Wednesday, November 18, 2015

My Latest Book Review: Christ Crucified in a Suffering World by Nathan Hieb

Check out the newly revamped website for The Center for Barth Studies There you will find, in addition to many excellent resources for the Karl Barth researcher, my latest publication, a review of Nathan D. Hieb's superb study, Christ Crufied in a Suffering World: The Unity of Atonement and Liberation. In this volume, Hieb provides one model for doing what I should very much like to accomplish constructively: He integrates a Christocentric theology, complete with a strong doctrine of the atonement, with contemporary efforts on socio-political transformation and liberation. As I write:

All too often contemporary theologians create a false binary between traditional atonement doctrines and theologies of liberation. Nathan Hieb seeks to bridge that gap by means of a fresh reading and retooling of Karl Barth’s doctrine of atonement.

I hope this might whet your appetite to read the review and, more than that, to get a hold of Hieb's book for yourself.

Picasso, La Crucifixion (1930)

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Gospel According to Elizabeth Warren Running for President

I have always longed to inhabit sacred ground, but alas, I live a very long way from the Holy Land.

True, I have lived in Alabama and Georgia (the Bible Belt), Illinois (Land of Lincoln) and Pennsylvania (Penn's Peaceable kingdom, except in election years). Now I live in Northampton. According to the internet, Northampton is 5,580.1 miles away from Jerusalem. For you international readers, that's 8980.3 Kilometers (or Kiloumeters, British spelling) and 4845.8 Nautical Miles. Nor have I ever been anywhere near Isreal-Palestine, where the Lord lived, ministered, died and rose again.

But I've learned it does't really matter, because when the Messiah returns, her home base is going to be much closer to home -- Cambridge!

No, no, silly! Not THAT Cambridge. Cambridge, Massachusetts, a mere 102 miles from where I live in Northampton.


Yes, that's more like it. And the one who will save us, the one for whom we have hoped will come from none other than the hallowed halls of Harvard.

Mike Huckabee's views on the matter notwithstanding, Harvard is not a dirty word in this neck of the woods. Harvard is where we send and brightest and best (=most richest) to earn A minuses and learn how to rule the world. Because legacy.

Who is the Child of Promise, then, who emerges from this esteemed institution -- in particular, from its faculty? Why it's none other than Elizabeth Warren Running for President. For those of you unfamiliar with the U.S. national political scene, Ms. Warren is one of two Democrats representing Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate. She's fiesty, confrontational and reform minded. And she formerly taught at Harvard. But this piece is not about her per se. Note my language carefully: I didn't say that Senator Warren herself is the fulfillment of our messianic hopes and dreams. Only the most clueless space cadet among left-liberal punditry could imagine that Warren could ever actually be elected President of the United States. Rather, what I'm arguing is that it's the very idea of Elizabeth Warren running for president itself is the mechanism that, in the last days, will finally turn the wheels of history and redeem the unfulfilled American dream for freedom, peace and democracy.

You see, the prophecies go something like this: The idea of Elizabeth Warren Running for President will emerge in the last days of 2016. All the elect will rise up in concord and the sleeping beast known as the national Democratic Party will be awakened from its globalist, militarist, centrist slumbers and get about the business of establishing the Millenial reign of Democracy in the United States, a notion that is implied by certain obscure passages in the U.S. Constitution but that has never been even remotely realized in the present evil age.

"And the Chosen One shall arise in the Back Bay, and the Great Donkey shall awaken, and an internet petition drive shall lead them," according to one version of the prophesy.

And, just as in California politics, it all begins with a petition drive. The details can all be found in the Sacred Oracle, "Run Warren Run," from an outfit known as

Hear what the Oracle Saith:

In the wake of the Great Recession, Senator Warren stood up to the big banks and led the successful fight to create the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau—an act that’s already recovered more than $1.5 billion for Americans who were ripped off by Wall Street predators.

This is all true, by the way. It's all been fulfilled. I checked it out.

And furthermore:

Senator Warren is leading the fight for students and graduates who are struggling under the weight of crippling student loan debt and is transforming the Social Security debate from whether to cut the program to how to grow it.

Also true! Are you starting to get excited yet?

Here's the key bit, the John 3:16, if you will, of the Gospel According to Elizabeth Warren Running for President:

Our country will be better off if Elizabeth Warren runs for president.

Cryptic? Yes, apocalypses always are. Note the key thing, though: It doesn't read our country will be better of if Sen. Warren becomes President. That would take a divine miraculous intervention that would make the Red Sea incident look like a wading pool in an Orlando hotel. No, the true change will come from her running for President. Or perhaps even just the idea of her running itself.

Of course there are always naysayers and skeptics. Our age abounds in them. That's why it's important to have faith -- to trust the Gospel of Elizabeth Warren Running for President. But to all of those folks, the preacher saith: "Quit your braying and get with the program."

And all the people said, "Amen."