Tuesday, May 14, 2013

A Second Reformation

I was speaking last week at The State of Europe Forum in Dublin. My job was to respond to a number of contributions from Christian economists from an Irish perspective.

As I was listening to talks by Tomas Sedlacek and Michael Schluter it struck me that the time might be right for a second Reformation in Europe. After all, the first Reformation (dated to Martin Luther's famous nailing of his 95 theses to the door of Wittenburg church) was brought on by a European-wide economic crisis. Too much money was being transferred from the hard-working Germans in the north to the feckless Italians in the south. Sounds familiar (though admittedly we can see what was paid for by all those papal indulgences; pity the same can't be said for the bailouts funded by the Troika).

As the 500th anniversary of Luther's famous protest approaches in October 2017, perhaps a Second Reformation will arrive in time to change the course of European history, just like the first one. With our politicians, intellectuals and business leaders now bereft of any ambition other than simply surviving, the next Martin Luther will undoubtedly be one who challenges the prevailing orthodoxy - and hypocrisy - like the first, and who calls on Europeans to aspire to a nobler spirit. One that is practically Christian, even if it isn't practicing Christian. One not so much guided by the invisible hand as by the visible heart. And who knows, he might even be a Catholic.

Funnily enough, Luther's theses are perfect for twitter. Perhaps it will be the 95 tweets that starts the Second Reformation...?

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