I just wanted to make mention of several of the other groups reading through Barth’s Church Dogmatics around the blogosphere. In addition to ours, Cabe and Matt (and now Adam) have been reading through the CD for a while now. They are currently well into 2/I.
In addition, Daniel Kirk is also doing a read through at his own blog. Also, it should be noted that Jeremy powered through the whole thing like a champ last year and his various posts on the experience are quite a good read. I don’t know of any others, but I’m sure they’re out there, so by all means post a link to any others I’m unaware of.
While I’m a little bit late to the party, I want to make sure to direct folks to the excellent new blog, Women in Theology (WIT). Boasting nine different authors writing from various academic and disciplinary theological contexts, this blog helps to fill a still-wide lacuna in the theological blogosphere. There are plenty of fascinating posts from the last couple months that merit attention, but please take special note of the most recentposts which properly point out some of the mind-numbing madness involved in Milbank’s latest post on sex. Thank you!
I look forward to more great posts from this important blog. Keep up the good work!
I’ve recently published an interview with Nate Kerr over at TOJ that delves into some of the issues that have surfaced in recent discussions about Christology, ecclesiology, and mission. Check it out.
Here’s one segment:
My contention is that the focus upon the singularity of Jesus Christ forces us to rethink what we mean by the task of theology as being both dogmatic and missionary in today’s context. By dogmatic I mean to say that Christian theology is to be given to the confession of the praise of the doxa, the glory of the Lord, that shows forth in the apocalyptic singularity of Jesus Christ. And that glory is that Jesus, as the eternally sent One, has liberated the world from its oppressed laboring under the powers and principalities and, by way of this liberation, has reconciled the world to Godself. That is the gospel; that is the good news. By missionary I mean to stress that theology can only be faithfully dogmatic insofar as it is forged in the ongoing encounter and solidarity with the world’s hearing of and response to this singular gospel.
This, it seems to me, means two things primarily for how theology is to be rethought and practiced today. First, it means to insist upon the apocalypse of Jesus Christ as the singular dandum from which all theological thought must emerge. Bruce McCormack’s reading of Barth has been most important for keeping me focused upon this point. Theology determined by the singular revelation that is Jesus Christ cannot at any point or in any degree make recourse to an assumed cultural or revelational datum (a “given”) but must think in the train of that One who gives himself “anew in each new moment” as a singular dandum (“to be given”). Second, we must not forget that the singular identity of Jesus Christ as the resurrected crucified one is the identity of that one who was not afraid to lose himself in abandonment to and in identity with the marginalized and oppressed of this world. Insofar as such oppression is the work of idolatrous powers, such identification and solidarity with the oppressed is the very condition of the interruption and overcoming of these powers by the doxa, the glory of God. And so insofar as Jesus is the singular dandum of theology who gives himself to be given, we must insist that we only ever encounter Jesus, as Kierkegaard would say, in the forgetfulness of himself in the suffering world, in the giving of himself incognito in the poor and suffering neighbor. Mission, as such, thus becomes that movement of self-giving whereby we are given ever-anew to receive that one Christ who gives himself precisely by giving himself ever-anew in what Bonhoeffer calls the “strangeness” of the other. But this means that mission is itself a certain kind of preferential option for the poor. For it is precisely as this singular Jesus turns to give himself to and identify with the dying and soon-to-be-dead poor of this world (and we find this movement all throughout the Gospel of Mark, for example) that Jesus makes his way to the cross. And it is as he moves to the cross with, for, and as these poor that Jesus is given to receive the genuinely new and irruptive doxa of God’s coming reign—resurrection. In turn, it is precisely as our thoughts and words give us to live and speak in solidarity with the dying and soon-to-be-dead poor of this world, to eat and drink with them, that we theologians are given with, for, and as these poor to receive, and to bespeak, the genuinely new and irruptive doxa of God’s coming reign.
The second session of this years Karl Barth Blog Conference is complete. There are lots of conversations are still going strong, so make sure to catch up on your reading and feel free to contribute more to the discussion. Here is what we saw presented this week:
The third and final session of the 2010 KBBC will take place sometime between AAR and Thanksgiving. Stay tuned for precise dates for that. Thanks to WTM and David Congdon for all their work on this year’s excellent conference!
The Karl Barth Blog Conference is now in its second week. Make sure to check out the introductory post letting us know what’s in store for us this week and the first installment, dealing with Barth in dialogue with the Coen Brothers.
Here’s the outline for the week:
Monday: Barth in Conversation with the Coen Brothers, Jon Coutts (plenary), Brad East (response).
Tuesday: Barth in Conversation with Robert Kegan, Blair Bertrand (plenary), Katherine M. Douglass (response).
Wednesday: Barth in Conversation with Pauline Apocalyptic, Shannon Nicole Smythe (plenary), Andrew Guffey (response).
Thursday: Barth in Conversation with Stanley Hauerwas, Halden Doerge (plenary), Ry O. Siggelkow (response).
Friday: Barth in Conversation with Kathryn Tanner, Scott Jackson (plenary), David W. Congdon (response).
