September 28, 2009

Torturing Reality

Since switching over to Netflix from Blockbuster I've only received one movie through the mail, a movie every American should watch: Taxi to the Dark Side. My first reactions were the feeling of being crushed, angered, and a desire to change change the status quo for politics. Often I get so frustrated with my fellow compatriots and myself for our short memory. With a new president to distract us, all the talk about torture and these secret war prisons have in the least subsided to a whisper.

Torture is disgusting in every form and should be regarded as an enemy of humanity, an unnecessary evil. It transforms our imaginations as US citizens (35% of the population sanctioned torture AFTER seeing pic's from Gitmo).

Politics has become a matter of using and manipulating language to create a reality so that people remain ignorant about reality. As I've mentioned before, I believe the most patriotic act a person can do in this climate of phobia and manipulated reality is to call awareness and repentance to our country's ills and brokenness. Torture is a crime against all of humanity, even the perpetrators.

Something I've been wrestling with since I've began to understand Political theology and Slavoj Zizek is the pressing question, how do you bring about a new political order within the old politic? As the documentary I just watched points to, the Cheney/Bush administration seems to have done this in eight years to an extent. Under this administration the US defied the Geneva Convention and the USA Constitution by (re)defining the terms and at other times propping security and safety over against "the self-evident truth that all men are created equal."

So is this the best way to bring in a new political order? Having a powerful administration that manipulates the people through false records and ambiguous language?

I would hope that this isn't the only answer. It could be the real solution is found in the cross, in the broken body of Christ that recreates humans in the image of a given and estranged God, uniting the isolated and creating a body given to all. The church is a political body by its very existence, thus it must be first faithful to its calling to serve and suffer, while bending reality toward God's love and justice.

Pirates, Orthodox Heretics, & the Betrayal of Betrayal

Probably the most interesting conversation on the emerging church/theology blogosphere right now: Pirates, Orthodox Heretics, and the Betrayal of Betrayal (thanks Kester for rounding up all the links).

September 24, 2009

Moltmann & Homosexuality: A Bit Disappointing & Not in that Way

From everything I've read, I don't think Moltmann explicitly addresses homoseuality. I've had lots of theoretical conversations and hypothesis on what he "might" say about it, even at the Emergent Conversation over lunch. Over at the Moltmann Yahoo group, there was a discussion on what Moltmann would say about it, but since it was merely speculative it shows that he doesn't talk about it in his works clearly or directly.

So when at the Emergent Moltmann Conversation when Tony Jones put the questin to him, I was excited. Yet, I found his answer rather disappointing. Moltmann answered, "The church in Germany doesn't struggle with the problem (referring to the schismatic nature of ordaining homosexuals or blessing partnerships in the USA), because we are about the Gospel and not about sex. We believe in justification by God's work, not human work."

Some other things he said that I thought were provoking were that gay or straight can be ordained to ministry. Also, he wouldn't say (and this is what I thought most interesting) that a gay partnership is equal to marriage between a man and woman, since "marriage is to further children." Yet he would have no problems blessing such a partnership, "why not bless a partnership? Homosexuality is neither a sin or a crime, like near-sightedness is neither a sin or crime. I don't understand the schism or heat of the debate."

For such a deeper thinker, I was somewhat surprised how surface level and simplistic his answer was even though it was simply a conversational format. Yet, to say that Germany is worried about the Gospel and the church in the USA is not is overly simplistic and not a valid depiction of cultural realities. Germany carried(ies) a national guilt so intense that Moltmann himself says many of his comrades in POW camps didn't survive the shame. It makes sense that Since WWII, Germany would be intentional, even overly intentional to be very inclusive and not prejudice. America doesn't have this cultural history, but a very different story. So, I felt like this statement was simply unfair and unrealistic.

Also, he's okay with ordaining gay ministers and blessing partnerships, but he never called the partnerships marriages and actually compared homosexuality to a physical defect. Obviously he sees homosexuality as being less than a healthy (read: normal) human. Will the resurrection, the New Creation where all physical defects will be healed have homosexuals? Why not if this is truly who they are? Is homosexuality simply a distortion of the created order? Is homosexuality an illness, sickness, or defect that should be "fixed" by genetics manipulation if possible? This is where I find his words to lead.

Furthermore, since marriage is intended to further children and for that reason homosexual partnership is less valuable or "not equal," does that make a marriage between a man and woman with no children less than equal to a marriage with children?

Is marriage simply about furthering children, or is this a proof text from Israel's creation story that is irresponsible in a world of almost 7 billion people?

Overall, I was excited to hear Moltmann's thoughts about this issue that has become so divisive in the USA and across the world in many denominations, but I left disappointed and unchallenged. What do you think about Moltmann's assessment and thoughts?

September 19, 2009

How about something funny

80's video dating montage...or "yay for self (lack of) awareness"

September 18, 2009

I'm Twittering, or Tweeting, or whatever's hip

So I haven't necessarily "given" in to twitter as if I was actively trying to stay away from it, but it has been on my mind for some time now. Of course Lucas introduced me to it and has had an account for some time, so I didn't want to follow suit too soon. But at the Emerging/Moltmann Conference twitter was really integrated into the conversation, so I decided to create an account.

So follow me, if you dare... @joebumbulis

Constantine's Christianity & POW's

For my second reflection I want to mix two things Moltmann said. One of them is his beautiful story as a POW as a youth, overwhelmed with grief and shame, and the grace he received at the hands the British.

The second is a quote in reference to the cross, where Moltmann said that there are two crosses in Christianity, the cross of Golgotha and the cross of Constantine's dream. One is about resisting the polity of society for the horizon of hope. The other is based upon a sword, power, and is what we call Christendom.

While I agree that the usurpation of the cross and Christianity by the Romans was a tragedy and since then we have had a very imperial form of Christianity in the West, I think Moltmann's story itself reveals the tragedy and irony between these two crosses. First, we must approach Moltmann's story.

Understanding Moltmann really helps to understand his theology, because instead of a system he is creating reflections and contributions based on his life journey and conversation with those he encounters along the way. Moltmann's theology didn't in his home where he was born into a secularist family reading Goethe and Nietzsche. At 16, Moltmann unwittingly joined the Hitler Youth Movement and went to war, the front lines I believe at age 17.

Moltmann never once fired a shot, but when the opportunity came he surrendered himself to the Ally forces. His life in Germany was surrounded by firestorms, bombings, and death. The question for him became not so much "Where is God," but "Why am I still alive and not dead like the others." Or, "is there any meaning to life?"

As a prisoner in war camps in the UK, Moltmann found that no only was his body, but his very soul was imprisoned. Like I said before, Moltmann had no idea what was happening pertaining to the concentration camps. In prison, pictures were posted in their stalls so as to realize what was happening in Germany under Hitler. Moltmann says his life was almost suffocated with the guilt of his people and nation. Many Germans in POW camps didn't recover hope or the will to live after learning about such shameful acts under Nazi Germany.

There are a mixture of two events that recovered Moltmann's will to life. The first was a blooming cherry blossom tree where he was overwhelmed for the "blooming of life." This gave him some hope for new life. But in the camp, his old affection for Goethe and Schilling waned as he didn't find words for his experience. Rather, his captures treated him with grace. One day a young minister gave him a Bible where he began to read it and found the words for his experience in the Psalms of Lament (esp. Ps. 39) and the words of Christ in Mark, "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"

The crucified and forsaken Christ resonated with Moltmann. "Christ found me in the dark pit of my soul," forsaken behind the barbed wire of the camp. Moltmann was later given more grace upon grace by his captors, being transferred to a YMCA camp, trained in Greek and Hebrew while a prisoner, and read his first theological book: the Nature and Destiny of Man by Niebuhr.

