From 3-8 March I had the huge privilege to be part of a theology consultation in Rüdlingen, Switzerland. You are probably asking yourself where on earth is that? So to get all confusion out of the way, Google maps will make it clear that Rüdlingen really exists. (People at the Zurich airport as well were amused to see all the international people going to this place that they had never heard of).http://maps.google.com/maps/place?ftid=0x479a868e75332533:0xd53464678fafc6ab&q=Schaffhausen&hl=af&ved=0CBAQ3g0&sa=X&ei=ttxCUeqEDoyW8AP9nYCYBg
Rüdlingen is a very small village close to the German border and about 25 km from Zurich airport. Besides the great hospitality and the wonderful food we got there we also had some rich theological discussions and experiences.
My fellow intern Viktoria Kóczián and I were invited to join a group of theologians from all over the world to talk about four major themes.
The themes were:
Churches beyond denomination
Places of epiphany
Church and society
The discussions were led by the different theme groups who prepared and discussed a paper and then from that we went into an open discussion about the paper and the theme. What made it such a mind blowing and fresh experience for me was the fact that even though I was at least 16 years younger than the youngest member I could get a feel for different approaches and views. It helped me to have a re-appreciation for the importance of theological thinking in the church and in our tradition. It is something that our identity depends on. Certainly in the 21st century there are some questions regarding the need and place of these discussions with the global network opening up and changing daily with social media and communication making it possible to have theological freedom which is important.
During the consultation I was reminded of the power of our words, how they are received and used in the world. For this reason it is important to never stop thinking nor listening to one another and not to see our own voice and view as the final word. Theology is never a means to an end but rather an opening to new and different understanding. With social media opening up our world of communication this becomes even more relevant since everybody can see what we think and say and for this reason we need to be reminded of and strongly based in our roots because that allows us the freedom to be open to other views.
I have the feeling that as theological thinkers we need to be inclusive and understanding. By giving openness and justice to everyone’s voice we are truly moving the science into a new direction that is what makes it such a special science, the fact that everyone’s voice and views carries the same weight. I am thankful to have the opportunity to be part of a group of well known and very clever theologians, but mostly for the fact that everyone was open to hear my views as well.