Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Doodlings at dusk

The gospel in 2 words: “Hey, Boo.”

If it’s a clear night on New Year’s Eve, I make a point of gazing at the heavens and counting the stars, to get a tally of my sins at Old Year’s End.

And New Year’s Day? The annual absolution of Sunrise – starlessness – and the single resolution to sin better.

The insidious secular-fundamentalist time-totalitarianism of wall calendar-makers, beginning the week with Monday – a New Year’s pox on you!

Time used to be a friend of mine. No more. He’s become a thief, first nicking bits and pieces of my memory, and now – the bastard – serially robbing me of friends.

My faith in God is sure because it expects nothing from him and always gets it. God is utterly reliable and blesses me with the gracious gift of inconsolability.

“Every writer has only one story to tell, and he has to find a way of telling it until the meaning becomes clearer and clearer; until the story becomes at once more narrow and larger; more and more precise, more and more reverberating” (James Baldwin). So too for every preacher.

What do I make of the prayer Psalm 19:14 when said by many a minister before preaching? Wishful thinking.

“No arts, no letters, no society, continual fear, rich, nasty, brutish, and 6-foot-2.” – Thomas Hobbes on Donald Trump

You’ve got to hand it to The Donald: he’s a master of word-care. Sorry, that’s a typo: I left out the “s”.

The world according to Trump – is it not one vast self-projection? Trump wants only one thing: attention. I therefore propose that the way to make him go away is to live rebelliously etsi Trumpus non daretur.

But one thing in defence of The Donald: he was culpably misquoted about building a wall along the Mexican order. He said mall, not wall.

If I could ask Mr. Trump one self-revealing question, what would it be? That’s an easy one: what have you read in the last 5 years? Not counting Two Corinthians.

A friend of mine said to me, venomously, that he wouldn’t piss on Trump if he was on fire. I told him I’m not surprised: I wouldn’t piss on Trump if I was on fire either. However I would if I wasn’t.

Sign seen at a white evangelical rally: “Thank you, President Trump, for Jesus”.

What is social media, with its wilful and shameless decimation of the private, but a vast technological concentration camp, replete with its rapid descent into brutality?

In the toxic world of social media, name your poison: Facebook for kitsch, Twitter for Krieg.

In an age of multifarious distractions, liturgy teaches us the joy and excitement of monotony.

There are maximum security prisons, and there are maximum insecurity prisons. Many of the latter are churches.

What can we say about many a church-swapper? Amos 5:19a.

Listen to your conscience. It is your PMA (personal moral adviser). Just remember that sometimes it gives you bad advice. Remember too, however, that a bad conscience may be better than a deluded one (Bonhoeffer).

In The End of Protestantism Peter Leithart suggests that “doctrines have mattered and do matter; they have mattered enough for people to kill and die for them.” Hold on: doctrines have mattered little enough for people to kill for them.

Motoring around Europe during the summer of 1969, I spent a few days in Geneva. What struck me most about Calvintown was its spotlessness – the streets were as clean as plates. And that if the city were a painting, it would be a still life. Bad Presbyterianism in a nutshell: anal retentive and nothing happening.

What are we to think of the people who leave strict instructions for their funerals (from music and readings, to dress codes, to embargos on sadness)? Hell, if you’re going to micromanage, micromanage, and write your own goddamn eulogy too.

It is said that God has no grandchildren. He doesn’t know what he’s missing. Though I guess he does. Poor old God.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

A mere introduction to Christianity: A talk given to a gathering of Muslims and Christians in Swansea

Last year here at F&T I posted a letter of support and solidarity that our church had just sent to the mosques in Swansea in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris and the sudden wave of anti-Muslim activity in the UK. The large city-centre Sunni community not only thanked us for reaching out to them, they also invited us to their mosque for an evening which consisted of a brief introduction to Islam, a time for observation of their devotions, and a feast of delicious dishes. That was in March. On 30 November our church in turn welcomed the Sunni community for a similar evening. And what a wonderful event it was – terrific turnout, warm atmosphere, conversations both casual and probing. Only on the food front was the occasion, comparatively speaking, lacking in spice! 