So here's the amazing part of this entire story. 10 years after the war, Moltmann and some others returned to their place of imprisonment to the astonishment of the British. Who goes back to their place of imprisonment, especially during a time of war? For Moltmann and many others, they received so much grace at the hand of their captures, that grace was their salvation. They returned because of the amazing gift of grace they received while imprisoned.

Of course in reference to this gift of grace at the hands of the British soldiers..."the enemy, Moltmann quipped prompted by a question that he cannot understand the atrocities of the US prison camps like Abu Grahb, etc. "It's more convincing to love your enemy than to hate and kill your enemy. so what happened in the prisons in Iraq is outrageous and I cannot understand an administration that allows that to happen. To give grace is wiser policy than so called enemies."

Now, if you are still following me, here's the point I wanted to make: the irony of Christendom is that grace and God worked and work within it. It has become normative to run from, critique, and vehemently oppose anything attached to Christianity under Christendom. The "holy era" was the first 3 centuries of Christianity, the rest has some bright spots but for the most part is covered in blood and a church co-opted for imperialism.

In no way do I want to defend the Christendom church, but I do think it's important to embrace the ironies here. It was under Christendom Christianity that Nazi Germany and concentration camps happened, but it was also under this same Christianity that British soldiers treated their enemies with so much grace that is was salvation for them, so much so that one of the greatest theologians of our time was born out of their gift. There is no broad and simple divide between Christendom= bad; everything Christian= good. The two bleed into one another and it is not fair to only treat Christian history in light of the imperialism, sword, and death.

Moltmann was saved under the shadow of the cross of Constantine's dream, or was that simply the cross of Golgotha breaking through the dream? What do you think? Is it realistic to bifurcate the cross, imperial Christianity and suffering Christianity? Do they mix like water and oil, or more like milk and chocolate?

September 17, 2009

Closing the book on the Bush Legacy

"Thursday's annual Census Bureau report on income, poverty and access to health care-the Bureau's principal report card on the well-being of average Americans-closes the books on the economic record of George W. Bush.

It's not a record many Republicans are likely to point to with pride.

On every major measurement, the Census Bureau report shows that the country lost ground during Bush's two terms. While Bush was in office, the median household income declined, poverty increased, childhood poverty increased even more, and the number of Americans without health insurance spiked. By contrast, the country's condition improved on each of those measures during Bill Clinton's two terms, often substantially."


September 16, 2009

Science...based on faith

Dan Brown, author of the Da Vince Code thinks so,

Are you religious?
I was raised Episcopalian, and I was very religious as a kid. Then, in eighth or ninth grade, I studied astronomy, cosmology, and the origins of the universe. I remember saying to a minister, "I don't get it. I read a book that said there was an explosion known as the Big Bang, but here it says God created heaven and Earth and the animals in seven days. Which is right?" Unfortunately, the response I got was, "Nice boys don't ask that question." A light went off, and I said, "The Bible doesn't make sense. Science makes much more sense to me." And I just gravitated away from religion.

Where are you now?
The irony is that I've really come full circle. The more science I studied, the more I saw that physics becomes metaphysics and numbers become imaginary numbers. The farther you go into science, the mushier the ground gets. You start to say, "Oh, there is an order and a spiritual aspect to science."
via the Parade interview.

I don't believe Science does what it presupposes it does. I believe as much as religion is a value system, science too is a value system and not merely as objective as it claims. Yet, I don't believe the world is 3000 or 4000 thousand years old, nor that it was created in 6 days. I'm neither against science (creationists) nor for science (Dawkins, Harris, etc). Science has a role, yet it is reductionistic and faults when it doesn't admit that it is by nature limiting and reductionistic.

Top 10 Reasons Men Shouldn't be Ordained

I love this.

10. A man’s place is in the army.

9. For men who have children, their duties might distract them from the responsibilities of being a parent.

8. Their physical build indicates that men are more suited to tasks such as chopping down trees and wrestling mountain lions. It would be “unnatural” for them to do other forms of work.

7. Man was created before woman. It is therefore obvious that man was a prototype. Thus, they represent an experiment, rather than the crowning achievement of creation.

6. Men are too emotional to be priests or pastors. This is easily demonstrated by their conduct at football games and watching basketball tournaments.

5. Some men are handsome; they will distract women worshipers.

4. To be ordained pastor is to nurture the congregation. But this is not a traditional male role. Rather, throughout history, women have been considered to be not only more skilled than men at nurturing, but also more frequently attracted to it. This makes them the obvious choice for ordination.

3. Men are overly prone to violence. No really manly man wants to settle disputes by any means other than by fighting about it. Thus, they would be poor role models, as well as being dangerously unstable in positions of leadership.

2. Men can still be involved in church activities, even without being ordained. They can sweep paths, repair the church roof, change the oil in the church vans, and maybe even lead the singing on Father’s Day. By confining themselves to such traditional male roles, they can still be vitally important in the life of the Church.

1. In the New Testament account, the person who betrayed Jesus was a man. Thus, his lack of faith and ensuing punishment stands as a symbol of the subordinated position that all men should take.

September 14, 2009

Whose Right(s)?

I'm offering some reflections on the Moltmann conversation an Emergent gathering held by JoPa. Moltmann in many ways has given me hope and grace for the journey, especially when I was in need of reconstructing my faith in seminary. I've several of his works and often return to his books for centering.

My first reflection comes from a mixture of statements from Moltmann:

In a "lightning round" Moltmann had to sum up a person in one sentence, ie "John Paul II"..."Good Pope."

In reference to Derrida, Moltmann only stopped after one paragraph saying, "Postmodernism is another form of modernity. Universal dangers exist toward humaity that we must meet united; so we cannot split up and everyone go in relative direction. whether we live in big or small narratives we all live under the threat of atomic bombs, ecolocial crisis; so extinciton of all is a possibility for all. So I don't see why we have to up universal questions or problems."

Also, in reference to the question of universal human rights, whether they exist or are unicorns; Moltmann answered in the affirmative. They are true, "this is good, for the growing world community based in human rights- or there will be no world community at all."

One of the things I truly appreciate about Moltmann's theology is that it is grounded in reality. His focus is less about the ontological reality of inalienable rights, but rather the need for justice and human dignity. Moltmann does not want people in any cirucmstance to suffer under the hands of dictators (his story is good cause...serving ignorantly under Hitler's Youth).

But, I am not sold on the modern idea of universal human rights, nor their ability to bring justice to peoples, nations, or even individuals. Instead of give my arguments, I thought I'd start with this issue because a good debate is already taking place online. Ben Myers argues against them here, Cynthia R. Nielsen responds, before Ben answers.

So, while I immensely respect Moltmann's theology and understanding of the world, it seems he is still conditioned to to embrace very modern ideals that simply don't exist and can't prove what they contend to prove: that apart from community humans have innate rights. I'm not sure I'm ready to locate universal realities outside of human reality, for then can be used as imperial weapons.

Some more blogs with reflections from the Moltmann Convo: TheSuburbanPastor and TwoEmptyHands. And Julie Clawson has her second reflection up.

Powerful, Pointed reflection on 9/11

As today, is September 11th, I thought I would engage in a bit of remembering — it is, after all, important to recall moments of our history, for this is the story in which we live.

On this day in 1973, Augusto Pinochet’s American-backed coup overthrew the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende. This resulted in seventeen years of torture, terror, and disappearances in Chile, and (according to people like Milton Friedman, who saw Chile as a textbook example of the type of world he wished to create) set a precedent for the way in which the United States acted in Latin America (particularly in the ’70s and ’80s… although they are at it again, as Obama’s government backed the Honduran coup which overthrew the democratically elected government of Manuel Zelaya in June of this year).

Sponsoring terror, imposing military rule, depriving local populations of their rights, their food, their land, their livelihood, their health, their children and their lives… this is the way that the US continues to engage with the world at large. It is enough to make some people want to fly planes into buildings. Which, not altogether surprisingly, is what happened on another September 11th.

from Dan at powerorprophet.

