Welcome to The Karl Barth Society of Amherst, Massachusetts - a local chapter of the The Karl Barth Society of North America. This site is maintained by Chris TerryNelson. Please let me know how I can make this page a better resource for you. Email me, view my profile. You can also visit my new personal website, Disruptive Grace.

Monday, January 30, 2006

Barth tonight at Glen's

Hey guys,
We'll be at Glen's from 7:30-9:30pm tonight.
Unfortunately I won't be able to make it since I am in the middle of writing applications.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Great Barth Site

If I actually had HTML skills (along with my bo staff skills and nunchuk skills), then I would have some neat list of cool barth sites on the right hand side of the screen. But since that is not the case, make due with whatcha got.

Here's a 3rd year MDIV student at Pittsburgh Seminary:


Cool cat!

Monday, January 23, 2006

Cancel that

Barth shall be at the TerryNelson house tonight at 7:30pm. Glen's son Thomas is sick with a virus and very high fever. Please keep Thomas in your prayers.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Barth Meeting for 1/23/06

The next meeting will be held at Glen Franklin's house in Shutesbury. Call me for directions at 413-374-4834. After hearing Barth's thoughts on proclamation as both preaching and sacrament (and his critique of Modernist Dogmatics and Catholic Dogmatics) we are moving on to the section entitled "Dogmatics and Church Proclamation" (pp. 71-87). This section is fascinating, as the post below indicates. Please come and join us, even if you have yet to attend! It shall be a very rewarding read, I promise you! We start at 7:30pm on the dot, so please come early to settle in and chat.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Humility in Theology and Preaching....And the two paragraphs by Karl Barth that I would hope every preacher, teacher, student, layperson reads.

The following is by Rhett Smith, on his blog at http://www.rhettsmith.com/ blog/archives/2005/08/

The previous post on perfect theology has reminded me of a few things. It has reminded me of the importance of humility in the task of doing theology. It has also reminded me of the importance of humility in the task of preaching. And it reminds me of the importance of humility, in a theologian, who hopes to go about these two tasks: And these things remind me of Karl Barth. Karl Barth, is considered by many to be one of the greatest theologians of all time, and certainly of the 20th century. His sheer theological output is stunning. If anyone, should somehow, approach the task of theology and preaching without humbleness, you think it would be someone with such an amazing resume. But that is not the case. Karl Barth, more than most people that I have read, approached the task of theology, or Dogmatics, and the task of preaching, or Proclamation, with great humility.

As we have been discussing the issue of preaching, teaching, dialogue, and perfect theology, I am reminded of his opening statements in Church Dogmatics, where he discusses the relation of dogmatics to preaching, and does so with great humbleness. He would say that in no way should we imagine that we have become masters of these things, otherwise we forget our position in relation to Jesus Christ. A theology of preaching will really begin to develop in the first 100 pages of this text as well.

Too many of us do not approach God, theology, or preaching with the humility that is necessary, and that was demonstated to us in the life of Jesus Christ (Phil. 2:5-11). We instead push for perfectionism, and believe with a lack of humility that we have the correct answer for everything. And with a lack of humility we believe that only if we, were given the chance to preach, we would change this church around. Humility is something that is often lacking in ministry, and we are all vulnerable to it. Barth reminds me of the importance of humility in our theology and preaching.

He says this, in:

Volume 1/1: The Word of God
A. On the relation of dogmatics to proclamation (pp, 85-87)
(underlinings are my emphasis)

3. The theme of Church proclamation or subject-matter of Christianity demands dogmatics to the extent that its proclamation is a responsible act and to the extent that dogmatics is the effort to meet this responsibility towards the theme of proclamation. Yet it is by no means the case that in dogmatics the Church becomes as it were the lord and judge of the subject-matter, so that the current results of dogmatics are to be accepted as law imposed as it were on God, revelation and faith. Dogmatics has to investigate and say at each given point how we may best speak of God, revelation and faith to the extent that human talk about these things is to count as Church proclamation. It should not think that it can lay down what God, revelation and faith are in themselves. In both its investigations and its conclusions it must keep in view that God is in heaven and it on earth, and that God, His revelation and faith always live their own free life over against all human talk, including that of the best dogmatics. Even if we have again weighed everything and corrected everything and formulated everything better, as is our duty to the subject-matter of Christianity in respect of human talk about it, and even if our findings have been given the status of Church confession and dogma, we have still to say: We are unprofitable servants, and in no sense are we to imagine that we have become in the very least masters of the subject.

