Vienna: A City of Contrasts

The need is often greatest where it’s least apparent.

Photo courtesy of  Игорь М (CC Atribition 2.0)

Photo courtesy of  Игорь М (CC Atribition 2.0)

Vienna, a city of beautiful history and rich culture, is a city with great need. Austria has long been a country of contrast: historical architecture and modern city planning; progressive tolerance mingled with a history of nationalism; a strong religious tradition yet a population which largely rejects Christ. In this thoroughly European city, sharing Jesus is a challenge. 

Mike, a missionary, is reaching college students with the gospel. He needs people to help him share Jesus, but he needs people who don’t have all the answers. This takes a willingness to engage different viewpoints – to hold the tension of listening, dialogue, and finding common ground to keep the conversation going. 

Mike tells a story to help explain the challenge in Austria. One of his kids completed an assignment in school, scoring higher than any of his Austrian classmates. The teacher took ten minutes to berate his Austrian classmates for doing poorly enough on the assignment that a foreigner got a higher score than them. Mike let us know this is common in Austria: shame, guilt, and a ceaseless drive to be better. 

The gospel is about grace. In every culture, grace challenges our perception of who we are and who God is. Shame and performance-based guilt has no place in our life; instead, Jesus replaces those feelings with acceptance, relationship, and purpose. This is the message Mike wants to share with university students, and you can take part. 

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