“For me, theology was, and still is, an adventure of ideas. It is an open, inviting path. Right down to the present day, it has continued to fascinate my mental and spiritual curiosity. My theological methods therefore grew up as I came to have a perception of the objects of theological thought. The road emerged only as I walked it. And my attempts to walk it are of course determined by my personal biography, and by the political context and historical kairos in which I live. I have searched for the right word for the right time. I have not written any theological textbooks. The articles I have contributed to various theological dictionaries and encyclopaedias [sic?] have seldom been particularly successful. I was not concerned to collect up correct theological notions, because I was much too preoccupied with the perception of new perspectives and unfamiliar aspects. I have no wish to be a disciple of the great theological masters of past generations. Nor have I any desire to found a new theological school. My whole concern has been, and still is, to stimulate other people to discover theology for themselves – to have their own theological ideas, and to set out along their own paths.” (xv)
“There are theological systems which do not merely aim to be free of contradictions in themselves, but which aspire to remain uncontroverted from outside too. In these systems, theology becomes a strategy of self-immunization. Systems of this kind are like fortresses which cannot be broken into, but cannot be broken out of either, and which are therefore in the end starved out through public disinterest. I have no wish to live in any such fortress, and I have resisted the temptation to view Barth’s Church Dogmatics as a fortress of that kind, as the Barthians do. For it is not a fortress, even if some of his followers let Barth think for them, so as to feel safe with him, while other people put him down as neo-orthodox, so as not to have to read him and grapple with what he says. My image of theology is not ‘A safe stronghold is our God’. It is the exodus of God’s people, on the rod to the promised land of liberty where God dwells. For me, theology is not an inner-church or postmodern dogmatics, designed only for one’s own community of faith. For is it for me the cultural study of the civil religion of bourgeois society. Theology springs out of a passion for God’s kingdom and its righteousness and justice, and this passion grows up in the community of Christ. In that passion, theology becomes imagination for the kingdom of God in the world, and for the world in God’s kingdom.” (xx)
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Jürgen Moltmann on Theology and Barth
The following quotations are self-reflective comments made by Jürgen Moltmann in the preface to his Experiences in Theology: Ways and Forms of Christian Theology (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2000). These comments illuminate Moltmann’s work, even if one disagrees with their content.