As for our introduction to Christianity, muggins here volunteered to give it – and here it is. I really struggled over it – not only the subject matter but also the tone – hoping both to inform our Muslim guests and to challenge fellow Christians. I tinkered with it to the last minute, and finally delivered it (in my own anxious mind) as a “Hail Mary”. All I can say is that the response was hugely encouraging. And that we are all committed to making our time together a Casablanca moment – “the beginning of a beautiful friendship”.


“Think thoughts that are as clear as possible, but no clearer; 
say things as simply as possible, but no simpler.” 
—William Sloane Coffin, Jr.

Many years ago, I got on a train in Swansea to go to London for a meeting. At Bridgend a guy got on and sat down next to me. He evidently noticed I was reading a book on theology, because several minutes later he pointed to it and said, “This Christianity stuff – what’s it all about?” “Where are you going?” I replied. “Cardiff,” he said. “Well,” I said, “if you were going to Paddington, I’d tell you about it. But to Cardiff – there is simply not enough time.” And here we are tonight with much less time – 20 minutes – yet I’m going to give it a go. Our guests will no doubt be interested in what Christians believe, so let’s start with a sprint through the Apostles’ Creed, which is a statement of faith dating from the 4th century in Rome, where it was probably used at baptisms, the rite of initiation into the church.

The Creed is in 3 parts. It begins with belief in God the “almighty, creator … of heaven and earth” (or as another ancient creed puts it, “of all things that we can see and all things that we can’t see”), a belief shared with Islam. But it also professes belief in God the “Father”, a belief not shared with Islam. There are 99 names for God in Islam, but “Father” is not one of them. Why do Christians call God “Father”? Because Jesus called God Father – abba in his native language, Aramaic, a word that expresses intimacy as well as authority – and Jesus told his followers to call God Father too. God the Father is not, of course, a literal Father (the proverbial old man with a beard), nor is God male (because God is not gendered) – God is Spirit; rather “Father” functions as a metaphor (“language at full stretch”, “old words doing new tricks”). But note well: not just a metaphor, as if “Father” were a decorative but expendable description, rather an indispensable and irreplaceable metaphor which the Christian believes discloses the reality of God.

Part 2 of the Creed then goes on to talk about Jesus, the Christ, the Messiah the Jews were (and still are) expecting. The Creed also calls Jesus “God’s only Son” – God is the Father of Jesus – and also “our Lord”. Because only God is the Lord, here the divinity of Christ enters the picture of what Christians believe. If the heart of Islam is the testimony, “There is no god but God and the Prophet is the Messenger of God”, the heart of Christianity is the testimony, “There is no god but the Father and Jesus is his Son”. We’re two-thirds of the way towards the Christian understanding God as Trinity – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – about which more in a minute.

The Creed then asserts that Jesus was “born of the Virgin Mary”. Christians should be aware that Muslims also revere Jesus as born of the Virgin Mary, while our Muslim friends might find it interesting that more liberal Christians reject the idea of a miraculous conception. Which means that Muslims are actually more orthodox than many Christians about this traditional teaching of the Church!

But then Muslims and Christians divide again when the Creed says that Jesus “suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried”: because whereas the Koran states that Jesus was not, in fact, crucified, the crucifixion of Jesus is absolutely central to the New Testament narrative of Christ as Saviour. The New Testament has many images, models, metaphors (again!) for depicting the way the life and death of Jesus bring salvation, and for identifying the features of salvation – the forgiveness of sins, liberation from evil, victory over death, reconciliation with God. But while some Christians claim that you must hold a particular model of the atonement (as it is called) in order to be a “proper” Christian, most Christians agree that all the models are essential for assembling the big picture of what God has done for the world in Christ.

Next up in the Creed, the resurrection of the dead Jesus and his ascension to heaven. The resurrection and ascension of Jesus mean the vindication of the life and teaching of Jesus the crucified victim, the triumph of his love, and his enduring ability to surprise us with his presence. And here is another point of interest. While Muslims believe that Jesus was lifted up to heaven – though while alive, not dead – more liberal Christians (again!) do not think that God actually raised the dead body of Jesus, they believe in the idea of a “spiritual” rather than a physical resurrection. (Me, if it could be demonstrated that the body of Jesus rotted away in his grave, I wouldn’t be a Christian.)

