Thursday, October 07, 2004

Moltmann 2

In 1971, Moltmann wrote an extended essay called Theology and Joy in which he attempts to answer the questions, How can Christians claim to be joyful people in these anxiety-filled days (Vietnam, etc.)? and What is the role of the church in a society that no longer values the church's civic functions? Here are a couple quotes:

"The vision of God comes to life by following the crucified with permanent repentance and through constant changing of existing conditions. It cannot be obtained apart form this. Permanent repentance is the daily dying of the old man and the renewal of the inner, the new man. This is painful but constitutes only the reverse side of rejoicing in hope. Transfiguration cannot be demonstrated on a mountain away from the world. Even the transfiguration of Jesus took place on the road to Jerusalem and the cross. The transfiguration of the unveiled face must be demonstrated in a suffering and struggling transformation which involves changing oneself and existing conditions so that man [sic], together with other men, may be conformed to his future." (63)

And here's one on the church; it's long but worth it:

"Christian congregations should not use their allotted portion of the time free of labour and domination entirely for educational and socio-ethical activities. These activities may be necessary but they are not yet free. Christians should experiment with the possibilities of creative freedom. By this we do not mean the kinds of conversation, fellowship and games which only serve to provide necessary relaxation from the tensions caused by the excessive demands of everyday living. This is also important, but it is not yet free. But it does mean at these points we try to play out models of creative freedom. Following up on the reproductive imagination which updates the past, it means to encourage productive imagination which looks toward the future; and it means to bring back to light man's repressed spontaneity. It means to support a culture which does not merely offer social compensations but prepares for social change by introducing people to an unauthoritarian brotherhood. Worship itself may become a source of this new spontaneity; it no longer has to be a place of inhibitions, embarrassments and polite efforts. Christian congregations may then become testing grounds of the realm of freedom right in the realm of necessity." (85)


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