K. Barth in 2012

Why not spend a year with Karl Barth?  Why not!  I am feeling the need to revisit this ‘church father’ and rethink what he has to say about theology, church, mission and life, especially for the 21st century.  I will begin in January with Church Dogmatics, I/1, “The Doctrine of the Word of God” and read as far as I am able in the next 12 months.  He should provide plenty of quotes and ample fodder for posts in the coming days.

Will you join me in this journey?  Reading schedules for the Dogmatics exist (e.g., jrdkirk.com).  I like the suggestion of reading 15 pages a day.  At this rate, one can work their way through all 14 volumes in two years.  But even this leisurely pace sounds a bit too regimented.  I want to read everyday but only as much I want or need to read without a page number that might be too much or too little for a particular day, or that might interrupt Barth in the middle so some long and complicated section.  My plan is to read everyday (first thing in the morning) as far as I want.  I will log distance by the week rather than the day.  My goal is to get through about 125 pages a week.  (I do have other things to do!)

So, I invite you to join me.  Hopefully by making my intentions public and having some of you join me, I (we) will actually stay the course over the next 12 months.  By the way, a reprinted edition of Church Dogmatics is on sale for $129 at ChristianBook.com.  What a nice Christmas gift!

The Christian Imagination

At the urging of a friend, I now have in my possession Willie James Jennings’ The Christian Imagination: Theology and the Origins of Race (Yale, 2010).  Jennings will be a holiday companion and guide beyond the boundaries of race, oppression, and citizenship; that is, once grading and graduation are done.  Thank you Joe Bumbulis for the recommendation.

Idle Books

I’ve got ’em, and you’ve got ’em – rows and stacks of books.  Since one of my life motto’s is “when I get a little money, I buy myself a book,” the stacks of books grow higher and higher, and the rows get longer and longer.  I can think of far worst addictions – can’t you?

Some of my books have been read and re-read and now look at me from the shelf like old friends reminding me of moments of discovery, moving stories, statements of truth, and disturbing realities.   I can remember where I bought or first read most of these ‘friends’.  They are tangible markers in my journey of understanding, discovery and growth.

Other books, read years ago, now sit abandoned and forlorn, serving no active, useful purpose.  They represent a sizable investment of money from which I have already reaped the benefit.  As I see them lining my shelves, I have a bit of guilt for having paid so much for many of them, read most only once and then assigned them to a spot on my shelf.  My investment sits there in neat rows – idle and unproductive.

If you are like me and have books that need a more productive existence, there is good news!  Our idle books can now build wells, teach children, send cross-cultural witnesses, outfit clinics, provide vaccines … whatever we want them to do.   How?  Through BooksinKind, our unwanted books can find a new and dynamic purpose.

BooksinKind is a web-based donation service that assists non-profits in raising money through their own branded book donation portal.  Simply put – it is a way to turn books into money to assist non-profits in fulfilling their mission.  It really is simple, and it is free!

If you are connected to a non-profit, encourage them to check out BooksinKind.  Or if you have books that need a second life, urge your favorite non-profit to sign up, so you can begin re-purposing books.  Or if you have books and don’t know where to donate them, you can help with hunger relief and malaria prevention through one of my favorite non-profits – Kids Across Culture.

To learn more about BooksinKind and how it works, click on the logo below.  I feel better already, don’t you?!