As news anchorwoman I'm guided by recent events. I choose the news and research backgrounds, I struggle with every word during the writing process and at the end of the day I present the most important world events to the audience. 500 years Reformation in itself is news. But it moves and touches me more than other news. For I see that „reconfiguration and restoration“ - being the meaning of the Latin word 'reformatio' – challenge the society and every individual person anew nowadays.
Social parallels between the time of the Reformation and today are obvious. By the publishing of the 95 theses and his translation of the Bible, Luther rang in a time of „reform“. Luther's messages spread fast through Johannes Gutenberg's invention of printing. Today we have the mega trends of digitalization and globalization that reform the world and lead to a time turn. 500 years ago as well as today, new media functions as ducts, as transmission straps of social changes.
Furthermore there is the individual, personal perspective. As a catholic-married Protestant in Germany, I link the anniversary of the Reformation with hope for 'restoration' – so the second meaning of 'reformatio' – in church and society. Martin Luther wanted to 'restore' the Catholic Church, to lead it back to the original belief, to free it from pompousness, scaremongering and sale of indulgences. As a monk, he didn't want to create a new kind of church. There were different factors, such as the might of the princes, the uprising of the peasants, and the changes of the social structure that led to the foundation of the Protestant Church.
500 years later, the Protestant Church in Germany asked me to become an ambassador for the anniversary of the Reformation. I agreed. I want to help that people reconsider how they live their belief and how they handle freedom. Without commitment to your neighbor, without hope for life after death – however that may look like – without the Christian community I wouldn't want to live. I don't want to renounce freedom in a digitalized world, I want to express my opinion freely and want to see my data secured from misuse. I want to live in a free and self-confident society without threat, a society in which fundamental rights as well as the freedom of others are respected and tolerance – likewise in religious perspective – apply as unalterable measurements of action.
The social reform of this time is boosted by digitalization, the individual effort for 'restoration' remains necessary. Luther wanted to achieve this by the help of the values of his time. We should transfer his belief in words, his desire for freedom and his strive towards a life without enforcement onto our today´s life of digitalization and globalization that many perceive as more and more complex and complicated.
Human contacts alike can be restored, which become less through media consumption. One could restore – a long way – the unity of the Christian church. And we being Christians should restore – again and again – the conditions for a life in peace and freedom, just like millions of fleeing people are longing for.
Gundula Gause ranks among the most well-known faces of German television. She studied French in Paris, as well as Political Sciences, History and journalism in Mainz. Since 1993 she works as co-host of the “heute-journal“, the daily news magazine of the television channel ZDF.