Sunday, March 30, 2008

Today is. . .

Today is March 30, 2008

on March 30, 1282 The people of Palermo massacred 2,000 French residents in the Sicilian Vespers, a revolt against the Angevin king Charels I.

We had a missionary come speak to us from Palermo, which is on the island of Sicily, named Jessica Morris.

Paul the Apostle stopped by the city of Syracuse, which is on the island of Sicily, on his fourth mission journey.

Eric's dad's name is Paul.

Eric is my room mate.

My bed is comfy.

I am going to go to bed.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

And Just Like That I Have a 1,500 Word Post

I wrote this for a class so don't expect it to be very interesting.
What is Karl Barth's view of tradition, and how does that fit into post-modern society?

Over the span of the history of theology there has grown a sense of tradition: the things that were thought by previous theological thinkers still have value. Tradition has become an important part of theology because it is a way to judge people’s experiences and their interpretations of Scripture. In an ironic way theology still keeps with tradition by looking at what previous theologians thought about tradition. There is now a tradition of looking at tradition. In this way Karl Barth was a theologian that looked at tradition, and wrote a considerable amount on the subject. Although tradition was not the main focus of Karl Barth’s work it was something that could not be over looked. For Karl Barth, tradition was not just something that happened it was the responsibility of the previous generation. Karl Barth has much to contribute to the grand scheme of theology and how tradition fits in to theology, even in today’s society.

Karl Barth came in direct contact with the traditions of the church as he grew up, and the time and culture in which Barth grew up significantly impacted his views on this tradition. Karl Barth was born in 1886 of Swiss-German decent. His father, Johann Friedrich Barth, or Fritz as he went by, was a pastor and then became a teacher of theology. A treasured photo of his father “above Barth’s desk [hinted] that the father’s theological pilgrimage was in a real way a model for the son” (Green 13). Barth studied in Berne, Berlin, Tubingen and Marburg. Early on as a pastor he was very concerned with how theology related to the everyday problems in his congregation. He began work on theology in Germany, but he shortly moved back to Switzerland when he would not swear allegiance to Hitler. World War II led Barth to write The Barmen Declaration which spoke out against Hitler and the German Christians who supported the anti-Semitic ideas of the Third Reich. These German Christians emphasized the crucifixion of Jesus by the Jews and some even called for the elimination of the Old Testament from the Bible. The Barmen Declaration is a modern confession of faith rooted in scripturally based doctrines believed by the early church and “it appeals to all concerned to return to unity in faith, hope and love” (Gunton 135). Over his life Barth wrote many major works including Anselm: Fides Quaerens Intellectum, Community, State and Church, Evangelical Theology: An Introduction, The Epistle to the Romans, The Word of God and the Word of Man, and his largest but unfinished work, Church Dogmatics.

The overarching theme of much of Karl Barth’s work was this idea that God, Who is ultimately free, unchanging, and unlimited, “has elected to be for, with, in and among us” (McDowell 3) and has decided to act on behalf of humanity and redeem them. God does not have responsibility to do this and He is in no way bound to do it. God Himself has chosen of His own will to make Himself a part of human history through the person Jesus Christ and through revelation. This is the central theme of Barth’s theology and it dictates how he thinks about other aspects of theology, including tradition. Tradition is viewed through the lens of God’s self revelation to people throughout history. When it comes to tradition, Barth is not explicitly concerned with the topic; it is all in relation to how God makes Himself known through revelation.

This main theological idea, that God has made Himself known and that He is still making Himself known through revelation, greatly shaped Barth’s ideas on tradition. The most important thing in Barth’s mind was God’s revelation to His people, not tradition, not Scripture, not Dogmatics. This is not to say that Barth disregarded all of these things and was swept away by whatever theology came along the way, but he did judge each piece of theology through this idea that God has revealed Himself. Still, tradition plays a key role in determining the legitimacy of revelatory thoughts, for “theology does not labor somewhere high above the foundation of tradition, as though Church history began today.” (Barth 42). Instead tradition proved to be a helpful way of testing and approving of new theological ideas claiming to be a revelation from God. “Theology has to reconsider the confession of the community, testing and rethinking it in light of its enduring foundation, object, and content.” (Barth 42). Tradition is crucial for actually being able to assess and approve of whether something is of God or not. Does the revelation keep with scripture? Have people in the past had revelations like this? What do previous theologians have to say about this topic or that topic? These types of questions can all be answered through tradition. Barth’s idea about tradition was that it played an important role in subjecting what people might claim as revelations to an outside source that receives its authority through continuation of previous theologies and most importantly the Word of God.

