What about Bible reading and “Newspaper” reading?

On Sunday (5/20/12) our discussion wandered into the area of reading the Bible and reading the newspaper (well, to be 21st century, reading or watching the news on the internet). I recalled, and others nodded their heads, that Karl Barth, a great theologian and teacher, commented on that dynamic.

Here is what Barth is reported to have said:

“[Barth] recalls that 40 years ago he advised young theologians ‘to take your Bible and take your newspaper, and read both. But interpret newspapers from your Bible.’” Time, May 31, 1963

The Time article goes on to give us more of Barth’s thoughts on journalists and their place in the world: “Newspapers, he says, are so important that ‘I always pray for the sick, the poor, journalists, authorities of the state and the church – in that order. Journalists form public opinion. They hold terribly important positions. Nevertheless, a theologian should never be formed by the world around him – either East or West. He should make his vocation to show both East and West that they can live without a clash. Where the peace of God is proclaimed, there is peace on earth is implicit. Have we forgotten the Christmas message?’” —Center for Barth Studies at Princeton Theological Seminary Accessed 3 May 2011

In invite you to share as we continue this conversation:

  • Do you  “read both” (Bible and “newspaper”)?
  • In what ways do you “interpret” the news “from your Bible”?
  • How would you rephrase Barth’s advice for the 21st century?

Author: Daniel Rondeau

I am a husband and father and an Episcopal Priest (now retired) in the Episcopal Diocese of San Diego.

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