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:
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,
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,
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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