Book Review: Propositions on Christian Theology
Kim Fabricius, Propositions on Christian Theology: A Pilgrim Walks the Plank. Carolina Academic Press, 2008.
I seldom review books that I have not yet read, but since I saw most of this in draft form as blog posts, I feel safe in doing so here. Kim Fabricius (yes, that’s his real name), is an American ex-patriate who has lived so long in the United Kingdom that I wonder why he has never become a British citizen. Perhaps it has something to do with his continued love of baseball. He is a minister in the United Reformed Church of the UK (roughly equivalent to the United Church of Canada or the United Church of Christ here in the U.S.), pastor of a congregation in Swansea (Wales) and chaplain at the University of Swansea.
Here, is an introduction to Christian theology that is provocative and humorous. Written in a series of provocative, sharply worded, statements, these are Fabricius’ careful conclusions–without the defense or elaboration of those conclusions in dense prose, such as found in most works on theology. These will stimulate debate and dialogue–and laughter, and rage–and maybe even stimulate readers to state their own convictions so sharply.
The usual theological topics are covered (Ten Propositions on the Trinity, Ten Propositions on the Holy Spirit, Ten Propositions on Theodicy) , but Kim also covers the life of Christian discipleship (Ten Stations on My Way to Christian Pacifism, Ten Propositions on Same-Sex Relationships and the Church), of spirituality (Ten Propositions on Worship, Ten Propositions on Prayer), ministry and the life of the church (Ten Propositions on Being a Minister, Ten Propositions on Preaching, 9.5 Propositions on Listening to Preaching). You also find a reflection on Fabricius’ greatest theological influence (Karl Barth) on “the new atheists,” on laughter, and on why baseball is God’s game.
This book would be great for new Christians, for church discussion groups, for introductory classes on theology (not as a main textbook), and, as Stanley Hauerwas says in a back cover plug, to give a friend who wants to know just what this Christian stuff is all about.
In their original form as blog postings (usually on Ben Meyers’ great site, Faith and Theology ), Fabricius’ series of (usually 10) propositions caused much discussion, delight, despair, and engagement throughout the world of English-language theology blogs! His installments were eagerly awaited and inspired some pale imitations. (Since Kim doesn’t have his own blog, there were also the conspiracy theories that he was merely Ben Myer’s alter ego. Will this book set those rumors to rest? ) I hope they will be at least as helpful and controversial in book form. My copy is now on order and I pray that you also, Gentle Readers, will give yourself and others this delightful slim volume as a great gift.
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