Monday, May 5, 2008

How is the Gospel "good news" to the poor?

Food for thought, served up by Jurgen Moltmann:

"What does the gospel bring the poor? And when they are called blessed, as God’s fellow citizens, what does this offer them? Certainly not the end of hunger, and the wealth of a richly blessed life. But it does bring them a new dignity. The poor, the slaves, and the prostitutes are no longer the passive objects of oppression and humiliation; they are now their own conscious subjects, with all the dignity of God’s first children.”

(from The Way of Jesus Christ)


Brian said...

Another really great quote from Moltmann - I read the book in seminary and found it to be quite interesting!

Dan Morehead said...

Granted it's a short quote, but it doesn't seem like this says enough. We could ask: When they are called blessed, who is being addressed? Couldn't the gospel bring followers of Jesus to the poor?

Appreciate the blog.

Dan Morehead
Ph.D. Candidate
Systematic Theology
University of Aberdeen

Kyle A. Roberts said...

Hi Dan,

Thanks for the comment, and point well taken. It makes me think of Jon Sobrino's point that the poor, as the locus of God's presence (the "crucified people"), can teach the ways of God to the wealthy (if they will listen to them).

Joshua David Bau III said...

remember when 'Paul' (or whoever wrote the books to Timothy in first Timothy 1 6:7) said, 'command those who are rich in this present world not to put their trust in wealth but but to put their hope in God" they are commanded to be rich in good deeds.

The church can't wait for the poor to come to them, I see what Moltmann is doing, but I agree with Dan, this doesn't say enough. Not nearly enough, as Bonhoeffer said, the church is only the church when it exists for others. The problem is we construe the other as those in our immediate path. How can we reconstruct our concept of the other to specifically include those on the bottom, specifically those who suffer...

Kyle A. Roberts said...


It's a great question. How can we begin to even notice the marginalized, the poor, especially when we (most white American Christians, it seems) live comfortably distant from them? Not even our "imperial" calendars recognize or include their suffering. The memory of 9-11 and, to a lesser degree, Katrina, will be seared in the American (and Western!) consciousness far longer than the Asian tsunamis, Myanmar and the China earthquakes. The poor are the forgotten ones.

The only way this will change for us Christians is if we begin to recognize that where the poor are, there Jesus is. Not exclusively, but preferentially and, perhaps, sacramentally...