September 13, 2009

Listening to the Victims in a Recession's Racial Dvide

One of the greatest perversities growing out of our recent economic collapse and recession has been this ever growing sense of reverse racism. This idea that blacks voted Obama into office as some sort of savior, to rid the USA of white power and replace it with black power, and open the gates to illegal immigrants by providing them a free ride on the backs of white business and money. One naturally thinks of the republican congressman Joe Wilson's outburst last Thursday during Obama's health care reform speech when Obama stated that no illegal immigrants would be provided coverage under the bills in question.

Well, since this recession that inevitably happened under a black president, many Americans who have held power in this country ever since their distant family stripped (read: raped) the natives of it have felt threatened. What's at stake for white culture is the false dream and comfort of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness" given to them (us) by powerful corporations with little to no disregard for human life. Wealth built off the backs of others, just like the olden days...but exported of course.

In a NYTimes op-ed piece writers Barbara Ehrenreich and Dedrick Muhammad named The Recession's Racial Divide, illuminate the reality behind the fear that the black community has won a "dictator and, in one image circulated among the anti-tax, anti-health reform “tea parties,” he is depicted as a befeathered African witch doctor with little tusks coming out of his nostrils. When you’re going down, as the white middle class has been doing for several years now, it’s all too easy to imagine that it’s because someone else is climbing up over your back."

At the Moltmann/Emergent conversation I just came back from one of the quotes that has stuck with me was something like, "those guilty of oppression, but want to enter into the truth of life must listen to their victims, because they can tell you who you truly are."

Never mind the fact the loan offices were encouraged by certain lending institutions to persuade black preachers to hold wealth seminars by providing a small donation to churches who did so, never mind that these same employees often referred to subprime loans as "ghetto loans" and minority customers as "mud people." We could talk about how it was the white culture that sold the black culture a false bill of goods, or that black unemployment is 8.2% higher than white unemployment.

Instead hear the words of the oppressed who have fallen on inexcusably hard time:

“There is no middle class anymore,” ... “just a top and a bottom.”

It’s not easy to get people to talk about their subprime experiences. There’s the humiliation of having been “played” by distant, mysterious forces. “I don’t feel very good about myself,” says the teacher in “American Casino.” “I kind of feel like a failure.”

The conclusion is poignant yet lacking:

So despite the right-wing perception of black power grabs, this recession is on track to leave blacks even more economically disadvantaged than they were. Does a black president who is inclined toward bipartisanship dare address this destruction of the black middle class? Probably not. But if Americans of all races don’t get some economic relief soon, the pain will only increase and with it, perversely, the unfounded sense of white racial grievance.
Is all this article is is a call for economic relief? While this is an important and worthwhile conversation what we need is call away from fear politics and a culture obsessed with power, driven by bigotry, and that has no place for real, constructive dialogue. What we need is to confront this unfounded sense of racial grievance and quit scapegoating Obama, the poor, and the "other."

What we very well need is a call to the cross, to suffer and give up our American dreams of power and wealth for American dreams of a society of care and responsibility for one another, a society of real democracy and pluralism, and society founded in the reality that "truth is found in unhindered dialogue (Moltmann)."

September 12, 2009

Until Reflection Come

In the following days I'll be posting some reflections up of the Moltmann/Emergent Conversation. I hope the live blog notes are helpful. I'm somewhat familiar with Moltmann having read 8 of his works and returning very often to them to reorient myself in the "Spirit of Life." My hope with the notes was to help those who couldn't physically be at the Conversation and to give those who were there something to refer back to and read or check their notes against.

I'd love dialogue on any of these ideas that you don't quite "get" or may need clarification as questions and my modest attempt to answer them tend to push me to reflect and think more clearly about theology and Moltmann.

I really enjoyed getting to meet some really good folks who are willing to ask hard questions and engage ministry, church, and culture in new ways. I also was able to connect with some great people who I've followed on the blogosphere like (in no particular order, but you should check out as they post Moltmann stuff too):

Frank Emannuel
Bob Cornwall
Tim Snyder
Danielle Shroyer
Ann Pittmann (who I already knew, but blogged it too)
Tripp Fuller
JP Bohanan
Eliacin Rosario-Cruz
Tony Jones
I know I've missed a few, sorry.

I also created a Twitter because as you'll see so much of this conference was routed through twitter. Check out this link for post, comments, and even audio snippets.

So until further reflection, I've attached a few pic's from my time in Chi-town and from the conference.
Me explaining what BFF meant as Dr. Moltmann signed my book, bff:

Historic Wrigley Field

I loved the intimate feel of the park (not to mention the hot dogs).

Second City Comedy Club, hilarious.

Billy Goat Tavern, infamous.
Navy Pier.

Sears (Willis) Tower...108 Stories tall, tallest building in Western Hemisphere, second tallest in the world and first tallest structure in the world.

Chicago is a prospect city for 2012 Olympics.

View on the 103 floor of the Sears Tower.

Me standing on the clear bottom, sides, top viewing deck.

September 11, 2009

Moltmann, Session II, Day 3

Tony Jones on Moltmann:

