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)
As I’ve shared here before, Jürgen Moltmann will be a featured speaker at this year’s Karl Barth Conference, which begins one month from today. The theme of the conference is “Karl Barth and the Gospels: Interpreting the Gospel Texts”, and it will kick off with a banquet dinner at 6PM on June 21, followed by the opening lecture by Jürgen Moltmann at 7:30PM. I’m told that Professor Moltmann’s lecture that night will be on Karl Barth’s doctrine of election. This will be my first experience at a Barth Conference (or at Princeton at all); not to mention my first time hearing Professor Moltmann speak in person… so I am really looking forward to it. I hope to see you there! (Not signed up yet? Looks like registration is still open…)
As last time, the transcript for this portion is below the video.
Miroslav Volf: Who is God for you?
Jürgen Moltmann: Jesus Christ is the human face of God. And without Jesus Christ I would not believe in God. Looking at the catastrophes of nature, and the human catastrophes of history, I would not come out with the idea that a God exists and that this God is love. This was unthinkable for me. But with Jesus Christ and his message and his suffering on the cross and his resurrection from the cross, my feeling that God is present in the midst of suffering is a firm trust of my heart.
Miroslav Volf: So you are not speaking right now simply as a theologian. You are speaking from personal experience, of discovery. Or being discovered by God. When you were… can you say more about this experience? Which was experience of anxiety, or aftermath of terror, a place where joy would not normally find an entrance?
Jürgen Moltmann: Well, when I was 16 I was drafted in the German army in 1943, and experienced the destruction of my hometown of Hamburg. In the midst of Hamburg there was an anti-aircraft battery, and we schoolboys had to serve in this battery. Well, the operation, called by the British was “Operation Gomorrah”, the destruction of the sinful city of Hamburg. And I was in the midst of it, and at that time I cried out to God for the first time. And later I was in prison in a prison camp in Scotland. There I read with consciousness for the first time the Gospel of Mark and then I came to the cry with which Jesus died: My God why hast thou forsaken me I felt, there is my brother who feels the same as I was feeling at that time. And this saved me from self-destruction and desperation. And so I came up with hope on a place where there was no expectation to come home soon. The imprisonment lasted for three years.
Last week I shared some audio lectures by Jürgen Moltmann and Karl Barth that I discovered are freely available via the media archives on Princeton Theological Seminary’s website. I was also thrilled to find that there is also an extensive library of TFT audio available over there, which I look forward to digging into during my long commutes. Below is a listing with links to what I found, plus MP3 mirror files hosted here.*
If you are unable to make it to this year’s Karl Barth Conference to hear him speak, here is one more opportunity! I’ll share more details about Moltmann’s involvement in this event as I become aware of them.