Sunday 10 September 2006

The terror of 9/11: God on the scene

“[God] knows the Nothingness. He knows that which he did not elect or will as the creator. He know Chaos and its terror. He knows its advantage over his creature. He knows how inevitably it imperils his creature. Yet he is Lord over that which imperils his creature. Against him, the Nothingness has no power of its own. And he has sworn faithfulness to his threatened creature. In creating it he has covenanted himself with it in solidarity.... He would rather let himself be injured and humiliated in making the assault and repulse of Nothingness his own concern than leave his creature alone in this affliction. He deploys all his glory in the work of his deepest condescension. He intervenes in the struggle between Nothingness and the creature as if he were not God but himself a weak and threatened and vulnerable creature…. This is how God himself comes on the scene.”

—Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics III/3, p. 358 (KD III/3, pp. 413-14).


Anonymous said...

To which George Bush replies, "Wha? And Ken Barth, wasn't he that German socialist?"

MM said...

- Barth at his most gorgeous. Thank you-

... I think that today is also such a time for Miroslav Volf's theme of "remembering rightly," as found in his text "Free of Charge."

Anonymous said...

Today might also be a good time to remember Barth's statement in June 1933 that the urgent task of theology is - to get on doing theology "as if nothing had happened." Which, of course, was not a call to quietism or indifference, or to decontextualise theology - no theologian's work is more contextual than Barth's - but, as Eberhard Busch points out, is "properly understood as a rigorous focus on the fact that the new political slogans could not in any way be obligatory for Christian thought." Which, alas -sloganeering - is exactly how the Bush administration is exploitng the fifth anniversary of 9/11.

Chris TerryNelson said...

The following quote seemed quite fitting, in light of all the topical preaching that is probably happening in this season of mourning:

"In 1914, when the outbreak of war left the whole world breathless, I felt obliged to let this war rage on in all my sermons until finally a woman came up to me and begged me for once to talk about something else and not constantly about this terrible conflict. She was right! I had disgracefully forgotten the importance of submission to the text. It may come to the point that a member of the congregation has to call the pastor to order and counsel reconsideration. All honor to relevance, but pastors should be good marksmen who aim their guns beyond the hill of relevance."
- Karl Barth, Homiletics, pp.118-119
Quoted in William Willimon's new book,
Conversing with Barth on
, p. 28.

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