Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Bo Giertz's Kyrkan & Guds Rike

I've only read one book by Bo Giertz, The Hammer of God , but the book is a splendid example of the rule that you needn't write much, but write well, in order to make an impact in the life of literature. It is a book to be read and re-read.

Apparently he was also an artist. This drawing, The Church and the Kingdom of God, is for a book for confirmands. The lower circle is the church, the door into which is baptism. Inside the church is the Word of God and the Eucharist. The exit out of the church is death. Then things stream upward by way of the resurrection to life in the Kingdom of God, which is established in the resurrection, but also extends over this life as well. It is an excellent artistic summary of the faith of evangelical catholics.


  1. Anonymous4:47 PM


  2. So where are the other bishops who are as accomplished? And what it is it about Scandinavian Bishops that makes so many of them "renaissance men"?

    It's a cool drawing. Hammer has been republished with an additional chapter -- the ending that Giertz didn't quite finish.


  3. Well, there is Rowan Williams. And Bishop Hanson made a music video of him riding a scooter for the Atlanta youth gathering. Does that count?

    I imagine the very progression of styles of ministry that is described in Hammer is exactly why there are so few rennaisance bishops or pastors today.

  4. FWIW, Dwight, Giertz finished *Stengrunden*, but for some reason the American translator (Clifford Ansgar Nelson) never finished *The Hammer of God*.

  5. Anonymous9:19 AM

    Tom Wright, Anglican Bishop of Durham, would fit into the category of "Renaissance bishop." I'm reading his Paul in Fresh Perspective right now. Good stuff.

  6. Anonymous9:20 AM

    Not only did Bp. Hanson ride the scooter in the video, he also rode it into the Georgia Dome and onto the stage. Remember that?

  7. yes, a very cool move, if a personality-centered style of leadership. Look at me, mom, no hands!

    I think Giertz also describes this shift to a focus on the personality of the minister in his book.

  8. Anonymous12:07 PM

    Did you guys know Bo Giertz opposed women's ordination. That's one they don't often tell you. Interesting that a man so lauded and spoken of today by many would never be able to become a bishop by the same people. Food for thought...

  9. Well, anonymous, many bishops and pastors in the era of Bo Giertz opposed women's ordination. It was a difficult kind of thing for them to sort out, because it was such a change in ministerial and church practice.

    Many people around the world still do oppose women's ordination, although I myself believe strongly that women pastors are a great gift to our church.

    I don't agree with your last statement. Just because somebody opposed on a personal level women's ordination wouldn't exclude them from the freedom to be a bishop, at least in the ELCA.

  10. Giertz wrote an incredible amount of material, over 30 books, and 600 some articles. It's just that "The Hammer of God" has until recently been about the only thing available in English. That has changed! A few titles you may like to check out are: "The Knights of Rhodes" a novel, "To Live with Christ" a devotional, "Then Fell the Lord's Fire" a book of ordination sermons.