Friday, August 28, 2009

Celebrating Curiosity with Jurgen Motlmann

My reading this morning in preparation for my Monday systematic theology exam takes me into Jurgen Moltmann's The Coming of God. He's a theologian with a fascinating story of later conversion. After being drafted into the Germany army of WWII he gave himself up to the first British soldier he saw. A POW chaplain gave him the scriptures and his imagination was captured in a new way.

His primary way of thinking about God is around themes of hope, particularly fascinating given his place in history. Jurgen feels that hope is recaptured best in the way we think about the end things, the future that God accomplished in Jesus on the cross and by raising him from the dead and the implications that has for us here and now. This book published in 1996 follows a dozen or so previous books, the first of which was published in 1969 entitled a Theology of Hope.

What captured my own interest was what I read in the preface regarding his understanding for what is known as theological method, his way for how he engages in God. You might just pick up on why I resonate with his thoughts, not the least of which is that my blog's namesake follows his own thoughts for engaging God. Enjoy these selected quotes.

“What interests me are theological ideas, and their revision and innovation. I have first to discover everything for myself, and understand it, and make it my own. Theology has continued to be for me a tremendous adventure, a journey of discovery into a, for me, unknown country, a voyage without the certainty of a return, a path into the unknown with many surprises and not without disappointments. If I have a theological virtue at all, then it is one that has never hitherto been recognized as such: curiosity."

"I have never done theology in the form of a defense of ancient doctrines or ecclesiastical dogmas. It has always been a journey of exploration. Consequently my way of thinking is experimental – an adventure of ideas – and my style of communication is to suggest. I make suggestions within a community. Theologians also belong to the communion of saints, provided that the true saints are not merely justified sinners but accepted doubters too, thus belonging just as much to the world as to God."

"Theology is a communal affair. Consequently theological truth takes the form of dialogue, and does so essentially, not just for the purposes of entertainment. For me theology is not church dogmatics, and not a doctrine of faith. It is imagination for the kingdom of God in the world, and for the world in God’s kingdom. This means that it is always and everywhere public theology, and never, ever, a religious ideology of civil and political society – not even so-called Christian society."

If you're in the area or interested in listening in on an amazing upcoming conversation with Jurgen Moltmann check out the upcoming 2009 Emergent Village Theological Conversation in Chicago September 9th.

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