it's hard to put into words where i'm at right now. i'm in chicago -- at Libertyville Presbyterian Church. and Jurgen Moltmann is here for a couple-day 'conversation' mini-conference. Jurgen Moltmann. here. speaking to us. speaking with us. i can't even explain how honored i am to be here. so excited to savor his words - as they come our of his heart, through his mouth; and through my ears and into my soul.
last night was the opening session. Moltmann was not present for this. but a man by the name of John Franke -- a theologian and professor in PA. he gave some opening remarks that were pretty spot-on. John talked about the job of theology: that this job is to ask the question "What is God doing?", and to meditate on this and put the findings into action. asking questions is key. and asking questions leads to a plurality in the things that we as Christians think. he posed the perplex picture of how easily and readily Christians disagree with each other -- and asked, "How do we make sense of that?" his answer, as a result of many years of wrestling, is that we as a Christian body, are characterized by this vast diversity -- we are characterized by a plurality of truth.
franke went on to talk about this concept as an irreducible entity -- this plurality is one that cannot and should not be reduced to "this is how it should be"s. that the vast and complex nature of it is a gift from God to the church. this is an interesting concept -- because in my experience, this plurality of opinions and thoughts often leads to arguments and divisions rather than a loving community. so it is particularly interesting to think about this plurality as something that could in fact be just the opposite of my suppositions and experience.
franke is firm in his opinion that theology is not about the journey toward one right system of doctrine. rather, it is about a plurality of truth: about the multiplicity of ways that God works/is at work. the obvious question is begged: then does ANYthing go? as obvious the question is the answer: of course not. we need to be after what is on track with God's truth. his prayer in this regard is this: "LORD, don't ever let my theology keep me from seeing what you are doing in the world." this is humble prayer of guidance in seeking after God. and his insistence in his seeking is that it takes the whole church to paint the picture of the gospel. and it is with these thoughts that we begin our time with Jurgen Moltmann over these next couple days.