All this being said; for Barth tradition started with the Apostles of the New Testament. The Apostles were first hand witnesses to the life and event of Jesus Christ. They came in personal contact with Jesus, saw the miracles He performed and witnessed His death and resurrection. These Apostles then wrote down their accounts for various purposes, but all as witnesses to the Gospel. For this reason, Barth would say, the Apostles’ testimony is to be regarded as valid and cannot be added to or taken away from. Theology and tradition are always subject to the original witnesses of the Gospel; they are never equal with it, and most certainly never above it. “All subsequent theology, as well as the whole community that comes after the event, will never find itself in the same immediate confrontation” (Barth 32). All succeeding generations of theologians are all subject to the witness of the Apostles to the Gospel. This continuous looking back at previous generations led Barth to make the statement, “in order to serve the community of today, theology itself must be rooted in the community of yesterday.” (Barth 42). This community of theology is to be secondary witness to the Gospel, and if it is not doing this, then it has failed. Because the community believes the testimony of the previous generations and ultimately the witness of the Apostles to the Word, the community must speak and testify to the Word as well. For Barth the intent of theology, also, was to serve the needs of the church/community that it finds itself in, and the needs of the community could only be met when theology looked at the communities of the past and evaluated the way they dealt with similar problems. This process is part of tradition.

Karl Barth’s view of tradition is an important one to think about in a society like today’s. The common worldview today is a post-modern one that sees truth as a relative thing to what one’s experiences tell them it is. One person may see Jesus as God’s Son and another may see Him as nothing more than a teacher; both views are valid in the post-modern perspective. Where post-modern thought has a problem with Christianity is when Jesus claims that His is the One and Only way to God. Similarly, because of the post-modern thinking, Karl Barth’s ideas in general could be seen as unpopular. In a society that rejects most authorities that are outside or contradict their individual and personal experiences, it is easy for a theology that says one’s own experiences are not always valid unless they coincide with the traditions of the Church to be ridiculed or hated. Barth’s view expresses “the need for conversation with other perspectives and disciplines from one's own” (McDowell 2). This view emphasizes the idea that people cannot know everything without other perspectives to draw them back to reality.

Although Barth’s ideas have taken some heat among post-modern thought, I still believe that they really have truth in them. I believe this because if the post-modern reality is true, then no one reality is true, which can be a very slipper slope to go down. Post-modern thought also places individuals in the highest respect, that whatever it is they have figured out, they have right. This view throws tradition out the window and makes living in the moment the only real way to live life to the fullest. I do not believe this mentality because the people that came before did have some things figured out right and society cannot just discard them because they do not agree in pursuit of personal ideologies. Barth had a great analogy that does a good job of summing up tradition. Barth had this idea that the people we are learning from are really just students of previous students, all the way back down to the original witnesses to the Gospel, and we are really just joining with them to find out more about how to live life in a pleasing way to God. “To study theology means not so much to examine exhaustively the work of earlier students of theology as to become their fellow students” (Barth 173). So we join the long line of witnesses to the Gospel that have the hope of finding something a little bit deeper than the previous generation, and the hope that we might be able to pass that on to the next.


Barth, Karl." Encyclopædia Britannica.
document.write(new Date().getFullYear());
2008. Encyclopædia Britannica Online. 3 Mar. 2008 <>.

Barth, Karl. Evangelical Theology: an Introduction. New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, 1963.

Green, Clifford, ed. Karl Barth: Theologian of Freedom. Minneapolis: Fortress P, 1991.

Gunton, Colin E., Stephen R. Holmes, and Murray A. Rae. The Practice of Theology. St. Albans Place: SCM P, 2001. 133-134.

McDowell, John C. "The mystery of God: Karl Barth and the post-modern foundations of theology." Evangelical Quarterly 76.3 (July 2004): 275-278. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials. EBSCO. [Library name], [City], [State abbreviation]. 10 Mar. 2008 .

Reinisch, Leonhard, ed. Theologians of Our Time. Notre Dame: The University of Notre Dame P, 1964. 1-16.

