Aust Christian Future?

August 09, 2006

I attended an intriguing conference in Canberra on Monday exploring Australia's Christian Heritage. One speaker mentioned the need to distinguish between 'heritage' (our celebration of the past and the aspects of it that we hope will endure) and 'history' (the whole shebang, warts and all). I felt happiest with the many and various speakers when they admitted this need both to celebrate the ways in which Christianity has contributed to Australian life, and mourn the ways in which the name of Christ has been abused and brought sorrow and suffering. The conference struggled most when it came to outlining what the future of Christianity in Australia could/might/should look like. Here's where we need robust discussion about what Christian witness and living look like in a 21st century pluralistic secular state such as ours (and we shouldn't expect agreement!)

But planning how to move forward from where you are—rather than longing for an idealised past or throwing your hands up in despair—is always the hardest part, and Proverbs 16:9 kept springing to mind. Besides, it was a conference was organised by historians!

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