Moltmanniac is 6 months old! Here are some of the most popular posts…

Six months ago, on a bit of a whim, I sprung for the domain and migrated many of the recent posts on my old blogger account to it. I had become a bit of a Jürgen Moltmann fanatic in the last couple years, and wanted to start using this space in a more targeted way. It’s been fun, and I appreciate everyone who has visited this blog!

Below are the top ten Moltmanniac posts to date, based on the number of page views. I wanted to keep this to only the top 5 posts, but doing so would have left out some of my personal favorites! 🙂

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The Cross, Death in God, and the Trinity

April 8, 1966 Time Magazine Cover (Image Source: Wikipedia)

This post is a part of my ongoing (slow and steady) blog series on The Crucified God by Jürgen Moltmann (CG). You can view the other posts in this series here.

Long familiar religious notions have been shattered, and many people feel disoriented when faced with the slogans ‘God is dead’ and ‘God cannot die’…. Behind the political and social crisis of the church, behind the growing crisis over the credibility of its public declarations and its institutional form, there lurks the christological question: Who really is Christ for us today? With this christological crisis we have already entered into the political crisis of the church. And rooted in the christological question about Jesus is ultimately the question about God. Which God motivates Christian faith: the crucified God or the gods of religion, race and class?
The Crucified God, p. 200-201

Whenever I heard talk about the recent Christian film “God’s Not Dead” (which I still haven’t seen – and probably won’t!), I couldn’t help but think of The Crucified God (CG). Isn’t it odd for a group of people whose definition of God is bound to the crucified Jesus, to respond to the statement “God is dead”, with a flippant retort that “God’s not dead”? God may not be “dead”, but (if we are going to maintain an orthodox Christology) God did die; and the affirmation of this is the starting point of Christian theology. As we find in Chapter 6 of CG, Moltmann’s answer to the “death of God” is to articulate “death in God”, that is, to explore what the death of Jesus Christ means in the life of the Trinity.

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James Cone on Moltmann and the “Hope Theologians”

James Cone (Image Source: Wikipedia)

It also became clear to me between 1975 and 1980 that I personally could not authentically frame a “theology in context” and a “theology in movement” (liberation theology, black theology, feminist theology), for I am not living in the Third World, am not oppressed, and am not a woman. In those years, I tried as best I could to let the voices of silenced men and women be heard in the world too – the world in which I myself live. I initiated translations and provided them with commendatory prefaces. I wrote essays supporting liberation theology and feminist theology, African theology and Korean Minjung theology. But all this did not blind me to the fact that my life and my context are not theirs.
Jürgen MoltmannThe Trinity and the Kingdom, p. vii.

Before reading Moltmann, I was almost completely unfamiliar with liberation theology, aside from an outside reference here or there (generally not in a favorable light!). I found that Moltmann would write frequently on themes of liberation, sometimes in direct conversation with liberation theologians (some of whom he calls “friends”). Though Moltmann himself could not be a liberation theologian (as he explains in the quote above), he has devoted a considerable amount of energy into making sure that the cry of the oppressed for God found in liberation theologies be heard by a broader audience.

So, based on Moltmann’s commendations, I decided to check out a book by a black liberation theologian – God of the Oppressed, by James Cone.

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Understanding the Resurrection in Light of the Cross

This post is a part of my ongoing (slow and steady) blog series on The Crucified God by Jürgen Moltmann (CG). You can view the other posts in this series here.

In my previous post, we explored the first side of Moltmann’s “forwards and backwards” reading of the cross from chapter 5 of CG: Understanding the Cross in Light of the Resurrection. The other side to consider is how the cross should cause us to think differently about the resurrection.

I think at some level we are already quite comfortable in general with the idea of “understanding the cross in light of the resurrection”, but we have a tendency (at least in my experience) to do so in a more or less triumphant way: the resurrection means that Jesus is victorious over suffering and death. Therefore, we don’t see the presence of Christ in our sufferings but only in our successes. But as Moltmann reminded us in his recent conversation with Miroslav Volf, the cross and the resurrection are the two sides of the presence of Christ. This means that the presence of Christ is with us in all times and all places; there is no place where the presence of Christ is absent.

Below are some selections from CG which explore the meaning of the cross for the resurrection.

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Jürgen Moltmann on Responding to Suicide

Robin Williams

Robin Williams. Image By Eva Rinaldi, via Wikimedia Commons

The internet has seen no shortage of opinions on the subject of suicide in the wake of Robin Williams’ recent passing – some more helpful than others.  A few years ago I attended the funeral of an old church youth group friend, who had committed suicide in his late twenties. It was the first of such funerals I’ve attended (and so far, the only one). After the service, I ran into my old Sunday School teacher, who years earlier had taught both myself and the deceased how to memorize Bible verses (he actually made it fun, and I count him as an early major influence on me becoming the Bible and theology geek that I am today!). It didn’t take long for me to discover that he had a strong opinion about this death: Scripture clearly teaches that suicide is self-murder. And despite what others might have said in the service, self-murder is the type of final act which certainly has a bearing on your eternal destiny.

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Theology of Joy: Conversation Between Jürgen Moltmann and Miroslav Volf (NEW Video with Transcript!)

Jürgen Moltmann & Miroslav Volf

Today Yale Divinity School posted a great conversation between Moltmann and Miroslav Volf on the topic of joy, which was recorded June 27th, 2014 in Tübingen. Enjoy!

[Updated 8/16/2014 – Transcript added below the video]

For more Moltmann media, check out the Moltmann Audio and Video Resources page.

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Why Jürgen Moltmann Did Not Write a Theological System

Thomas Aquinas, father of Modern Dogmatics and Systematic Theology

“Systems save some readers, and their admirers most of all, from thinking critically for themselves, and at arriving at independent and responsible positions. For systems do not present themselves for discussion. For that reason, I have resisted the temptation to develop a theological system. Even an open one.”
– Jürgen Moltmann, The Trinity and the Kingdom

I recently shared some helpful bullet points from How I Have Changed on Moltmann’s theological method. Since he has “always been interested only in the theological content”, Moltmann can seem a little dodgy to American Evangelicals. What are his presuppositions? His approach to the Bible, tradition, and experience? He finally got around to writing about these matters in detail only at the end of his Systematic Contributions to Theology. I’m grateful that a whole session was devoted to this subject in the Emergent Village Theological Conversation with Moltmann. Below is audio and transcript* from the opening question of this session (#2), where Tony Jones asks Moltmann about how his approach to theological method differs from a traditional Systematic Theology or Dogmatics.


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Understanding the Cross in Light of the Resurrection

This post is a part of my ongoing (slow and steady) blog series on The Crucified God by Jürgen Moltmann (CG). You can view the other posts in this series here.

Much has been said here about how Moltmann relates to the question of the historical Jesus (which I blogged about here and here, in conversation with Wolfhart Pannenberg’s “Christology from below“). In Chapter 5 of CG, Moltmann wraps up concerns about the historical Jesus by drawing attention to Jesus Christ as the object of eschatological faith:

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