Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Slovenia Part 1(of 2): Post-card scenes and empty places

After the trainings in Croatia we drove further to Slovenia. There we were going to meet representatives of the civic initiation committee to look if there is a possible way to collaborate together to promote basic Christian family values in Slovenia.

When we passed the border, I was surprised that the landscape was so different from Croatia. The green mountains and villages reminded me more about Austria or Switzerland. The people were very friendly and the country is very clean with beautiful post-card scenes. The capital Ljubljana was a mix of styles. It looks very Italian: the big fountain in front of the city hall, the beautiful bridges and the typical houses at the river bank. Other parts look more Austrian or more Slavic. But with all these different styles, the Slovenes kept their unique

indefinable Slovenian character which create a balance in the city. Interesting is that almost on every corner you can find an ice-cream shop with all kinds of Italian ice creams. The capital is small and friendly and reminds me a bit of Timişoara.

Auke and I visited the Castle on the hill with its historical museum. It showed the history of Slovenia under the different empires with the focus on the Austrian Hungarian Empire, Yugoslavian Republic, the 10-days war with the Yugoslavian forces, the independence and finally the accession to the EU. They did not criticize previous regimes so much; they also had critical notes about the current situation after becoming a capitalistic society and after becoming an EU member state. They mentioned the change in the social situation with a greater division between rich and poor, but also how the landscape and the daily life has changed with the entering of the big shopping centres and malls on the horizons.

In the evening we went to the central square where the European Day was celebrated with a classical concert. Many places remained empty, because many officials and diplomats did simply not show up. The common people however, were not allowed to take their places and had to watch from the side line. I thought about the parable of Jesus about a lord who invited many people to His meal. When all of the invitees had excuses not to come, He invited all common people on the street. What a difference: Jesus is for everyone, the European Day seemed to focus on uninterested elite with many remaining empty places. God calls us to invite people to His meal: we have to write the names God puts in our hearts, with the ink of the sacrificing blood of Jesus, stamped by the power of the Holy Spirit, sent from the Ambassador of Christ.

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