September 10, 2009

Moltmann Conversation - Notes from 101 w/ Danielle Shroyer

Moltmann 101

I. impressionistic theologian (nice analogy)

II. Life
A. Hamburg, Germany, secular parents, commune?, spent time gardening on Sunday mornings
B. Loved Einstein, mathematics, science – apathetically joined the Hitler Youth – but was a terrible soldier, German POW – learned about God in the POW educational camp
C. Struck by the power of the story when reading the bible
D. Started theological training, pastor, professor
E. Because of lack of training – not a systematic theologian – not start with doctrines

III. Method
A. Started not by a narrow focus, but through the broadest lens possible and started with eschatology – changed the method of how people understood eschatology
B. We can see doctrine in how it relates to everything else
C. Trilogy! (not intentional)
D. People wanted him to do systematics – no way!
E. Influenced by many other theologians along the way

IV. Theology of Hope
A. Came out at a time when it was a faux paux to talk about eschatology – we are rational men who shouldn’t talk about that tacky subject…. So Moltmann writes all about eschatology
B. The idea that we are too “modern” for eschatology is stupid – unhistorical historicity – you have created a way of speaking of the world that is not grounded in anything real whatsoever
C. The one thing that makes this life real is that we have a hope in something that is coming in the FUTURE
D. Promise of God always taking us towards a future horizon
E. It’s not something we tack on to the end of dogmatics, but it is the medium of Christian faith as such – the glow that suffucies everything here in the dawn of an expectant new day
F. The minute we turned to despair we instantly stop believing in Jesus – if we believe in Easter, we can’t be people of despair!
G. Why do we hope? What gives us the right to have this hope? Because the way God reveals Godself is by saying “I promise…” and God does. “I promise I will make all things new!” so we are constantly facing that future of hope
H. In America – hope has become the opiate of the masses, a joke that people who can’t get their lives together talk about: Moltmann – hope is not in any sense an opiate for the masses – it is the very thing that makes us feel like we understand the mission of God in the world!!! Hope is what makes us point at an injustice and say – that’s not right! Hope makes us people of protest, because we have not bought into the fact that this is all there is
I. Hope makes us antsy – we can’t feel settled in this world because we have to point out the things that aren’t right and say that there is a day when things will be right.

V. The Crucified God
A. Good Friday and Easter are inseperable realities – so when you talk about hope, you have to talk about what gives us that hope. IMMEDIATE response to the first book.
B. Smackdown moment: soteriology – most theologians only have the sense of thinking about what it does for “sin management” – how does it help me NOT die; cur dues homo – why did God die? However we have to work it, we just want to make sure we are good to go.
1. Moltmann comes and says – hmm, I wonder what the cross meant for God! What did God feel on Good Friday? What was it like for God the Father watch his son die?
2. completely alters the trajectory of soteriology
3. a lot of dialogue with nihilism… at the cross your faith dies, or it should, because look at what really happened
4. but this is where it actually begins Moltmann says… you have to look at Jesus on the cross, as a God who died and suffered among us. You think you understand what it means to look into the abyss? The existential abyss is nothing compared to the abyss of what it means for God to LET God die!!
5. the place where godlessness and godforsakenness comes together
6. godlessness – the killing of innocent life
7. godforsaken – a death you did not deserve
C. Theodicy – God as despot, divine child abuse, God becomes this mean judge; so, we think that is terrible and we try to step in and do something, but then we become despots ourselves and we decide who suffers where and when.
1. God SUFFERS on the cross – there is no impassable God.
2. And God is right in the middle of suffering – God isn’t on the outside listening to his son call for him and not answering, but is also there on the cross calling out not hearing a response
D. Metaphor of intersection – God being in every place “no one can love the cross, it’s awful” But in this place of the intersection, all sorts of separate things fight for one another, atheism vs. theism, death vs. life, hope vs. despair, godforsakenness vs. god-loving, divine vs. human…. All dialectical understandings of our faith collide in this moment
E. Radical break between the reality of the cross where all of these things are fighting and the resurrection. “money move – checkmate!” Because all of those things that were colliding, are answered in the cross – there is a victory! If you go all the way down into the abyss – Easter Sunday encompasses all of creation all victory, all beauty.
F. He took suffering seriously without telling us to go out and seek suffering or without condoning suffering. – this suffering happened only in context of who God is.
G. If we’re going to call ourselves theologians, everytime we come up with something we believe about God, we need to stick it at the foot of the cross – the litmus test for what we understand about Jesus, God, the world, etc.

