Archives For November 2014

IMG_20141130_140310I thought I’d share this story from Wilhelm Busch. If not for the humour in it, at least for the novelty of it.

First, though, here’s some necessary contextual background.

Friedrich Schleiermacher (19th Century) is considered the father of liberal theology; a branch of theology challenged by Karl Barth’s neo-orthodoxy.

According to Grenz & Olsen, Schleiermacher, along with Immanuel Kant and Hegel, was one of ‘three shapers of the 19th century…who looked to “feeling; special human experience” for the foundation of theology’[ii]

Barth disagreed with Schleiermacher, later ‘criticising liberal theology for turning the gospel into a religious message that tells humans of their own divinity instead of recognising it as the Word of God…In essence he was calling for a revolution in theological method, a theology “from above” to replace the old, human-centred theology “from below.”’[iii]


‘Schleiermacher was really the exact opposite of Karl Barth. Barth’s theology says that what matters is the objective, the holy God and his great works in Jesus. In Jesus he has revealed himself. In Jesus he has reconciled the world.
These are the objective facts, whose truth does not depend in any way on us. Schleiermacher taught exactly the opposite. He put it like this: ‘Piety is neither knowing nor doing but a certainty of feeling. It is the feeling of total dependence.’
So here everything was based on the subjective, so that the revelation of God in the cross and the resurrection of Jesus almost completely disappeared. And now I hope that the great theologians will forgive me for trying to present such a serious theological problem here in such a simple way.
Yes, may they especially forgive me for having some fun; for I decided to hang the two pictures next to each other on the wall. Then my fathers in the faith would presumably be satisfied, since their way led through the middle between the two. They were convinced that the objective salvation of Golgotha must be grasped in personal life and subjective experience. That was what they taught, and that was how they lived. That was also what I found in the New Testament and believed myself.
As I was standing on a ladder and hanging up the two pictures, I said laughing to my wife, ‘I just wonder which of the two will fall from the wall first. Because I don’t think they can bear being next to each other.’ And what happened? Schleiermacher fell down! One morning his picture had disappeared. It had slipped behind the wall of books.
It was impossible to get it out of there except by moving each book-case.
My friends, all influenced to a greater or lesser extent by Karl Barth, were very pleased with Schleiermacher’s disappearance. Not until my house was almost completely destroyed in a bombing raid in 1943, and I took the rescued library away from the rubble, did the picture of Schleiermacher come to light again.’[i]

Being a book of reflections, as opposed to an auto-biography, one its key features is that it is a collection of short accounts.If you have space on your reading list this Christmas, I recommend adding ‘Christ or Hitler?‘ and then moving through it slowly.

For those interested, here’s my small review on Amazon:

“Puritz provides us English {speaking} monolingualists with invaluable access to a side of Germany during WW1 up until the close of the European theatre in WW2. It is a voice rarely heard. Wilhelm Busch’s first hand accounts of a Confessing Church Pastor are well-ordered and insightful. A must read for Pastors today, and any scholar interested in the Historical context of Christian resistance in Germany during the war. Among many noteworthy comments the most significant takeaway quote from Busch would have to be the challenge he put forth to German youths after the war: “Are you as you should be?”


[i] Busch W. in Puritz, C.  (Trans. Ed). 2013 Christ or Hitler?: Stories from my life and times, by Pastor Wilhelm Busch (1897-1966) Kindle ed. Evangelical Press. (Loc. 2457-2473)

[ii] Grenz, S. & Olsen, R. 1992 20th Century theology: God and the World in a Transitional Age IVP Academic Press, p.25 & p.39

[iii] Ibid, p.67

Recommended further reading:

Friedrich Schleiermacher ( )

Karl Barth ( )

While working on some craft leftovers with our homeschoolers today, I was able to work around them and do some art. The image below was the end result. It makes a fairly decent desktop background for advent.

GVL_Advent image Byzantine Orthodox Mary and Jesus

I created this after combining an embossed silver star, black cardboard and the cover of a recycled Christmas card. The combination was then laminated, photocopied {one colour, the other grayscale} and photographed on an angle.  From there I cropped and slightly pixelated the image.

Byzantine icons and their unique place in Eastern Orthodox worship is interesting. Worship and art are significant; one prays through it, not to it. Hearts are directed and minds realigned towards Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

I appreciate them. Yet to be convinced that the theological snares are serious enough to warrant avoidance. For example: the dangers of natural theology and its slide into seeing a second revelation of God, where there is in fact only one intact revelation, that of Jesus Christ, in Word, Presence and Deed.

Although Karl Barth doesn’t appear to have been against icons, reading through his work on Natural Theology in CD.II/I makes it a definite that he wasn’t for them either. I think Barth’s appreciation of Mozart comes close to any kind of support here – he walks a fine line between devoted distraction and directed devotion.

In any case I’m sure, in regards to this matter anyway, I’ll either land on being for, against or simply just remain appreciative of the devotion they express, and the devotion towards God that they inspire.

This painting features the young Mary and the infant Jesus. As near as I can tell the icon is the famous, ‘The Vladimir Virgin’.

There is a commentary available here and if you’re into reading up on Byzantine Art, David Talbot Rice’s book ‘Art of the Byzantine Era’ is a good place to start.


