Writings of Branko's Blog

All around Central Europe


Faith in European Politics [blog]

This is the theme title of the latest VISTA web-magazine. Published by the Nova Research Centre of the Redcliffe College in UK quarterly, and distributed free via e-mails and on-line,Vista brings fresh views and appealing discussions to its readers.

Check the previous issues: Migration in Europe, Islam in Europe, Secularization in Europe, and Youth in Europe. British based but oriented toward Europe, relying on research-based information, discussing mission in Europe, offering links and resources, this is why I consider Vista to be quite valuable.

Here is what the Editorial says: “All too often when the church has been in a position of power the result has been a leavened or corrupted Christianity rather than a sanctified society. Perhaps it is not surprising therefore that many Christians, whether by conviction or default, are disengaged from politics… The prayer of Christ in John 17 would suggest that all those who follow Him must wrestle with the challenge of being ‘in the world’ ‘but not of the world’. We simply have no choice about whether we are engaged in the political world of not, only whether we leaven the world or are leavened by it”.

Are you interested in politics? Happy reading!

VISTA Header

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Challenges to Christian Churches in a Pluralistic Society [blog]

Last summer I had a privilege to meet with Ove Conrad Hanssen, from Stavanger, Norway and to spend a nice afternoon in Berlin with him speaking about various church traditions and Christian faith expressions. Ove and I participated at the FEET conference and then I had some extra time to spend before leaving for Slovakia.

Missions magazine from the school Ove is teaching, Misjonshøgskolen

Ove shared with me his paper where he discussed the church situation in the North of Europe. From a historical perspective, Nordic peoples were evangelized through a process of three stages: early missionaries aiming at kings and chieftains; then bringing Christian values into the legal framework of these kingdoms, and finally, through a period of 200-300 years, when these values were integrated in and began to dominate the life of common people.

But in the last decades, the process has been reversed. The church attendance came into decline, the societal influence of Christian teaching was rather marginalized, and ordinary people started to live according to their own standards. Laws were changed and King’s headship over the Lutheran church is more less a formality. Ove says that many Christians nowadays experience themselves as exiles in their European nations, thus talking about an ideological and secular exile of today.

“But, if we should even dear to think about, and speak about, a re-evangelization ofEurope, how might that happen? What kind of theology, what kind of faith, and what kind of strategies would we need for such an enterprise? … A reinforced Christian influence would then, probably, have to happen through a church that functions as a dynamic grassroots movement, and a theology that could develop and support a church of that kind.”

In Ove’s local church inStavanger, three areas of the ministry of Jesus are being sought to reflect:

  1. His kindness, grace and compassion in relation to all kinds of people! (Ove comments here that some aspects of this theology of kindness and friendliness can be found in Miroslav Volf’s Exclusion and Embrace);
  2. His wisdom that radiates from His teaching and the way he responds to his adversaries. Can this be developed into a theology of wise listening and conversation?
  3. His power and authority seen into his healings and wonders. How about a holistic theology of healing.

Ove suggests, at the end of his excellent although short paper, that a grassroots church of Northern Europe would share “a genuine concern for justice in society, for the poor of the world, and for the environment and pollution of the earth.”

More about Ove and his ministry at http://www.mhs.no/person?7

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The Good News Center [blog]

It has been 13 years since some Christians started the Good News Center, in Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania. Soon after beginning, the ministry took over production of radio broadcasts, but also organization and publishing of music records. During the last decade, and under the leadership of DJ Remis (Disciple of Jesus), GNC has grown into a media center working with and for young people.


2010 poster

For a decade now, they organize SIELOS, which is an annual Christian music festival that travels from city to city in Lithuania and brings to the public scene young and inexperienced people having something to share with others. Remis and his team know how to reach the younger generation. Every year they have up to 2,000 youth joining for this 2 day event!


One feature of their work, however, is quite remarkable. GNC is having a data base of 4,000 mobile phone subscribers to their daily Bible verse and a reminder of the radio broadcast for that day. Every one on this list receives an SMS with the information, and it is free, not ‘free’. This way, GNC is daily engaged in lives of people interested in their work. They are close to them and in such a way constitute a community of like-minded people. I think some smart people call it social networking, but they thought it originated with the FB or YouTube or alike. I think GNC did it years ago already…

And if you are more into the materials, you can subscribe at their website and get scripts of the programs you liked, or missed, or need for some other usage. Of course, you can listen to programs on-line; get the information about the latest music products in Lithuania, or just listen to your favorite preacher at www.biblijos.lt

How do you build your own community? Geros dienos mieli skaitytojai!