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Reflections on Karl Barth

August 14, 2017

Back in seminary I studied some Barth. More to the point, my advisor hade dig deeply into Church Dogmatics as I struggled to pass the Reformed Theology portion of the Presbyterian Standard Ordination Exam… it helped and I passed!

One of the things I remember about Barth was his comment that a preacher should prepare for the sermon with the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other hand. That is part of the reason my sermon this past Sunday took a major turn between Friday and Sunday! What I found incredibly wonderful was that the Lectionary passages remained the same and the Spirit spoke loudly through it all!

An individual who is a “professed” Atheist made a comment at a meeting today that got my Irish up a bit. He asked why the church has been silent during this past weekend with the events in Charlottesville, Virginia. I said that if he had been at PCCR he would have heard an earful about the darkness of hatred and our mandatory call to respond to that evil. I also told him that I knew a good number of pastors who not only spoke out from pulpits around this country but also marched as a part of the counter protest shining light in the midst of that darkness.

I have been praying and studying and reflecting  for a long time, and more fervently as the 2016 campaign season unfolded and hatred came to the forefrontand. I have also been reflecting a great deal upon the Barmen Declaration which was a response of the church in 1930’s Germany to the Reich Church that was Hitler’s lap dog. It has been a part of my preaching and praying and speaking… the newspaper (electronic and paper) has been in one hand and the Bible has been in the other as I have prayed, wept, cried out in anguish and anger…

Jesus calls us to take up our cross and follow him… this cross will bring you into the crosshairs of the bigots & haters who have crawled out from under their rock and feel emboldened by the rhetoric of parts of the so-called church and politicians at all levels and branches of government. This cross will bring you to the side of the disenfranchised, the marginalized, and the “least of these”… it will also bring you closer to the heart of Jesus! You know, the fellow who was a homeless Middle Easterner who had himself been a refugee in a terror-torn land!

With the Bible in one hand and the newspaper in the other, will you join with me in prayer and in action, dear reader? We can do no more and we cannot do any less! God help us and God help this land!

From → Reflection

  1. Thom Fultz permalink

    Thank you for your attention to matters of today in light of the Word of God. After reading your thoughts I wanted to read the Declaration of Barmen again and I ran across this resource with a short video from an interview with Karl Barth.

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