Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Trinity and Piety

The latest issue of Crucible is out! It's an on-line journal from the Australian Evangelical Alliance.

The best article is an excellent piece by Jonathan Case on the implications of the Trinity for our piety. Case astutely hammers the vague spirituality which refuses to make any "dogmatic" assertions about God and Jesus - like the doctrine of the Trinity - and prefers to simply "follow Jesus". We can find this kind of spirituality among pietists, and in some of the emerging church community. It sounds very warm and friendly and inclusive. But it's actually the same as the old liberalism of Adolf Harnack (which is still held by contemporary liberals like John Spong). Such a piety cannot differentiate itself from Buddhism, Hinduism or Islam, all of which hold Jesus in high esteem. The Biblical passages that call us to worship Jesus necessarily lead to the doctrine of the Trinity. We cannot therefore rightly respond to the Biblical picture of Jesus - we cannot worship him adequately - without the doctrine of the Trinity.
[B]eing a Christian is not, and never has been, about simply following Jesus... Many Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and a host of well-intentioned Unitarians and pluralists of all varieties revere this man and his ideas about loving one’s neighbour... Being a Christian, however, is about worshipping Jesus... And worshipping Jesus, in other words, doxology, led the church inevitably to the doctrine of the Trinity. (Page 3)

Also in this issue of Crucible, John McClean (ethics lecturer, Presbyterian Theological Centre, Sydney) reviews a book on divorce. Barbara Roberts, Not Under Bondage: Biblical Divorce for Abuse, Adultery and Desertion, Maschil Press, 2008.

Saturday, 18 October 2008

And now she's in the Sydney Morning Herald

Further to my mum being in the Sydney Alumni Magazine - she's now on page 15 of today's Sydney Morning Herald. And this article's also quite positive about her Christianity.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Dr Patricia Weerakoon: Evangelical Sexologist

Many of you know my mum's interesting profession. She's a sexologist - she engages in the academic research of human sexuality. She leads an international research and teaching program in sexuality, which is currently one of Sydney University's most successful courses. She's involved in national and international sexology councils, like the Australian Society of Sex Educators Researchers and Therapist ("ASSERT"), the Society fort the Scientific Study of Sexuality ("SSSS", pronounced "quad-S") and the World Association for Sexual Health ("WAS").
She's also an evangelical Christian. Mum & dad attend St John's Anglican church in Parramatta. Mum has spoken on sexuality at churches all over Sydney and country NSW.
There's a double-page article on mum in the latest issue of the Sydney Alumni Magazine. It puts her Christianity a positive light.
There's plenty of Christian books on sex, at both a popular and academic level. But as far as I know, they're all written by theologians or counsellors. I don't know of anyone else who's an evangelical sexologist.
Anyone else heard of one? Or is my mum truly unique?

Tuesday, 14 October 2008

I am such a city boy

In a previous post, I wondered how I'd go with the SPY mission to Henty, in country NSW; and how country folk would cope with an immigrant.
Well, the response to the first is: I am such a city boy.
Anyone surprised? No? Didn't think you would be.
Henty was nice to visit, but I couldn't live there. I got too easily bored & restless. And when we visited Albury one afternoon, I was disappointed with how small the botanical gardens were - until I was reminded that they actually pretty good for a country town. And when we went to an agricultural show on Saturday, I couldn't tell my sheep from my goats, or the llamas from the alpacas - much to the mirth of the locals...
Even in Sydney, I'm happier in the city than in the suburbs. I really enjoyed living in Newtown, 'coz it was inner city Sydney. I loved the crowds, the noise, the bustle. I loved the fact that I could jump on a bus and be in the CBD in ten mins, and circular quay in fifteen. I loved the fact that I was so close to cinemas, the opera house, museums, the art gallery.
I can understand the pastoral issues that city people face: the pressure of job and career, ridiculous housing prices, constant pressure to compete and perform (regardless of how young or old you are - after-school tutoring has mushroomed lately), constant busyness making everyone "time poor, infinite choice, rapid change, multicultural communities. I can comprehend country pastoral issues - the drought, uncertainty as to who's going to take over the farm - but they're not so proximate to me, I don't "feel" the weight of those issues. Basically, I don't really know what that's like.
As to the second question: I got on well with everyone from Henty church. Everyone was very pleased with our youth group, and with my evangelistic talk - which is interesting, 'coz I said some pretty hard-hitting things. They probably liked me anyway, because I did the old iron-first in velvet-glove thing: I made lots of self-deprecatory jokes about being an immigrant and a city boy, and knowing nothing about the country. They laughed uproariously, especially at the sheep-goat and llama-alpaca story.
Anyhow, I'm back in the concrete jungle now, and loving it. Okay, I'm off to busily evangelise some competitive, hard-working, time-poor multicultural city dweller.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Pete Orr on Bultmann

Over at But Now Blog, Pete Orr is blogging about Bultmann's demythology. Interesting read.

Henty mission went well

The SPY Henty mission was a roaring success. There were about 40 children who came to the program. I was very pleased with our youth group - they presented the skits & talks really well, there was a positive, energetic vibe that held the kid's attention really well. And I was very impressed with the the young people from Henty church, too - they did the songs and games really well. And Henty church had prepared a terrific backdrop for the skits and talk: the whole church had been transformed into a jungle! The various elements of the program came together really well too. We prepared our bits; Henty prepared their bits; and I was worried that it wouldn't gel; but it did, really well! I think the program we presented would do any city church proud.
So, now Henty church needs to follow-up on their contacts. Please keep them in your prayers.

Wednesday, 1 October 2008