Disability, Homosexuality, & Church in Mission (or the church only in mission)
  • from Diane, a disabled person who found language to see herself as God does in crucfed does a person with disabilities- how do they have accsss to the church in power of HS?
  • JM- a disability concerned him, b/c older bro had severe disability. I think the church must be, consistent of disabled, not abled person. congregation w/o disabled persons is a disabled congregation.
  • TJ- rational beings as humans- imago dei, but there are humans w/o ability to reason. we wouldn't say they are not created in image of God. how does disability of reason effect idea of imago dei
  • JM- imago dei- not of qualification of human, but of relationships of God toward human, which human is image, resonance of God. relationships of God to every human being, this cannot be destroyed by disability nor by sin.
  • simile tuo?- response to God, our relationship to God. life, faith, and responsibility and conformity of our life to will of god. first relationship in regard to humans, is in every human being be a Xn or muslim or atheist, every single person without qualification. so you m ust respect God in every person we meet. the second, the simile...our relationship to god, God crated all man equal, we must respect image of God in every person.
  • TJ- you bring up Constitution, who are influenced by John Locke- theory of inalienable human rights. some theo and philo (macintyre, haeurwas, etc say they are unicorns)- they say these are made up. no inalienable rights. we determine the rights, but there is no such thing as transcendence universal inalienable right. what do you think about universal rights?
  • JM- praise doc of independence for saying this. 1978- wrote doc- God's rights and Human rights. adopted by denom bodies.
  • Unfortunately, dictatorial gov't denied citizens human rights according to the same line of thought. But every person has inalienable rights. you can commit crimes against humanity. there is an implementation of human rights united nations. US didn't sign the doc for int'l trials according to human rights.
  • this is good, for the growing world community based in human rights- or there will be no world community at all.
  • So, it is true.
  • TJ- Rowan Williams- proposed b/c of growing proportion of Muslims in GB, there should be pluralization of law to reflect the Shari'a law.
  • JM- This was not good for Muslim women, who said, do we not have rights like veryone else? I do not understand Williams on this point, or the maybe the British system.
  • You cannot relative th rights of everyone, b/c no one can be brought to court. This is an impossibility.
  • TJ- you've referred to God as he and HS as she in our conversation. coming up with pronouns appropriately intimate and personal for god, but don't anthropomorphize god with gender identity, is difficult for describing god in finite language
  • JM- god it not he, she, or it. god is god. we should not use god's divinity to justify a gender role, etc.
  • image can be described as Trinity is neither Father, Son, or HS: but a community. this can be reflected in human community. need united community.
  • TJ- filioque clause - lead to monarchical theism or trinity. rely on eastern theology.
  • Great schism brought filioque clause
  • JM- practical side- 1985- conf. in Rome. on Holy Spirit. john Pope II, read and when came to Nicene creed, read it in Greek where there is no filioque.
  • TJ- you've really made strong point of how esoteric theology has consequences for our idea of Father, Son, SPirit can serve for King ad surfs, master slave, etc. Maybe monarchial theism is supported to hold onto authority. So the filioque leads to subordination of Spirit, thus the surfs, humans, oppressed.
  • JM_ criticism of Barth- in trinity there is community of commanding father and obedient Son. So heaven is above, earth below. soul above, body below. man above, woman below.
  • SEX!
  • TJ- Paul, Augustine, all talked about sex. Sexuality is a schismatic topic and many have withdrawn from denom fights, b/c of schismatic nature. May have been filioque 1000 yrs ago, btu now it is who can be ordained
  • JM- first let me say...this is no problem in germany. no struggle about homosexuality
  • Tj why?
  • JM
  • because church in germany is about gospel not about sex.
  • we believe in justification not by human work, but by God's work.
  • homosexual, heterosexual, whoever believes in faith alone is saved and certainly abled to be ordained in community.
  • would not say that a gay partnership is equal, for a marriage between man and owmen is to further children,
  • but have no problems blessing such a partnership.
    why not bless a partnership.
  • homosexuality is neither a sin or crime, like near-sightedness is neither a sin or crime.
  • don't understand schism or heat of debate.
  • Questions:
  • TJ- eschatology and what happens after this existence. - in face of many deaths, am i right to trust community in future...jesus' saying that there will be no marriage in that experience of life.
  • JM-I don't want to get into this dispute with Jesus.
  • But i trust that those who died are not dead, they are with us, watching over us and we live in their presence and can feel occasionally their presence. according to Calvin, they are growing until they reach the destiny for which they were created. if life was cut short, God will bring what he had begun to its intended end. death cannot end God to do this, but God cannot be overcome by death. He will bring life to fruition.
  • Barth was once asked by woman- do you think we'll see beloved again. and Barth answered yes, and the others too.
  • Fuzz goes on stage.
  • TJ- church is agent of God's mission world.
  • What is the church?
  • JM- there are many perspectives on it. For a long time we've said its a body of risen Christ, after vatican II, catholics spoke of people OF god. if you say this, you must also say that God has 2 parts of his people: Israel and the church.
  • and the mission agency is not only through the church of hte people's but also Israel. so we must take care of both sides, not only looking after poor and sick, but also the Jews, elected people of God.
  • Understanding of mission of church-
  • nowadays we have dialogue everywhere but this is not good, for it has no goal. if dialogue is to convert, there is an end, a goal and you can dialogue. it is good to know other religion communities. dialogue need common ground. so we have special relatipnship- partner in mission.
  • Fuzz- church consultant, collects stories and spreading rumors of hope. indebted to Moltmann. you say in books, not so much question of what is teh church, but where is the church. where have you seen, the where is now that we havent traditionally seen in the orthodoxy of the past?
  • JM_ one hand, mission of risen Christ. who is in me, i am in him... other hand, the inviting voice of Christ. whoever visits them visits me. they- the hungry, poor, ochlos, etc in the world.
  • invitation of Christ on the outside. church must be present in special places and special way.
  • Fuzz- changing forms of inside outside, new communities ..not geographical..etc. what is future of congregation
  • JM- believe in face to face community. cyberspace may be nice for communication, but a cyber church is a church w.o the Eucharist.
  • in this new media, you can see and listen, but you cannot feel, taste, smell. only two of sense are engaged, other senses are diminished and no longer developed. make test in school, where children already have iphones, etc. let them close eyes and feel, tehy can't differentiate between wood and plastic- b/c no education of emotion, feelings.
  • baby develops first with feeling senses, then get misdeveloped with emphasis on seeing and hearing.
  • belive strongly in face to face communities, see each other, talk, eat, drink togehter and be a community of FULL senses.
  • TJ- Eucharist- seems we call it so many names. RO proposes church should live by Eucharistic rationality, center point. Zwingilian experience moves toward communion like agape meal, less sacramental, but communal gathering and foretaste of coming kingdom. you used Eucharist, do you see role of communion in church?
  • JM- hot point or most difficult ecumenical point. believes very strongly, that we dont celebrate in Lord's table in our theories. we may have different theories in the way he is present. but let's celebrate his presence first. so after the eating and drinking at lord's table, thhhen we talk about different theories. dont start with theories, or will nover come to the table. we will have an empty stomach. go to any invitation we hear the inviting words of X. I dont care where I'm at, I take it.
  • Jesus invites all those who are weary, not just Catholics or presbys, but all.
  • Fuzz- thinking eschatology- to spend eternity together, we should now each other now. SO
  • JM- transubstantiation- evil theory. we believe as Lutherans or reformed as real presence of Christ, whether is transformed, etc. what is important is that we believe in presence of Christ in both forms: bread and wine. and we reject Catholic tradition of wine for priest and bread for people.
  • Fuzz- go back to understanding of church. cyber reality is one form. but more and more as churches are more missional, the focus is in community not gathering. church attendance is less frequent in west. partly so busy, stress of time as commodity, so spending time with neighbor is more important than gathering together of worship.
  • JM- this may be true of those who have a job, but not for the unemployed. those with a job, this is a question of priority. question of whether they should go to vacation, etc or more important to be part of congregation. they have no question of priorities.
  • Fuzz- is church only church when gathered or scattered
  • JM- both sides. we gather them together and send them into teh world.
  • Fuzz- is there a weekly breathing, gathering and sending
  • JM- tradition of OT and NT-work day and divine day is good ecology. sabbath is good ecology, we move in and out of it.
  • JM- writing in ethics for concept of justice and righteousness according to biblical ideas.
  • TJ- who should we be reading?
  • what are you reading
  • JM- the BIBLE. depends on your eyes: curiosity to find new things in old book, you'll find it. but traditional understanding it may be boring. full of dangerous memories.
  • read: Volf, Phillip Clayton, tony jones, john cobb,
  • many good people coming up, so we can step down and have rest.
Afterward, they opened the floor for the crowd to reveal their gratefulness to Moltman. Several people were given the opportunity to say thank you for your work, life, thought, etc.
I was able to to stand up and give thanks to Moltmann for giving me the words in seminary to be able to keep my faith.

Thoughts to follow up later.