Finally, Part 3 of the Creed, which begins “I believe in the Holy Spirit” – the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Jesus – whom you could think of as the presence of Jesus in the absence of Jesus, a kind of alter-ego of Jesus, for Christians believe that it is the Holy Spirit who makes the ascended Jesus real and present to us here on earth. The Creed then speaks of “the holy catholic Church”, the transnational body of believers around the world, analogous to what Muslims call the umma, the entire community of Islam bound together in faith; followed by “the communion of saints”, the transtemporal body of Christians through the ages, past, present and to come, here and in heaven. And because the heart of the message, the gospel, the good news which the Church proclaims can be summed up in “the forgiveness of sins”, it is this phrase that concludes the section on the Church in the Creed.

Finally, among the so-called “last things”, the Creed speaks of “the resurrection of the body”, that is, the transformation and perfection of who-we-are into the likenesses of the risen and ascended Jesus, thereafter to enjoy “the life everlasting”, eternal quality-time with God.

I would only add that what the Creed doesn’t say at its conclusion is also significant: it says nothing about hell. Unlike everlasting life with its joys, hell with its torments is not a necessary article of faith. And while it is true that the majority of Christians have affirmed eternal damnation, a significant minority, found particularly (but not exclusively) in the Eastern Orthodox Churches, has denied its inevitability, refusing to set limits to the grace and patience of God, and hoping and praying that, ransacked by Christ, hell will be empty.

Now you see why I told that guy on the train why a few minutes are inadequate for sketching what “this Christianity stuff is all about”! Still, I am going to be foolish enough briefly to address two further issues which I think are of fundamental importance for candid conversations between Christians and Muslims.

First, some of you may have heard about a young woman named Larycia Hawkins, an African-American professor of political science at a Christian liberal arts college called Wheaton. In the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris last November, when violence against Muslims in the US spiked, Professor Hawkins went to her classes, and posted pictures of herself on social media, wearing the hijab, to demonstrate Christian solidarity with Muslims because, she asserted, we are both “people of the book … and worship the same God”. Five days later the College placed Professor Hawkins on “administrative leave” – for being off-message – and in February they agreed to a parting of the ways. Both the outcry against and the support for what Professor Hawkins did and said were huge.

So: do Christians and Muslims worship the same God?

The doctrine of the Trinity suggests that we do not. Christians, of course, believe in God’s unity, but they insist that this unity is constituted by the eternal communion of love of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, as experienced in worship and articulated in our narrative of salvation. For Christians the Trinity is not an add-on. The threefold relations simply are who the one God is. On this view, clearly Christians and Muslims do not worship the same God.

On the other hand, the fact is that the doctrine of the Trinity took a long time to develop, around four centuries in fact. Which raises the question, who did Christians think they were worshipping in the meantime? Clearly God’s “‘oneness’ was both historically prior to and, to an extent, logically privileged over [God’s] ‘threeness’. The move historically was from oneness to triunity – and when triunity was finally worked out, it was worked out in a way that ‘fit’ the prior commitment to a metaphysical notion of ‘oneness’” (Bruce McCormack). Moreover, the first Jews who became Christians, and indeed Jesus himself, worshipped the one God of Israel. Observe also that the Arabic word for God, Allah, used in the Koran, is the same word Arabic Christians use for God, and when they have religious conversations with their Muslim neighbours, there is never the slightest suspicion that they might be talking about different Gods. Even if a different sense is given to the name Allah by Muslims and Christians, the referent, the One to whom the name refers, is the same.

Personally, as a Christian minister, I thank God, Allah, when Muslims press us to articulate what we mean when we say that God is Trinity; because, to be honest, many Christians themselves seem to think that it means that God is three “persons” in the sense of three individuals with different personalities forming a kind of divine family or society. But if there is one thing the Trinity is not, it is not that!

Second – and to conclude: I’ve focussed on Christian doctrine, but frankly what Christians believe, if it isn’t intrinsically connected with how we believe, if it isn’t embedded in a way of life, in discipleship – well, it’s worth less than nothing. The New Testament speaks of the “obedience of faith”, and of “true worship” as the offering of our everyday lives to God. No believing without doing, no prayer without practice. And for Christians, what we do, our daily practices, are summed up in the Sermon on the Mount at the start of Jesus’ teaching ministry, in the parable of the Good Samaritan in the middle, and in the parable of the Sheep and the Goats at its conclusion. There we learn that the defining characteristics of Christian behaviour – Christian identity – are humility and nonviolence, compassion and generosity, hospitality and mercy, with particular attention to the poor, the excluded, the stranger. Jesus says that when Christians ignore them, they ignore him; and when Christians or non-Christians befriend them, they befriend him.

