Monday, September 24, 2012

Theogony & Works and Days

Here is a little promo I put together for the exciting new translation book launch of Hesiod's Theogony & Works and Days.

Letter to a Protestant

A theologian friend of mine who is a protestant gave me some books and asked me recently about my thoughts on Karl Barth and how his approach constituted a radical critique of modern, liberal protestant theology.

Of course when I say letter I mean e-mail. Here is an excerpt from my my latest message.

There is strong support for Karl Barth having an immense effect and influence on our modern day understanding of theology. Barth came from the dialectical tradition and his impact on Christianity has been worldwide. Barth saw himself as a man of faith and he used that as his starting point for his theology. Throughout the centuries theologians have held to the mantra of St.Anselm, “Faith seeking understanding” (as opposed to the deconstruction crowd witch claim “doubt seeking understanding”  (which just so happens to be the slogan for a couple Profs. at TWU). Originally Barth had a passion for mainstream liberal protestant theology, (Barth coined the phrase) which was the exact opposite of that of his father’s and of his youth. While still young he was enthusiastic about joining the mainstream German liberal position.

 Barth takes on a different set of influences through friendships and the current political and social events of the time (these new friends included Christian socialists). With vigor he decides to return to the written word and challenged his understanding (of the Bible) as a witness rather than a report about God. Barth along with Eduard Thurneysen wants to approach the bible as if they have never read it before. Barth felt God had been lowered to the everyday domesticated. This was a time of “Crisis Theology”
New relationships forced Barth to concentrate on the Gospel as viewed in the light of various political circles, which were in turn affected by his involvement in labor movements, his interest in politics and how to improve the lives of people.
Karl Barth noticed something with his faith, he realized that modern day theologians were not conveying the deep internal longing for Christ and if they were, they were not very successful at it. Barth became disenfranchised by the liberal Protestantism position with the coming first world war. It was distressing to learn that many of those that had taught Barth were on board with the current war manifestos in Germany. Barth was wondering, where are these war policies biblically based? Which part of the bible did Barth miss? Barth came to the conclusion that the theological leaders that he looked up to were in fact missing the basic theological foundation of Christianity. The liberal’s answer to God in times of turmoil was you should look towards yourself and that you should not rely on some supernatural force that can come and save or create meaning in your life. Barth held certain political issues concerning militarism and world peace were urgent. Barth had a strong sense that any theological work that began at any other point other than God’s revelation to us was likely to be fundamentally flawed and this would lead to theological mistakes. This is one of the points why Barth did not agree with “natural” theology, and was the reason for tension between Emil Brunner and Barth.

Barth’s major work “Church Dogmatics” is a theology in the service of the church; the definition of “church” can be a point of problem for some (Catholics) for Barth it would be followers of Christ, the invisible body of believers.

Barth supports the notion that God does not select sinners that will pass into eternal glory and send others to damnation. (CCC 1037)
            “God predestines no one to go to hell”
Although I don’t believe Barth was a Universalist, his theology seems to sway in that direction as does his Catholic counterpart Von Balthasar.

He wished to focus on the Christocentric idea of salvation that we must choose Jesus and the person of Jesus is fundamental to every aspect of theology, whether it is creation or salvation. Through Jesus believers are able to see the wholeness of God and who God is for us. I remember that Barth also had a triune version of what the “word” meant. The word as in the word of God (bible), the word as in Jesus Christ himself and in the spoken preached word (tradition)

Karl Barth also enjoyed the movement that the Catholic Church was making towards modernizing the Church. Although many theologians would like to quickly point out that many Catholics have praised Barth, one cannot be to careful with taking these accolades out of context. One of the biggest hurdles is the definition of the “Church”. When Barth speaks of the Church he is speaking of an invisible body of believers, not those who are part of a visible structured organization. Catholics have always believed that Christians can unknowingly be members of the Catholic Church, but without the sacrament of confession to clean their soul from mortal sin they have in fact separated themselves from the body of the Church. Barth really wants to be a positive theologian; the result of the enlightenment was very negative theology. Barth had the ability to focus on aspects that almost all Christians can relate to. He praised the new ecumenism and the radical changes that came out of the second Vatican council. Although many of his assessments from the council are completely misguided (seeing the bible as important, the “church” is the people of God) this is exactly where Barth fails (along with many Catholic’s) in the understanding of tradition in the Catholic faith. Barth’s theology was a major player in the halls of the Vatican during the council even if most times it was kept a closely guarded secret. All the while still believing that non-Catholic Christians must first understand the history of the reformation and that separating denomination to denomination will not be beneficial to anyone. 

Barth was a true social justice warrior who had a deep love for his own understanding of God. He constantly demonstrated that he was willing to dialogue with other theologians with different views respectfully and scholarly (I wish I could do the same).

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

All Saints Day Costume Ideas

All Saints Day is a great way to get your children involved learning about the lives of the Saints. With less than two months to go for 2012 All Saints Day I thought it would be a good idea to post a few pictures from last years event at our parish. The kids learn facts about their Saint, give clues and try to "stump" Father.

Time to start planning costumes now.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Sulpicius Severus

Sulpicius Severus (ca. 360-ca. 420) was a Roman Christian historian and hagiographer who wrote a chronicle called Chronica, Chronicorum Libri duo orHistoria sacra (published after 404), which portrays sacred history from the Creation to AD 400.



Saturday, September 8, 2012

Traditional Latin Mass Altar Servers

We have an exciting new short to debut in October on Altar Servers, until then here are some photographs from the last few years of dedicated young men.

Redeemer Pacific College Life

Here is a video of a truly Catholic school Redeemer Pacific College, we will be putting together a new video for the school this year.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Photographs from Saints Joachim & Ann

Most Reverend J. Michael Miller, CSB
Rev. William Ashley, Pastor


Pontifical High Mass Saints Joachim & Ann

Highlights from the Pontifical High Mass at Saints Joachim and Ann celebrating the Tenth Anniversary of the Dedication of the Church. His Grace Archbishop J.Michael Miller as the main celebrant. Deo Gratias