book review

Fabricious and His Propositions

I’ve long been a fan of Kim Frabricius’ propositions on Faith and Theology. And now, they’re together in book form.

I got the book today in the mail. I’ve been flipping through it, looking for a few nice, little quotes to begin my papers for classes this semester. I’ve found more than a few, and some of the strongest contenders are below:

5. Even in private prayer goes public. Indeed prayer is the most political activity in which a Christian can engage. Political? Indeed revolutionary. “Thy kingdom come” is a call for the overthrow of all earthly governments. “To fold your hands in prayer is to begin an uprising against the world” (Karl Barth). Which is not an excuse for quietism. Augustine said, “Without God we cannot, without us God will not.” Ora et labora, insisted the Reformers. Prayer and ethics belong together. pg. 74

Moral: When political theology is faithful, expect it to be critical and subversive; when it is unfaithful, expect it to be ideological and fatal. pg. 101

3. The theologian, therefore, is not an academic but an ecclesiodemic. He may work in a university but he is not of the university. He must be multilingual, but he must remember that is hometown is Jerusalem, not Athens. So he must hand loose to criteria of academic respectability. pg. 127

2. Another interesting fact: the rise of Protestant literalism went hand in hand with the desacralization of nature, which — the good news — entailed the rise of the natural sciences, but which also — the bad news — issued in the evacuations of God from the material world, soon followed by the absence of God from the world of culture. Modernist atheism itself is the span of biblical literalism. And when belief did bunk, it was the priesthood of poets that helped keep the rumor of transcendence alive. pg. 157

10. Moral: a cultureless theology is an ecclesiastical disaster — and a “two culture” (C.P. Snow) theology is not much better. If we are ignorant of science we get top marks in “Stupidity 101: Creationism.” But if we are ignorant of literature, the merely ignorant becomes downright dangerous — witness the nonsensical interpretations of biblical apocalyptic by the Religious Right and its pernicious influence on American foreign policy in the Middle East. If pastors should be community theologians, community theologians should be writers-in-residence, exercising what John Howard Yoder called “word-care,” and teaching their congregations how to read. pg. 159-160

I heartily recommend this book for most anyone. And do not worry, its not all the way I’ve portrayed it with the quotes above — it is all helpful, entirely thought provoking, and touches on many topics. This book may be stocking a stuffer for family this Christmas…. It can be read in many different ways, from academic work to bathroom material, from cover to cover in a day to occasionally skimming. While Fabricius does have footnotes and sends up a number of quotes from theologians that may be unknown to many unfamiliar with theological discourse, I expect this book works on the popular level as well. It is written with care.

Oh, and lastly, Kim if you read this, I want a similar collection of your creative and acerbic scripts of dialogue between Jesus and his disciples.

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