Friday, July 25, 2008

A completely unnecessary introduction

Yes, I'm a big gay Idaho Episcopalian. It's too much for one person, yes, but I manage to do it all with a touch of flair.

Because people I know might read this, this introduction serves to explain the purpose and rationale behind this blog.

The name I've chosen, "Karl Julian," is not my real name, of course. It reflects two very important religious thinkers whom I admire.

The first name comes from Karl Barth, the extraordinarily important Protestant theologian of the 20th century. His work reflects my theological priorities: the confession of Jesus as Lord in a world hostile to the realities of the Gospel. Now, I'm not a fundamentalist by any means, but I do get irritated with "liberal" theology which easily trades the Gospel for the warm fuzzies. The Gospel gives sobering truth to a post-modern world in which all things can be "truth" and in which any act which conflicts with church discipline, the Bible or tradition is deemed "prophetic." That said, I also am critical of "conservative" theology which makes the Bible the Word of God (which only Christ is the Word, thank you very much) or makes the preservation of the status quo (or the creation of a fictitious "1950's" America) into the church's only mission. Christ loves us, and Christ challenges us. For that reason I take "Karl" as part of my blog persona.

The other, "Julian," comes from Julian of Norwich. Whereas Karl Barth is highly academic and systematic and is therefore a great fit for my intellect, Julian of Norwich calls us to rest assured of God's love and God's power in our lives. In all the turmoil and confusion of this world, it's sometimes hard to just rely on God. To have faith is a radical act, and at that I fail frequently. Despair and anger lie at the door, ready to pounce and tear my soul to pieces when I realize that the world is broken, hurting, and frequently preparing itself for our destruction. It's incredibly hard to have faith in these days. Julian of Norwich wrote a very interesting book, "Showings" or "Revelations of Divine Love," title based on the translator's preference. To really trust God's promise "All shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of things shall be well" is downright impossible. God can bring good out of my suffering? God cares for me deeply and longs for me to be united with him? Those are almost impossible to believe, but Julian counsels us to have a real faith in God. Because I don't have that faith, I take "Julian" as the other part of my blog persona.

And the rationale behind this blog? Well, I'll have to say it's because my other blog is for my personal life. I want to muse more about religion than what the other blog I have will allow.

And that, girls and boys, is an introduction.

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