Friday, October 15, 2010

The Astonishment of Theological Work

"If anyone should not find himself astonished and filled with wonder when he becomes involved in one way or another with theology, he would be well advised to consider once more, from a certain remoteness and without prejudice, what is involved in this undertaking. The same holds true for anyone who should have accomplished the feat of no longer being astonished, instead of becoming continually more astonished all the time that he concerns himself with this subject. When he considers the subject, however, such a man might find that astonishment wells up within him anew, or perhaps even for the first time. And this time such wonder might not desert him but might rather become increasingly powerful in him. That astonishment should remain or become wholly foreign to him is scarcely conceivable. But should that happen, both he and theology would fare better if he devote his time to some other occupation. . .. If such astonishment is lacking, the whole enterprise of even the best theologian would canker at the roots. On the other hand, as long as a poor theologian is capable of astonishment, he is not lost to the fulfillment of his task.” Karl Barth, Evangelical Theology—An Introduction, Eerdmans, 1963, pp, 63-64.

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