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Understanding The Kingdom of God as Action.

On June 3rd, after 98 years on this earth, Jürgen Moltmann entered his eternal rest. Moltmann's legacy is impossible to summarize in a handful of paragraphs. The parallels between Moltmann and Cardijn are lessons we continue to learn as we live our lives.

Both men understood the Kingdom of God as an action in society.  Moltmann produced more than forty theological monographs as a prolific writer over six decades. He was on par with Barth, Rahner, and Pannenberg as one of the great Christian systematic theologians of the twentieth century. Those of us who work for the greater good of the kingdom of God should spend some time reading Moltmann and discover the parallels with Cardijn. To Observe, To Judge, To Act is at the heart of his mission. As you read him, discover how one piece or another of his theology slips into your head, heart, and soul. Like Cardijn, his demeanor was humble and self-effacing. Both men were revolutionary: Moltmann was a writer, Cardijn was an organizer, and when you read Moltmann, just like reading about Cardijn, you find yourself saying, "This changes everything."


Moltmann's and Cardijn's theology was living, the understanding that the kingdom of God arises from within the challenge of all of our lives each day, and it is there we find the faithful. Moltmann's work resists categorization. He is often called a German Reformed theologian, but he embraced ecumenism, and his theology was not defined by commitment to the dogma of any denomination. He espoused liberation theology and social trinitarianism. He made essential contributions on the topics of eschatology, divine passibility, and, most significantly, what it meant to take action in society to bring about the kingdom of God; like Cardijn in many ways, he had little time for the technicalities of academic theology, especially when those technicalities were divorced from the daily lives of the people. For Moltmann, theology was about the lived consequences.  


Moltmann, like Cardijn, always focused on questions of ethics and social justice, not from a platform of ideology, an ivory tower, or political partisanship but from living the gospel and understanding the teachings of Jesus—the Kingdom of God, here and now.


Moltmann's most influential work is his Theology of Hope, published in English in 1967 and in paperback in 1993. In it, Moltmann proposes that Christian hope should be the central motivating factor in the life and thought of the church and each Christian. For Moltmann, the whole creation longs for renewal by the "God of Hope."


"Joy is the meaning of human life. Human beings were created to have joy in God," is a quote from The Living God and the Fullness of Life.


Depending on your location on this planet, I highly recommend reading both books this summer or winter. See the parallels, discover the parallels, and ACT for the greater good of the Kingdom of God.


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