Moltmann on the Theology of the Cross

Reading Moltmann can be many things, but provocative is always one of them. This extract from The Crucified God challenges us to recognize the scandal of the cross:

“To be radical, of course, means to seize a matter at its roots. More radical Christian faith can only mean committing oneself without reserve to the ‘crucified God’. This is dangerous. It does not promise the confirmation of one’s own conceptions, hopes and good intentions. It promises first of all the pain of repentance and fundamental change. It offers no  recipe for success. But it brings a confrontation with the truth. It is not positive and constructive, but is in the first instance critical and destructive. It does not bring man into a better harmony with himself and his environment, but into contradiction with himself and his environment. It does not create a home for him and integrate him into society, but makes him ‘homeless’ and ‘rootless’, and liberates him in following Christ who was homeless and rootless. The ‘religion of the cross’, if faith on this basis can ever be so called, does not elevate and edify in the usual sense, but scandalizes; and most of all it scandalizes one’s ‘co-religionists’ in one’s own circle. But by this scandal, it brings liberation into a world which is not free. For ultimately, in a civilization which is constructed on the principal of achievement and enjoyment, and therefore makes pain and death a private matter, excluded from its public life, so that in the final issue the world must no longer be experienced as offering resistance, there is nothing so unpopular as for the crucified God to be made a present reality through faith. It alienates alienated men, who have come to terms with alienation. And yet this faith, with its consequences, is capable of setting men free from their cultural illusions, releasing them from the involvements which blind them, and confronting them with the truth of their existence and their society. Before there can be correspondence and agreements between faith and the surrounding world, there must first be the painful demonstration of truth in the midst of untruth. In this pain we experience reality outside ourselves, which we have not made or thought out for ourselves. The pain arouses a love which can no longer be indifferent, but seeks out its opposite, what is ugly and unworthy of love, in order to love it. This pain breaks down the apathy in which everything is a matter of indifference, because everything one meets is always the same and familiar.” (39)

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Published in: on December 4, 2010 at 5:45 pm  Leave a Comment  

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