prayer from the cell: knock

For most of Karl Barth’s theological career he emphasized and fought for the Otherness of God and the desperate separation of humankind from him… how Christ and the cross was God’s emphatic “NO!” to humankind and humankind’s emphatic “NO!” to God.

Later in his life, toward the end of his career, he softened. He began to emphasize more how Christ was God’s “YES!” to humankind and humankind’s “YES!” to God.

Which is why I enjoy turning the verses.

I published a book of cartoons that addresses issues like these. For just $9, order Nakedpastor101: Cartoons by David Hayward“, from,,

"Nice vid David - hilarious! We'll miss you and wish you all the best! (and ..."

nakedpastor’s goodbye video to patheos
"Good idea! I look forward to exciting developments at your own site. I like Patheos, ..."

nakedpastor’s goodbye video to patheos

Browse Our Archives

Follow Us!

What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • I always enjoy coming here πŸ™‚ Great post.

  • thanks for visiting Jessica!!

  • Nancy T.

    Hi Dave, I mention this on the Facebook post to this blog post, but I thought it would be good to mention it here as well…

    … what is that you mean by the phrase, “Which is why I enjoy turning the verses”?

  • Crystal

    That’s interesting David, the way you turned that scripture around.

    When I was thirteen years old – a long, long time ago – I had a dream about a room full of doors – thirteen of them to be exact- one for each year of my life. In the dream I knocked on each door and each one was opened. The person in each doorway said ” I don’t know you ” and slammed the door in my face. All except for the thirteenth door. When that one opened, the person standing there said ” I know you ” and proceeded to tell me my name. I suppose I could have walked through that door but I didn’t, for some unknown reason, and I simply woke up. Now that I am in my late sixties and have had many more dreams and visions given to me, I realise that that dream was God reaching out to me at a time when I was lonely and confused. So, you can reverse the scriptures I suppose, and still make sense out of them. Food for thought.—-Crystal.

  • Nancy T.

    Hmm…Apparently Crystal gets the ‘turned around’ as well. I’m still lost though.

    The verse is, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me”. (ESV)

    The only difference of note that I can see, is that David’s is written in the first person (Jesus/God speaking directly to the person), and the original being in the third person (Jesus/God speaking to a non-specified person, ‘anyone/he/him’). I can find nothing in the statement that is ‘turned around’.

    Changing third-person to first-person in bible verses to make more of an impact is done on a regular basis by any number of ministers/lay people/theologians/etc.

    It would be the same as taking Matthew 16:24, “Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me”. and changing it to: “Then Jesus said to me, ‘If you would come after me, you must deny yourself and take up your cross and follow me”.

    *… still wondering about what is meant by this ‘turned around’ stuff…*

  • Hi Nancy. Just got in. Sorry. Went and saw “Bridesmaids”. What a scream! What I mean by “turning the verses” is, if you notice, the prayer from the cell is TO God… from me. The verse in the scripture is from God to us. So I’ve turned it.

  • Crystal

    Nancy T.

    It is strange isn’t it that in my dream it was me who knocked at the doors, but at thirteen years of age I hadn’t read that scripture of Jesus knocking at the door( the door of our heart) so that was why it got turned around ( I think.) I’m not saying that I understand completely the “turned around” concept, only that God is always trying to reach us, and when he can’t find us in the traditional way, he sometimes breaks his own rules in order to get our attention. That’s been my experience over my lifetime. It certainly keeps me open to concepts, rather than having a black and white view of spirituality. I’m interested in where David is going with this.

    Perhaps we will have to read Karl Barth in order to understand more. I must admit to never having heard of him. I am ignorant of so many things…Crystal.

  • Johnfom

    lol Have fun with Karl, Crystal. He was not particularly known for getting to the point quickly, or easily in my experience. His systematic theology runs to 13 volumes!

    Loving the reversal NP. Although, I have gotten into trouble for something perhaps similar in the past. I sometimes read Romans 2-4, reading ‘Christian’ in place of ‘Jew’ and ‘bible’ in place of ‘law’, ‘faith’ for ‘circumcision’.

    For example:
    2:25For faith indeed is of value if you obey the bible, but if you break the bible, your faith becomes faithless. 26So, if a man who is faithless keeps the precepts of the bible, will not his faithlessness be regarded as faithful? 27Then he who is physically faithless but keeps the bible will condemn you who have the written code and faith but break the bible. 28For no one is a Christian who is merely one outwardly, nor is faith outward and physical. 29But a Christian is one inwardly, and faith is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter.

    It’s not as elegant as what you’ve done, but you get the idea. I think it helps to do this sometimes. Personalises it all somehow.

  • Tiggy

    I didn’t get it either till David explained, but I admire your pedantry, Nancy – just like mine. πŸ™‚

    Knock, knock, knocking on Heaven’s Door? That would be a good theme for next year’s Greenbelt Festival, ‘Kicking Heaven’s Door Down’. Not sure they haven’t already used that, come to think of it.