Ti€s that Bind

“Do you not know that God entrusted you with that money (all above what buys necessities for your families) to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to help the stranger, the widow, the fatherless; and, indeed, as far as it will go, to relieve the wants of all mankind? How can you, how dare you, defraud the Lord, by applying it to any other purpose?” — John Wesley

19. 28. 334,570,678. 9.5. Members of the eurozone. Members of the EU. Population of the eurozone. GDP of the eurozone, in trillions. But numbers are sanitary things. They do not “lie,” but they can be manipulated. They do not get at any existentially real truth. What, in truth, is the euro about?

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Europe’s Scapegoat?

“The most daring provocations and the most shocking scandals have lost all power to provoke and shock. That does not mean that violence is no longer a threat; quite the contrary. The sacrificial system is virtually worn out, and that is why its inner workings are now exposed to view.” — Rene Girard, “Violence and the Sacred”

Are we unfazed by violence? When the news comes in from around the world and from our communities, we hear about the death of hundreds from war, the continuing destruction of ecological systems, the abuse of children, the implosion of marriages, and the struggles of the migrant, the disposed, and those in poverty. Are unfazed by this? Are we stirred to life? To action?

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Searching for a Soul: Europe and the Gospel

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“A creative minority of practising Christians, Schuman, Adenauer and De Gasperi, helped Europe out of its post-war crisis by proposing a way forward based on biblical principles. They believed that democracy was either Christian, or it would become non-existent.” — Tunne Kelam MEP

Does Europe have a soul? As an American, I find this an interesting question, because to reflect upon my home country, I must answer in the affirmative: America has a soul. But Europe? I don’t know, but I know that the European project, Europe, needs one.

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The Ecumenical Project of Europe

“We are called to bethink ourselves of the Christian basics of Europe by forming a democratic model of governance which through reconciliation develops into a ‘community of peoples’ in freedom, equality, solidarity and peace and which is deeply rooted in Christian basic values.” — Robert Schuman

There are arguments for and against the “Christian” foundation of Europe. I am, for one, a supporter of the understanding that ‘Europe’ as a concept and as a project is deeply rooted in, as Schuman said, Christian basic values. Without the Judeo-Christian history unfolding in Europe, spreading itself across the continent and then the world, would such a unity or Union even be thinkable? But perhaps another important question, first addresses us: what is meant by Christian, since there are so many forms of Christianity across Europe itself?

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