CHRONICLE: Either other Whether a refugee, a beggar or a neighbor, church holidays are relevant and challenging for us today.
Managing Director of the Church Dialogue Center in Stavanger
Silje Kvamme Bjørndal
General Secretary, Areopagus
This is the topic of discussion. The post was written by an external contributor, quality assurance by the discussion section of Aftenbladet. Opinions and analyzes are the property of the author.
Arild Vøllestad recently asked the question “Why do we celebrate May 17th?” in this newspaper. We’ve just celebrated Pentecost, and it’s often an annual exercise for the media to ask, “Why do we celebrate Pentecost?”
In a secular society like ours, it’s increasingly difficult to get church-based answers from the “man in the street,” and maybe that’s not dangerous either? We know that means a very long weekend, preferably with welcome time for friends, family, gardening, or a trip to the cabin.
But in the same way that Volstad pointed out what we miss if we reduce National Day to children’s trains and ice cream, we will point out some of the things our society misses if the church holiday is reduced to extra time for gardening and cottage life.
Arild Volstad: “Is today’s May 17th celebration divorced from historical facts?”
The role and mission of the Church is related to spreading the Gospel. The “gospel” is the story of Jesus, as we find Him in the Bible and through the Church’s tradition of communion. Church communications consist of a wide range of “instruments”, in which the service itself and the sermon are central, but are, for example, complemented by deacon services, cultural expression and youth work.
particularly related to Pentecost It is, however, the Church Dialogue task. For Pentecost is the story of the beginning of the Church, yes, — but Pentecost is also the story of the miracle of language that made it possible for people to understand each other, even if they came from different backgrounds and spoke different languages.
Stavanger in the spirit of Pentecost
In Stavanger, dialogue associated with religious and cultural encounters has a long history, not least because of the city’s international connections through missions, trade, shipping and oil. Today Stavanger is an international city with 22 percent of the population from multicultural backgrounds representing 170 different nationalities.
It is also here in Stavanger that Norway’s third institution of higher education was created in 1843, after Krigsskolen and the University of Oslo: the Mission School, later the Mission College, which in 2016 merged into the Scientific College VID.
From the beginning, the students at Mission School were prepared for greater religious diversity than they had known at home. The Municipality of Stavanger takes protecting our diversity very seriously, including by supporting the important work of the Church Dialogue Center in Stavanger. The Dialogue Center creates spaces and conversations where we can come together to get to know and understand each other the others Religious and existential “languages”. In other words, he worked in the spirit of Pentecost.
On what we build
Likewise, the holidays of Christmas and Easter contain some supporting framework narratives that are crucial to understanding our history and values, as well as our language and intuition. This basic understanding is managed by the Church in order to function as an open and engaging community. The Church’s role should not be to assert national identity, but to challenge the introverted focus to continually turn its gaze beyond itself and connect with the other. also other He is the refugee, the beggar, the neighbor or God Himself. The Bible story about Jesus and his parents is a story about a family on the run from a system that wants to take the lives of male children. Church holidays are relevant and challenging for us today.
Our claim is that it also applies to a secular society like ours. All societies are supported by some values and narratives. We are convinced that the Church still plays an important role in transmitting and transmitting the values and stories rooted in the Church around church holidays.
For some in Stavanger, the church’s sacred space and holidays can open up meaningful faith, but for all city dwellers, the church’s conversational mission can do wonders for the Pentecostal language. Where, by listening and learning about each other, we develop mutual understanding, respect and cooperation across our different backgrounds, be it cultural, religious or linguistic.
On June 8, the Center for Church Dialogue in Stavanger and Areopagus invites you, together with VID, to a seminar – Reichelt’s day – which is exactly what we will do with church and spirituality in today’s secular society. We hope that as many people as possible, both churchgoers and non-churchgoers, will find their way there to join in the dialogue.
“Explorer. Unapologetic entrepreneur. Alcohol fanatic. Certified writer. Wannabe tv evangelist. Twitter fanatic. Student. Web scholar. Travel buff.”