Jul 4, 2011

Barth, You Hippie!

I've been indulging myself in a lot more Barth of late. If you have never read the beloved theologian, you've truly been missing out on one of the key figures who has shifted theological thought. I found this tidbit recently and began to laugh.  If your church has a women's or men's group, Barth would call that an assemblage of disobedient inhuman philistines.  Hear Barth's own words:
"Everything which points in the direction of male or female seclusion, or of religious or secular orders or communities, or of male or female segregation – if it is undertaken in principle and not consciously and temporarily as an emergency measure – is obviously disobedience. All due respect to the comradeship of a company of soldiers! But neither men nor women can seriously wish to be alone, as in clubs and ladies’ circles. Who commands or permits them to run away from each other? That such an attitude is all wrong is shown symptomatically in the fact that every artificially induced and maintained isolation of the sexes tends as such – usually very quickly and certainly morosely and blindly – to become philistinish in the case of men and precious in that of women, and in both cases more or less inhuman. It is well to pay heed even to the first steps in this direction." (Church Dogmatics III/4, 165)
I'm not posting this to advocate for either position. This simply made me laugh.  If you've been in church long enough, you can see that there are two things to contemplate. First, the fruit of men's and women's ministries merits grand attention when contemplating this viewpoint. So many lives have been transformed, healed, and soteriologically enhanced from said ministries. Secondly, with that said, you've got to admit he's got a point. A lot of men's groups can become  MAN CHURCH while women's studies have been known to be more precious to them than the gathering together of all believers during the weekend service.