Moltmann, Session I, Day 3

Tony Jones & Jurgen Moltmann: mano y mano
  • TJ begins with a bill board- "Unless you confess, you won't be blessed." TJ uncomfortable with this idea, b/c it seems God is a non-contigent being. whether or not god forgives me, god isnt sitting around waiting to forgive me.
  • JM responds- "you cannot make conditions to god, for this makes god an object, an idol. God will bless whoever he will bless whether we confess or not. initiative is God's. Once God forgives you, then you feel free to cnfess.
  • God is god not a bargain partner for a human and your religion. This is completely heathen.
  • Religions based on the idea of doing to receive blessing- but this isnt Xn at all, this is denial of godhead of god. i'm oppsing completely with this bargaining of destiny with God. this is pure capitalism!!!
  • TJ- "if go's activity is non contingent, yet JC teaching on prayer is almost unequivocally that if you're persistent, God'' give you what you want. keep bothering god and you'll get what you want.
  • JM- These aren't the only saying about prayer. When you pray, God already knows what you need. hearing of God precedes your prayer.
  • TJ- what does that mean for God's relationship to time as we experience it. can we pray for something that has already happened in past, since ogd is lord of time.
  • JM- "what do you want to pray for?" ....there is a long tradition of prayer for the dead. Luther said pray 3 or 4 times for the dead, then head over to god, b/c they are included in prayer of X. "I think i'm praying for ht dead. b.c the dead are not dead. they died, but we cannot say they are dead not. they are sleeping until day of resurrection. they are watching and with us in own way. truth of ancestor cult in asia, dead are not dead in modern sense. not annihilate, but present. Rom 13, X is lord of living and dead.
  • TJ- Zimzum, borrowed from kabbalah Judaism- propr to creation, all there was was God. in order to create something, God withdrew self to make space, a self limiting, to make space for a relation for object to have relationship with. two ?'s: how does that lead or what relationship relate to panentheism. Is part of god's self limitation, god volunatirily bound himself to time.
  • JM- I'm not first one to take up idea of Kabbalistic thinking. It can in 300 yrs.
  • points- Before god created world, he decided to become creator. inside, not outside action...decide to become creator. contracted himself from all other possibilities to this one, to be creator of world
  • 2nd- created world in time and space, so before he created heaven and earth there must be room and place for heaven and earth to be placed. this is place of creation, due to contraction of God.
  • This is why there is freedom for all beings, there is room. example of a child, you must first take care of all things for them. then you must give space for them to develop themselves. this is very creative to retreat into yourself and let another being be. other side of creation. not just acts, but to let another being flourish is creative.
  • Zimzum- father son and HS are kenotic beings. they give and receive one another. they are a being of self giving: zimzum before zimzum? this is true essence of being. Kenosis is not just actin go fGod, but inward state of god giving self in inner trinitarian love.
  • TJ- in nature if god is timeless, but part of limitation, in this period of creation god has bound himself to time. is he experiencing time?
  • JM- yes, or he cannot he called living God. God has living relationships iwth abe, etc, Jesus, etc...these are all living relationship otherwise you have a dead God.
  • TJ- is this too hegelian, God is ismply unfolding of history? but you talk abotu cruc and res as an event in god and god as subject having relationship with reation, which is very diff from hegel.
  • JM- easy to accuse german theo hegelian. b/c all are lutheran and related to hegel
  • Hegel didnt have understanding of trinity, ut of history as autobio of god. this is not good theology. developed dialectical understanding of world history as history of god, out of self consciousness of divine subject. this has nothign to do with Jesus, father, adn HS. anotehr system. different from pannenburg on that point. Hegel had not eschatology.
  • Is this panentheistic- this terrible term brought into hegelian. means- everything, pan, is in God. but this is one sided of biblical understanding of God. for God is IN everything.
  • Shekinah- indwelling of God. God dwells in Israel, in terms of the cloud, Shekinah. Behind Covenant of God with israel, is intetnion to dweel among the Israelites. this is one sided. In NT, there is mutual indwelling. John and letters and gospel of JOhn reveal this...perichorisis: mutual indwelling. whoever remains in love remains in god and god in indwelling, so much more than panentheism.
  • John Calvin- inst. bok 1- for Calvin glory of God is already reflecting self in all things. God is indwelling in all things, but we have no eyes to see him. in trinitarian terms makes sense, but in theistic terms you may end up in panentheism. avoid abstract philo theism.
  • TJ- do you embrace EO, theosis. BUt you turned that God became man, not that man became God. using Athanasius.
  • JM- Luther- God became human beings, so we might become truly human in the community of JC. God became human to liberate us from our god complex and hubris in playing god with god, making conditions with sovereignty of God. making bargains. that is to say, you are god, i'm not and you are okay, i'm okay.
  • TJ- 3 points of biblical narrative: creation, jesus, end times that you focus on. in west we have original sin, Judaism we who adopt the story doesn't have og sin.
  • JM- these ideas of Augustine, lead to a type of gnosticism. procreating is bad, ultimate sin is AIDS, we deliver from one gen to another. so we must stop procreating og sin, and this is gnosticism. this doesn't follow OT understanding of life and joy of life. we have received life and we should give life to another gen. So og sin has nothing to do with sex and procreation. idea is more collective guilt. understanding of Luther. everyone is guilty of everything in the world, b/c everything is related to everything. dosteyesky and EO believe this, there is collective destiny. everything shares in us, we share in everything. so we need collective guilt of mankind.
  • we can follow Jewish understanding, guilt came into world through Cain and Abel. since that time, it has been one against the other, war, murder. this is more realistic.
  • TJ- so much of the way we were reared in church, connected to og sin. thus connected to forensic action of Jesus on cross, the appeasing sacrifice of the innocent son transaction. Also, in NT there is alot of sacrificial language.
  • JM- between other peopel's religion idea of gift: i give so you may give. So you sacrifice so god may give blessing. if you dont give in right way or enough then gods are angry and experience punishment. so whenever bad things happen, you look for one who didnt sacrifce and then bring right offering. Jonah and thrown out of ship, example.
  • This is all not biblical. Scapegoat is given by god, not asking from Israel btu giving to Israel so all sins may be put on scapegoat so it can take sins away to desert. God is reconciling himself to the world, doesn't need sacrifice. himself giving own son to reconcile world to self. initiative is god's initiative.
  • they used old temple language, but something completely diff is meant. love of god reconciles whole cosmos, which includes all humans.
  • TJ- that' the reformed part of theo coming out strongly. God is always protagonist. how is god, in way of overflowing love fo trinity, protagonist
  • JM- old saying, love takes ...
  • he wants to communicate the joy of his love. so he craetes creatures that can resonate this joy and love of God. so he is not in need of recreation, recreation is result of overflowing joy and love.
  • TJ- Eschatology- you are an esch theo. liberals and conservatives don't like this talk. overwhelming consensus is that 2nd coming will be bad part.
  • JM- this will not be the end, but beginning of new creation, the eternal creation. world without end. must look forward not to the end, but the beginning, which is not behind us but before us. the best is yet to come. this is true also to certain types of dispensationalism, which is not Xn idea, but Jewish idea. God created world in 7 days, so history will follow 7 dispensations. earth will grow older and older and our time is running out.
  • you can think about this w/o mentioning Christ, for dispensationalists X has only one part. so what is lacking is the new beginning experienced in resu. of X. so there is new beginning in world history, the res. of X in anticipation of the general resurrection.
  • TJ- this ? is just for me, so you all can listen in. Heidegger and Moltmann, there is esch horizon approaching us. so there is phenomenological hermeneutic, and the eschaton is when two horizons meet.
  • JM- they've met already. horizing of jc escaton is open already b/c of resurrection of Christ.
  • TJ- do you think there will be a moment in time, a pariousia. humans will experience a moment in time of JC return
  • JM- Yes. linear concept of time, future, present, past. this is time of clock. in this linear time concept, JC will not come. otherwise, we say he may come tomorrow morning at 101 5 ona train from chicago. but time keeps going on.
  • other concept of time- kairos. good opportunity. our life experiences are not according to clock time, but more like kairos. this is a good time, good chance. anticipation of eschatolgoical moment. terms of fulfilled time. in fulfilled time or life, you dont care about the clock anymore. you live in the moment. so therefore, when you come into living, you take the clock away. clock time is not very good understanding of time.
  • "you have the clock and we have time" form a swami in India at the end of interview and western interviewer must leave.
  • Daniel goes onto stage. possibly talk about atonement theory
  • TJ- cooperation with God, part of pneumatolgy adopted from JM. A truly reformed person doesn't cooperate with anything with God. but JM writes of us being cocreateors and cooperating with God, esp in ecology theology. Is there where you part with reformed theo.
  • JM- Paul talked aobut his work as cooperation with god. don't see reason for putting everything on god. this is Xn understanding of gods presence world. not that god has no hands apart from ours, but god gives us chances and opportunities to work with his will, resonate to his tune. If God is all, then reformed is right. but god may not be all and all, so he wants responsibility.
  • he wants us to come of age, not as little children where he oes everything.
  • Daniel- been at every Emergent church conversation since beginning. Herold- park street church in boston. nature's witness: how evolution can inspire faith.
  • DH- question and interest- testimony of science. brings understanding of God. talk about trintiy in creation, since nature / science portrays for us is nature is ripe with death, disease, etc. Who is God, Trinity, in creation given what science portrays?
  • JM- fundamental question of natural sciences- do you understand what you know?
  • our knowledge is duplicating everything, but do we understand what we know. we need a hermeneutic of nature with the sciences, so we can interpret signs of nature, explained by natural sciences. sciences explains, but we need understanding and interpreting what we know.
  • DH- so go ahead-
  • JM- specific example- a doctor measures your blood pressure and temp ad takes all the data he can get from body if you don't feel well. So first takes all data, then takes data as symptoms, then understands symptoms as a certain illness, then therapy can begin. similar with natural science. we must understand the symptoms and interpret the data given. for example to understand the data we get from climate research, and economic research, to put together with data we must interpret as coming natural catastrophe, then we can react. hermeneutics of nature.
  • DH- what is moltmannian herm of nature? trinity interp of nature...
  • JM-fist of all- we put what we know of nature in transcendent dimension. evolution of life, we see all belong to same family. transcendence dimension, there is no progress.
  • second- we can see the working of the HS as the immanence of transcendence in everyting complicated being forming their ...transcendence. more complex life forms are open systems, transcending themselves. there can be no self organization or...but they need transcendence. like riding a bike w.o a bike.
  • DH- Darwinian evol through theo grid. problem of decay and death, deformity. how is that manifestation of HS, is that fall out from freedom?
  • JM- you must understand the HS and energies of HS. there are many gifts of HS.
  • DH- would you say necessary organic death of evolution epic, is that redemption which makes death a bad thing; or is it a positive energy of spirit?
  • JM- start from the final end. if death will be no more, there will be creation w.o organic death. it is not just death of sinner, but all death will disappear.
  • DH- so how does creation, how we experience it, if it is radically different
  • JM- difference is found in indwelling of God. we only have anticipatory of end time, the new everlasting creation where god is in all.
  • DH- kairos time and new expeirence; it must something so radically different we cant have an experience in current life that would approximate it. it seems to me that there is dramatic change
  • JM- is this different from "everything in X is a new creation."
  • TJ- is this a radical discontinuity.
  • JM- you cannot talk about discontinuity without presupposition continuity. but we have so many anticipatory changes form the old to new, that we can understand this quite easily. for Paul it was change of name, a new identity. now, it is not me who lives, it is X who lives in me. this is true for all Xns, whether conscious of it or not.
  • DH- so for scientists, such a discontinuity would defy everything for the created reality. how would you speak of the unfathomably.
  • JM- in biological terms. either have evolution cosmos, everything
  • somethign new will emerge within infinite possibilities of this. the whole is more than sum of parts. we cannot understand the whole from the parts. parts do no lead understanding of whole.
  • DH- given that this earth as we experience, it will certainly end if physics is correct. what do you anticipate regarding existence on other side of that.
  • JM- believe in theosis idea- that in end, God will be all in all. end is not annihilation of world, but deification of the world. we have diff concepts: Luther- annihilation of world, only god, angels, and saved souls will survive in heaven. reformed: not annihilation, but transformation of world, into new creation. EO: theosis, deification of world, indwelling of God in world.
  • so expect transform of everything and indwelling of God in all.
  • "This is how much I can see it.."
  • DH- don't see science embracing theology, but theo does give to science.
  • JM- the struggle is better than mutual science.
  • DH- biologos community