Which is why Christians dare not speculate about the salvation of other people: judgment is God’s business, not ours, and as Jesus often observes, judgment will be full of surprises. Christians are called to love others no matter who they are or what their faith, and whether they like us or hate us.

Needless to say, Christians as often as not have failed to observe the radical teaching of Jesus. May God forgive us, and may our neighbours forgive us too.

Monday, 5 December 2016

The sad, sad, sad story of Mr. K

One cold December day, an ordinary American guy called Mr. K was walking along the road towards the future when he was mugged by Modernist and left for dead.

Postmodernist came by, heard Mr. K moan, and gave him another kicking.

Evangelical came by and left Mr. K an autographed copy of a Red-Letter Bible.

Roman Catholic came by and left Mr. K a get-well card with a picture of Our Lady of Lourdes on it.

Anglican came by and left Mr. K a glass of sherry.

Progressive came by and left Mr. K a skinny latte.

Jehovah’s Witness came by – correction: two Jehovah’s Witnesses came by – talked to the unconscious Mr. K about End-Time signs for twenty minutes, and left a tract.

Orthodox came by and made the sign of the cross.

Baptist came by and didn’t make the sign of the cross.

Presbyterian came by and looked cross.

Charismatic came by and garrulously shouted at Mr. K.

Quaker came by and kept contemplatively shtum before Mr. K.

Methodist came by and sang a hymn to Mr. K. Then three more.

Prosperity Gospel came by and stole Mr. K’s wallet.

Humanist came by and left some flowers.

New Atheist came by and drank the sherry. Then came back for the flowers.

Finally, a man with ostentatiously coiffured hair the colour of the orange juice he was drinking came by in his chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce Phantom. The man told his chauffeur to slow down, rolled down his window, thought “Loser!”, then told the chauffeur to step on it. Startled into consciousness by the acrid smell of the man’s cologne, Mr. K survived. Indeed, he prospered. In his prayers he always thanked God for that Good Samaritan who stopped with (what he thought were) the smelling salts, and he told anyone who would listen, “He’s just the kind of caring man we need for President.”

And so it came to pass. Of course, Mr. K was never able to put a face, let alone a name, to the bearer of the aroma of ammonia he never forgot. And sad, sad, sad to say, in October 2016 he lost his shirt at a casino in New Jersey and cursed the day he was born.

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Cock-a-Doodle Doodlings (Mark 14:72)

“Ah, grief makes us precise!” —Leonard Cohen

I have never been theologically troubled by the so-called problem of evil that theodicists vainly address because, frankly, I have always believed that God is insane.

And that God has a Pythonesque sense of irony. To wit, on Election Day we woke (I kid you not) to a toilet with a leaking pipe. As the morning wore on and our domestic urine accumulated in the bowl, I thought, “Can this be a sign from the Lord?” Yes It Could.

Well, at least the star-splattered banner is still waving – waving goodbye “o’er the land of the Me and the home of the grave.”

Were I a political cartoonist, I would draw a picture of (the Statue of) Libertas contorting her massive body of copper, iron, and steel to bend over, place her head between her legs, and kiss her green ass au revoir.

After Trump’s victory was confirmed, feeling more depressed about the US than I have since the assassinations of Jack and Bobby, Malcolm and Martin – and so studiously avoiding the kitchen cabinet containing toxic household chemicals – I decided to cheer myself up. So I spent some time with GM’s sonnets of desolation and listened to LCs’ perfectly timed parting testament, “You Want It Darker”. (RIP, Lenny, once cracked, now broken: may light perpetual shine upon you.)

Anything 2016ish in Nostradamus about both Vlad the Impaler (1431) and Bram Stoker (1847) being born on November 8th?

Of course post-Election Day I feel humiliated and embarrassed to be an American. After the Vietnam years, the Nixon years, the Reagan years, the Dubya years – well, it’s like riding a bike. I’ve also grown adept at softening my New York accent and telling people I’m from Toronto.

By the impotence invested in me, I hereby declare Thanksgiving 2016 to be a National Day of Fasting. Or at least put bitter herbs in the Pumpkin Pie.

