I noticed a disheveled and unshaven man in his early fifties a few barstools down from me. Something about him seemed uninviting. Soon an attractive 40-something woman arrived in a crisp little black dress and perched on the stool next to him. She seemed nervous.
For seven splendid years (1953-1960) I studied at Union Theological Seminary in New York. Someone told me that visitors to the seminary were occasionally brought around to the tutors' office, where I worked as a graduate student, in order to glimpse "the Barthian"—of which species I was apparently the only one in captivity in that place.
The paradox of being a writer is that you are more likely to get outcomes when you let go of getting outcomes: it frees you from the ego's grip. There is a parallel here to the faith journey: seek your life and you will lose it, lose your life and you will find it.
John Calvin grounded our need to know God in our createdness: "What is the chief end of human life?" he asked, and answered, "To know God by whom we were created." This yearning is not the same as our need to "know" other human beings.
Arthur George Weidenfeld credits Christians for helping him escape to Britain in 1938 from German-occupied Austria. As a way of showing his gratitude, Weidenfeld, a Jew, is helping to rescue up to 2,000 Christians from Syria and Iraq. He said it was Quakers and Plymouth Brethren who fed and clothed him and helped him to get to Britain. Baron Weidenfeld is the founder of the Weidenfeld and Nicolson publishing company. His fund to support Christians in war-torn regions in the Middle East recently sponsored a flight of 150 Syrian Christians to Poland (Independent, July 20).