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Starting Point for Karl Barth

August 17, 2013

As a university theology professor I am frequently asked about my thoughts on Karl Barth and where a student could begin to understand and interact with Barth’s thinking and impact on Theology. In the past I have suggested his Prison Sermons and they are still an excellent read but now my first response will be INSIGHTS: Karl Barth’s Reflections On The Life Of Faith¬† Selected by Eberhard Busch and Translated by O. C. Dean Jr.(Westminster John Knox Press, 2009). This small and portable devotional is culled from the sweeping breadth of Barth’s lifetime of writing arranged around themes and Biblical texts. Some of my personal favorites were Contentment (p. 10) Life Together (p. 42) and Mission (p. 91). To give just a bit of the flavor of Barth and how easily he can be read and understood by all here is a portion of Thank God! (p. 14)

“Among Christians there are far too many grouchy and sour faces. You have no reason to look that way, and it does you no good. You are a work of God. He created you and has done so much for you that is good. And now your task consists simply in your bieng the one created by Him and endowed By Him…don’t fail to sing God’s praises, even if you do not have an imposing voice. Don’t fail to live in the joy you have been placed, even if you can only make the joy imperfectly apparent. This is not an art. You can do it too.” (p. 14

) Is there any amoung us who would not sound a hearty amen? This a helpful and valuable book for both Barth scholars, beginners or even antagonists to his Theological opinions.

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