Sunday, December 11, 2011

Focused Fox

This afternoon I read a quick blog post about theologian Karl Barth's being a hedgehog, as opposed to being a fox. 

There are a lot of things about Karl Barth that I really like, and some I don't, but in any case my immediate guess was that if he's a hedgehog, then I'm a fox.  Sure enough.  There's an explanation here; philosopher Isaiah Berlin wrote an essay with a title referencing Greek philosopher Archilocus: The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing.

One of my seminary professors remarked that Karl Barth once said that it all boils down to, "Jesus loves me; this I know."  That statement would be consistent with his hedgehog-ness.

As for me, I've long been aware that my thinking is more diffuse than focused.  I know many things, and I've forgotten lots more.  As I embarked upon my first call, I began to realize that I need to find a way of organizing all that material that appeals to me, so that I can actually retrieve it when it might be useful.  And I as practically drowned in the events of the past few weeks and lost all capacity to focus on anything at all (Imagine!  Three weeks of recovery time and I have read not one single book!), I started to feel a sense of urgency in response to the sense that everything I read or hear is floating away from me.

So I've started a new notebook on my computer.  I'm calling it my Resource Book, and I'm going to try to toss all kinds of things in there, cross-referenced by topic and author or artist and church calendar.  I don't know how long I'll be able to keep it up, but I love this shiny new (and unusual) feeling of being organized.

Image: Lakeview Cemetery, Spring 2006


  1. Try a program like evernote if you really want a crossreferenced organizational whatchamacallit.

  2. I am still tweaking and trying to find a way to organize those articles, ideas, sermon illustrations, worship liturgy...that I run across on any given day.

    I have tried seemed "wonky" on my computer.

  3. This sounds like a good idea! I have a shelf full of tangible efforts to organize my ideas and resources! I have felt very proud in the last few months because it is (mostly) now located on one bookshelf! :)

    However, I have just taken over the task of Webmaster for a small group I volunteer with - and heavens above there is an entirely new world of information stretching out before me!! FTP and HTML and.....

    Yikes! My best hope is that it opens up thus far untapped brain resources!

  4. That name Karl Barth takes me back to your ordination! That was a very informative evening. I can only imagine the conversations around your dinner table!