Andrew Sullivan has quotably asked, “How can you tell when a political ideology has become the equivalent of a religion?” More to the point for evangelical white-Americans (NB: “evangelical” is adjectival, “white-Americans” is the substantive), how can you tell when your religion has become the equivalent of a cultural/political ideology?

Ignoring or spinning Mark 8:36-38, many Christian have sold their soul to the devil. Of course. They got a good deal. Indeed Trump-like, it makes them smart: they won’t be declaring their profits on their income tax returns.

The go-to theologian for our troubled times has surely got to be Bonhoeffer. WWBD? Dietrich I mean, not the so-called “American Bonhoeffer” Eric Metaxas, whose inexcusable ignorance of modern German intellectual history and ideological distortions – nay, perversions – of DB’s life and thought should guarantee him a Trump Tower of a residence in the 8th circle of the Inferno.

Some Christian musings on the election of the “Remember, our God reigns” and “We always have prayer” kind – they are not false but they are not real. There is no fierce grief, no posture of resistance, no energy to join combat against the Lie, and no realisation that God is not useful, helpful, or advantageous. This is not the world of Jeremiah and Ezekiel (see Brueggemann) – or of Jesus.

What is time but a mortal wound that God heals with the astringent salve of the Spirit?

Don’t knock boredom. It is the source of all good fiction.

By all means practice introspection: it will acclimatise you to the torments of damnation.

Bad pastors command, good pastors advise – though of course they think their advice is infallible.

Advice from an old fart to newlyweds: pay close attention to the ecology of your marriage, lest, from a process of erosion, it slowly crumbles behind your very eyes.

In some contemporary liturgies there should be rubrics for snoring.

When it comes to the web, we like to think we are spiders when in fact we are flies.

What’s the difference between a care home for people with dementia and a Starbucks full of people with iPhones and laptops? You’ll find more interpersonal skills among folk in the former.

Street-wear tee shirts for the dwindling number of those whose iPhones aren’t prosthetic: the inscription reads “Watch where I’m going, apphole!”

How would I describe the social imaginary of people addicted to social media? As an anti-social imaginary, or an imaginary imaginary.

Why did I become a minister? Because I’d heard that it’s a vacation. My hearing isn’t so good.

Everybody muddles through life. Saints are simply those who muddle through it better than the rest of us.

Who do you suppose Trump sees when he looks in the mirror, assuming he sees anyone at all (see the doodling about Vlad the Impaler)? Probably himself. Like most of us. It is the saints who see someone else, “the concealed likeness, always ahead in its ambush” (R. S. Thomas), and ask, “Why do you look at me like that?”

Wednesday, 9 November 2016

To write new books is human; to publish old ones divine

Some wonderful new books were brought into the world this year. I love them and am grateful for their safe arrival. My favourites have included Rowan Williams's brilliant study of tragic theatre, The Tragic Imagination (one of the best books he's ever written, if you ask me); Richard Hays' masterful and memorable Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels; Ian McEwan's delightful novel Nutshell, narrated by Hamlet as a baby in the womb; Stephen Backhouse's biographical page-turner, Kierkegaard: A Single Life; Geoff Thompson's timely theological provocations, Disturbing Much, Disturbing Many; Leo Damrosch's gorgeously illustrated Eternity's Sunrise: The Imaginative World of William Blake; Tom Wainwright's entertaining and sobering Narconomics: How to Run a Drug Cartel; and Sandy Maisel's informative American Political Parties and Elections: A Very Short Introduction (terrific series, by the way).

And what about the books I haven't got to yet but am saving for a rainy day? Larry Hurtado's Destroyer of the Gods: Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman World looks especially good; so does Catherine Chin's edited volume Melania: Early Christianity through the Life of One Family and Bruce Gordon's John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion: A Biography and Fleming Rutledge's The Crucifixion: Understanding the Death of Jesus Christ.

I greet you, all you new-born books! May the world treat you kindly! May God's blessing keep you always, may your wishes all come true! May you stay forever young! May you make your authors rich, or at least not destitute!

