Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Thinking out loud with Albert Osborn and Søren Kierkegaard


Not far from any sermon illustration website is the name and thoughts of Søren Kierkegaard. I've had a book of his parables on my bookcase for years and have started to slowly make my way through. Here's the first one.

THE HAPPY CONFLAGRATION
What happens to those who try to warn the present age?

It happened that a fire broke out backstage in a theatre. The clown came out to inform the public. They thought is was just a jest and applauded. He repeated his warning, they shouted even louder. So I think the world will come to an end amid general applause from all the wits, who believe that it is a joke.

"Too often I worry that a prevalent 'consumer bar code Christian' theology covers much of the profundity of God with stage paints, a big red nose, outlandishly large shoes and a ruff."

-Kierkegaard

Kierkegaard, S. (1989). Parables of Kierkegaard (Kierkegaard's Writings). Princeton: Princeton University Press.


I suppose the idea of these sayings and parables is for them to provoke and to stimulate thought. We sang the words of General Albert Osborn this week and I have been provoked!

"Only as I know thee can I make thee truly known..."

-Albert Osborn

There is a link here somewhere. At what level do we make God truly known?

Too often I worry that a prevalent 'consumer bar code Christian' theology covers much of the profundity of God with stage paints, a big red nose, outlandishly large shoes and a ruff. There's an irony here that presents itself, in that, in order to engage with the mystery of God we have to slip our God given enquiring minds into neutral.

I'm not sure that taking a leap of faith means our theology needs to become irrational in order to appreciate the mystery of God. Nor am I sure, that an attitude of 'Many are the things I cannot understand, all above me mystery I see...' is an excuse to be lazy with our thinking and theology.

Albert Osborn and Søren Kierkegaard have got me thinking, if I present God at an superficial level what does it say of what I know of God? If I present God at an superficial level is it any wonder that no-one really listens!!

4 comments:

Estelle said...

in response I want to remind you of Brian and "the last Temptation of Christ" Superficially or not - I think all we can do is present God and wait for Him (God) to do the rest!

Gordon said...

Totally agree - but would say that there is nothing superficial in what Brian has seen of God. Because whether through FH or the woman giving him a bag of chips and a coffee he encountered God in a deep and profound way.

Sven Ljungholm said...

Questions concerning how one views and portrays God always brings me back to Anselm's argument and the 60's book by J.B. Phillips, YOUR GOD IS TOO SMALL.

I tried to email you requesting permission to use your post on Smith, giving full credit of course, on WWW.FSAOF.BLOGSPOT.COM . However, my email was returned ?!

Thank you.
selmoscow.aol.com

Gordon said...

Please feel free Sven

I should realy sort out the email link but it drew a lot of spam when that email address was working!!