Good writing, with a strong point and with life oozing out.

Moltmannia: Surfing with Jürgen

August 9, 2009

As Theology of Hope continues to gain momentum, Moltmann develops the metaphor of ‘horizon’ in broader and deeper ways. I can’t wait to see where Dr. Moltmann and Tony take us with these ideas in Chicago next month.

The promises of God disclose the horizons of history– whereby ‘horizon’, as it is aptly put by H.G. Gadamer, is not to be understood as ‘a rigid boundary’, but as ‘a thing towards which we are moving, and which moves along with us’. (ToH, 106)

We move with history, and history moves with us– the horizons of past and future are real, but like literal horizons, they are ephemeral. One can move toward or away from a horizon, but one will never arrive at a horizon. ‘History’, then, is seen as a continuum where Israel is able to remember the faithfulness of God initiated (in the past) and to anticipate the faithfulness finally completed (in the future). As such, we should not speak of the facts of history, because to do so would imply an absoluteness, immutability, and finality that is not borne out by a fair understanding of history. Even more to the point, such a static view does not adequately speak to the import of promise, hope, and anticipation that must be part and parcel of a life after God. History is fluid.

All of which (like a lot of things) got me thinking about surfing…

Did a wave happen? Yes, of course. But there is no evidence of it. Once it hits the beach, it is as if it never existed. Yet what is most important about that wave is the experience of it. Such experience is fleeting, ephemeral, and momentary, but it is real.

A fact? I suppose.
Really real? Yes, for it can be measured and recorded.
Provable? I guess.

But experience trumps all of that. A scientist might offer a treatise on the hydraulic features of a wave. A documentarian might capture beautiful images of the wave. And a poet might express the feeling of it. But none of that is as important or interesting as the sensation of being moved by it, or the power expressed in being held down by it, or the joy it gives a child to run into it.

Posted in:

Leave a Reply