“… The art of loving has to be learnt… Part of love is friendship, which knows how to combine affection with respect for the other person’s liberty. That means respect for the mystery of the other, and his or her still latent and unrealized potentialities. If love stops, we make a fixed image of each other. We judge and pin each other down. That is death. But love liberates us from these images and keeps the future open for the other person. We have hope for each other, so we wait for one another…” ~ Jurgen Moltmann, Jesus Christ for Today’s World, p. 25.
Over the last twenty-years, approx. I’ve kept running into German Reformed Theologian Jurgen Moltmann (b. 1926), mostly via books and journal articles, but also from time-to-time via podcasts and YouTube) A good friend has added a couple of Moltmann’s books to my library, and as I’m come across his books in my travels I’ve also added them to my library, which means I haven’t always read there, but they sit there for easy reference, and to be read at those times when Moltmann’s thinking is alive and I know I need to read a particular book or article.
Most recently I purchased in Whakatane (NZ) a good second-hand copy of Jesus Christ for Today’s World (SCM Press / Westminster, 1994 / I was interested to see that the original purchaser of the book lived in Murray Crescent in Kelowna BC Canada, and now its ended up at the bottom of the world in New Zealand.). I felt compelled to read it straight away, before it goes on my library shelf.
I was a good read, accessible, and a succinct overview of themes important to Moltmann, and in this instance particularly focused on Jesus Christ - Who Is Christ for Us Today? Jesus and the Kingdom of God (my favourite chapter!); The Passion of Christ and the Pain of God; The Anxiety of Christ; The Tortured Christ; The Resurrection of Christ – Hope for the World; The Cosmic Christ; Jesus Between Jews and Christians; and ‘Behold I m=Make All Things New’: The Great Invitation.
I valued the linkages he makes between theology and practice. The earlier chapters are more grounded in the practical than latter ones, but in all, he establishes a good theological framework out of which one can draw their own practical implications.
Here’s a couple of quotes from the book:
“…The church is a liberating community…”
“…The messianic hope can act in two opposite directions. It can draw the hearts of men and women away from the present into the future. Then it makes life in the present empty, and action in the present empty – and of course suffering over present oppression too. But it can also make the future of the messiah present, and fill the present with the consolation and happiness of the coming God. In this case what the messianic idea enforces is the very opposite of ‘deferred life’. It is life in anticipation, in which everything must already be done and accomplished in a final way, because the kingdom of God in its messianic form is already ‘at hand’.
A good starting point for more on Moltmann, or a good starting point if you’re new to Moltmann is Tyndale Seminary’s Jurgen Moltmann Reading Room.