Moderator's Comments - Posted 1 May 2017

If ever we could have considered the church to be a core part of Australian culture (and that’s not at all certain), the Christian church is now being slowly edged to one side. It is increasingly less mainstream.

Have you noticed though that there are key moments in the year’s calendar and certain elements of our culture where we’re let back in? It’s strange, but true. Consider:

  • the church continues to be offered chaplaincy opportunities in sporting clubs, emergency services and community-service groups – places where ‘the Rev’ is still respected;
  • Carols on the Lawn is making a come-back and churches are taking the lead and offering to gather on council parkland with singing and preaching at this significant pre-Christmas event.

And then … there’s ANZAC DAY, that’s just past – which is not going anywhere. In memorial parks and around town cenotaphs across this nation, the crowds continue to grow. ANZAC DAY memorial services mean something to the average Australian. And church leaders are invited to lead and speak into the occasion.

Moderator's Comments - Posted 1 March 2017

Paul thought it was. Let’s do a cross-check on this (pun intended) – the greatest Christian who’s ever lived – what did he say? Among other things:

Galatians 6:14 ‘May I never boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ’.

The great Apostle Paul thinks this much of the cross of Christ – that it’s his only boast. Let’s go further:

 1 Corinthians 2:2 ‘For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.’

Moderator's Comments - Posted February 2017

Journalist Paul McGeough writes: ‘Trump joins the parade of strongmen’. He was referring of course to other world leaders particularly of Russia, North Korea, Philippines and China. We’re hearing fresh reports every day of outbursts, breath-taking indulgence and bold reforms … reports difficult to figure out. It’s a new form of sabre-rattling, a social sabre-rattling.

McGeough continues: ‘Trump is all over the place, a bit right, a bit left; more opportunistic than he is idealist; more instinctive than considered.’ Like most of us, I assume, I find myself intrigued by the latest Trumpism, oscillating between grimacing and nodding, unsure whether this is leadership or bullying.

Fears rise within when we see world leaders from the far right coming to power and threatening to assert themselves and bask in the glory of their achievements. What times are we living in? Are these extraordinary times or is this how it’s always been?

Fears rise also when we see national leaders from the far left hell-bent on bringing down a controlling and intolerant liberal agenda on our society. One recent example comes to mind. Our Victorian parliament, although with wings clipped late last year, will no doubt go on with their program of social engineering – trying to monster the Christian schooling movement to restrict who they may employ. What times are we living in? Are these extraordinary times or is this how it’s always been?

Moderator's Comments - Posted 31 December 2016

What can we be sure of for 2017?

I can send you a New Year’s card with the most sincere expression of goodwill: wishing you the happiest year, seeking better outcomes for you and hoping for improved health. But can we, in any way, be sure of such things? Can we be sure that this year will be any better than last? Can we be sure of anything?

It’s the uncertainties of life that are certain. What remains true is that in terms of happiness, better outcomes and good health: 2017 is a complete unknown. BUT, what we can be sure of is that the Apostle Paul is right when he says: “God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” What remains absolutely true is Paul’s testimony in Philippians 4:19.

Moderator's Comments - Posted 1 December 2016

Everywhere around us, in shopping centres, on city streets and lavishly decorated private homes, it’s unmistakably Christmas. It’s a season that brings change to our routine, sounds of summer sport, family meals and holidays.

When Christmas fatigue sets in – remember the King. When we begin to slip too easily into thinking it’s Groundhog Day – remember the King who came to stay.

During this last month, have we ever spoken so much about American politics as we have? Whether President-elect Trump will make good on any of his promises remains to be seen. We certainly pray that he will do good, and not harm. But I reflect a moment on how certain past-Presidents do good in the world.