Like the subject-matter of Christianity, Church proclamation must also remain free in the last resort, free to receive the command which it must always receive afresh from that free life of the subject-matter of Christianity. Church proclamation and not dogmatics is immediate to God in the Church. Proclamation is essential, dogmatics is needed only for the sake of it. Dogmatics lives by it to the extent that it lives only in the Church. In proclamation, and in God, revelation and faith only to the degree that these are its objects, dogmatics is to seek its material.

Thank you to my favorite professor, Ray Anderson, who instilled in me and many other students, a love for Karl Barth, Bonhoeffer, and many others. Like these theologians, Dr. Anderson is a professor who challenges his students to think through the tough issues, and who demands that one integrates theology into the life of ministry, and vice-versa.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

Barth's Quips

John Godsey tells the story:

Paul Tillich had been to Bethlehem and stopped off in Basel on the way home to visit his old friend Karl Barth. With great excitement he told Barth of his visit to the Church of the Nativity. He recounted going down into the crypt where there was a silver star, marking the birthplace of Christ. "Karl," he said, "on that star there is an inscription 'Hic verbum Dei caro factum est,' [translated as] 'Here the Word of God was made flesh.' You know, Karl, that sums up the whole of my theology - all except for that 'hic'!" "Ah, Paul," Barth replied, "that 'hic' sums up the whole difference between your theology and mine."

- "Barth as a Teacher," John Godsey in For the Sake of the World, ed. George Hunsinger.

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Barth Society Meeting Tomorrow at Glen's house

Hello everyone.
We shall meet at Glen Franklin's house in Shutesbury (94 Leverett Road) at 7:30pm. Please call me at 413-374-4834 if you want to carpool up with me. Glen's number is 413-259-1711 if you get lost.
See you tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

What Karl Barth Told His Daughter about Creation and Evolution

Karl Barth wrote the following letter to his niece, who had written to him asking about creation and evolution:

Basel, 18 Feb. 1965

Dear Christine,

You have had to wait a terribly long time for an answer to your letter of 13 Dec.—not because of indifference, for I am sincerely interested in your welfare, and in that of your mother and sisters, and am always pleased to have good news from Zollikofen [near Bern, Switzerland].

Has no one explained to you in your seminar that one can as little compare the biblical creation story and a scientific theory like that of evolution as one can compare, shall we say, an organ and a vacuum-cleaner—that there can be as little question of harmony between as of contradiction?

The creation story is a witness to the beginning or becoming of all reality distinct from God in the light of God’s later acts and words relating to his people Israel—naturally in the form of a saga or poem. The theory of evolution is an attempt to explain the same reality in its inner nexus—naturally in the form of a scientific hypothesis.

The creation story deals only with the becoming of all things, and therefore with the revelation of God, which is inaccessible to science as such. The theory of evolution deals with what has become, as it appears to human observation and research and as it invites human interpretation. Thus one’s attitude to the creation story and the theory of evolution can take the form of an either/or only if one shuts oneself off completely from faith in God’s revelation or from the mind (or opportunity) for scientific understanding.

So tell the teacher concerned that she should distinguish what is to be distinguished and not shut herself off completely from either side.

My answer comes so late because on the very day you wrote, 13 Dec., I had a stroke and had to spend several weeks in the hospital.

With sincere greetings which you may also pass on to your mother and sisters,

Uncle Karl

(borrowed from http://faith-theology.blogspot.com by Ben Myers).