Below is a little Easter egg from “Love: The Foundation of Hope.” This clip appears after a little dead space after the end credits in the VHS tape. It features Moltmann talking about the need for “contestation” in theology – It is better for us to dialog in disagreement than to accept “cheap reconciliation” where we accept differences but do not talk at all. For Moltmann, the case in point here is the need for Western theologians to hear the voices of contestation in Latin American Liberation theology. This clip closes with some words from an important Latin American liberation theologian, José Míguez Bonino, on the “non-necessity” of the present evil. (The part with Bonino appeared in the part 4, but – unless I missed it – Moltmann’s words in this short video do not appear elsewhere)
So far this week I’ve shared the first two parts of “Love: The Foundation of Hope,” a video series produced by Trinity Church in New York from the 1986 Trinity Institute Conference held in honor of the Moltmanns. Those parts were: “Jürgen Moltmann: A Theology of Hope,” and “Theology of Hope: Critiques and Questions.” This third video, “Theology of Hope: The Feminist Response,” is a special treat, because it focuses especially on Jürgen Moltmann’s wife, Elisabeth Moltmann-Wendel, who is an exemplar feminist theologian in her own right.
This segment, like the others, is narrated by Frederic Burnham and includes conversations between Rev Leonard Freeman various theologians regarding the life and work of the Moltmanns. In addition to Moltmann-Wendel, this session includes conversations with Letty Russell and Charles McCoy. Below the embedded video you’ll find the group discussion content from the pamphlet included with the video.
Tomorrow I will post the final installment – “Theology of Hope: The Church in the World.”
This week I am sharing video segments from “Love: The Foundation of Hope” – a 1986 Trinity Institute Conference which was held in honor of the lives and work of Jürgen Moltmann and his wife Elisabeth Moltmann-Wendel. Highlights from this conference were distributed on a VHS tape designed for individual or group study at local churches (apparently) as a companion to a book published under the same name. I’ve obtained permission from Trinity Church parish to digitize and publish the content in this tape. Each video segment is narrated by Frederic Burnham and includes conversations between Rev Leonard Freeman various theologians regarding the life and work of the Moltmanns.
The sessions are as follows: 1) Jürgen Moltmann: A Theology of Hope; 2) Theology of Hope: Critiques and Questions (this post); 3) Theology of Hope: The Feminist Response; and 4) Theology of Hope: The Church in the World. This second session includes contributions from Jürgen Moltmann, Stephen Sykes, Hans Frei, and José Miguez-Bonino! Below the embedded video you’ll find the group discussion content from the pamphlet included with the video.
Part 2 – Theology of Hope: Critiques and Questions
Some of you may be aware that Jürgen Moltmann participated in a Trinity Institute Conference at Trinity Church in 2007 (which, by the way, can be found online and is one of the best bits of free Moltmann video around!). I recently discovered that about twenty years prior to that, in 1986, Jürgen Moltmann and his wife Elisabeth Moltmann-Wendel were honored guests at a previous Trinity Institute Conference, titled “Love: The Foundation of Hope.” And like the more recent one, it too was recorded! Highlights were nicely edited into four fifteen minute sections and published as a VHS tape designed for individual or group study at local churches as a companion to a book published under the same name. The opening paragraphs from the book provide helpful background information about this conference:
This volume focuses on the life and work of two distinguished theologians, Jürgen Moltmann and Elisabeth Moltmann-Wendel. The chapters were presented in April 1986 at a transcontinental festival in their honor in New York, St. Louis, and San Francisco sponsored by Trinity Institute. The occasion for the celebration was the Moltmann’s sixtieth birthdays, which occurred in 1986.
Trinity Institute is a national program of theological renewal supported by the parish of Trinity Church in New York City. Its primary purpose is the stimulation of theological inquiry for the practice of Christian ministry. Each year since 1968, Trinity Institute has brought together renowned theologians and church leaders with clergy and laity from the Episcopal church to explore issues of critical importance to church and society.
In 1986, the Institute’s national conference featured the Moltmanns and ten other Christian scholars from across the continent and around the globe: Jose Miguez Bonino (Buenos Aires, Argentina); Frederic Burnham (New York City); Hans Frei (New Haven, Connecticut); James Kaluma (Namibia, Africa); Charles McCoy (Berkeley, California); Douglas Meeks (St. Louis, Missouri); Christopher Morse (New York City); Letty Russell (New Haven, Connecticut); Stephen Sykes (Cambridge, England); and Susan Thistethwaite (Chicago, Illinois). The conference was a gathering of theological colleagues who shared an appreciation of the profound contribution that the Moltmanns have made in the past three decades to the worldwide Christian community’s understanding of itself and its mission but who also sough to extend those insights into new theological territory.
I’ve obtained permission from the parish to digitize and publish the content in this VHS tape. My plan is to publish one segment a day this week until they are all online, complete with the notes for group discussion.
This first session includes contributions from Jürgen Moltmann, Christopher Morse, Stephen Sykes, and Hans Frei! Below the embedded video you’ll find the group discussion content (introductory and for session 1) from the pamphlet. Continue reading Love: The Foundation of Hope (Part 1)
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 On the Edge of Eternity (Guest Post by Mark Buchanan)
The 2015 Karl Barth Conference at Princeton Theological Seminary was a one of a kind experience for me. I got to immerse myself in theological lectures and conversations with people who know a lot more about theology than me. I made new friends and got to meet in real life several people who I had previously only connected with online. And I had an unexpected opportunity to talk one on one with Jürgen Moltmann when I came downstairs for a cup of coffee that Sunday morning (the day of his lecture). I reminded him about my letter to him last year concerning universalism and thanked him for his reply. He said that his lecture that night would be on the same sections of Church Dogmatics that he had told me to read. “Karl Barth didn’t know whether he was a universalist or not,” Moltmann said.
And universalism was certainly in the foreground of the lecture that night, even if Moltmann’s position on the topic was only made explicit during the Q&A. He began by exploring the problems created by the traditional Calvinist doctrine of election (Introduction), followed by how Barth’s christocentric reformulation of election overcomes the damaging dualism of Double Predestination (points one and two). But his most profound contribution was his “added chapter” to Barth’s doctrine of election, bringing it into conversation with liberation and political theologies (point three).