23.2.09

still wrestling with Barth and as I am help descends

He looks like such a simple man!! (ha!)


Just reflecting on Barth again. It's difficult stuff. I keep imagining myself decades down from now, looking back on this me and reminiscing about how I just didn't get it back then in 2009!

This can happen and I remember it with such things as 'Romeo and Juliet' and 'Othello', I love these plays and knew them (think I still know them) inside out because of having taught them. I would remember how I felt as a lost GCSE student at 15 so I could teach them effectively to my own classes of teenagers.

It's just that my lecturers don't seem to do this. Perhaps, they do not want to patronise us because it's easier to concern yourself over the comprehension levels of a bunch of 15 year olds than it is about a classroom of adults, some of whom are older, even twice the age of the lecturers, although not in my case, at least I can just about still get away with pleading youthful ignorance! (I was mistaken the other day by a Salesmen for a 21 year old, he was shocked as I informed him that changing the utilities provider would require a discussion at home first, not with the flatmates he assumed I was in digs with, but with my husband! How flattering!) (Perhaps it was just a sales technique!) Anyway, I digress (such a waffler).

Yes, the lecturers...

They just assume I know so much. They drop into conversation all these theologians I've only ever heard of but never read and produce reading lists as long as the books they're recommending. So anyway, here I am struggling with Barth, and unlike with the teaching of Romeo and Juliet, there's no hot-seating Barth or acting it out in modern day language, for flip's sake, he's writing in modern day language and I can better understand Shakepeare. Well, my new expression, which I must admit people don't find as funny as I thought I was when I thought I'd set it to a new context "It's all Greek to me" - is coming in very useful, when most of it is just that, or might as well be.

If I am 'getting' Barth, these are the things that I am enjoying about him.

I like his "the Godness of God." I like that he considers that what God thinks about people is more important than what they thing about God. I'm strangely comforted by his articulation of a God who is wholly other, and known only in revelation. I am so grateful that God's act is the revelation of himself in Jesus Christ and it is in Christ that we come to know God. The 'everything is about Jesus' thing has become really meaningful to me of late. Sometimes it makes me chuckle because you can be quite funny with it. I tease my husband with a stock response - 'well, it's all about Jesus' when he asks me his 'deep and meaningfuls'. As my vicar put it the other evening, amongst many profound thoughts, I assure you, as he preached on Colossians, "The reason that a duck quacks is Jesus and the reason that the moon shines is Jesus."

So tomorrow I'm Barthing it all day long, or all day 'short', in my case, while the littluns are in the care of the local educational establishment. 9am - 3pm with a lunch break gives me 5 hours so I should be able to cover a couple of Barthian paragraphs! How people ever begin CD, I just don't know. You'd have to commit yourself to a monastery or convent, to stand half a chance, I reckon.

To add, just as I was about to post on this topic tonight, a mail came in from someone else who is taking a year to study Barth. (A year! I've got 'til March 17th!) Possible God-send! Really chuffed. Reason one billion, two million and eighty-four thousand and four hundred and forty three to keep blogging!!!

J. R. Miller has left a new comment on your post "Karl Barth?":

Hi,
I started a series in January titled, "One Year With Karl Barth"

I am reading through the CD and posting my thoughts and conclusions. I am new to Barth, but would love to have some interaction from those who are more experienced readers.

The serious irony here is that he is attempting CD and supposes I'm more 'experiencd' - oh dear, sorry to disappoint you Mr Miller!

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