Monday, November 08, 2004

Moltmann 4

Moltmann wrote the third, and final, book in his 'programmatic' cycle in 1975; it's called The Church in the Power of the Spirit: A Contribution to Messianic Ecclesiology. In 1990, when it went to paperback, he wrote a new preface, a paragraph of which has serious implications for the debate currently taking place over my last post:

"While I was writing The Church in the Power of the Spirit, my intention was to argue for church reform, and today this concerns me more than ever. By reform I mean teh transformation of the church from a religious institution that looks after people into a congregational or community church in the midst of the people, through the people and with the people. This means moving away from an impenetrable, large-scale organization to an accessible small-scale community. It is a path that can only be followed if we are prepared to break away from passive church membership and to make a new beginning by entering into active participation in the life of the congregation. In our society, affiliations that are imposed are losing their power to shape people's lives and lend them significance. Forms of community that are accepted personally and entered into voluntarily are becoming more important...Free decision of faith, voluntary sociality, mutual recognition and accpetance of one another and a common effort for justice and peace in this violent society of ours: these are the guidlines for the future of the church"(xiii-xiv, emphasis added).

Moltmann, in his context, is writing specfically about the state churches of northern Europe, but the denominational scene in the US, while not connected with the national government, are almost as monolithic.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Good content - I don't think our current dysfunctions in the way we do church will shift until we begin to grapple with the fact that mega-church doesn't always = God's blessing...and the ordinary quality and fiber of small communities can make a real difference for the kingdom.

3:08 PM  
Blogger Rick said...

I have just disparaged you and the rest of Emergent on my blog regarding the Election.


9:37 PM  
Blogger Chris Scharen said...

check this out: karl rahner, quoted in the current issue of america honoring what would be the 100th anniversary of his birth:

i want to follow the poor and humble jesus and no other. i wanted to find something that does not come of itself, which cannot be derived from 'the essense of christianity,' something which the prelates of the church and the higher clergy in the countries which still regard themselves as bulwarks of christianity did not practice then and do not now. i wanted something that was not determined for me by the ideology of the chruch nor by social criticism, even though both played some part . i wanted something that my foolish love of jesus christ inspred in me as the law of my life, with no deviation to left or right."

this seems to me a powerful and lovely image of following jesus as a means of critique of the church. kierkegaard, anyone?

12:39 PM  

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