We write short reflections on the readings for my constructive theology class… this reflection is on chapter 8 in The Spirit of Life by JÃ¼rgen Moltmann:
The society in which I operate, tells their successful stories through the lens of individualism and achievement.Â The successful woman is the one who, through no help of anyone else, rises to the top through education, status, and achievement, in addition to having a loving and adoring family.Â Moltmann states that Wesleyâ€™s message was to an â€œindustrial society is: ‘produce more – consume more’. But today the cost incurred by this maxim is greater than the profit.â€Â I do not see any examples in my own society of any â€œcost incurredâ€ being too great for the â€œprofitâ€ of success.Â Even elementary students berate themselves and destroy their bodies through the volition of their parents to â€œget ahead.â€
Moltmann demands a new metaphor for todayâ€™s Christians.Â He proposes connecting humans to the â€œweb of lifeâ€ writing against our individualism.Â Many of his metaphor maintains their relevance for today, but I do not agree with the idea that we must start with the problems of our society and discover a Christian message that will solve, fix, or even heal them.Â Western society is individualistic, violent, and suffering from death, but we hear enough about destruction in political campaigns, do we need to hear it from our pulpits!?Â The Holy Spirit is a creative energy, which gives freedom from fear.Â Creative energy occurs when people gather to create, like a play or movie; each person works on their particular role in community to put on a production for a gathered community.Â The Holy Spirit is not like a political campaign that targets an enemy and rallies people through fear to take a side.
Like Jesus, the church must name hurt and oppression in the world, but healing comes through naming people who are suffering as blessed (Matthew 5:1-11).Â I propose we reverse the question: â€œFor what sicknesses of our time will the Christian life prove to be healing?â€ and begin with â€œHow do we share healing in Christ?â€
I continue to reflect on how to share love instead of fear in our churches, speaking for instead of against something.Â There is not an easy fix to my ponderings… but I will like digging a little through Bart:
“That man is against God is important and must be taken seriously. But what is far more important and must be taken far more seriously is that in Jesus Christ God is for man. And it is *only* in light of the second fact that the importance and seriousness of the first can be seen.”Â – Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics II.2, 154.