I’m reading Juergen Moltmann’s autobiography in preparation for my course in South Africa. In 1988, he says, a curious thing happened. A Protestant congregation in Sexau, Germany, which until that time he had never heard of, conferred on him the “Congregational Prize for Comprehensible Theology.” It means what it says. It’s a prize given to an academic theologian who writes in a way that is comprehensible to people in the local congregation. It was established by a former pastor, and endowed with 2,000 Deutche Marks and crates of red wine from the Sexau wine country. Moltmann says, “For an academically spoiled theologian like myself, this was of course a special honor, and an incentive to remain comprehensible in the future. So we drove through the Black Forest and reached this little congregation in the midst of the great vineyards. I gave a lecture to the congregation about peace, and on Sunday preached in their church. A farmer’s wife read a long speech, and then we addressed ourselves to lunch (with local specialties) and to the wine.”
I love this! Will some congregation please establish an English-Language Prize for Comprehensible Theology? I’ll contribute the first bottle of cabernet to the endowment.