bobby Grow said…
It was a good one, and I would say that Shane had a big hand in making it what it was :-).

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