The Living God and the Fullness of Life by Jürgen Moltmann – New Book Coming This Fall!

  

The English edition of Moltmann’s latest book, The Living God and the Fullness of Life, has been announced (the German edition was released last year). It comes out on November 13. 

Here is the publisher’s description, via Amazon.com:

Modern humanity has accepted a truncated, impoverished definition of life. Focusing solely on material realities, we have forgotten that joy, purpose, and meaning come from a life that is both immersed in the temporal and alive to the transcendent. We have, in other words, ceased to live in God.

In this book, renowned theologian Jürgen Moltmann shows us what that life of joy and purpose looks like. Describing how we came to live in a world devoid of the ultimate, he charts a way back to an intimate connection with the biblical God. He counsels that we adopt a “theology of life,” an orientation that sees God at work in both the mundane and the extraordinary and that pushes us to work for a world that fully reflects the life of its Creator. Moltmann offers a telling critique of the shallow values of consumerist society and provides a compelling rationale for why spiritual sensibilities and encounter with God must lie at the heart of any life that seeks to be authentically human.

Preorder it today

Küng and Moltmann on Conflicting Interpretations of the Bible and the Heart of Ecumenicism

The Gutenberg Bible, the first printed Bible. Image Source: Wikipedia
The Gutenberg Bible, the first printed Bible. Image Source: Wikipedia

 

Perhaps more than anything, the church is divided over varying approaches to the Bible. All Christians agree that the Bible is authoritative, but they don’t always agree on how that authority works, much less how to interpret each text. I recently discovered a book jointly edited by Jürgen Moltmann and Hans Küng on Biblical interpretation: Conflicting Ways of Interpreting the Bible.  I picked it up via interlibrary loan, and was pleased to find a concise and insightful treatment of the problem of conflict over the Bible and ecumenical concern on page 1, in the introduction by Moltmann/Küng. They argue that we shouldn’t see this conflict in a negative light only, but also as an opportunity for vital dialogue surrounding the Bible, which gets to the heart of what ecumenical efforts are all about. Continue reading Küng and Moltmann on Conflicting Interpretations of the Bible and the Heart of Ecumenicism

James H. Cone’s Critique of Nonviolence

James-Cone

For some time, I have had a strong sermon-on-the-mount (pacifist? nonviolent?) impulse when it comes to my political theology. While a few years ago I might have gone so far as to identify as something of an Anabaptist on this issue (what can I say? I was listening to a lot of Greg Boyd podcasts!), I’ve since found Moltmann’s more nuanced approach to be helpful: The Kingdom of God is not a peaceable kingdom (jib-jab at Hauerwas!) but a peacemaking kingdom. Moltmann shares that when he returned home from the prison camps after WWII, he vowed to never pick up a weapon again – but if he was given an opportunity to kill a tyrant, he would do so!

The method of nonviolent resistance is something I’ve always admired in Martin Luther King Jr. In Stride Toward Freedom, King describes his approach this way:

My study of Gandhi convinced me that true pacifism is not nonresistance to evil, but nonviolence resistance to evil. Between the two positions, there is a world of difference. Gandhi resisted evil with as much vigor and power as the violence resister, but he resisted wi th love instead of hate. True pacifism is not unrealistic submission to evil power, as Niebuhr contends. It is rather a courageous confrontation of evil by the power of love, in the faith that it is better to be the recipient of violence than the inflicter of it, since the latter only multiplies the existence of violence and bitterness in the universe, while the former may develop a sense of shame in the opponent, and thereby bring about a transformation and change of heart.

Martin Luther King Jr., Stride Toward Freedom, 79-80

This is truly inspiring!

As you may gather from my previous post, James Cone is a big fan of Martin Luther King Jr.  When I first started to read Cone, I was surprised to rather quickly discover that one area where he differs from his hero MLK is on nonviolence, an area of King’s thought that I (like many others) have found to be so compelling. Cone claims that King’s “dependence on the analysis of love found in liberal theology and his confidence that ‘the universe is on the side of justice’ seem not to take seriously white violence in America.”   In this probing passage of  God of the Oppressed, Cone explores the topic of violence vs nonviolence in America as it relates to the black struggle for liberation, offering a scathing critique of nonviolence (which I should point out is not quite the same as defending violence). I’m inclined to agree with Cone at least on this point: it is especially problematic for oppressors [including all who benefit from systems of oppression] to urge the oppressed to keep their cool and walk in the nonviolent way of love.  Continue reading James H. Cone’s Critique of Nonviolence

Moltmann’s Biblical Hermeneutic and the Gay Debates

Rainbow flag breeze.jpg

I’ve shared here previously some of Moltmann’s comments about homosexuality and gay marriage from the Emergent Village Theological Conversation with Moltmann from 2009. I thought his comments were helpful just to illustrate where Moltmann stands on that subject (which calls into question the divisive nature of it in the American church). However, one thing you don’t get from that brief exchange is “how he got there” (i.e. coming to the conclusion that “homosexuality is neither a sin nor a crime”) in terms of his biblical hermeneutic and theological method. Below is another short clip with transcript* where Moltmann reflects on why simply quoting the Bible against LGBT people doesn’t cut it. It’s not exactly an extensive exegesis of the relevant passages (far from it!), but it does seem to give us a clue. For other excerpts that I’ve shared from the Moltmann-Emergent conversation, visit here

Continue reading Moltmann’s Biblical Hermeneutic and the Gay Debates

Can E.T. Be Saved? (Pannenberg, Redemption… And Aliens)

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E.T., from Steven Spielberg’s 1982 movie by the same name. But if you didn’t already know that, what rock have you been hiding under? Photo:Universal.

 

I learned yesterday via a series of hilarious tweets that Wolfhart Pannenberg (my theological flavor of the month) had some very speculative comments in his Systematic Theology about the existence of non-terrestrial intelligent life. This made me curious enough to check out this statement in context. Had the great Pannenberg who, at least in Jesus- God and Man, seems to generally stick so close to the facts, been given over to idle speculation on this question? Read this segment below and decide for yourself! Continue reading Can E.T. Be Saved? (Pannenberg, Redemption… And Aliens)

Top Books Read in 2013

I’m attempting a second blog post from the iPad. I’m not quite a fan of the free Blogger app (it doesn’t seem to let me actually embed links or videos), but haven’t yet found anything better that is free. 2013 was a heavy reading year for me, and for the first time I actually averaged about a book a week.  Here are a few highlights from my reading. Unfortunately I didn’t quite finish NT Wrights majestic Paul and the Faithfulness of God, so it didn’t make the list only for that reason. Maybe I’ll devote a post or two to that book when I finish it (not that the internet really needs another post on it!).

Continue reading Top Books Read in 2013

A Theology of Luke-Acts Blog Tour

I’ll be participating in a publisher-sponsered “blog tour” of Darrell L. Bock’s A Theology of the Luke and Acts – for which I received a free review copy in the mail today. The tour takes place July 23-27, and requires me to compose a review focused on one specific chapter (a fact for which I’m grateful, as it’s actually a fairly hefty volume). Can’t wait to crack it open! In the meantime, my intent is to warm up for this by blogging on some other things I’ve been reading as of late (from Moltmann to Hodge). I know, it’s been way too long. Stay tuned…

(And thanks Zondervan!)