World Lutheran Federation, Slovak Republic
A man is born and raised in a specific environment that leaves an imprint on his upbringing, behavior and his way of thinking. Early years of our live are a period during which one creates connections to a place where one lives and people around this place. It is a time when one forms bonds that continue to affect him for the rest of his life and are part of shaping one's identity and lead people on to identify themselves on national or social level in accordance with these bonds. After this process it is solely up to every individual whether he is capable to change his identity throught his life. Social issues are one of the most common reason that make people leave their original environment and change their surroundings. This is not an easy process. Strong connection to his original surroundings can become an obstacle to full adaptation to a new place and to identification with this new environment. Therefore, it is questionable whether this change becomes a positive or a negative influence. Is it more benefitial for a person to change his identity throughout his life or is it better to remain loyal to one's original identity despite being at different places with different way of living? This is a very complex question that we could analyse from the national, social, or confessional point of view. In every case a change of identity can be viewed from different perspectives but we cannot deny that current events play their part in this process.
Today, we want to talk and focus on confessional identity of a christian. The idea of cosmopolitan identity is nothing new and is accepted with different feelings, as some welcome the possibility to identify themselves with the whole world, others consider this possibility to be a betrayal of their original identity. We have encountered something very similar in our country seven years ago, when Slovakia joined the European Union. While some welcomed this decision with opened arms and joy, others were afraid that they will lose whatever it was that was making them "Slovak" and that the honor of national identity and nationaly identity as such will cease to exist. These fears did not materialize and now, after seven years we can conclude that our identity did not suffer.
World is becoming a global village - travelling and international relationships are not a problem anymore. For us - Christians, it presents an opportunity to meet, share, encourage, and help each other. We meet as members of different countries which reflects upon our behavior and way of thinking. Our christianity is in spite of all the differences something that unites us and brings us together. On one hand we can see the words of apostle Paul fulfilled: Christ's love unites us (2K 5,14) along with words of Jesus: where two or three gather in my name, i will be among them (Mt 18,20), on the other hand we can admire greatness of God‘s power that allowed all of this to happen.
I believe that it would be a mistake for a christian from any country to shut himself and hide from the world. There are groups of people that are scattered all around the globe, and even then they work like a family. We can picture the christian church as such family. Evangel was spread into many corners of the world but its purpose is not only to spread but apart from message to every individual, it is here also to unite christians all around the world. This is a process that caused a birth of a big christian family.
In order to be a part of this process we need to be willing to become a part of this global family of christians. We have to be capable of perceiving a christian abroad as a brother or sister, we have to be able to feel as a part of this global christian church. This assumes that every single one of us possesses a global christian identity. This is not cosmopolitan identity, it is not an effort to globalize all that makes person a person, it is not an effort to steal one's own identity but an effort to widen one's horizon of christian way of thinking beyond boundaries of local belonging and thereby enhance one's spiritual life. I think that this kind of consensus of local and global christian identity is possible. Nevertheless, it is up to us to try and reach this consensus.