Jürgen Moltmann and the Future of Theology

From left: Douglas Meeks, Jürgen Moltmann, Catherine Keller, Christopher Morse, Amos Yong, Willie Jennings, Miroslav Volf. Photo credit Matthew Davis via Twitter.
From left: Douglas Meeks, Jürgen Moltmann, Catherine Keller, Christopher Morse, Amos Yong, Willie Jennings, Miroslav Volf. Photo credit Matthew Davis via Twitter.

Update 12/8/2015 – Tripp Fuller brought a recording device into the room and has posted the audio over at Homebrewed Christianity. The quality is quite good despite a bit of background noise. Check it out!

On Sunday Jürgen Moltmann was honored at AAR with a session titled “Moltmann and the Future of Theology”, with Douglas Meeks presiding. This was the final publicly scheduled event during Moltmann’s recent visit to Atlanta. Unfortunately I was not able to make it to AAR, so I had to rely on the ears of others to find out what transpired during this, and some of the other Moltmann-related sessions. Mark French Buchanan, author of the recently published book Embraced (which I reviewed here), was present for the event and sent me this summary:

What a terrific tribute was given to Dr. Moltmann today at the AAR seminar “Moltmann and the Future of Theology”. Some of the best theologians in the country presented short reflections on Moltmann’s contributions over the last 45 years. Miroslav Volf, Kathleen Keller, Chris Morse, Willie Jennings and Amos Yong all lifted up different aspects of Moltmann’s theology. The significance of the event grew as a combination of thoughtful reflections and personal memories were shared. Keller and Volf spoke with great insight, while sharing the formative influence of Jurgen the man had on their own theological development. In response Moltmann vigorously pointed all who were in attendance to “listen to earth”, “find a new covenant with it”, “keep a new Sabbath and a new Jubilee” as all people unite together. Confirming a theme that Keller proposed, Moltmann called those presented to receive the contributions of all “the religions of earth”. Moltmann stressed that it was in the earth that the crucified Christ lives and his way into the future can be found, Douglass Meeks closed the event by reminding us that Dr. Moltmann’s 90th Birthday celebration is coming up in just a couple months. In response a capacity crowd spontaneously rose to its feet and broke out in applause.

I’m intending to find out whether this session was recorded via audio / video and will advise my readers with any such info if/when it comes available. For now, here are some of my favorite quotables from the session that were shared by others via Twitter:

If you were at the event and remember something significant that I did not share, please post it in the comments below!

For more about what Moltmann has to say about the future of theology, check out this previous post: Jürgen Moltmann on Theology’s Undiscovered Territories.

Love: The Foundation of Hope (Part 1)

Jürgen Moltmann in “Love: The Foundation of Hope,” produced by Trinity Church in New York City

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.

Each video 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 (this post); 2) Theology of Hope: Critiques and Questions; 3) Theology of Hope: The Feminist Response; and 4) Theology of Hope: The Church in the WorldPlus, a short bonus video.

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)