According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for
this world to recreate, reclaim, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater
Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of
explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger
Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton
I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. - anon
Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII
Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut
Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest
People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. - anon
... Certainly God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater
An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater
Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann
Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument.
There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is
irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a
power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner
Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14)
Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton
The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table
to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens we show to the world what love, justice, peace,
reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants
us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. - anon
The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul
The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals
and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah
If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Friday, August 19, 2011

Of Calvin, Barth and Poetry

David Congdon issued a challenge to write of Calvin in Barthian terms earlier this year (http://fireandrose.blogspot.com/2007/05/as-barth-poetic-challenge.html). Here are some of the better entries below:


As Calvin
Make of me no Calvinist,
God of Calvin and of me,
Cause me not to follow him
Who would follow only Thee.

Make of me no Calvinist,
Swallowing each word he penned,
Make of me a thinker, God,
As was he, Thy intimate friend!

Make me, God, as Calvin was,
Now, while yet in days of youth,
Delving from the Depths of Thine,
Sovereign, soul-exalting truth.

Make me like the Christ, O God,
Give me not a Calvin's ire,
But withhold from me the spark
For a new Servetus-fire.

Make me like a Calvin, God,
Just as humble, just as brave,
Like a Calvin who refused
E'en a stone upon his grave.

 - Albert Piersma
published in The Calvin Forum II:2 (1936), p. 39



Barth & Rumi Advise the Theologian

"We and our existences are really non-existence;
thou art the absolute Being which manifests the perishable."

You can’t find Him in there, go ahead, look hard,
with all the commentaries you may buy - or write yourself.

His domain we cannot discover,
and this shore has no port.
Does one arrive only by shipwreck?
“Come and dwell with me and be my Beloved,” is His call.
His love gives birth to hurricanes,
takes everything,
and gives more than all things back in Him alone.

(You have caused this shipwreck.
My secret stores of comfort,
hidden rafts of self-reliance,
hidden even from myself,
you have utterly destroyed, dashed against
the rocky shore of your desire for me.)

"But when the eye is turned toward the Light of God
What thing could remain hidden under such a Light?"

- Ann Chapin, July 2011http://www.iconsexplained.com/iec/byz_ann_chapin.htm
Quotes at the beginning and end of the poem are from the Persian philosopher, Rumi



Bonhoeffer Argues with Barth Over Heaven and its Songs

Not the angels who skim across pins,
en familie to Mozart and his lighted love of the air

Not the robed wonders who trade their antiphonal orders,
the patterns of Palestrina from, first, the East, then West, the home of human sins

Nor the simplest common chorales, broken off
as the Psalters of Geneva, of Plymouth, of Jerusalem and its steps

We believe in the prison and its concrete, impermanent walls,
in the sermon for all those held captive

We revel in the God become flesh and the old world
of tangential dust gathered to touch, though not touch, the new

Bach rewrote the world from the ground, bowed down
where the back can receive a blessing or thrashing, God knows

When our mist burns away in the sun we will know
Deus non est in genere,

Praise will be made from the fugue of the earth,
all its broken voices silent at first

Then circling to intone Vor deinen Thron tret ich hiermit,
Amen, amen, erhore mich


- David Wright, July 2011

David teaches literature and writing at Wheaton College, and is an advocate for arts in the Mennonite church. He has two volumes of published poetry: A Liturgy for Stones (2003) and Lines from the Provinces (2000). He also has three poems in the most recent issue of the Princeton Theological Review.



Four Limericks on Karl Barth

A scholar of God who was Swiss,
whom some sods like me think is sheer bliss,
drives conservatives nuts
and burns liberals’ butts,
while God thinks, “Karl, they’re taking the piss!”

There once was a gourmet named Barth,
who had tasted Rousseau and Descartes,
and though Hegel bar none
was his haute cuisine Hun,
he dogmatically dined à la carte.

To Wilhelm Karl lifted his stein,
and old Søren was fine vintage wine,
but what Rudolf would brew,
made him hack, heave, and spew,
while to Emil he roared and cried, “Nein!

Now what was Karl’s favourite sweet
(as I end my poor prandial conceit)?
He thought Jürgen too tart,
while too stale was Wolfhart,
Eberhard, though, now there was a treat!

- Kim Fabricius, July 2011

Kim is a minister at Bethel United Reformed Church in Swansea, Wales, and also serves as a chaplain with the United Reformed Church at the University of Wales, Swansea. While Kim does not have a blog of his own, he hovers around the theo-blogosphere and is most well known for his always insightful and often brilliant series of ten propositions.



For Additional References

John Calvin - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Calvin
Karl Barth - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Barth
Emil Brunner - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emil_Brunner
Dietrich Bonhoeffer - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bonhoeffer



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