Moltmann Monday: 5 Dimensions of Messianic Activity

Happy Moltmann Monday! Today’s excerpt comes from The Politics of Discipleship and Discipleship in Politics. It’s a collection of lectures by Moltmann and responses by Mennonite scholars. I’m bringing you a section from the end of his lecture on “Political Theology and Political Hermeneutics.”

The human person is not a one-dimensional being. He/she always lives and suffers simultaneously in many different dimensions. Christian-messianic activity, therefore, can also not proceed mono-dimensionally but must participate in complex interrelated historical processes and the many dimensions of human experience. I will identify here the fundamental dimensions in which messianic activity must take place today:

1. The struggle for economic justice against the exploitation of some people against other people.

2. The struggle for human rights and freedom against the political oppression of some people by other people (be it patriarchalism, nationalism, or other such isms).

3. The struggle for human solidarity against the cultural alienation of people from people.

4. The struggle for ecological peace with nature against the industrial destruction of nature by humans.

5. The struggle for the meaning of life against apathy in personal life.

These five dimensions, in which messianic activity is needed, hang so closely together that one cannot be without the others; there can be no economic justice without political freedom, no improvement of socio-economic conditions without the conquering of cultural alienation, and no ecological peace or economic justice without personal conversion from apathy to hope. Whoever does not understand salvation in this “catholic” sense and does not strive for this comprehensive anticipation, does not understand salvation holistically.

Well…that’s pretty straightforward, you guys. Moltmann is simply saying that if we call ourselves Christians, these are all matters that should matter to us, because they are all about salvation- not just of us, which it is never supposed to be limited to, but to all the world and all of creation. So, in every way that we are in relationship with each other and with the earth, we can practice our faith. We can do things and live in ways that show the coming Reign/Realm of God. And, that’s all “messianic activity” means. It’s just a way of saying “those things that Christ brings into the world that we are to continue bringing into the world.” Jesus-y things, in other words. Stuff the Church- aka the people of God, not buildings or institutions- is to be about.

Don’t exploit each other. Don’t oppress each other. Don’t be alienated from each other. Don’t destroy the earth. Don’t be apathetic.

Or, because I would rather state these positively because you can start to see how we’re called to do this because there’s JOY waiting in there when we do them, we can say:

Love one another as we have been loved. Respect one another and honor one another’s freedom. Recognize we are all connected, and live accordingly. Be grateful good stewards of the earth and all the resources she gives us. And always, always, always have hope.

It’s a good list.

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