|Join in Prayer for Christian Europe at Noon|
|Written by Sherry|
|Wednesday, 07 October 2009 08:56|
europe4christ is a grassroots, ecumenical prayer and activism movement among European Christians to, in a poignant phrase: "in a step-by-step manner, to help Christians emerge from this part-voluntary, part-involuntary ghetto existence."
europe4christ is headquartered in Germany but its website is in 11 languages. E4C has a two part action plan:
1) Prayer: A "critical mass" can trigger a revolution - both spiritually and sociologically (breaking the "spiral of silence"). Moreover, Christians should expand their horizons and also include in their prayers issues from public life - the "globalisation of prayer".
An aid in this direction would be a short prayer, prayed at a specific time of day. Participants in “Europe for Christ” commit to pray an “Our Father for a Christian Europe” each day at noon.
2) Common action around seven themes:
- the culture of life /human dignity
- the family, husband and wife, sexuality
- Christian social teaching
- freedom, tolerance, living in harmony with other religions
- separation of Church and State (its authentic meaning)
- religion and education
- Christianity and history (the identity of Europe, the identity of Christianity, Christianity and the history of ideas (political ideas, human dignity...); the "darker chapters" in the history of the Church.
E4C publishes regular encouraging circular letters including this fiery one from a frustrated Nigerian seminarian:
"In Western Europe, there has been a storm of critique on Christianity for a long time, an Anti-Christian trend. To have faith is seen as a pitiful situation. To say it gently, the majority of Christians waits helplessly and inactively for the total destruction of already wounded Christianity. I am not worried that the Church would not survive difficult situations (Mt 16:18) or that Christ would abandon his Church (Mt 28:20). But I worry about the degree of carelessness and apathy that Christians in Europe show in this difficult situation.
Christians meet the increasing wave of Anti-Christianity with total passivity. Because of the media, daily newspapers, magazines, TV and radio, people are on a daily basis confronted with ideologies that only deep faith and clear discernment can withstand. The question is: How do Christians react to this? What did they do until now?
I read daily newspapers and I am bewildered because of the eagerness with which journalists and editors make arbitrary statements, leap to illogical conclusions and criticize the Church in a hostile way. The passivity with which Christians react on these assaults is alarming.
Why do you observe instead of argue, defend and proclaim the truth from a rational point of view? Why not react on negative developments, especially when they turn into a dangerous ideology?
Now it is time to wake up, everyone in their way and in their environment! Let’s write! Let’s speak loudly! We have to prepare ourselves, because as Christ has already warned us: “...for the sons of this age are more shrewd in relation to their own kind than the sons of light...” (Lk 16:8)
It is not enough to wait for a miracle! We could not impede this development by waiting for a wonder from God. Why should He perform a miracle, when he already gave us the ability to act through faith and common sense?
Prayer is undeniably the first step that we have to make, but it is not enough. We have to act. We owe that to our descendants. People leave the church because they receive wrong answers to their questions. And they get these wrong answers from the wrong people.
An average Europeans who read daily newspapers probably will tend to lose their faith than remain a believer. It is time to let Christ lead us. Let everyone around you notice that there is a Christian. Where are you? What do you see? What do you hear? What do you know? Speak aloud! Our silence is our pain."
Kizito Chinedu Nweke
and this earlier portion of a larger essay by Phillip Jenkins on Europe' Christian Come-back:
"For all we hear about Islam, Europe remains a stronger Christian fortress than people realize. What’s more, it is showing little sign of giving ground to Islam or any other faith for that matter.
To be fair, the trend is counterintuitive. Europe has long been a malarial swamp for any traditional or orthodox faith. Compared with the rest of the world, religious adherence in Europe is painfully weak. And it is easy to find evidence of the decay. Any traveler to the continent has seen Christianity’s abandoned and secularized churches, many now transformed into little more than museums. But this does not mean that European Christianity is nearing extinction. Rather, among the ruins of faith, European Christianity is adapting to a world in which its convinced adherents represent a small but vigorous minority.
In fact, the rapid decline in the continent’s church attendance over the past 40 years may have done Europe a favor. It has freed churches of trying to operate as national entities that attempt to serve all members of society. Today, no church stands a realistic chance of incorporating everyone. Smaller, more focused bodies, however, can be more passionate, enthusiastic, and rigorously committed to personal holiness. To use a scientific analogy, when a star collapses, it becomes a white dwarf—smaller in size than it once was, but burning much more intensely. Across Europe, white-dwarf faith communities are growing within the remnants of the old mass church. (…)
The result has been a rediscovery of the continent’s Christian roots, even among those who have long disregarded it, and a renewed sense of European cultural Christianity. Jürgen Habermas, a veteran leftist German philosopher stunned his admirers not long ago by proclaiming, “Christianity, and nothing else, is the ultimate foundation of liberty, conscience, human rights, and democracy, the benchmarks of Western civilization. To this day, we have no other options [than Christianity]. We continue to nourish ourselves from this source. Everything else is postmodern chatter.” Europe may be confronting the dilemmas of a truly multifaith society, but with Christianity poised for a comeback, it is hardly on the verge of becoming an Islamic colony."
You can join europe4christ here. The primary commitment is daily prayer as outlined below. What a wonderful thing it would be if we non-European Christians joined our prayers to those of their European brothers and sisters?
The time: Noon
The place: Wherever we are
The prayer: the "Our Father"
The focus: Christian Europe