Karl who?

Most of you reading this are aware that I am currently working towards a degree in theology at the University of Aberdeen, but you probably don’t have a clue what I’m actually studying here. When I’ve talked about it in the past, I’ve been fairly brief – Barth and Warfield on the doctrine of scripture. I’ve come to realize the error of my ways and I recognize that this doesn’t actually mean much to most people. If I took some creative license and went with “What do Rob Bell and John Piper believe about the Bible and why does it matter?” then I would be speaking in terms that get closer to what the majority of my readers (North American Christians) would more readily understand. Which perhaps begs the question, why am I not writing on what Rob Bell and John Piper believe about the Bible? A question for a another time.

The main reason I’m taking the time to post is to invite you to read Karl Barth along with me. Tempting, I know. Let me give you a short sell on why you should consider reading Barth.

He is often described as the most influential theologian of the 20th century.
He is both revered and reviled.
He has had a profound impact on my thinking about God, the Bible, the Church, and the world.
He is Swiss.
He will at time leave you perplexed while also leading you to worship. He might even go so far as to say that your state of perplexity is an act of worship.

I’ve never been much of a salesman. Anyway, I’m planning on reading some ‘easy’ Barth with some friends, and if you want to get in on the conversation consider this your invitation. We are planning to work through his book “Evangelical Theology: An Introduction.” By way of full-disclosure, ‘Evangelical’ and perhaps even ‘Theology’ don’t mean entirely the same thing that most of us are accustomed to. This probably has to do with his being Swiss and working during the mid-20th century. It is a book that emerged from a series of lectures that he delivered late in his career during his only trip to America. So I guess one could think of it as his attempt to introduce his thinking to an American audience after a lifetime of scholarship.
51rhmRn9O6L._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Ok, so clicking the cover or HERE gets you to where you can buy the book. Or if you don’t mind reading online, you can find it HERE for free. (Sorry. I didn’t realize that this is a university resource. Bummer.)

Not sure how fast we’ll read or what venue we’ll use to discuss, but we’ll get it sorted out. This is just the sort of thing you want to be reading while recovering from the Turkey coma that many of you will slip into over the next few days.


I’m having a crisis of belief.

Not concerning my faith in God or Christian conviction. Those are more or less secure.

No, this crisis has to do with something a thousand times more trivial. My belief in blogging. Judging from the infrequency with which I go at it around here, I’ve been at best a nominal believer for quite some time. I suppose the problem for me is fundamentally one of who is this blog for? Is it for my close family and friends to know what I’m thinking about? If so, then maybe there are better ways of communicating that to them. Is it to cast my voice into the echoing chambers of the world wide web? Plenty of people are out doing that and doing it better than I could ever hope. Or is it a place for me to scribble down some thoughts in an effort to organize them in a semi-coherent fashion? In which case, wouldn’t I be better served to simply keep a private journal? You (whoever ‘you’ is) are probably noticing my tendency to over-think things, which is probably why I’ve landed where I have geographically, vocationally, and blogographically.

I’m hoping that this brief post will help to break the log jam and get things flowing with greater consistency on my tiny corner of the internet. Since I’m currently up to my neck in a Protestant Reformational atmosphere, I’m going to lay it out in Luther-like theses fashion. Or for those how are a little more left-leaning, consider it a blogging manifesto of sorts.

1) I will seek to connect with people I care about and those who care about what I have to say. Ultimately, this blog is for others. If it weren’t, then like I said, a journal would suit just fine. Whether it is a close friend, an interested stranger, a future descendant, this blog will be a place where you have access to me. A dis-embodied me for sure, but if nothing else the part of me that I allowed to present itself to the internet. Which leads to the next thing…

2) I will be less self-conscious about what I put other there. This is the thing that cripples my blogging. I know you would have a hard time guessing that from the the inane crap I’ve allowed to inhabit the megabytes of this forum. And yet, for whatever reason, I have a hard time pressing the ‘publish’ button. Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not saying that this is going to turn into some ‘confess all’ around here. I’m not about to pander to the voyeuristic mentality that permeates all of social media. I don’t think that being ‘authentic’ gives me liberty to blast everyone with all the garbage of my life. No, I’ll continue to make an effort to present my best self. In so doing, I’ll recognize that my best self ain’t all that great. And then I’ll resolve to be ok with my not so great best self.

3) I will not publicize every post on twitter and facebook. I know that facebook and twitter are how lots of people get to this blog. That it is precisely how many of you know anything new has gone up. But the curse of social media is that it gets broadcast to so many people. Part of being less self-conscious about the whole blogging thing for me will be a move towards not caring if one other person reads this or not. If you don’t want to miss out on one ounce of Square Pegs, you’ll need to email sign up on the right somewhere, use an RSS feed (I use Feedly), or on your own schedule go to the trouble of typing… taidochino.com

4) Not every post will be theology related. Believe it or not, I do have interests that fall outside the bounds of half-formed theological thoughts. Usually it has to do with my very narrowly prescribed taste in music. But…

5) It is ok for some, if not most, posts to be theological in nature. I don’t really think blogs are a fantastic place to hash out theology. But in as much as I want this to be a place where friends and interested parties gather to discuss things, I won’t want to shy away from making an effort to engage in casual theological conversations. In that sense, it will be like a dinner party. I don’t mind having the conversation, but I don’t want to spend too much time dwelling on one topic or just talking to one person all evening. That would be rude. Speaking of rude…

6) I will try to be good natured. I don’t tend to like blogs (including my own) when they get overly critical and mean. As I’ve seen on many a t-shirt and bumper sticker, “mean people suck.” I should also mention that none of these bullet points are meant to be a critique of anyone else’s blog, their motives or practices. This is all about how I’m going to keep this from turning into a place I dread coming to.

7) I won’t be a perfectionist. I just won’t have the time to edit every post that goes up. If poor grammar, typos, and the like, are going to be problematic, then as in the immortal words of Uncle Rico, “you can leave.” Along with this, speed will be of the essence. I’m painfully aware that this will reduce the quality of what is already substandard writing, but I guess at the end of the day I think this blog should be about connecting to normal people in a normal sort of way.

I should probably have more points here, but in the spirit of keeping things moving along, it is time to click “publish.” Feel free to add your own.