The Curse of a Godless Man...

The curse of a godless man can sound more pleasant in God s ears than the Hallelujah of the pious (Bonhoeffer, Life Together). When I write that my own situation in those months of pain and decision can be described as prayer, I do not only recall that during that time I sometimes read the Psalms and they became my psalms, or that, as I have also mentioned, I occasionally cried Jesus and that name was my prayer, but I mean that I also at times would shout Fuck! and that was no obscenity, but a most earnest prayerful utterance (William Stringfellow, A Second Birthday). Barth did not want merely to preach to his audience (in the prison). In order to preach to them properly he also wanted to get to know them personally, and so he often went to visit them in their cells. For instance, he once reported that this morning I listened at length to three murderers, two confidence tricksters and one adulterer, added the odd remark here and there and gave each a fat cigar. On another occasion he asked in amazement, Am I really something of an optimist or a walking embodiment of the heresy of the restoration of all things? I found it impossible to be despondent or disturbed over these men. Instead, I thought that I had seen something encouraging and cheering in each of them (Busch, Barth, p. 415). I was talking with friends last night over some wine as the sun set. I said I feel very connected to people who do not consider themselves Christians, aren t church-goers, and may not believe in God at all. I get the impression that some of these people I feel connected to are more in the game than those who assume they are playing center field.

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