The resource persons, responders, and moderator of the research webinar Conversation That Matters (CTM) entitled “Nationalism & Theological Imagination” held on February 12, 2022.
IL News 008/2022
Jakarta, May 31, 2022 – Bandung Theological Seminary (STT Bandung, for its acronym in Indonesian) held a Conversation That Matters (CTM) research webinar entitled “Nationalism & Theological Imagination”, which expounded on three research papers regarding Christian identity and the Christians’ theological struggles in the life of the nation and state. The results of said researches are expected to encourage the active involvement of Christians in facing the challenges of nationalism.
The webinar, which was held on February 12, 2022, involved three resource persons, namely professor of education at Bandung Theological Seminary, Silvia Wiguno, who studied the role of Christian schools in the formation of student nationalism with several Christian high schools in Bandung, West Java as her scope of study. Other resource persons include the evangelist of Ka Im Tong Immanuel Christian Church, Mulyawan Santoso, who discussed the factors that shaped the behavior of harmonious living between the religious adherents of Christianity and other religions, and Iman Jaya Zandroto, currently completing his master’s degree at the Vancouver School of Theology, who explained Jesus’ ministry principles in the context of a Jewish society that was discriminatory according to the Gospel of Matthew, and its relevance to the churches in Indonesia.
Executive Director of Leimena Institute, Matius Ho, as the responder of the three research papers, highlighted the existence of Christians as the “salt of the earth” to prevent “decay”.
“If in a community there are already Christians, there are churches, seminaries, but society continues to decline morally, then the question is not why is society falling into moral decay more and more, but why are the so-called salt of the society unable to prevent this decay?” Matius remarked.
Matius also conveyed the experience of Leimena Institute in expanding the participation of Christians as responsible citizens. Responding to Mulyawan Santoso’s research, Matius stated that Leimena Institute is currently working on the Cross-Cultural Religious Literacy (LKLB, for its acronym in Indonesian) international program, which aims to strengthen three important competencies needed to work with people of different religions, namely personal competence, comparative competence, and collaborative competence.
Furthermore, Silvia Wiguno, who researched the role of Christian schools in the formation of nationalism, stated that Christian schools have a unique and great opportunity to shape their students’ nationalism. The formation of a curriculum on nationalism in Christian schools is developed by placing the Word of God as its foundation and integrating it into all content and learning conditions.
“Christian schools need to collaborate with other contexts in the formation of student nationalism,” she said.
Concerning this, Matius expressed it is vital that nationalism be taught by all teachers, not only Pancasila and Civic Education teachers. The evaluation of Christian schools in particular is that they need to explain the Christian view of nationalism.
“Are we certain that our Pancasila is in line with God’s Word? If so, in what way, so that Pancasila can be accepted not just as a school subject but as a way of life of the nation of Indonesia,” Matius stated.
In a similar manner, Iman Jaya Zandroto explained that Jesus had already given a true example and a theological basis for rejecting various types of discrimination in society. Likewise, the churches in Indonesia exist and serve in a societal context that has similarities to the societal context of Jesus’ time, that is, a diverse society that tends to be discriminatory.
“The principles of Jesus’ ministry in dealing with discrimination in his day are very relevant and can be applied by the churches in dealing with various types of discrimination in Indonesia,” Iman said.
The Principal of Bandung Theological Seminary, Sutrisna Harjanto, said the Conversation That Matters webinar aims to develop a culture of theological research and Christian education in Indonesia. This webinar provides a forum for the dissemination and discussion of quality research that needs to be conveyed to the public so that it can provide a concrete contribution to the society, especially to the churches and other Christian organizations.
“Today we became a collective witness of history in the inauguration of this webinar on researches in order to help Christian and church leaders access them better. We hope that this will be a joint movement to produce research that contributes to nation building and brings shalom to the community,” expressed Sutrisna.
The Conversation That Matters webinar series conceived by Bandung Theological Seminary is a socialization platform to relay results of researches to the public, as well as a discussion forum for researchers. This webinar is specifically designed to publish the results of researches of Bandung Theological Seminary’s graduate students or other researchers who are considered capable of contributing to Christian theological thinking and education, as well as studies that are highly relevant to the community. The results of the researches are also published in monograph form to make it easily accessible to the wider community. (IL/Chr)