At the May 2022 meeting of the Forum Young Theology in Europe 20 participants produced various workshop outputs on the theme of nationalism and cosmopolitism. First, they developed nine theses on inclusive identity in Christ. With a spiritual guide for worship and a lesson outline, the participants show how to put the theses into practice. Finally, they composed and wrote a canon.
“Every person has local and/or regional roots and lives in such a context…” This is the sentence with which nine theses begin that the Forum Young Theology put forward at its conference in Vienna. With it, the young theologians acknowledge that nationalism exists. Belonging to the church does not mean that one has to leave behind one’s national, regional, sexual or any other identity. However, nationalism can become “toxic when it becomes exclusive and is used to manipulate a people.”
The participants of the conference also compiled an inspiring collection of building blocks for worship services, you can work with, mix and match. The authors used these to show where people from different cultures meet in the Bible. We Christians, they say, are specifically invited to “celebrate our linguistic, tribal and ethnic differences in church and worship as well as in everyday life.” The Gospel and common love is expressed in different ways in every nation, tribe, people and language, they say.
The conference team has also developed a lessonoutline for 13 to 15-year-olds. The goal of this lesson is to sensitize young people to how their identity can be seen from an inner and outer perspective. Using examples of images provided, the young people ask themselves what has shaped them, what has made them who they are, where they come from, and what their roots are. They select images, engage in conversation, and present to the class.
Download the results document