VI. The Church of the Power of the Spirit
A. Really pastoral and practical, because he didn’t just want to talk about ideas all the time – the mission and act of the people of the faith in the world is VERY important to him = the mission of the church is what this is all about.
B. Hope is not other worldly, I talk about the future, because it’s the only time that makes the present make any sense
C. Giving bearings to the church…. I feel like we are grasping for what our bearings our, lost our sense of the way, lost our direction. I want to help provide some bearings for that course.
D. We have become a people who are too concerned with religious institutions (God, spirituality, Jesus, religion) and have stopped actually living life.
E. Wrote in the hopes that people would live the Christian life again!!! A messianic fellowship. We are the people who get together and actively wait for the coming of Jesus, for the future of God, for the coming of the new creation
F. Sunday: talk about and figure out ways to live out our future reality. And then do it!
G. Church = gathered people who anticipate and work toward coming kingdom 1) before God, 2) before others, 3) before the future…. What will the future say about the Christianity we follow? What will others say about the work we are doing? What will God think about how we are living our faith? (MISSION!!!)
H. God’s glory – the goal of the church = to glorify God. But the deal is, we glorify God by working towards God’s end goal: the redemption and liberation of all creation…. God doesn’t WANT to be glorified unless it’s by the redemption and liberation of all creation…. God doesn’t want to just be glorified for Glory’s sake.
1. Heaven and earth declare God’s glory.. when the shalom of the city is working, then the glory is there!
2. We’ve made God’s glory so far out of our cosmic realm that we don’t even know what we are talking about… but it is something that we practice and work at NOW
I. We tend to ask as theologians really dumb questions in ecclesiology – the more interesting question is WHERE is church? Our job as people of God is not to say what the church is, but to point to where the coming kingdom is. Then we aren’t about the business of protecting “the church” - so if something is happening that is a glimpse of the KOG – and it’s not in church – woo hoo!!!! Celebrate the presence of the church wherever we find it – liberates us to live in the world fully, instead of ghetto-ized Christians.
J. We don’t need to make absolute claims, or totalize belief, we just have to point to hope.

VII. Contributions to Theology Books:
A. Trinity of the Kingdom
1. theology of the social trinity… doesn’t care about the homo usia conversation or the subject conversation…
2. The New Testament talks aobut God by proclaiming in narrative the relationships of F/S/HS – relationships of fellowship open to the world. We know what the trinity is based on the narrative of the story. The story says this – so lets just read the story.
3. These relationship that we see are ones of fellowship – NOT hierarchy – that has been opened to the world.
4. Trinity in the Kingdom – because in this fellowship we are invited into the life of God in the world.
5. UNITY _ we are still monotheists! Ecumenical, pluralistic conversations
6. F/S are one – not one and the same.
7. not numerical unity, but same divine life/goal/love
8. not worried about tasks of the Trinity… in a relational sense, they don’t need work duties/job descriptions… but changing patterns. NOT STATIC
a. The spirit sends and is sent, the spirit is the one who sends Jesus into the world as the Kingdom Come.
b. Not a triangle – but a circle!!!
9. “relationship of F/S/HS is so wide that the whole creation can find space, time and freedom in it”
10. the way that we understand how God makes time space and freedom for all of us to exists and live and move and have our being.
11. perichoresis! =) round dance, mutual indwelling
a. each one always yields to the other in this dance, mutual submission.
12. Isaac Loreas? Zimsum = expanding and contracting, heartbeat of the world where the love of God are constantly expanding and contracting in this perichoretic dance and in this space we are invited and we experience life.
13. eternity breathes itself in between these relationship so as to breathe out the spirit of life.
14. ALWAYS connected to the kingdom. God isn’t just God apart from us – if that is so, in any case, we don’t know it.
15. Moltmann NEVER separates God from the world.

