Monthly Archives: August 2010

Jesus, the church and mission

This essay is based on two assumptions, 1/that mission is central to responding to the call of Jesus and 2/ That the institutional church has neglected the centrality of Jesus’ call to mission and constructed modes of social engagement that have no resemblance to the mission of Jesus as presented in the bible.

Rev. Graham Paulson, a respected elder, pastor and theologian, has written an essay entitled “Towards an Aboriginal Theology” that urges Aboriginal Christians to approach the bible from the perspective of their own culture and spirituality instead of the perspective of the European missionaries. Apart from a traditional protestant approach to biblical authority, Rev. Paulsen argues, the European missionaries’ context of Pacific colonialism needs to be taken into account when understanding the theology of the white Australian church.

Rev. Paulson’s essay uncritically accepts European Christianity to be appropriate and proper for European Christians and he focuses on the agenda of Aboriginal Christianity.

However in this essay I challenge the appropriateness and properness of the historical forms of the European Church, especially in Australia, as an agency to manifest the mission of Jesus. I propose a different framework for mission. Continue reading

Truth and Tradition. Why does the church act as an agent of colonisation?

All of the mainstream Christian denominations in Australia have acknowledged, in one form or another, the complicity of the historical church in the colonisation of this country and the dispossession of Aboriginal people from their land, culture, spirituality and families.

This acknowledgement has not come easily and it is not a unanimous position even today but in general the church has been able to face up to the facts of history of the last 200 years.

A question that does not seem to have been raised, and I hope to do so with this essay, is why did the Church in Australia behave as it did, what are the causal reasons for our blind conformity to the colonial agenda in this country? Continue reading