Yesterday the great theologian of hope celebrated his 90th birthday. Last year I marked his 89th birthday on this blog with a top 10 list of my favorite Moltmann quotes. This year (and only a day late!) I’ve put together a list of my favorite Moltmann books. I’ve read almost all of the Moltmannian corpus over the course of the last few years, and have a pretty good idea of which of them are most important to me. Below is a countdown of my top ten favorite books written by Moltmann, saving my favorite for last. I’ve also attempted to provide a brief explanation of why each of these is important enough to be included. What are your favorite Moltmann books? Please share in the comment section below! Continue reading
Guest post by Mark Buchanan. Mark is a Presbyterian Pastor specializing in multicultural ministry in the Los Angeles area. He has been an enthusiastic student of Jürgen Moltmann’s theology since encountering Dr. Moltmann while a seminarian at Princeton Seminary. He writes using engaging real life stories to illustrate and bring to life the central tenets of Dr. Moltmann’s theology. He currently resides in Pasadena, California with his wife and children.
Note from Ben: I had the pleasure of meeting Mark at the Karl Barth Conference and am looking forward to his book – Embraced: Many Stories, One Destiny – which comes out this Fall from Wipf and Stock. Stay tuned here for more info about his book… but for now, enjoy this guest post!
In his lecture at the Barth Conference in Princeton, Jürgen Moltmann contrasted Barth’s doctrine of the election of grace to the contemporary teachings and practices of ISIS in Syria and Iraq. He noted that one perspective led to an opportunity for eternal life while the other led to death. This drew to mind an encounter I had in 1979 while traveling from Mashhad, Iran to Tehran by train.
As the train departed a man dressed in the traditional white garb of a Moslem cleric along with his assistant entered the compartment where a companion and I were seated. Taking his seat next to me the man gruffly addressed his assistant in Arabic. While I did not understand what was being said, their tone expressed displeasure. When abrupt hand gestures accentuated their words, I began to feel uneasy. When I turned to look at the man seated next to me the hood of his garment drawn tightly over his head shrouded his face. Obviously our presence in the overnight compartment was more than an inconvenience, apparently it was an offense. As fear began to rise in me I leaned forward intent upon making eye contact. As I did I saw that the socket of his left eye was exposed covered only by darkened flesh. Yet what truly startled me was not the blindness of his left eye, but the hatefulness that was emanating from his right. Piercing through my gaze a paralyzing power penetrated me. Instinctually I glanced away. It was as if an evil intent had entered me, taken me under its command and made me an observer of what was about to take place. In that moment, I could feel myself battling a spirit of resignation. Continue reading
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.