Freed From our Subjectivities

In May, during the COVID lockdowns, I took great pleasure following the "Reading Barth Together" webinars done by Will Willimon and Stanley Hauerwas as they read and talked through Barth's Dogmatics in Outline.

One of the moments in their conversation that I greatly enjoyed was from Session 2. Willimon asks Hauerwas about what is fresh or radical in Barth's theology. Hauerwas responds that "Barth frees us from our subjectivities." It's a comment that highlights a theme that runs through their entire conversation.   

Ever since Descartes' turn inward in radical doubt we've been trapped in our subjectivies, imprisoned within our wavering emotions, fractured thinking, broken self-images, inner demons, neurotic ruminations, anxious obsessions, uncontrollable impulses, and wayward desires. We're a mess. And then we try to trap God in this prison as well. We fret over if we believe in God anymore, and drown under the weight of our questions and doubts. 

Trapped in our subjectivites, we've convinced ourselves that what matters in life is what we think of God. But the situation is really quite the opposite. What matters in life is what God thinks of us.

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