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German “fairytales”…

Posted by on February 20, 2017


Recently, we had guests in our home, which we simply love. We enjoy introducing friends to everyday life and culture in Germany.

On a recent tour of Hamburg with a friend from the U.S., we stopped by the most beloved church in Hamburg, St. Michael’s, known by locals as “Michel.” This church is a wonder to take in and does not charge a formal fee to get in. (Images of the Michel were depicted in our missions video if you haven’t seen it). Like many European and German churches, tourists come to visit but very few are present on Sunday morning.

As we walked toward Michel with our friend, we saw the sentence “Die Bibel ist ein Märschenbuch” written on the sidewalk outside of the main entrance. In English, this means “The Bible is a Fairy Tale Book.” We were saddened but not surprised to see this. As we get to know our German friends and neighbors, this view of the Bible seems to be the general consensus. Many people believe there is some sort of God or higher power, but few see the Bible as a credible book. We were glad our visitor got to see this. We wanted her to see the reality of our context for mission here in Germany. She saw firsthand the need for the Gospel.

Do you see things like this written on the sidewalks in front of major cathedrals in America? Chances are, likely not. The spiritual climate in Germany is skeptical at best, apathetic or even caustic at worst. Our friend seeing this felt a mix of emotions, from anger to sadness. Furthermore, these types of of expressions are not just seen in front of churches but also on sidewalks all over the city. I often see similar messages on the short walk from the Hamburg train station to my German class. Ironically enough, some of these messages even include something about being “free.” Religion is seen as a crutch or even entrapment by this free thinking society. When we see messages like that, we thank God that it often rains in Hamburg! The rain just washes it all away.

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