Friday, September 6, 2019
An interesting beginning. . .
It has been months since I have published a word on the online Forum. From time to time I tune in to see what the discussion has been but for most of the time there has been little there to encourage me to end my silence. I have great respect for Pastor Paul Sauer and for Pastor Peter Speckhard and commend them for keeping up their presence in this once exciting and now rather mundane endeavor. I always hope for positive and genuine catholic renewal within the Lutheran circle, no matter the source.
So it was that the announcement of a new editor and his first words were more than a curiosity to me. You can read them here. I am not sure what to make of those words. His reference point for beginning his editorship is not Luther. It is Karl Barth (the theologian and not the seminary president - as I like to joke). Barth is many things and some of them interesting but an odd choice to focus upon as someone begins his tenure at a Lutheran publication. Though Barth will always occupy a huge section of history, how important is or relevant to the situation we face in Lutheranism today is Karl Barth? Interesting reading and history, to be sure, but the new editor's first words have not done much to corral my interest. I hope for a more substantial output and a more profound beginning and will wait to see what he actually does with the journal. But for now, it was, in my judgment, an inauspicious beginning.
Nelson says "These differences between the eras notwithstanding, I suggest that we may receive Barth’s remarks as a more general reminder that we take a leap in the dark every time we go public with words written about God and all other things in relation to God." Leap in the dark, huh? Coming at a time when the death of a young pastor in my circuit, I am not much interested in words that are like a leap in the dark. Does God mean what He says and work through His Word? Do the words we confess mean anything? Is it merely a stab in the dark, a leap into the unknown? Or do we believe, teach, and confess truth, fact, efficacious Word, Sacraments that bestow what they sign, hope big enough to tie on all our wounds, sorrows, and fears, and grace enough to forgive all our sin? My hope is for a more robust beginning, a more profound confidence that God's Word and our preaching and teaching of it are more than a stab in the dark -- to the folks in the pews or the people in the neighborhoods around us. I will keep watching but so far am not overly enthused.