Friday, March 21, 2008

something to ponder...

'Momentum – The speed or force of forward movement of an object or a quantity that expresses the motion of a body and its resistance to slowing down. It is equal to the product of the body’s mass and velocity. Or (perhaps more accurately, the death of Messiah.)'
- David Crowder

Monday, March 17, 2008

If God wanted us to know, then I’m pretty sure He would have told us...

What if science proved God is not real? Would there be any Christians left?

This question has been kinda bugging me lately. I feel that we have put way to much faith in our own reasoning, and not enough in God. Some people -mostly Christians- mix science, faith, God and everything else all into one big lump sum. I do not feel that this is the best why to go about discerning what to believe. God is my life, and everything in my life is going to revert back to Him. I just feel that people try to use science as a way to prove or disprove the reality of God. This is not only wrong, but in the end it does not help anything.

I have heard from Non-Christians over and over that Christians are close minded people, and as sad as it sounds, I would tend to agree. One of the reasons I say this is because of the way that some Christians present their beliefs on the beginning of the world. My beliefs on the creation of the world have absolutely nothing to do with science. They are faith based, which according to a reliable source means, “Belief that does not rest on logical proof or material evidence.” (Thanks for the clarification!). Science - I am more accurately speaking of geology- offers a view point on the beginnings of the world based on a system of testing hypothesis. I am taking a geology class right now at UNM and I am learning all sorts of things about how they date rocks. To tell you the truth the process of dating rocks is the one of the least interesting things I have ever learned about. My professor is going though this testing process in a very detailed way, and I could take a few hours and fill you in, but it is terribly boring, so I won’t. Just believe me when I say that it is very complicated and confusing.

Over the few years I have been alive I have seen books, heard talks and seen videos debating the validity of this research; all of which are from a Christian/”scientific” perspective. A number of these sources end up using the bible, flaky science and logic to defend God. I think what some people have forgotten is that you can not use science to prove or disprove Christianity. That is not the motivation of science. I do not know where I stand on the earth being 27 billion years old or whatever; I wasn’t there. I guess I just don’t feel that it is my place to tell anyone they are wrong for thinking this. Everyone has there reasons for what they believe, if they did not they would change them.

When did Christianity become about proving people wrong? My walk with Jesus is about my relationship with Him, and doing my best to love other people. It is very simple. I do have a very deep, well thought out stance on these issues, but they are only means to deepen my relationship with Jesus. Of course people outside of Christianity have to try and answer the question of “where did all of this come from?” It is only natural, God instilled in all of us the desire to discover and ask questions. I have an answer to my questions, and it is God. I think it would be foolish to assume that people who do not believe in God would not try to answer their questions by using things they feel they understand. My Geology professor has spent his entire adult life exploring the system of carbon dating; he knows it inside and out. The reason he likes this science it that it answers questions for him. Not only would it be pointless to try and prove his life work wrong, it would go against treating other people how I would like to be treated. I do not want to sit and have an argument with someone who is trying to prove to me that my beliefs are wrong, why should I expect someone else to?

I guess the point of all this rambling is this. I am tired of hearing people fight over things that there isn’t verifiable evidence for. If God wanted us to know I think he would have told us, but he didn’t. He gave us free will. If there were scientific proof for God then we wouldn’t need faith. We get so wrapped up in try to prove people wrong, which goes against everything Jesus came to this earth and died for, that we forget what God is about. To tell you the truth it makes me sick.

We go around judging people for thinking that the world came from a “big bang”.

We laugh at the Theory of Evolution.

We wonder how anyone could be so incompetent to think the earth is 59 billion years old (or whatever age people say it is).

We have to stop trying to prove God is here. He is here, I feel him. If science proved or disproved His existence I would still believe, because I feel Him move. I hear His heart beat. I see His beauty. I do not need scientific proof that He is here, and real. We also need to start loving people. I am pretty sure the bible does not have one story about how Jesus talked went to the scientist and proved him wrong, but it does have an overwhelming number of stories of him loving people. So maybe He wanted to tell us to stop worrying about stuff that doesn’t mater. Just love people, and love God.

I don’t know if all of this makes sense, I just had to get it out. Please comment, think about, and figure out where you stand on all this. I do not have all the answers, and there isn’t anything wrong with exploring. I just don’t think God is not about fighting, so that is not what I want to be about.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Coldplay makes me sleepy...