September 10, 2009

Moltmann, Session IIb, Day 2

Political or Public Theology: A theology that effects the world.

Moderators: Eliacin, ___, DS, and TJ:

  • approaches to theology in public
  • 1) Change swords into question thoughts. Become dragon killer, so the axis of evil is eliminated. Atomic bombs into question a bombs
  • 2)leave swords of unbelievers, become Amish or Hudderite
  • 3) Change swords into plowshares. change war and military complex, but a ecological complex
  • peaceable man- into peacemaking man.
  • we need communities that participate in peaceable kingdom and communities that work for peacemaking in the world.
  • Otherwise, peacemakers may become violent themselves with a peaceable people.
  • Eliacin- influenced by lib theolgians. seems to me, for most part, if we have emrbaced hope, we must live into resistance. examples of where are concnrete practices, rhtythms, values as we anticipate in global social movement for resistance. So we need to create alternatives. Concrete examples of church creating enclaves or the future:
  • JM- these movements are not always Xn churches, but many Xns take part in these movements. some are very effective. example- green party in europe, there were oppo. groups.
  • In Nicarague, to live a community life in the slums. Show how mutual help will bring htem out of misery. contrary of poverty is community. there is wealth in community, resources.
  • what is place of church in God's kingdom?
  • church has 2 tasks: diaconia- serving poor and sick and homeless in society/ 2- prophetic task to say ot the powerful, look to those in shadows of this empire. prophetic, diachronic service. need both, one is empty without the other.
  • we need a church that serves the sick and is prophetic against the illness of society.
  • "let's pray for prophets, who can speak in public and convince people."
  • Anticipation & resistance: Eliacin- are we co-creators, or should we just expect this to happen, resignation.
  • Kingdom is already there is the healing and stories of JC. We prepare the way for the KoG, by anticipating the righteousness and peace within our possibilities and potentialities which are certainly limited.
  • belief in progress collapsed in WWI. Belief in progress is returning in oidea of globalization, finances, goods, factories. Abyss is approaching with destruction of environment. we have globalization without the globe. the earth has nothing to say.
  • abu grahb- DS- moltmann experienced so much grace in hands of prison camps, YMCA, brit's, etc. presence of grace was salvation. (great ideas and question from Danielle)...(this reminds me of Dostoevsky and Bro Karam. where he appeals to mercy for criminals).
  • it's more convincing to love your enemy than to hate and kill your enemy. so what happened in prison in iraq is outrageous and cannot understand administration that allows that to happen.
  • Moltmann went back to his prison, afterward. the grace was such a grace and gift from british gov't and ymca to give former enemies, new chance of life. and we'll never forget that.
  • to give grace is wiser policy than so called enemies...the terrorists and anxiety of 9/11 is terrifying.
  • commitment to never serve in german army, but to kill the dictator. when he told this to the mennonites, said, "that's okay."

Moltmann, Session II, Day 2

Crucified God:

Moderated by my friend Ann Pittman plus some other folks, Danielle Shroyer, John Eaton (vision community church, NY), (common table)

