September 10, 2009

Moltmann, Session I, Day 2

We begin this morning talking with arguably the premiere theologian of our time: Jurgen Moltmann. The conversation this morning turns to a quick overall look at Moltmann's autobiography and theological method and after the coffee break Tony Jones and Danielle Shroyer will talk to JM about his theological method. Here are some rough notes from the conversation.

Session 1a:

A Story of a Life after Auschwitz: "Where is God?"
  • 1926 in Hamburg, secular family of teachers and schoolmasters
  • firestorms- a life surrounded by explosions, bombs, and death. - left with the burning question "where is God" and "why am i alive and not dead like the others" (is there any meaning to life)- "these questions followed me and tortured me for years."
  • As an imprisoned soldier, the soul became imprisoned.
  • blooming cherry tree- overwhelmed by blooming of life "still feel weakness in knees in remembrance of this and raised sparks of life in my heart."
  • Couldn't live with the guilt of his people as he saw pictures of camps.
  • Read Bible in camp and came upon Ps. of lament, esp. ps. 39 (or 79?). - found words to speak for his heart.
  • Lost interest in poems of Goethe and Schilling, but found himself in the Psalms b.c gave words to feelings of forsaken. Then read gosp. of Mark and read Christs "my god why have you forsaken me."
  • Felt close and understood by God forsaken Christ.
  • Christ found me in dark pit of my soul...and place behind barbed wire where we felt forsaken.
  • Felt presence of Jesus in life and felt like he was taking up...
  • "I was not seeking God if God was not already drawing me."
  • In 1946, special camp arranged by British YMCA, prison ministry, funded by american business man John ?...and he was accepted to camp.
  • 1st book- Niebuhr- nature and destiny of man
  • studied and learned heb then greek in prison camps.
  • wasn't sure of what the church was about, but had his first encounter in YMCA prison camp.
  • soul was healed from wounds of war
  • felt like Jacob after wrestling with "dark sides of God."
  • Meet Elizabeth while studying theology
  • 3 examinations in 2 weeks "doctoral, school, and wedding"
  • after Barth there could be no theology, b/c he has said everything.
  • pastor of rural congregation of about 300 people and 3000 cows. reformed congregation.
  • felt like a fool with his phd with the farmers and tried to preach life experience and not give lectures to them. b/c when he lectured to them they rolled their eyes. pastored for 5 yrs.
  • changed to seminary in wuppertal and felt impoverished b/c with the church he lived in the problems of life, but as a professor only saw the good educated students and in distance a distance.
  • saw black ghettos and huts of sharecroppers deep in woods and burned crosses of KKK in front in front of churches, and his "American dream was a little bit disappointed"
  • he liked America on the surface, but saw the misery of it too
  • American dreamed was almost lost at MLK's shooting, but was saved at Durham when 400 men and women of all colors sat in rain and shine for mourning. then they sang "we shall overcome"
  • first liked America, then disappointed, then i began to love america
  • Faust and Goethe: 20th century humanism summation: do good, love beauty, follow your instinct for life...humanism of free will and reason, good emotions.
  • there were no words in humanism to describe to pain of what I faced during the war with death and shame, but found it in lament psalm and cry of christ
  • do you to continue to draw on parish ministry for theology: "yes, what would the people think about it and make of it.
  • must listen to the people's questions and answers, and the people should not be shy and get away from prof theology but take responsibility for the education of theologians.
  • to most of things in life came by chance, so things in latin america, came by chance.
  • very moving story in '89: six jesuit bro's killed, in jesuit univ. in san salvador along with house keepers as an act of terrorism.
  • many liberation theologians were angry with him when he criticized the marxist lectures of liberation theology. "but where was karl marx born, here (latin amer.) or in godham, ga.)
  • jim cone stood up and went through the rows of liberation theologians and said "you are all whites and to my knowledge there are more blacks in ...were are tehy blacks in lib. theology
  • then dorethee soelle stood up and went through the rows: "to my knowledge, more than half of theologians are female, but there are no women lib. theogians."
  • Tones fav moltmann work: preface to "Trinity and kingdom of God" b/c it's about a change or transition and move toward contributions to systematic theology. realized who he was as a theologians and what he is not.
  • started with Theo of Hope...resurrection; then toward perichoritsm to Theo of Cross; social doctrine of trinity bc since auagustine we have had psychological account of trinity: god has two images, father and son (two subjects) and hs comes out of that. there is no need for the HS if he is relation between two subjects. HS is no subject.
  • there are icons of two subjects and an animals, the dove.
  • EO: icons- 3 angels sitting around table.
  • So EO has complete doctrine of Trin. where we have a shattered doctrine.
  • So best idea is social doctrine...perichorises: Son, Spirit, Father indwell in one another and they interpenetrate.
  • From that, concludes that the congregation is a good image of Trinity, that they all maybe one. Prayer in John: "I am in you, so they may be in me"
  • Leo Boff tells story: communities in Brazil come together in one place, sign "holy trinity is best ...of trinity"
  • simple terms "doctrine of trinity, is not part of mystery, very simple, if you come into notion of Jesus, you come into fellowship of God who he called Father; and in fellowship with Jesus, surrounded by God, you feel life giving energies of Spirit." Christian phase has a triadic state already, so we already live in God, surrounded by God.
  • We don't believe in the trinity, we live in the Trinity. We live in God. There's an indwelling of trinity in us, as there is an indwelling in God.
  • Shroyer- unity with Trinity as three in one. as pastor that helps b/c they're not doctrine based church and there's a lot of beliefs. unity comes not from doctrine, but from Christ who is above that. Talk about gift of unity of trinity that doesn't have to be sameness.
  • Jesus addressed his God as abba, the father. Paul heard this prayer in Galatia and Rome. But this prayer disappeared in 1st century and replaced by "our father in heaven." far distance. misunderstanding of patriarchalism, father in family is distanced.
  • re-introduced the Abba, prayer..we'll feel nearness of JC.
  • not just 3 persons, but 3 rooms: they give for the two others to dwell in one another. to give room to each other means what we are doing, when we accept others in loving friendship, we give them life space.
  • benediction: read Ps. 39.


Anyul Rivas said...

Great!! thank you so much for extending this invaluable information to those of us interested but unable to phisically participate.

Greetings from Venezuela

Ellen Haroutunian said...

I agree - thank you! Great stuff.

hal low said...

i recently graduated from drew seminary.
Herr Moltmann, more then any other theologian, has had the greatest impact on my theological vision.
i think my biggest wish would be to take a class with him, or at least have lunch or tea with Herr Moltmann.

Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.