Karl Barth (1886-1968) was the greatest Christian theologian of the 20th century: unsurpassed in his Christ-centeredness, biblical consistency, logical coherence, range, and depth. On the "Barth" page, I've listed summaries of dozens of sections from his monumental Church Dogmatics. Use these to strengthen your skill as a theological thinker. Then move on and read any of Barth's books yourself.
Jacques Ellul (1912-1994) is the perfect companion to Barth. He shared Barth's theological point of view but, as a professor of law, history, and sociology, he supplemented it with what still remains, at this late date, the most incisive analysis of the GTS. Exercise your theological thinking by critically engaging the essays on the "Ellul" page. Being guided by Jesus Christ, through the Bible, with the help of Barth and Ellul would do us and our congregations no end of good.
"Topics" serves as a glossary for the most important yet unusual words which I use in my essays. It also lists essays on a variety of subjects in alphabetical order to make them easier to find. Use them to clarify your own witness to Jesus. Then develop a shared understanding of that witness with at least one other prophetic witness and live it.
(1) Love. As Christians and participants in a church with other Christians, we need to significantly increase the strength of our relationships. We need to move from being a loose association of individuals, with very weak mutual commitments, to a strong community marked by mutual nurture and protection. As Jesus said, "All people will know that you are my disciples by your love" (John 13:35).
(2). Proximity. We also need to move much closer in proximity to each other--preferably within walking distance of one another and our meetinghouse. This is the only way we will be able to develop the closeness of relationship, and provide the mutual support, that are meaningful for us as witnesses to Jesus. It is also the best way, perhaps the only one, by which we can create any clarity of witness to Jesus as a distinctively alternative society based on his truth, freedom, love, and vitality.
(c) Getting much closer to the land.
Right now the GTS stands as a distinct counter-creation to God's good creation, imposes itself as our mediator with that good creation, all the while sucking the vitality out of it and us. Jesus Christ is calling us to draw much closer to the land, eliminate the GTS as mediator, and affirm our own vitality and that of the land by living in ways that nurture and protect all species and their habitats. In particular, Jesus is calling his churches to develop local food supplies adequate for feeding local populations. Local Christians and congregations should be able to feed themselves, and as many others as possible, from local sources.
(d) Developing a distinctively Christian way of living.
Each day every person is bullied, bribed, and deceived into walking with the false Olympian gods on their path of power which ends in death and damnation. Miraculously, and at the same time, Jesus daily frees us to walk with him on the path of freedom. He frees us to love Abba with our whole mind by reading the Bible, improving as theological thinkers, and enjoying a lively sense of history. He frees us to get much closer to our companion Christians in a local congregation. Finally, he frees us as congregations to get close enough to God's good creation to receive our daily bread from local sources.
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