The Spirit of Hope – Review
The Spirit of Hope: Theology for a World in Peril, by Jurgen Moltmann. Westminster John Knox Press, November 2019, ISBN: 9780664266639, 230 pages. RRP £20.99 (paperback)
Moltmann opens this book, a sequel to his Theology of Hope, with the challenging statement “We live in troubled times; one can affirm without exaggeration” and questions how we can guide our lives in such a perilous context. However, if the reader expects to find a practical handbook then they will be disappointed. This is Moltmann offering a theological and philosophical perspective on the current global crisis in his own distinctive style. His concern is that humankind is a destructive force, no longer living in harmony with the natural rhythms of the Earth. Moltmann’s approach is essentially Christian but he includes perspectives from world religions which reflect the nature of humanity.
We are told that “today we stand at the end of modern age” and it is now time to reaffirm humanity’s role in a world of God-created habitats. The supreme spiritual being who is present in all of us gives us an inborn love of life and a rejection of those negative notions which bring us to death and destruction. We have thus a common bond in our world religions which, together with our sharing of finite space and resources in our global village, and inevitable interaction in both economics and politics, are a potential basis for global collaboration. The example for such a constructive scenario is the human act of mercy, modelled by the Christian parable of the Good Samaritan.
Moltmann stresses that the world which we share is an unfinished act of creation, completion depending upon human inputs, which should be based on the foundation of the inherent spirituality within us, and not upon secular priorities. He suggests that hope in our future world may be found in living together with common purpose.
When training for ordination, I found Moltmann’s writings invaluable, but I question whether the journey expounded in this book, in essence a journey into the mind, represents a more promising solution than hands-on practical action.
Rev Dr S John Harrison
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