Note: I know earlier I said I was done reposting from myspace, but I realized that the theses I put up would probably do a lot better on blogger than on myspace.
I am taking a class from Professor Haight on Jürgen Moltmann and Johann Baptist Metz. And in the class we present weekly papers. The parameters for the paper are rather specific: a short thesis at the beginning, interact with the readings, address one of the themes, answer the question posed by Haight, and prove/display your thesis in 300 words or less. So here reposted are three theses.
The question we were to answer was: which theme, out of the many themes (of which secularization was one), do we find the most crucial for today? I went with secularization (which Metz spends a long time talking about), but I also saw the connection between another theme that Metz addresses over and over – Auschwitz.
Thesis: The memory of Auschwitz has been supplanted within the church by the secularized American hope to the detriment of the church.
Our culture, as Metz shows, has become increasingly hominized (The Future of Faith 57). While it seems we may be shifting back towards a more cosmological idea due to scientific discoveries, these breakthroughs have had little effect on some aspects of secularization, namely an ideological, secularized hope – a hope that clings to the idea that humanity will overcome, thrive, and conquer future frontiers. It is the secularized and nationalistic hope provided by Reagan (one of many proponents) that has become a controlling ideology that Metz warned against (The Future of Faith 68). This ideology of hope has taken hold of even the American church by mimicking the eschatological Christian hope and, instead of liberating, the ideology holds the globe within Americana’s oppressive custody (Theology in Struggle 55). Thus the American church has ceased remembering the atrocities of Auschwitz for the hope of American promises.
It is no wonder that the church has largely ignored Darfur, for the American church has found its hope in the bright, anthropological destiny preached by Reagan. Consequently the church has held to theologies that remain unchanged and unresponsive in the face of Darfur, much less other civil wars, starvation, and drought. We have in turn lost the “messianic praxis” of “discipleship, conversion, love, and suffering”, because we have accepted the secularized notion of a nationalistic hope (Christians and Jews 27). With unchanged theologies and the forgetting of Christian suffering, the church does not act in its prophetic role to the world. The secularization of the church through a form of secular hominization has caused us to lose not only the idea of suffering with and for others, but we have also lost ourselves.
Summary for the net: when the church here rejects the Christological hope of the cross and the future for the nationalistic hope of america (we accept the secular hope), we lose our ability to reach out for those who are oppressed — this acceptance of the American dream (and American “Manifest Destiny) by the church is killing our ability to be the church.
This paper covers about the first hundred and forty pages of Theology of Hope.
Thesis: Moltmann’s vision consists of hopeful promises revealed in dynamic history finding their culmination in the now, future and ultimate horizon.
The foundation of Moltmann’s vision (hope) comes from the revelatory promises of God; hope, driving theology, is rooted in promise, and therefore, capable of standing in “contradiction to the reality” of present experience (18). These promises come in the midst of history, but at the same time orient a believer from the “dawn” of the day, looking forward with expectation although still mired in one’s circumstances (31).
Since history is framed by promise, history is in flux, which is to say, that history is dynamic. The fulfillment of promise continues throughout history, and this “overspill” changes history from merely singularly event oriented to a continual fulfillment or revelation of the promise (107-108). Thus the active story that history tells, framed by promises, is re-imagined at every fulfillment; the promises become larger and larger as the fulfillments become bigger and bigger (105). Thus history, or the representation of the past, is changed continually in light of the revelation of promise/fulfillment and in turn “will lead us to open ourselves and our present to that same future” (108).
However, hope is not merely related to promises, but also fuels our human faith, in fact, hope and faith are inextricably linked. Faith, our belief in the divine, “hopes in order to know what it believes”; it is hope, from our faith, that drives our vitality so necessary to faith (33). Thus faith and the hope of the future explodes the future into the present and the future to come, resulting in church engagement with the world funneling the vision of the future – “righteousness, freedom and humanity” – into the current events of today (22).
Here again is another thesis and taken from Theology of Hope.
Thesis: Moltmann’s term “eschatological” is defined by a forward-looking, Christological dialectic between the cross and resurrection within the kingdom of God.
To understand the cross and resurrection, particularly as the basis for eschatology and the breaking in of the kingdom, it is necessary to understand death and re-life as a theological category, as opposed to an andocentric idea; cross and resurrection is fundamentally not existential (Bultmann) or historical (Schweitzer), but rather an action that makes our history and locating us within a promise and identity, while pushing us toward the eschaton (165, 181).
The heart of Moltmann’s use of the term “eschatological” is found in the Christological dialectic of the cross and resurrection (200), this is to say, that both the suffering death and glorious resurrection retain an equal amount of weight and continually informing the other, all the while, both push us forward into the promise and hope of the future horizon (211). Simply put, “one could say that Christian eschatology is the study of the tendency of the resurrection and future of Christ” (195).
While eschatology finds its specific understanding in the cross and resurrection, we cannot rightly understand the death and resurrection without the greater foundation of the kingdom of God (216). It is in the cross and resurrection that the kingdom and its promises are fulfilled and proclaimed; the kingdom breaks into the current reality in proclamation and action about and through the cross and resurrection (the conquering of death, 210-211), and at the same time speaking of a future through the “mission and love of Christ” through cross and resurrection (220).
Eschatological also has another aspect that is inherently participatory; we proclaim Christ as the Christ who proclaimed the kingdom (219), while at the same time we imbue the missional idea in Christ-like suffering and solidarity (211, 212, 224).