Moltmann, The Power of the Powerless

Jurgen Moltmann is a German theologian that I have been wanting to read for quite some time.  When you read books by people who are engaging the postmodern conversation in the context of Christianity, Moltmann is a name that they read.  So, for me, it’s kind of a, getting to the source type of book.

I picked this book up from Powell’s in Portland, it was one of two Moltmann books that they had in stock, both used.  The Power of the Powerless is a collection of sermons from Moltmann along the theme of liberation theology.  I wouldn’t put myself in the liberation theology camp, but it is an interesting area of study to me.

Here’s som thought provoking quotes:

  • p.4, “God has conferred his mandate to rule over world-wide creation on human beings in general…This means that people can only exercise it together
  • p.7, “Anyone who disregards the rights of the earth, ‘exploiting’ mineral resources and ‘exterminating’ animals or plants, is an evildoer and an agent of the Flood.”
  • p.7, “Religion begins with eating.  Eating is a religious activity, in both the Old and New Testaments.”
  • p.10, “The promise never again to destroy all flesh because of its wickedness is an unconditional promise on God’s part.  It is God’s indestructible ‘Yes’ to his creation.  The history of nature, with its changes and chances, and the uncertain history of humanity, both rest on the foundation of God’s unconditional will.  Natural catastrophes and the human catastrophes of history cannot annul this divine ‘Yes’ to creation and to the human person.  Not even human wickedness can thwart the creator’s will towards his creation.  God remains true to the earth, for God remains true to himself.  He cannot deny himself.  What does this mean for God?  It means an infinite readiness for suffering.  God has to endure wickedness on earth without avenging the deed or annihilating the doer of it.  He has to wait, as the Father of the Prodigal Son waited, until the son turns back.  In infinite patience he has to woo human beings to this new beginning.  The unbounded suffering of the divine love is the concrete form of God’s faithfulness to the earth.  And in the image of ‘the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world’ we know the price that has to be paid for this divine faithfulness, the faithfulness of the God from whom everything lives that has breath.”
  • p.39, “Every church is an interim, a provisional measure, scaffolding.  When the kingdom of God comes, the scaffolding will be abolished.  Every true theology knows that it is fragmentary: the person who looks on God with a pure heart no longer needs concepts about him.”
  • p.40, “Anyone who is afraid of freedom is afraid of God.  Anyone who suppresses freedom suppresses God.”
  • p.41, “Anyone who relies on people is all too often left in the lurch.  This was God’s experience in the covenant he made with human beings.”
  • p.70, “The great moments are the ones when, with Jesus, we take up our cross, when with him we descend and enter into the world’s suffering, into temptation and into bodily obedience.  For here we shall be brought into harmony with the will of God… None of us will be delivered from the world, but we shall all be chosen for this world.”

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