Compared to other churches in the world, the folk church is very inclusive of new spiritual movements, say international experts. With faith in reincarnation and telepathy with dead animals, the church’s priests have created great theological and popular debate in Denmark. And when it comes to the church’s frequent events with yoga, mindfulness and meditation, which are scattered all over the country, the main Danish church has placed itself as a particularly inclusive church community in an international light.
The recent debate on horse telepathy in Gislinge Church is remarkable if you ask the internationally acclaimed theology professor Michael Welker, who is CEO of an international research center for international theology and guest professor at a number of international universities.”Certainly, there has been a concern for distressed pet owners in one case, but in my view, the action was not particularly responsible or wise. But even though many churches in Europe suffer from some form of self-secularization and self-banishment, I still see no general tendency in other churches to follow the Danish development, ”he says. Gert Pickel, professor of church and religious sociology at the University of German Leipzig, also describes the Danish folk church as “particularly liberal” in relation to other church communities in Europe.
“But other churches are becoming more and more open to these spiritual initiatives. However, this is especially true of Protestantism, ”Gert Pickel believes. As he sees it, the increasing openness towards the alternative world is due to the secularization of churches in Europe.“This process is taking place all over Europe as a result of the larger religious diversity of communities. Here, the churches are trying to capture people, they consider just a little bit religious, through openness to these new forms in the church, ”says Gert Pickel.
Bishop of Viborg Stift Henrik Stubkjar can by no means recognize that the folk church should be extraordinarily spacious: “I would have thought that international theologians would think the reverse. Yes, we open ourselves up for pilgrimage, but for many other parish churches, it is completely unknown. The Clairvoyance case I consider as a single case, and I generally find that the forms in Denmark are very fixed when we go to church. Indeed, it is my impression that the Danes are very unkind to the religious and that priests are also quite reluctant with new forms as well as experiments with other forms of religion. Now I have traveled a lot in The Third World, and here I experience far more spirituality than at home, ”says Henrik Stubkjar. In general, the openness of the spiritual depends on how traditional the church is. It points out Brandon Gallaher, associate professor of systematic theology at the University of Exeter, UK. For example, according to Brandon Gallaher, the Orthodox Church will reject, for example, mindfulness, yoga, meditation, and other spiritual activities as incompatible with Christian doctrine, as well as the Catholic Church is expected to distance itself from these movements.”Officially, the Anglican Church in England will also disagree with some of these terms we see in Denmark, but in practice, I think some priests may embrace the alternative. There will probably be a church room with the English church that will be rented out for yoga activities, but from the bishop’s colony it will not be welcomed, ”Brandon Gallaher says.