But even better than all the new books, the past year has been a season of new editions. These are the books that I have loved the most during the past twelve months, these labours of publishing love, these tributes to the human spirit, these hopeful gestures towards culture and a common good. Here are the new editions that I'm talking about, all published within the last 12 months:

Martin Luther, The Annotated Luther (Fortress Press) – 4 big volumes so far, with 2 more still to come, very handsomely produced with big wide margins and an inviting layout, each text nestled in a wealth of historical information (footnotes, anecdotes, woodcuts and other illustrations from the period, extensive introductions to each work, etc). One would always prefer to be reading Erasmus: but if one has to dip into Luther from time to time, this is the way to do it. Fortress Press are a mighty engine-house when it comes to new English editions: if you haven't got the 17 volumes of their Dietrich Bonhoeffer Works, then I chide you.

Edmund Burke, Reflections on the Revolution in France, and Other Writings (Everyman's Library) – 1200 pages of Burkean sanity in the always-lovely Everyman's Library edition, red cloth, gilded spine, gold ribbon, just like the books they made in France before the revolution. This one's not so good on Burke's major works (only the Reflections is included in full, the rest are excerpted), but it does make room for innumerable little pamphlets and speeches and letters and whatnot, always worth reading for Burke's inimitable prose style.

T. S. Eliot, The Poems of T. S. Eliot (Johns Hopkins University Press) – 2 massive volumes, about 2,000 pages' worth, all that you could ever want (and more) of this most modern of modern poets. And since Eliot was also perhaps the greatest essayist of the 20th century (Virginia Woolf is just as good – but who else is in their league?), how could I be forgiven if I failed to mention the same publisher's multi-volume critical edition of Eliot's Complete Prose?

Reinhold Niebhur, Reinhold Niebuhr: Major Works on Religion and Politics (Library of America) – Well technically this was more than a year ago, it came out in April 2015, but who's counting? For less than 30 bucks you can get your hands on 800 pages of Niebuhr, including four complete books and a whole archive of sermons, lectures, prayers, etc, much of it never published before.

John Maynard Keynes, The Essential Keynes (Penguin) – Did you know how much fun it can be to spend an afternoon reading Keynes? Do yourself a favour and give it a try. This goodly ten-dollar paperback crams in 600 pages of Keynes – not only the economics but also a sample of his immensely insightful and entertaining thoughts on politics, culture, biography, etc. Keynes tends to be remembered only as an economist which is a shame since he was one of the most cultured characters of his day, a member of the Bloomsbury Group and a scintillating essayist with wide interests and boundless curiosity.

And the other day this one arrived, the mother of all new editions, a massive scholarly labour, a playground erected over the crater of the theologians: Friedrich Schleiermacher, Christian Faith: A New Translation and Critical Edition (WJK) – 2 volumes, well over a thousand pages, newly translated by Terrence Tice and Catherine Kelsey, with thousands of footnotes on Schleiermacher's German vocabulary, sources, etc, and with a most marvellous 60-page "analytical index of topics" that provides a key to Schleiermacher's intricate tapestry of concepts. I say this without a trace of irony: I read the whole index right through and found it riveting. I was riveted! It's a wonderful new edition and an exceptional achievement.

So there you have it, reader. By all means read the new books. But by even more means, read the old ones too. For to write new books is human; to publish old ones divine.

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Postgraduate seminar on Karl Barth: what to read?

This year it was Origen; next year I’ll be teaching a postgraduate seminar on the theology of Karl Barth. It’s a 12-week course and I’m trying to decide on the readings. Barth presents special challenges here, given the huge slow expansiveness of his best work. The best seminar in the world would be one on Church Dogmatics IV – but where on God’s good earth are the students who would agree to read the requisite 3,000 pages?

Anyway, I’ve come up with three possible approaches so far, and I’d love to know what you think. Which of these would you prefer if you were doing a seminar like this? Which texts you would choose if you were the teacher? Anyone else out there have experience with a course like this?

First Idea. Barth’s early theology

The Word of God and Theology (2 weeks)
Epistle to the Romans (5 weeks)
Göttingen Dogmatics (5 weeks)

Second Idea. Barth’s dogmatics

Göttingen Dogmatics (5 weeks)
Michael Allen’s Church Dogmatics reader (5 weeks)
The Humanity of God (2 weeks)

Third Idea. Barth’s doctrine of creation

Parts of Church Dogmatics III/1 – creation and covenant (6 weeks)
Parts of Church Dogmatics III/3 – providence and evil (6 weeks)

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