  • DS- life changing book, made sense of soteriology and what happened on the cross.
  • Perspectives for questions and moderation- pastoral & life
  • there is no answer to suffering, b/c we wont accept any explanation. Resurrection is the answer, but there is no explanation for why you must die or suffer. all explanations are wrong and unacceptable.
  • we don't want to have an answer that would bring us to peace with suffering, but if we feel the presence of suffering Christ next to us or in us that he shares; then we have a consolation that we are not alone.
  • God will bring to a good end what he has begun in the human person- i believe that. JM
  • How can God let these evil things happen?
  • Where is God? is God here. But people critique God. So do we blame this question on philosophy and Liebniz. "comes from stoic philo: if he is omnipotent and good, so he cant be both, only one." This comes from grk. philo, not from Israel or God of JC.
  • not only defend Jesus sympathy, but also the bereavement of the Father. If JC was true in saying my god, why have you forsaken me..then father is forsaken by Son. Two sides of triune one, suffers bereavement as we suffer forsakenness. this is a consolation.
  • vulnerability of God- teaching presence of JC, instead of a God apart from JC. All God talk must come from and be centered in JC.
  • "If it weren't for Jesus I would be an atheist like the other people in my family"
  • looking at history, not convinced that God has everything under control. but looking at nature, etc...would never have occurred to me that there is a loving being. ONly convinced that God is love through Jesus. Don't like talk about a god, there are so many evil gods.
  • people sometimes are disappointed by a God that suffers with them instead of pulling them out of the situation. how does the suffering God give us hope.
  • first suffering God is compassionate God. God is there in your distress, never far away, but suffering with you. On other hand, the consequence of death for Christ was new life, eternal life. So i trust that the God who bears and has compassion on me will bring resurrection and new life. Suffering on one hand, resurrecting, triumphal God.
  • Too make a point you must be one sided: in ongoing dialoguew ith others, you must be one-sided or you will kill the debate. so the more i think about, the theology of the cross must end with a theo of resurrection. i learned this with much more is grace than sin, resurrection than crucifixion.
  • TJ- continuing line of theodicy and questioning the validity of the theodicy question: "atheists are closer to god than most theists, b/c they are arguing with God constantly."- Volf. Did moltmann meet christ and back into theism.
  • JM- only believes in God of JC. His God becomes my God. theism is general understanding of transcendence that there is a higher being.
  • types of atheism:
  • Protest Atheism- Ivan Karamazov- Dost.- Bro Karamazov- "i have nothing in God in heaven, but I have rejected that there is no justice on earth." This type of atheism very pop. after war.
  • another type of atheism- banality- dawkins, etc.
  • the theodicy question is" if there is a god why is there evil." best answer is there is no god. then question of why is there evil collapses. So keeping god in question, keeps the conversation on evil alive.
  • you can live without God in your life, but you will miss out on a lot of the liveness of life.
  • Dawkins has another word. For him, genes. genes are not altruistic, or egoistic, but parts.
  • protest hope (DS)= anticipate, transcend the limits of reality into the realm of possibility, anticipate the earth on which righteousness will dwell. so every piece of righteousness now is an anticipation that forms a new earth, an everlasting earth.
  • how do we do this, resist and give hope: "one follows the sermon on the mount."
  • resist capital punishment,
  • the call is not only to pray, but to pray and watch. open your eyes to God and see what is a contradiction to God. and dont close your eyes and see the new world. pray with open eyes.
  • early Xns were called atheists for refusing to serve roman gods/polity.
  • two crosses in early Xnty: Golgotha of JC, one is a dream cross of Constantine. since that time we ahve had two crosses in beginning. Many crosses we see in Xn nations, buildings, etc is the cross of Const.
  • Saint George- changed from martyr to dragon killer. old symbolism of Xn empire that has worked until present day.
  • I agree with Anabaptist we must go back to origin to find new future of Xnty for the world, back past the Xn imperialism.
  • 2 Pet. 3:13- HOPE
  • Atonement theories- substitionary? fuller? victor?
  • based on crucified God? not sure, identification theory, in that God identified with godless and forsaken aspact of humanity on the the atonement happens as we identity with Christ on the cross. Double, bilateral identification. Does this economic transaction takes place? Very appealing that God suffered and was tempted, not just nice tory, but walked in our shoes and when we identify we his suffering thats atonement - Tony Jones
  • Moltmann response-
  • Christology of solidarity. suffers with us// second- suffers for us, the guilty. both sides belong together. For us...reconciling suffering. but must see both sides together. given up for our sins and raised for our justification. whole process is justification.
  • forgiveness of sin on hand, resurrection into new life on the other. (justification is both)
  • another point- on one side- tradition of justification of sinner, forgive and reborn. BUT what about the victims of sin? God is righteous for giving justice to those who suffer. justification of victim is perhaps first act, in practical terms...sinners who've become guilty of their victim only have a sort memory if they have one at all. but those who've suffered always remember. so if you are guilty, and want to enter into truth of life, listen to victims b/c they can tell you who you really are.
  • sacrament of repentance: confess, change mind, then make good that you do good evil as much as evil that you've done. but there is no sacrament of justification for the victims for what they have felt. they must overcome the feelings of revenge, etc from suffering the evil at hands of others. Then they must be alleviated and given a new self confidence, which victims don't often have- then the end, they must have the divine key- to forgive.
  • Jail of Birminham- MLK= teaching the victims to forgive the perpetrators.
  • Love- helpful about your work, re-frames and thinking in new ways of old things: power struggles.
  • in love of life, you risk disappointment and be ready to suffer with and or for others, and be ready to feel them feel or bring in their dying inside of you.
  • "fear in west, we talk about the cross in a personalized way so that it is only FOR US. Jesus died just for me to get somewhere. IN CG- all creation finds a place for redemption." DS
  • talk to us about creation redemption- we lost cosmic dimensions found in Col and Phil. That christ died for redemption of universe. even cosmos needs salvation.
  • universal salavtion is about: not that all humans will be saved; but that the UNIVERSE will be saved.
  • Christ became human so humans and whole cosmos might become place where God dwells, and by this will be deified.
  • important to see that at end, all embracing power, not just only salvation of my soul or my personal salvation and rest of world can go to hell...but in the end there will be restoration of all things in Christ. this is according to pietist, german tradition...the restoration is bringing back all things in the end. resurrection is all about restoration of all things.
  • Modern experience of ecological crisis- we need this cosmic dimension.
  • are you a Xn universalism or would you rather be called something else
  • "im afraid 'im not a universalist, b/c there are perhaps some people i dont want to see again. but god may be a unversalist, b/c God created them and may want to see them again."
  • universalism is not about to speak about all humans, but all of the universe.
  • I don't want to go to heaven, angels have home in heaven. i want to be raised on earth and live on new earth where justice dwells. and in the end God will be all in all, that is heaven.
  • Luther once said, on treatise for preparing for dying...don't look at hell in destiny of others or for self...but look at hell in wounds of Christ, b/c Christ suffered. so in wounds of christ, you must look if you want to talk about hell.