Next time you have to move your clock an hour and lose sleep and have trouble getting up you can thank Mr. William Willet. In 1907 he proposed the idea of Daylight Savings Time based on the notion that we should not “waist the daylight”. This sounds great or whatever, but it sucks having to re-adjust. This is what good ol’ Wikipedia has to say about this, “The practice is controversial. Adding daylight to afternoons benefits retailing, sports, and other activities that exploit sunlight after working hours, but causes problems for farming, entertainment and other occupations tied to the sun” So I guess that pretty much sums up everything I want to say on the issue. But I would like to mention one more thing. William Willet is the great-great-grandfather of Coldplay’s lead singer Chris Martin. This really has nothing to do with me not liking to change my clocks, but it does answer the questions of why I have never really cared for Coldplay.... Thanks a lot Mr. Willet you ruined everything!!

Monday, March 3, 2008


In first grade, I told people I liked alternative music; I didn't know what that meant. My neighbor asked me if I ever listened to Kiss FM, which in my mind was the bad radio station that the devil listened to. I said yes and he asked me what I heard when I listened to it. Realising he was testing me I panicked cause I was lying so I said I heard kissing noises. The truth was I listened to this christian radio station called K-LYT which was on 88.3. This radio station was the cool station for christian music, and I would listen to it quite a bit but I vaguely remember anything I listened to. Every once in a while a song comes on the radio and I know the words and I know that it came from all those hours of just listening to music. I remember listening to the radio and calling in to request songs so I could record them on a tape and listen to them on my Walkman. The only songs I really remember from these days are dc Talk's - Jesus Freak and Audio Adrenaline's - Big House. I'll call these my pre-music days. The days when I could listen to anything that came out of the radio and if someone said it was cool I listened to it. Later on my tastes got more discriminating and I began to buy CD's when they became the general format for music to come in. What follows is a list of CD's or music that impacted my life in some way:

1. Audio Adrenaline - Underdog

I knew Audio Adrenaline before this CD I even had their Some Kind of Zombie CD. But this CD was the first CD I ever bough myself and it stayed in my CD player for a year straight probably. I loved this CD because it was just rock and roll in my mind and every track was awesome, except for track 9. It Is Well With My Soul. . . anyway. The best track is probably the title track, Underdog. This song is about not being able to finish the race of life but God has taken our place and He has already finished the race for us. DC-10 is just good rock and roll and the House Plant Song might be one of the best "hidden tracks" ever recorded.

2. Five Iron Frenzy - Anthology

FIF was first herd by my ears some Wednesday night at church. It was great, from then on out it was on my brother's radio constantly. I listened to FIF a lot when I was younger went to a few shows and then I lost track of ska for a while... then when I heard that Five Iron was breaking up I rediscovered all of these songs all over again. One song that is amazing is Every New Day. This song is about understanding that we are so small and the day to day life would be such a drag if it were not for God making "every new day seem so new." There are many other songs by Five Iron that are amazing and they bring back so many memories and make me just wanna dance around. I love Ska, no other genre of music could talk about such deep topics and make you wanna dance around.

3. Relient K - Anthology

One day my brother called me into his room and made me listen to this song called Hello Mcfly on this CD sampler that he got somewhere. It was by a band named Relient K and I thought the song was pretty good. When their CD came out my brother bought it and I listened to it a couple times. For Christmas I asked for their second CD called The Anatomy of the Tongue in Cheek this was when I started to really like RK and it has one of my favorite songs on it, Failure to Excommunicate. "Jesus loves the out casts, He loves the ones the world just loves to hate, and as long as there's a heaven there will be a failure to excommunicate." Awesome words. I remember from that point on I loved RK I remember getting super excited about their third CD and listening to it in my truck. I remember getting mmhmm their 4th CD and being awe struck. Relient K will always hold a special place in my heart and I can never forget the shows I've been too.

Other bands that have impacted me but aren't worth writing about include:
Air Five
Brave Saint Saturn
The Classic Crime
David Crowder* Band
The Eagles
Good Charlotte
Hawk Nelson
The Hippos
The Insyderz
Jars of Clay
Reel Big Fish
Run Kid Run
Sanctus Real
The Supertones
Thousand Foot Krutch
The W's
The Wedding