My older brother recently attended a high school reunion. He was a few years ahead of me so this reunion was not for my year. But he was asked about me and my younger brother, about what we were doing. He tells me his reply about me went something like, “He works as an independent Christian scholar.” So, is that what I am? Well, I cannot deny it, and indeed have no wish to do so. In fact, it is probably best to just leave it at that and allow my brother’s questioner to make of it what he will. If that spoken “tweet” gets around then maybe someone might get in touch and ask me to “please explain”! Will these NJ posts be able to provide answers?
Another correspondent from my high school days, a legendary fellow who has been a truckie and poet out west, was recently in touch – this contact also came to me via my brother. It seems that having a relatively famous poet for a brother keeps my own “network” alive! Is keeping networks what older and younger brothers are for? Maybe!
When he did get in touch, this truck-driver poet told me he had been pretty sure that by now I would have been a well-established minister in some Christian church somewhere. Well,that I take as a real compliment – he must have seen some dedication in my youthful profession of Christian faith. So does he read my blog as my personal alternative to a weekly pulpit?
This above, I now reveal, is part of the “back story” of my previous series on the (is it now discredited?) “theory of secularisation”, and the seeming de-Christianisation of “the west” that has begun to make itself so obvious in everyday life. And so, how are such who imbibe a secularised way of viewing the world, to interpret the significance of their seeming forgetfulness of their “Christian connections” early on in life? Are they to explain their lack of interest in these matters? Is it that forgetting is merely a “secular” activity anyway, in which case “secularisation” might seem to be a life-time conspiracy that inevitably, fatefully, prevents people from facing up to their own residual “religiosity”.
Ad so, in addressing my peers from the past, I’m trying to think of ways of making a Christian political option – yes as I understand it – palpable. That was part of my motivation for the previous series: why are we inclined – is it nature or nurture? – to forget how religious we were, or even that we had some “religious experience” at primary school (1956-1965). Could “secularisation” in any particular adult case merely be a matter of adult fashion, where it is simply the “done thing” to forget these things, or say you do, until at last you believe they were irrelevant anyway?
I’m aiming as much at poetic truck drivers or other former school mates, let alone former students or colleagues or anyone else who may have stumbled across me, or for whom our paths have crossed in days gone by, as well as those who have serendipitously come across this blog, however that may have come about.
So, at that level – where Nurturing Justice cannot avoid being part of “everyday life” – our political option reflections are framed to encourage whomever might see some ambiguity or even inconsistency in “my story” or my “blog” to be provoked to think further about “things” – not necessarily spend more time surfing the wide oceans of social media – but more specifically to engage in a kind of “personal reflection”, if not of their own ambiguities, convoluted paths or deep contradictions that emerge willy-nilly in everyday life, then of mine or someone else’s. Make my day reader and keep on thinking about political responsibility. (Political responsibility and childhood – hmm. Seems like we have come across a possible future post.)
Nurturing Justice is not intended to be gob-stobbing conversation blocker.
And I would dearly welcome (pardon the sentimentalism) talking about “things” with old school friends, who knew me, and particularly with Christians who I got to know as the leader of the Blackburn South High School “InterSchool Christian Fellowship” in 1968, or a Monash Evangelical Union “Men’s Vice-President” (1970-1971), or even as a co-founder of the Monash Christian Radical Club (1971).
Now, what I have said above also presupposes, at least to some degree, the rampant development of “social media”. Is not “social media” a dynamic force, an ongoing agent of “secularisation”? Could it be part of a new “religion”, a religion perhaps in which “latter-day” decrees – that might well merit comparison with Islamic FATWAS – are sent out against those who are viewed as ****phobes!
Let’s just provide two questions for the moment for readers to think about as part of this broadsheet’s attempt to promote political thinking and discussion. Let’s reflect upon the impact of this technological presupposition upon the structure of contemporary political life and our subsequent conversation about it? Here’s two questions to think about.
- Have the blockers of the Liberal-National Government’s “plebiscite” on gay marriage, considered how they have hidden themselves ambiguously behind TWITTER and similar launch-pads by a justification that accuses the supporters of a plebiscite of wanting a platform upon which “hate speech” will take control? What are they going to do about “hate speech” on Twitter, particularly FATWAS issued against their own political opponents?
- If a Muslim cleric can say that Islam’s books teach the unconscionable beheading of people, is he to be considered an “Islamophobe”? He is clearly fearful of how Islamist Jihadism stereotypes all Muslims. So are other citizens now given permission to say this too? (ref Matthew 5:43-48).
At this point, in this blog, I wish to suggest to fellow Christian readers in particular, but anyone else is welcome to join in, that there at least two questions Christian citizens should asking of themselves and among themselves in order to develop a Christian political perspective.
- How are we Christians to come to terms with the teaching of Jesus and the apostles concerning marriage (see Jesus’ definitive proscription of making any person, God’s image bearer, into a sexual object – Matthew 5:27-32; Genesis 1:27-31; 2:15-25; Exodus 20:12,17)? How are we to live in a way that faces up to the long-tradition of generation-by-generation mis-education about marriage, of adulterous living, about the practical denigration (the church-led secretive closeted mardi gras if you will) in which God’s image-bearers male-and-female, in the west, have been cruelly violated? How is the pagan mythology of “sexual identity” (and the equally misrepresenting nonsense of “heterosexuality”) to be adequately refuted within the churches claiming to be Christian in an ongoing biblically directed discussion among us as disciples of Jesus Christ seeking to walk in the ways of His Kingdom?
- How are we Christians, to resolutely take seriously the New Testaments teaching about the anti-Christ (2 John 1:7-11) and clearly take distance from all such teaching and ways of life whether modern, post-modern, ancient or archaic?
A conversation about a Christian political option is urgently needed among Christians – today. And in further posts we might consider some of the “social media” “information technology” dimensions of this conversation.