As we talk about responsibility, hope and visibility on the final full day of our conference, I am mindful that just two days ago we stood in front of Bonhoeffer, who wrote that we are only free in as much as we are ‘bound to the other’. (creation and fall, 1933).
As Britain prepares to leave the EU, a reality that is deeply painful for many of us, the Church must think again about our responsibilities in relation to the state.
We have taken EU law, such as human rights law, for granted, allowing the Church to assume the norms of love and justice as realities that are foundational our voice in society.
Tomorrow, these foundations will crumble. Christians, as well as others, will need to speak out for the values of love and justice, mandating a new constitutional framework which can ground our care for the other and, as such, our freedom.
The changing dynamics of religious identities in Europe.
Here in Wrocław the view from the balcony of Centrum Ewangelickie, where we are gathered together as young protestant theologians in Europe, exemplifies the contemporary shifting or dancing of identities: personal, religious and cultural.
The postmodern subjective turn has recontextualised our personal identities and cultural assumptions leading to upheaval in the religious landscape.
Many Christians are afraid: of declining numbers, dwindling hope, divisive opinion and, if we are really honest, the possibility that the institutional church(es) and their traditions will die.
Here, though, the overwhelming feeling is one of hope. Be it through changing attitudes to LGBT people, the genuine spiritual seeking of young people, political engagement, the emergence of new ways of being church or simply the chance to converse together, we witness to the dancing of the Spirit, which draws us towards the future.
Our individual and cultural identities are different and yet we are in communion. We are unity and diversity. We talk, drink, laugh, pray and mourn together. We seek reformation, change, growth in Spirit and understanding. And as we walk together, following in the footsteps of Jesus, we are the body of Christ.
We are ecclesia.
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