TOGETHER FOR EUROPE – Press Release July 1, 2016 (1) •
“Europe at the Moment” was the title of the second day of the Ecumenical Congress of the European Network “Together for Europe” in Munich.
Michael Hochschild, Director of Research and Professor of Modern Thinking at the TimeLab in Paris, underscored the social and political importance of the Movements and spiritual communities in Europe. They are an answer to the question whether hope has a future, because we can see already today how things can be different tomorrow. “We are stuck in a profound systemic crisis of modern society. The operating system of society is no longer working. As Movements you create the necessary trust in the future. However, in order to do this you have to understand and show yourselves far more strongly as cultural creative forces. You need to become ‘social movements’.”
In a time of helplessness and paucity of vision, communities, as they work in “Together for Europe”, offer alternative models of life.
Also on the subject of reconciliation, Hochschild saw the spiritual Movements as an important force at the grassroots of the churches: “The togetherness of the spiritual Movements and their churches plays a decisive role in this. Only a reconciled church can make a credible contribution to reconciliation. When they testify to their cultural creative force, they make it clear that there is an alternative to current crises, indeed there is a tomorrow …”
Herbert Lauenroth, social scientist in the Ecumenical Centre for life at Ottmaring, Augsburg, interpreted Europe’s current situation as a reaction to the fear and insecurity resulting from a feeling of existential narrowness. Yet, at the same time this is precisely the challenge: “Fear of the future can be exactly what forces us to do all in our power to make the future better.” Fear can become a learning experience: “What matters is to choose the unknown, the strange and marginalised as the place to learn our faith.” Through the analysis of the learning experience, which society is currently encountering, a new orientation of the sources of the faith is possible. What is needed is a “thrust reversal” in the sense of a new orientation to the contents of the faith. God then brings about a diminution of fear, and this is the basis for a new and necessary culture of trust in Europe.
Original: German. Translation: Mary Cole, Manchester, UK
More information: www.together4europe.org