I’ve said various things about Kirchentag, but it is remarkable how the Germans do serious theology on a mass scale.
Equally remarkable was the age breakdown of 167,000 people a day doing this:
. 7,68% Unter 12 Jahren
. 13,74% 12 bis 17 Jahre
. 16,45% 18 bis 29 Jahre
. 7,77% 30 bis 39 Jahre
. 19,07% 40 bis 49 Jahre
. 18,12% 50 bis 59 Jahre
. 7,34% 60 bis 65 Jahre
. 9,83% über 65 Jahre
Think about it.
Incidentally, where were the 30-39’s?
Thoughts such as these, Nick Baines’ reaction to the Hans Küng / Jurgen Moltmann evening, struck me again and again —
This brings to mind a disturbing question posed by Richard Rohr, Franciscan priest and spirituality wonk, about why the way we do Christianity in the West is so childish and discombobulated by rushes to judgment:
This evening was remarkable. Thousands arrived early to ensure a place in the auditorium – I got there for 6.30pm thinking it began at 7pm only to find it was scheduled to start at 7.30pm and didn’t in fact get going until 8pm. More people were locked out than could get in. The excluded crowds chanted ‘Wir wollen rein’ (‘We want to come in’) to listen to these two elderly men talk together about church.
Can you imagine that ever happening in Britain? Most of the excluded were young people eager to garner the wisdom of these two theologians. Why? Because their theology is neither dry nor ‘merely academic’, but engages with the real world of economics, politics and culture. They bring to their subject the intellectual rigour that is associated with German philosophical thinking. Yet, they speak with simplicity, clarity and passion – eschewing theological cleverness in order to communicate accessibly with all-comers: they are remarkable men who show no sign of being ego-driven.
All spiritual teachers tell us “DO NOT JUDGE.” For those of us raised in a religious setting, this is very difficult. In a strange way, religion gave us all a Ph.D. in judgmentalism. It trained us very early in life to categorize, label, and critique. It told us all about worthiness and unworthiness. This judgmental mind told us what is right and wrong, who is gay or straight, and who is good or bad. This sort of mind never creates great people, because everybody has to fit into our way of thinking. At an early age our grid was complete. We had decided who fit in and who did not fit in. We fashioned our own little world.
Christianity that divides the world in this manner and eliminates all troublesome people and all ideas different from our way of thinking cannot be mature religion. It cannot see the multiple gifts of each moment, nor the dark side that coexists with it. This mind does not lead us to awareness, and above all, this mind will find it impossible to contemplate. To practice awareness means you live in a spirit of communion; your world becomes alive and very spacious, and not divided by mere mental labels.