Moltmann part 2

These are just a few notes from yesterday:

Christology of solidarity: he suffers with us.
He suffers for us – for us the guilty

Those two sides go together. That he suffers for us is the reconciling part. He was given up for our sins and raised up for our justification. One the one hand the payment for sins, on the other hand our justification through the resurrection. Forgiveness of sin is a negative act which clears the negative things, resurrection and justification brings you into a new life, a righteous life. Both sides must proceed together. There is another partner on the one side we have the tradition of the justification of the sinner, reborn to a new life. But what about the victims of sin? Must we not speak about the victims of violence and injustice and sin? The victims are important, the justification of the victims is perhaps the first act. Because in practical terms, the sinners who have become guilty have always only a short memory if they have amemory at all. But those who suffered violence and injustices always have a long memory. So if you want to enter into the truth of your life, listen to the victims, because they can tell you who you really are and what situation you are in. Justification is of the victims first.

We learned this after the war as we listened to the stories of the survivors of concentrations camps. We heard about them, but as we listend the tstories of survivors, and looked into their eyes, we because aware of who we really are, the Germans. Same thing happened in the truth commissions in S. Africa. The perpetrator must listen to the vicitim. The VICTIMS MUST TELL THE STORY. Only then do we know the truth about who we are. This is one of the problems with our church, we have no liturgy or sacrament for the justification of the victims. They cannot overcome their feelings for revenge and overcome evil with the good. we don’t’ do that in our current ecclesiological practice. the victim needs to tell the story. They have the divine key in their hand to forgive. But this only happens if we take them through the process. The perpetrators cannot forgive their sins by themselves.

The greatest danger for me personally…is when suffering comes to become apathetic…don’t care anymore; don’t love somebody because this willl cause only pain. If you love nobody you will feel no suffering in relationship to other people. If you don’t love yourself, you will not feel your own death because you don’t care. I saw soldiers who became so apathetic that they don’t’ care about their own death or the death of others. They live in the service of death, not in the service of life.

We see the terrorists today have this same problem. Mullah Omar said, “Your young people love life, our young people love death.” This is a real danger (there is no deterrent). If you go into the love of life you risk disappointment, you must be ready to suffer on behalf of your compassion for other people. You must be ready to feel their dying and with their dying a part of your own life will die also and you must then trust that there is a new beginning and the resurrection of Christ.

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  • I now have an autographed copy of The Crucified God. Maybe it's just me but I keep thinking how cool that is. Great conference!

  • I have a first edition "Theology of Hope" from 1965 that I had him sign. He said, "Dis is old vun, gut fa you."

  • Very cool. Like a dork I went for the German salutation. Nett Sei kennen zu lernen (nice to meet you).

    Still digesting all that was covered. aaso many point and quotes. Any favorites? I still can't get over "I don't want to live in heaven. Thats where the angels live. I want to live in the new earth where justice reigns".
    There's his eschaton and position on social justice.


  • Tim,

    I just finished Trinity and the Kingdom and was going over some of the stuff from the Moltmann conversation. I know you are a fan of Hauerwas and was wondering if you could shed some light on what I perceived to be a disagreement Moltmann has with Hauerwas. Peaceable Kingdom vs Peacemaking Kingdom.

    Then again I could be incorrect with my assumption.

  • Hey Scott,

    Yeah, wasn't that interesting how he emphasized that distinction a couple of times? I’m not sure I’ve got it right but this is how I heard Moltmann:

    The Hauerwas vision of the peaceable kingdom is, in Moltmann's description, that the people of God will embody the kingdom first and foremost. Hauerwas always says the first job of the church is to "be the church." Yoder/Hauerwas will generally be critiqued as being sectarian; it’s the typical critique of the Anabaptist position and I think that's probably what Moltmann was doing.

    The critique Moltmann was making was that they separate out into a peaceable kingdom where they refuse violence and confront the powers from a position of righteousness.

    Moltmann says it is not a peaceable kingdom, but a peace-making kingdom. So we should not separate out. Our job is not to first be the church and then confront the powers, but in confronting the powers, we become the church. Moltmann’s emphasis will be on mission.

    If you think about his history w/the Nazi’s & what they did to his brother, friends, country and even to himself, one can understand why he wants to emphasize that the people of God must be actively making peace as transformed people within whatever culture they live. Where was the church in 1931-1936 when it could have stopped Hitler?

    I think it is really a difference of emphasis & I have no trouble embracing both emphases at once. Plus I think the critique isn’t quite right because Hauerwas is so militant and clearly embraces mission as a part of the Christian mandate.

    Hauerwas is coming from such a different context. Here the culture has fully co-opted the church. He seems to think, rightly so in my estimation, that the church needs to be a sort of de-tox center where people can be formed by the story and people of God and re-formed from their cooperation in the empire, so to speak.

    Does that ring true at all??

  • Tim,

    Just a side bar to your last paragraph. I don't think the church is much good at being the de-tox center because I think it has co-opted the culture as opposed to the culture co-opting the church, But that's for another discussion.

    I don't know enough about Hauerwas to have an intellectual discussion. I just found it to be strange that he mentioned it multiple times. I got the impression that he viewed Hauerwas' position of "peaceable kingdom" as a state of being where peacemaking is an action.

    I think you are probably correct regarding the different context that they come from.

    Finally starting Seminary in January.

  • Hey, that's great. Congrats on Seminary! You are in for such an exciting journey!

    Yeah, I thought it was strange as well. I really think Moltmann might feel like Hauerwas' approach is too sectarian – which would mean Hauerwas recommends we separate from culture to create a peaceable kingdom off on our own like the Amish or Mennonite communities in America (which is Yoder's heritage). Moltmann is recommending that we be a peacemaking kingdom from within culture? I think that is what he was pushing, but I'm not sure. Either way I still find myself sympathetic to both at the same time. Usually that means I'm not fully understanding them :-)!

    Wasn't that cool, though?