If you want to read something incredibly stupid, make sure to check out Mark Tooley’s dreck, “Mennonite Takeover.” This lovely piece of “writing” wonders if the malignant Neo-Anabaptists of today will someday repent of all the mean things they say about “traditional American Christianity,” you know, since mainline Christians have apologized profusely for killing all those Anabaptists back in the day it seems only fair. . .
On the other hand if you want to read something incredibly good, check out the second part of K.J. Swanson’s three-part article critiquing the politics of gender in evangelicalism and the Twilight series.
Travis posts a very apropos quote from T. F. Torrance:
“The church of the risen Lord has no right to be a prophet of gloom or despair, for this world has been redeemed and sanctified by Christ and he will not let it go. The corruptible clay of our poor earth has been taken up in Jesus, is consecrated through his sacrifice and resurrection, and he will not allow it to sink back into corruption. Hence the whole creation groans and travails waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God, looking forward with eager expectation to the hour of final liberation and renewal in the advent of its risen saviour.”
Turns out it wasn’t Satan, it was, of course the French.
Dan asks some good questions about whether or not we need to rethink hospitality in connection with solidarity. Sounds dangerous to me, so we probably should.
Chris at The Other Journal has recently posted part 1 of a three-part interview with Eugene McCarraher that is definitely worth the read. So far there’s been some fascinating commentary on things ranging from evaluating the aughts to the presidency of Barack Obama and the Tiger Woods scandal.
Here’s just one quote, on conservative Christianity in the 2000s:
The 2000s was, sadly, the heyday of faith-based everything: faith-based wars (Iraq), faith-based science (“intelligent design” and global-warming denial), faith-based economics (the financial and housing bubbles, the extraordinary trust placed in a gnomic mediocrity like Alan Greenspan). And let’s be honest here: conservative Christianity, Protestant and Catholic, remains one of the leading service providers of credulity. You just can’t escape the fact that conservative religious culture leavened almost every instance of faith-based bunkum that characterized the last decade. Anyone who studies the events leading up to the invasion of Iraq knows that one of the reasons George W. Bush went to war was his belief—encouraged by neoconservatives who don’t give a damn about Christian or any other faith—that God wanted him to be some righteous warrior. Churches and synagogues around the nation sounded their tocsins for war, but the invasion received the most enthusiastic benedictions from conservative churches, all resounding with hosannahs and praise for God’s President. Even churches like the one I attend, which isn’t especially conservative, started draping the Stars and Stripes from their choir balconies. When I objected strongly to this, I was told that parishioners were demanding it. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson drooled with anticipation at the prospect of vengeance and assassination; John Hagee, Rod Parsley, and others reveled in blood-soaked eschatological visions; the Left Behind books sold millions of copies, filling the minds of readers with hateful, sanguinary orgasms of violence; theo-con journals like First Things, the religion supplement for the Wall Street Journal, ran articles about America’s providential mission in the world. Add to that the cavalier hostility to science that now makes a cretin like James Inhofe into a major player on climate policy. Very large swaths of American Christianity now compose a potent culture of resentment, bigotry, and militarism. Where, oh where, is H. L. Mencken when you need him? You can’t even begin to understand someone like Bush—or Sarah Palin, the true heir to this maelstrom of nuttery—without attending to this stew.
Peter Leithart teaches us about a truly biblical epistemology. I’m all for it.
Church and Pomo is hold a symposium soon on Graham Ward’s new book The Politics of Discipleship.
James Merrick has a probing post about theological and historical interpretation of Scripture. And a plea for help. So go help him out.
Also an interesting quote from T.F. Torrance about mission that, I think, doesn’t get the matter of universality and catholicity quite right.
Also it looks like John Milbank may be running around the blogosphere under the pseudonym Alasdair Maclagan. Hmm.
The National Association of Evangelicals have come out with a survey of their leaders about the greatest moral issues facing America with, shall we say, predictable results. The Slavtivist has a great send-up of the whole matter.
An amusing obituary for the emerging church. Doesn’t something have to have been an actual living thing in order for it to die, though?
Debra Dean Murphy also has some comments on James Cameron’s failure of imagination in Avatar.
And finally, you can catch me doing a bit of sermonizing at the EP blog this weekend. I found a way to sneak in another Will Campbell quote. Here it is:
Yes, we know something they do not know. We know that God so loved the world, with all its people, their sins and problems, that he became like one of us and dwelt among us and died that we might all be one people—his people. We know that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself and breaking down all barriers and walls of hostility which separate us from one another and from him. We know that God, in establishing the Church, has enlisted us to proclaim that message of reconciliation. We know that we are called not to build a kingdom, but to bid men to enter one already established, here and now, in which race is as irrelevant a category as redhead, baldhead, fat man, lean man. We also know that Jesus fed the hungry and healed the sick and bade his followers do the same.
That is what we know, and that is the evangelical message we must now proclaim to both revolutionary and defender of the status quo. And to those who say we have not earned the right to preach to the revolutionaries, we can only say “God, in Christ, has earned it for us.”