Saturday, February 23, 2008

I Can Like Barth!

Karl Barth At my candidates' screening reference was made to Karl Barth - not as a question, fortunately! I was suddenly aware of my determination never to read Karl Barth. Afterwards I wondered why. It is because I saw him as very theoretical. What I knew about Karl Barth: He became disillusioned with the theory that God was in control of history and that the church should support the state, at the time of Hitler. His theology is classified as 'neo-orthodox'. He is supposed to have said that God could speak through a dead dog as clearly as through Scripture. Sum total of my knowledge (and maybe some of that is wrong)! And that serious theologians study him and quote him and sound obscure. I guess it is the last that put me off. So I decided to make conscious my thought never to read him.

The following Monday looking for books for my preliminary reading for my Masters and there's Karl Barth jumping off the shelf with relevance to my topic (to do with Christian community). So what do I do? Give in, this must be a God-incidence.

And I have enjoyed his writing, to my great surprise. Far from impractical. He deals with real issues as regards church and state. And I can understand why people quoted him so much towards the end of the apartheid era. I feel like a traitor to myself, but I'd like to read more by Barth!

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