From Shalom to Koinonia. Toward a Theology of Communion - Daniel Oprean
A long-term observation reveals the fact that one of the biggest problems of the church today (no matter the denomination or tradition) is not only the scandal of conflictual relationships between different forms of being Christian, but also the incapacity of diverse Christian religious forms (or traditions) to take the time and energy to understand each other in such a way as to start to discover the validity of some of the other tradition’s arguments that could enrich one’s own tradition.
By taking time to understand each other, it might be that different Christian traditions have a chance in the beginning of the third millennium, in this more and more pluralistic society, not only to consider the other as a viable partner for discussion and reflection, but also to develop an openness for the many elements that constitute the common terrain in which different Christian traditions share a great deal. This is not that kind of ecumenical openness that will lead to the dissolution of one person or community’s traditional or denominational identity, or to a strange union of all churches in only one church. Rather, it is that meeting of churches on the existing common ground, that is, the Christ event as revelation of the Father’s plan in the Holy Spirit, and thus being able to offer to society as a whole the partnership that is not only required and desired by God but is also needed by the world today.
Still, if this could not be possible on a global scale, in various towns and communities this could become reality locally. Also, it might be that there are a few preliminary conditions for this: first, the cultivation of a deep respect for the human being no matter his or her Christian religious tradition; second, the cultivation of a spirit of acceptance of the fact that God could work and inspire people beyond one’s limited capacity of comprehension and understanding; third, the cultivation of a positive way of being together with others in Christianity that will value the other’s potential rather than underscore their weaknesses.
To sum up, the thesis of this work is that the proper attitude and coordinates of such a development in interdenominational dialogue and relationships could be grounded in a real understanding of the theology of koinonia, that is, the reality of communion in the internal life of the church and of its relationship with the society around it.
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