B. God in Creation
1. tension between immanence and transcendence
2. in creation there is a secret hiding of this tension, because God is present and indwelling – as those who have been created by this relational God, God is already present
3. in heaven – relative transcendence, on earth – relative immanence – there is a space between where we wait…. (future of hope!)
4. God is present now, and yet God is not fully present now. 1 Cor. – the promise to end all promises is that God will be all in all.
5. so now, there is this secret (God is dwelling in the world!) but not FULLY – insomuch as we see creation, we can say God is here, but in the future, God will be there even more so.
6. Panentheism – middle ground between Pantheism (God is everything) but also not so radically separate from creation that we cant’ access God here. God indwells in creation by the fact that God made it – we bear the image of the one who created us… all of the cosmos has this indelible image of God
7. World of nature bears the prints of the triune God, so we can access the idea of the day God will be God all in all.
8. $move – we got wrong the way we tell the creation story – God made these things… to get to the part where WE show up… the problem with that way of talking is that it assumes that WE are the crown of God’s creation, but we aren’t… Sabbath!!! IS =) God finished the creation, receded back into who God was and rested, rested as being God over and in creation. “the God who rests in the face of his creation does not dominate the world on this day, He feels the world, he allows himself to be affected, to be touched by each of his creatures”
9. The act of creation did in some sense change God. God could always create – but after having created, he’s different. (isn’t this the reality for parents?)
10. This is not an act of dominance – Sabbath is the eschatological place of HOPE – that reminds us why all of this creating happened. Something inherently eschatological about Sabbath… the day that we rest from our work of trying to make the kingdom come and we trust in the fact that the kingdom WILL come. 6 days we labor and we are the people of promise and on the 7th day we stop, lest we get too big for our britches and we worship God and say, we trust you are the God who will make this happen – that we trust you will make this happen.
11. the way that we recognize our relationship with the presence of God in creation. Not only do we rest in God, but on that day, God is also on the Sabbath resting in us.
12. Ecological issues in 1985 – not just about interpersonal power, but our relationship with the creation itself. Not here to gather information for dominance sake, but so that we can participate in the kingdom through the creation.
13. Jubilee – the Sabbath – when we divest ourselves of things in order to further the kingdom we show that we trust in it enough to be a part of it. The feast of redemption
14. first six days – yet not complete. Sabbath is the crowing moment (good, not complete) God is still creating after the first Sabbath
15. The Fall – he doesn’t think that any fall would take away the imprint of the Triune God that is on creation… no sense of our brokenness takes away the fact that God made us. the broken places are still held up in the life of God, and will not be left untended
16. possibility for Godforsakenness – pulls back so that there is a space for us
17. Time = the future of Christ is truly an unfinished future that is really a question mark – everything is up for debate. When we put our trust in Christ, we are trusting in the hope of the one who has always been faithful to God’s promises. Not because we know exactly what will happen, but because we trust in God.

C. The Way of Jesus Christ
1. really good Christology
2. but does Christology in a really open way… because Jesus is still on the way somewhere! All of our Christilogy has to be a theology on the move towards the coming future
3. life lived out in Christ, with Christ, out of expectation of Christ

D. The Spirit of Life (1991)
1. wholistic pnumatology – we normally put her in a tiny box. And add little tiny things we don’t understand there.
2. we feel embarrassed to talk about the Spirit.
3. The Spirit is not some thing off in some other corner, but every experience of life that is joyful is the presence of the spirit!
4. If you go out to dinner and had a good time – the spirit was there, it was life-giving =) all of life that is lived and experienced and enjoyed is done so because of God.
5. no need to separate “more” and “less” religious experiences. The spirit really did come and stay at Pentecost – no reason not to talk about the Spirit!!!
6. God is bound to creation in love = God created in love, so we are beloved. The problems start to happen when we turn away from being God’s beloved – we become miserable and aggressive and mean and angry and selfish and greedy. Because we forgot that we are beloved. “the whole misery of men and women comes from a love of God that has miscarried”
7. Spirit of Love births life to us – and all those places where that experience isn’t fully birthed is where the love of God has miscarried.
8. Full person of the Trinity – beckoning the future to come forth, showing us what it means to bring the future into the present, who makes the KOG to come in Jesus, Breath and Space…. Ruach and Ruah, (in German too!)
a. Breath calls creation into being, breathed out onto the world (valley of dry bones, creation, etc) but also Space (Ps 31) – a broad place, room to move, liberates us to live our lives with freedom – the creative passion for the possible. Downpayment for what is to come. Anytime we feel moved to do something really beautiful in the world – that’s because it’s what is coming – holds us over – keeps us in that hope – helps us protest in all the right ways.

E. Coming of God
1. homeless Shekinah – God is homeless here, so we celebrate God on the Sabbath, but this is not fully God’s home. At the coming of God, the Shekinah will become fully permanent here. When the temple was destroyed, the spirit is holding us together from Sunday to Sunday, but at the coming of God, the Shekinah will be homeless no longer
2. Four Horizons – for God’s glory, new creation, history of humans with the earth, resurrection and eternal life… we tend to do it backwards

F. Experiences in Theology
1. capped off the last books, discussed method of theology – theology is just experimenting in creativity. He just played in something that captivated his imagination.
2. through his theology, he has come into conversation with so many people that he wants to offer his thoughts – Mirror Theology (black theology for whites, feminist theology for men, etc…)

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