Central Eastern European Bible Commentary (CEEBC) editor Marcel Măcelaru says his work on 1 & 2 Samuel is relevant to Balkan conflicts.
The CEEBC coordinator, Katharina Penner, reflects on Marcel’s work. She says the Bible speaks into the conflicts faced by Central Eastern European believers today:
“Marcel Valentin Măcelaru is Romanian but also has Croatian citizenship. He lives in Osijek, Croatia together with his wife, Mirela (who is Croatian). So Marcel has good insights into Romanian politics and church life. He also has insight into the never ending ethnic conflicts in the Balkans.
“These conflicts became irreconcilable, especially after Yugoslavia – which had comprised eight entities – fell apart, followed by bloody wars (in the 90s), ethnic cleansing and economic collapse. These entities – Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Montenegro, Slovenia, Serbia, Vojvodina and Kosovo – are constantly in the headlines.
“There is actually a term – balkanisation, to balkanise – which was coined even before the 90s. It describes the fragmentation/division of something whole into hostile and uncooperative parts.
The Church is not exempt from these tensions and there are quite varied approaches on how to deal with it.
“Some Christian leader figures are also effected by ‘balkanisation’. It is difficult to work together, even though this would help lead to a more effective use of resources, human and financial. And it would be a much brighter witness to the Gospel. But that is not easy when sometimes identity is defined against each other, not with honour and respect for the differences of the other.
“The Bible has many things to say about the calling of the Church. We are to work hard to counter divisions and tensions with a message of unity. This includes loving “the other”, being the body of Christ where the “dividing wall of hostility” has been smashed.
“While we usually remember the New Testament message on these issues, there is much in the books of Samuel which Marcel will bring out. He will apply 1 and 2 Samuel to Romanian and Balkan realities, for the Church to receive some guidance in everyday questions of ethnic conflict and godly leadership.”
The Central Eastern European Bible Commentary
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