Moltmann, Session Ib, Day 2

Theological Method: the Creative Spirit of Play, Life, and Death:
moderated by Tony Jones & Tripp Fuller
  • Time to talk about Moltmann's methods "or lack thereof, as Moltmann said in the car."
  • why it's important he broke away from writing a 3 part systematic theology, etc:
  • truth is found in unhindered dialogue. fellowship is of mutual participation and unifinying sympathy
  • how is that different from barth or theo predecessors? Thomas Aquinas is single great theological thought, whether there is a god or not and found 5 ways for proving god, natural theology. then comes in church and talk about relation of God and Christ and HS, etc. "Then he died." and said
  • "I count this all straw"- Aquinas
  • All theo systems of medieval times, must have an open end b/c power of Christ they expect to come. similar to great
  • barth- writing 19th cent. theology while living in 20th century.
  • Barth begins with self revelation of God- dogmatic insight of church...that there is a church, so it is a thought for those in the inside. Barth was strong for developing Christian doctrines, predestination for example.
  • Barth was good at developing his own theology, but not working with others. over 8k pg's from Barth. "the truth can't be so long."
  • resist- temptation to write system, b/c not systematic person.
  • holds an idea, and sees how this ideas relates to everything: ie. Trinity. How does this fit with kingdom, church, etc. Before that...aware of ecological crisis...lectured on creation.
  • books are founded not in system, but a single idea or perspective. Trinity, ecology, resurrection, cross, etc.
  • truth is found like "headlights"- in nature are only reflection of light of Christ...they dont illuminate in themselves, but a reflection of Christ. like headlights reveal the road and trees, it is the light of the car, not of trees that reveal them.
  • spent a long time talking about the necessity of a theology of creation and nature, it is a Christian endeavor. Struggle between Yale (Barth, no nature & theo only for Xns.) and Chicago (for everyone who can listen or there can be no mission)
  • Starting point- JC and experience of HS and universal horizon which we can discover in NT.
  • God reconciles wholes cosmos to himself, and we are messengers to this reconcile. the gospel is universal b/c of the universal horizon of reconciliation
  • Barth- "hidden universalism"- reconcile, not the universe, but every person. that's trhe difference between Barth and JM- reconciliation for whole cosmos or just humans.
  • don't become narrow minded to only defend your own denom, christ is more than one's own denom.
  • TF- read JM in light of holocaust, in light of Amer. 9/11
  • Elie Wiesel- "night" JM was moved by it and his experiences in conc. camps.
  • God is not punishing New york homosexuals, as someone said at that time. God that uses terrorists is a monster, not a god.
  • rethink omnipotence- not in control, but caring and bearing everything. his Almighty power revealed when he destroyed pharaoh's army, but 3 or 4 phrases in that "you carry us, you are bearing us through the desert"- we are carried on eagle's wings.
  • patience, carrying of his word time and a chance and future. this is for me the omnipotence of God. his patience
  • Divine impassibility- inherited from Hellenistic phlio. God won't change b/c against nature of God. TJ- is there an epiphany moment when you rethought this, that this is not God...a god who is impassible. God must suffer for Moltmann, for only a God who can suffer can love.
  • Aristotle metaphysics, book 12- "the divine is apathetic" impassible? this comes against the many stories of greek mythologies who are angry and cheating, etc. So created idea that God must be apathetic.
  • learned form Abraham Heschel, that this God has pathos, not apathetic. God has sympathy, b/c if God is apathetic, then his image in us must be apathetic too. Apathy is in illness in the world.
  • passibilty of God- first idea- got in Scotland about the impassibility and passibility of God. written in 1926, listed the whole debate. completely bypassed German theology, this 60 yr old debate in Anglican church.
  • how was this perceived- "best sense of the word, I became controversial" "i like to be controversial"
  • TF- mystical experience and exercising doubt-
  • liked to bring life and death questions to theological questions. theological not related to life and death is an abstract theology, is a nice game but only for play.
  • book of his best theo student- Volf- reflected on his own experiences in Exclusion and Embrace- full of his own existential experiences.
  • life and death experiences are a source, of course, or its just a game of play
  • fav line- "theologians needs to read forward and backward in Scripture" (from TF)
  • talk about it: "i'm old enough not to be being called an heretic"
  • read bible with new supposition: meet divine word in human words. and whenever i meet divine word, which became incarnate in JC, his suffering death and res...then I feel truth.
  • Gal 3:28- christ is not male or female, etc- all are one. This is a phrase justified baptism of all equally. but then read Paul saying women should shut up in congregation. that closes to Christ. if women is all the time silent, we'd have no knowledge of resurrection of Christ.
  • co-missionary of Paul was female. So Xnty is full of women and they speak out to fulfill prophecy of Joel- your daughters will prophecy.
  • Criteria- incarnate word of God in Christ.
  • other point for reading Bible- we read "Jews crucified Christ"- this is wrong, tehy werent allowed to crucufy people. this was a roman affair. Jews aren't enemies of God. Rom 9-11: Paul writes about Israel. This is closer to teh truth, I think, JM says.
  • advocating biblical hermeneutic- reading closest to Christ- so how do you or by what do you determine what's closest to Christ? (good ? from TJ)
  • "The Reformed church is my origin. The ecumenical church is my future.
  • doesn't discount experience in truth
  • question to fundies: "do you really read the Bible" and do you "really understand what you read"
  • homosexuality in the Bible and fundies:
  • Shouldn't leave interp of Bible to fundies only
  • shaping of theology b/c of marriage: wife is most influential on his theo. she convinced him to sentences, that "I think this is the case..not this IS the case." not make objective statements for all to buy. If i say it this way, it provokes the subjectivity in others to make up their own mind, and not just quote me. (hey, that's what my wife says to me all the time)
  • "there is no theo dialogue in our house before breakfast."
  • poltical theo- insights into complicity in American foreign policy.
  • johannes baptist metz and JM developed political theol- to overcome Luther's 2 kingdoms, where you msutnt mix theo with politics. so leave politics to Nazi.
  • RC said better the Nazi's then the communists, so tehy supported them at first.
  • To overcome this hesitation of Xns to stand up against violence and injustice in country, they developed pol.theo.
  • reason for this- dead of Auschwitz was pressing on their conscience.
  • free market has a different definition of freedom.
  • lightning round: (one person, one sentence summary)-
  • brief reflection on what you think of these people:
  • john paul II- good pope
  • pannenburg- very dear friend and opponent
  • bonhof- died too early
  • whitehead- very complicated to read
  • derrida- pomo is another form of modernity. universal dangers which we can meet united, so we cannot split up and everyone go in relative direction. whether we live in big or small narratives we all live under atomic bombs, eco crisis, so extinction of all is possibility of all. so dont see why we have to give up universal questions or problems for
  • haeurwas- NT speaks not abut peaceable kingdom, but a peace making kingdom
  • luther- great german reformer, there too, ML and MLK whats difference
  • abraham ? - competition between two, barthian camp,
    now retired, both friends. good friends on beer and wine
  • augustine- ask his wife about him. (he left both, b/c too close to mother monica)
  • freud- said you can freud only if you know austrians in viana. served in WWII, in austrian unit. only theme of austrialian soliders
  • marx- like early marx, not capital marx. influences of romanitc philo, humanization of nature. early writings, redisvoered in 1931. communist manifest is great doc of 19th cent.
  • nicholas cuso (?)- may have missed his classes
  • volf- very dear friend, gifted theologian, came to JM at tubingen- "concept of work in karl marx"- wrote great dissertation of work and theo of work. beginning, but drafted to yugoslavian army and returned and full of sign of suffering and resistance. so JM loved him very much when he returned from yugo wounded. wrote book on community. now he is going on writing, etc. go to eastern europe- either became influential in eastern europeans or go to yale and become american pomo theologians and unfortunately decided for Yale.
  • schleiermacher- both point to same future, coming of God. prob with creeds: Schle could affirm them as he dismissed the OT as foreign to Xnty as other religions are.
  • Pelagius- Patron Saint of American Xns.

Coffee Break 1: Blogs, Yahoo, & a Question

Coffee Break:
So I got to meet up with some great folks from the yahoo Moltmann group.

Here's a question, maybe the only question I have right now for Moltmann is, "Do you or are you rooted in a community, church somewhere? How do they receive you?"

Over blogs covering the Moltmann Conversation:
Ann Pittman
Danielle Shroyer
Tripp York (edit: lol, I meant Fuller...not real sure where York came from, hah!)

I'll post others as I find them.

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.

September 9, 2009

Emergent Village Gathering, Day 1

Tonight, we began the Emergent Village proper (Danielle Shroyer of Journey Church in Dallas introduced the key note? speaker...Jurgen Moltmann...she did just write a book along those lines) with the professor of Missional Theology at Biblical Seminary, John Franke.

The main thrust of John's time was spent summarizing his main idea from his newest book, that truth is found in pluralization. While I'd like to press him some on this and get a better understanding of this (not because I don't think that truth exists in a plural world or that there is one way to truth, but because I'm not sure pluralism leads to meaningful community and truth exists in community or maybe I should say I don't think we (I) know how to engage difference or pluralism right and in a way that allows for true conversation to happen).

Tripp has some good notes on John's talk.

I'm excited about being here. I've already enjoyed some food and sights in Chi-town. I can't tell you how excited I am about Moltmann tomorrow (more on this later). I get to meet some really cool people, some I only know on the interwebs, so putting so flesh on them is nice. Plus worship tonight was meaningful. It was lead by a local Emergent church, Wicker Park Grace. The music was all home grown, and there was an artist who painted with pastels (i think) during the entire event. Plus, I never miss a chance to take communion, hopefully finding myself, a baptist transformed by God's grace in the sacrament of becoming the body broken for the world.

I'll hopefully get some more posts up during this gathering (coming out of hiatus...uhm, make that: blogging sabbatical).

BTW: I created a Twitter account since so much of this conversation is held in this space. So follow me if you'd like.