Music: Eksedysan {They Have Stripped Me} by Fr. Nikodimos Kabarnos 

ReflectionsBeside still waters.

Along paths of righteousness.

In a dark valley, overflowing cups.

A soul restored for His name’s sake.

A table prepared in the presence of enemies.

Followed by justice and mercy.

The Lord Shepherds; makes; leads; comforts; blesses;

…allows and invites us to dwell. In. His. House. Forever.


I Had To Learn …

November 24, 2014 — Leave a comment

*hyperextension: to extend beyond that which is normal; to literally ‘go round the bend.’

*Political correctness: agreeing with the idea that people should be careful to not use language or behave in a way that could offend a particular group of people.

*Slippery slope: a process or series of events that is hard to stop or control once it has begun and that usually leads to worse or more difficult things.

George Wittenstein White Rose


Definitions via

Koala Talons

November 22, 2014 — Leave a comment


 Koala Talons

When they say “bear!”,

they cannot mean the koala.

For when we say “bear!”,

it’s usually followed by the words “where?” and “up there!”,

bearing little resemblance to any bear by which one might be tempted to compare.

This leaf-eating marsupial, has the talons of an eagle!

The magnified and hairy ears of a mouse, and usually one big tree for a house.

So as it goes, therefore, so forth and so on.

This furry ball of grey fuzz , is simply the Koala who has a big black nose.

Who chews green leaves.

Climbs the tall, grey and white eucalypt trees.

Grips hold of a limb.

Then sits.

Reaches to eat.

Then drifts.

Safely. Off. To sleep.

 – Rod Lampard, 2014.

Image: Koala sculpture featuring Indigenous-Australian artwork.

Die Weiße Rose

November 20, 2014 — 8 Comments

In February, 1943, along with her brother, Hans and friend Christoph, Sophie Scholl was executed by guillotine after a trial before the ‘Peoples Court’.

Their crime?

Writing and distributing leaflets which spoke the truth, and called for non-violent resistance against Hitler and Nazism.

Inge, Sophie’s eldest sister recalls:

‘I believe that at such times the students were able to converse freely with God, with that Being whom they gropingly sought in their youth, whom they tried to find at the end point of all study, action, and work.
At this time Christ became for them in a strange way the elder brother who was always there, closer even than death. He was their path which allowed of no return, the truth which gave answer to so many questions, and life itself, the whole of splendid life.
Sophie said at one point (though she spoke very, very little), “What we said and wrote is what many people are thinking. Only they don’t dare to say it.”
{After her arrest}, Sophie had been chiefly concerned in those days whether her mother would be able to bear the ordeal of losing two children at the same moment. But now, as Mother stood there, so brave and good, Sophie had a feeling of sudden release from anxiety.
Again her mother spoke; she wanted to give her daughter something she might hold fast to: “You know, Sophie— Jesus.” Earnestly, firmly , almost imperiously Sophie replied, “Yes, but you too.” Then she left— free, fearless, and calm. She was still smiling…
…Such rigor of thought was doubtless closely related to their discovery of Christianity, which in the case of my brother and sister paralleled the development of their independent political stand.
The church hierarchy in those years had compromised itself by its initial alliance with National Socialism, and it was silent. But countless Christians had gone underground and some had joined the resistance.[i]
Munich Station 1942 Sophie_ Hans_ Christoph 2

(Left) Hans Scholl, (Centre) Sophie, (Right) Christoph Probst.


Christoph Probst was 25; a husband and father to three small children. His wife ‘did not learn of his fate until after his execution.’ [ii]

Sophie Scholl was 22 and Hans, 25.

Sophie, Hans and Christoph were Germans. From Inge Scholl’s account, they were also Christians.

I’ve pointed to some of the emerging parallels between then and now, on this blog before. Those in this case, I think, speak for themselves.

‘To mature to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, no longer children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Christ.’
– (Paul, Ephesians 4:14-15)


[i] Scholl, I. 1947 The White Rose: Munich, 1942–1943 Wesleyan University Press. Kindle Ed. (Loc.831-832; 867-869 & 1380-1381)

[ii] ibid, Loc. 872-873

Video excerpt is from the movie ‘Sophie Scholl: The Final Days‘ (2005, Germany), Fred Breinersdorfer (Writer), Marc Rothemund (Director).

Blog sidepic 1 GVLLast month I included a reader participation post, wherein budding poets interested in the art of haiku, were encouraged to make a contribution.

The theme for October was ‘Table Fellowship’ and a couple of brave bloggers joined me in dousing the idea in a display of creativity.

The how?

Write a haiku. Then share it in one of two ways:

a) Blog your haiku and link back to this thread, or b) Post your haiku in the comments section

The what?

November’s theme: Technological Pet Peeves.

My offering:

Zero charge.
Rapid response. PS3 chaos.
Black screen, flat controller.

{Not sure how, or what? Haiku originated in Japan. It is a form of poetry that follows a 5, 7, 5 syllable structure, over 3 short sentences. While still sticking to basic idea, Haiku in English is usually more flexible.}

Image: Mine. Created using the photo editor over @

{I was not paid to promote anyone or anything for this post}