Tag Archives: Kierkegaard
It is the strangest thing that we have in our holy book. It’s not a story of worldly success–much as preachers have tried to make it out to be just that. It’s not a story of patiently resigning ourselves to worldly evil. It’s a story, told in a hundred different ways, of giving the world up and then getting it back again. If we actually had to live it ourselves, how would we bear it–the walk to Moriah with Abraham and Isaac, the flight to Zarephath, the warning against the people who organize God’s worship, the chaos and terror of Golgotha?
I didn’t stay there. If I were assured of a hundred more years to live I don’t know that I would ever read Niebuhr again. Part of the problem with the blazing sunset era of high Protestant theology was that its authors sought to provide us with a place to stand–where faith and reason, revelation and science all worked together–when all they could offer was a point of transit. From the perspective of one moving out of Christian faith, however defined, those points of transit seem feeble and dishonest. For one moving into it, they can seem necessary and providential. Christians have a tendency to ask for kinds of assurance, whether from theological faculties, great collections of bishops, or second-century papyrus, that none of these can give. Our needs and our doubts give shape to the theories of revelation or ecclesiology or whatever else that we may then point to in order to meet them.
The corner of Twitter in which I do most of my reading and arguing has been furiously arguing over the story of Edgardo Mortara, a Jewish child in Bologna secretly baptized by his family’s maid, and Pope Pius IX, who removed him from his home in accordance with law forbidding a Catholic child to be […]
(Note: I preached this sermon on the third Sunday in Advent, 2011) Sisters and brothers, grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. “Then the angel departed from her.” Does anyone else just want to burst into tears when you hear this verse at the end of today’s […]
(Note: I wrote this in March, 2005. I repost it for Kierkegaard’s commemoration tomorrow) Last night a friend I hadn’t seen in some months happened to be in Hyde Park just as I was winding down from a long shift of paper-writing. Figuring that I could spare the time, we resolved to meet up for […]
(Note: I wrote this in 2011. Reposting here for Kierkegaard’s commemoration tomorrow) People have been getting beyond Christianity for a long time. “In our time,” Søren Kierkegaard wrote in 1843, “nobody is content to stop with faith but wants to go further.” It would perhaps be rash to ask where these people are going, but it is […]
(Note: I preached this sermon in May, 2007, at the University of Chicago’s Bond Chapel. I repost it for Kierkegaard’s commemoration tomorrow). A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke [9:51-62]: 51 When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. 52And he sent […]