I am Juliette (she/her), 25 years old and I come from France. I am currently studying Protestant Theology between Strasbourg (France) and Berlin (Germany) in order to become a pastor in my church: the Reformed and Lutheran Protestant Churches of Alsace-Moselle. Before that, I studied political science, cultural science, and gender studies. I am particularly interested in feminist and queer theology. But what I really love is drinking coffee and eating cake.
The topic of nationalism concerns me because I think that in France, because of the separation of religions and the State, our churches are scared to raise their voice in public and to be a counter-power to the nationalistic and discriminatory policies in place. For me, it is important as churches to dare to take an interest in politics and to have an opinion on it. Because it is not our nationalities that bind us as Christians but our faith, let us dare to strive for less nationalism and more solidarity with our neighbors, even if they are not from the same country.
I was born in an atheistic family. God came into my life only 4 years ago. To deepen my knowledgde about religion, I started studying at the Faculty for Protestant Theology and Religion Studies (FPTR) in Brussels. In the Master programme, we worked during this academic year around the themes ‘identity’ and ‘polarisation’, which are closely linked to the general topic of the Youth Theology conference in Vienna.
Before studying theology, I finished a Master in International Relations and Diplomacy at the University of Antwerp (2013). Currently working in a European Institution, I am familiar with the ongoing discussions about cosmopolitism versus nationalism. For this reason it’s very interesting for me to see how my academic backgrounds from the fields of political science and theology are coming together during this conference.
The United Protestant Church in Belgium (VPKB/EPUB), from which I am a member, shows furthermore that it is possible to merge several Protestant denominations in one broader church, to be open to the world and work together with people using different national languages (Dutch, French and German), in a country where nevertheless nationalistic tendencies are popular in the political polls.
My Name is Frederik Grüneberg, I am 29 years old, I am from Germany and I am studying theology for diploma. Before I studied this, I have already studied Politcal Science and History and Theology of the Christianity for Bachelor. In my studies of Politcal Science I have written a Bachelor Thesis about Nationalism in South Africa after 1994. Some of the thoughts we’re based on my experience of a year in South Africa between school and University. The topic of Nationalism was also very presented in my school and Politcal comittment. I am a Person who is very aware of the danger of nationalism. As a Person who have lived in two different countries which a rich History and Present of Nationalism and visited a Lot of different countries the concept of cosmopolitanism is more suited for me.
Therefore I am very interested in this conference and looking forward to the discussions and Outputs of this conference.
The Forum Young Theology in Europe is starting the second part of it´s activites. Interested parties can apply for the conference, which takes place in Vienna on 11th to 14th May 2022 until 25 February. The conference will reflect on and deepen the findings of the lecture topics and produce concrete output for practice in school, parish and civil society debates. There, the results of the digital evening lectures on the topic „Protestantism between nationalism and cosmopolitanism“ will be deepened and bundled.
Peter Morée, church historian from Prague, gave a lecture on the challenging topic „Protestant Churches under the Influence of Nationalism“ at the Digital Academy on December 2, 2021. In two hours, more than 20 participants experienced theoretical impulses that gained concrete form through examples from art and architecture. In small groups, the participants from numerous European countries had several opportunities for direct exchange. The moderator of the evening was Oliver Engelhardt (CPCE).
The theme of the 2nd lecture on 18 November was identity as a Christian community, which is not always constructed in the same way. It contains not only confessional, but also regional, social and historical elements. A look at ecumenism, in the Protestant-Orthodox comparison, shows us the different approaches to national and global identity, which are sometimes congruent, sometimes divergent. The speakers were Prof. Dr Stefan Tobler (ZETO, Sibiu) and Katerina Pekridou (CEC Brussels).
“What I am dreaming of are groups like this, that develop an understanding of the different ethical traditions in Europe” said Lukas David Meyer about the 1st lecture of the Digital Academy of Young Theology, with which the virtual conference on Protestantism between Nationalism and Cosmopolitanism was launched on 4 November. Meyer teaches at the Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich (LMU). 32 participants from 9 European countries as well as Chile discussed on the screens about Church and Identity with the theological and sociological Aspects.
Many Protestant churches are currently experiencing changes that deeply affect their self-understanding, social status and internal structure. Public discourses in Europe are shaped more and more by nationalist positions. This has an impact not only political debates of the respective societies; it also challenges the Protestant churches as agents in these societies. On the one hand, Protestant churches are rooted within their own historically and culturally moulded narratives. On the other hand, as Protestants they are part of a strong tradition (European Protestantism) and of worldwide Christianity. Which challenges arise for Protestant churches facing strengthening nationalisms? What signifi cance do they attribute to their own national anchorage concerning their Protestant identity?