Monday, September 11, 2006

Dissertation Blues: Redisovering Theology of Hope

I am a struggling post grad theology student and for me to get that elusive degree I have to finish my dissertation which until now all I can manage to write is a few pages of the first chapter. The subject of my dissertation is Jurgen Moltmann’s thought on the Holy Spirit. Moltmann himself calls his theological contribution on the Holy Spirit holistic pneumatology. I observed that Moltmann in his later works become more and more fascinated with the theological dialogue on the work and activities of the Holy Spirit not only in the church but also to the world and especially in God’s creation.

His developing thoughts about the activities of the Holy Spirit inspire me to explore his pneumatological thoughts and link them with the predominantly animistic worldview of the Asian people. Although this is not apparent, many Asian scholars and theologians believe that people in Asia are still and inherently animistic. That is even though they are now Christians, Buddhists and Muslims which superficially reject animistic beliefs in their systems.

So I believe, in order for me to really understand Moltmann’s thought I have to read his seminal work, The Theology of Hope. I tried to read this book when I was still at the seminary. I borrowed the only copy of the book from the library and kept renewing week after week but I failed to really read it seriously. The reason? I find it to be a hard reading. Especially in the portions where Moltmann interacts with theologians and philosophers whose works I was not familiar with. So after reading few pages, my mind would start to wander until I decided that there was no point really in keeping the book at all in my table.

Now that I am here in the mission field, I am able to muster up enough determination to at least type few words in the first chapter of my paper. Since I don’t have a copy of Moltmann’s Theology of Hope with me I downloaded the book from Religion-Online and print it out in my Canon iP1000 printer so that can read it when I am not able to use my computer which I am sharing with my three children.

Reading Moltmann from the mission field, however, makes me look at it in a fresh perspective. Although the book is still a hard reading for me, I discovered that Moltmann have many good things to say about mission—mission of Christ, Christian mission and missionary activities among others. I still skipped pages that I find way above my head, but I devoured pages that touch my interest in missions and theology that are relevant to our everyday experience in the missions field.

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