Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture

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Church Community Engagement

24 May 2019  |  Author: Douglas Hynd  | Theme: Civil society and politics; Public theology and ethics

This paper explores community and government engagement by Dovetonn Baptist Church, a congregation in a suburb on the edge of Melbourne that emerged out of the postwar boom and has been shaped by the subsequent decline of manufacturing. The narrative that I present draws on an extended interview with the pastor of the Church that explored in a reflective way the nature and impact of the Church’s engagement with the community and government and the relationship of that engagement to the mission of the congregation. The involvement of the congregation extends beyond welfare provision into community building more generally. Important themes that emerge are the entanglement of Church and state at a local government level and the porous boundaries between welfare provision, community building and the Church’s mission. The theological account of that mission is Christologically grounded in the life of the congregation.
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A Good Neighbour in a Warming World

08 Apr 2019  |  Author: Peter Hooton  | Theme: Public theology and ethics; Civil society and politics

Most Australians believe that climate change is real and worry about its implications—for their future prosperity, their health, and their physical security. A majority of Australians do not believe their governments (state and federal) to be doing enough about climate change and want the Federal Government to provide leadership in this area. Most Australians want an end to coal-fired power generation within twenty years, and blame privatisation, profiteering and a policy vacuum (rather than renewables) for increasing electricity prices. We must surely now be approaching a tipping-point where incumbent and aspiring politicians who refuse to take seriously the threat posed by a rapidly warming world become finally and irrevocably unelectable.
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The Killings in Christchurch Mosques

28 Mar 2019  |  Author: Satendra Nandan  | Theme: Civil society and politics; Public theology and ethics

Yesterday, Friday 15 of March, cast a terribly devastating shadow across our immediate region. Call it the Ides of March, the Darkest Day, Black Friday: nothing captures the immense tragedy of this deadliest attack in a place of worship for a community in Christchurch.
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Refugees and Christian discipleship

22 Mar 2019  |  Author: Douglas Hynd  | Theme: Public theology and ethics; Religions and dialogue

The Australian government has established offshore mandatory and indefinite detention for asylum seekers. The UNHCR has described the situation on Manus Island as a humanitarian emergency, with men living in constant fear of attack. The reluctance of Border Force to bring a man from Nauru to Australia for palliative care displays no respect for the humanity of asylum seekers, even in their dying. Members of families have been kept separated despite illness. Beyond this the government is instituting a range of policies that seem to be directed at making life evermore difficult for all asylum seekers instead of treating people seeking refuge with respect and care while their claims are assessed.
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State of the Nation

07 Mar 2019  |  Author: Peter Hooton  | Theme: Civil society and politics; Public theology and ethics

In October 1940, the German theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer gave a chilling description of the consequences of succumbing to a Nazi view of the world. In such a world, he said, [t]here is no future and no past. There remains only the present moment rescued from nothingness and the desire to grasp the next moment. Already yesterday’s concerns are consigned to forgetfulness, and tomorrow’s are too far away to obligate us today. . . . Nothing is fixed, and nothing holds on. . . . Events of world-historical significance, along with the most terrible crimes, leave no trace behind in the forgetful soul. . . . What is quiet, lasting, and essential is discarded as worthless. . . . [T]he foundation of historical life—trust in all its forms—is destroyed. Because truth is not trusted, specious propaganda takes over. Because justice is not trusted, whatever is useful is declared to be just.
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