When Miroslav Volf talks about America, I’m inclined to listen. I think he has done as much as anyone in reminding me that America isn’t innocent. A belief in American exceptionalism is one of the more insidious requirements our society makes of those who are running for office and attempting to lead, if not of the ordinary citizen. Volf is refreshing because he reminds us that goodness and innocence are not the same thing. We can love and appreciate the social vision and experiment that is the American republic. However, the innocence combined with immense power is a dangerous mixture. It takes a man like Volf to teach us this.
I have really come to love Volf and his work over the past few years. Not only is he quite brilliant as a theological thinker, but his personal story is so rich and moving. He was born in Croatiaand lived in Serbiaunder the communist regime. His brother was killed by a careless soldier who his parents chose to forgive instead of prosecute. His father was a Pentecostal pastor who was tortured in a concentration camp. Miroslav was forced to do 2 years of military service during which he was imprisoned and interrogated, accused of being a spy and threatened with prison and death.
Yet, Volf writes and speaks mostly about hope. He studied under Jurgen Moltmann, which seems so fitting given Moltmann’s experience under Hitler’s regime and the fact that Moltmann’s brother, who was mentally handicapped, was euthanized by the SS. I hope you’ll listen to Volf as he talks about our society here: