Archives For society

This weeks Media Take programme on New Zealand’s Māori Television took a look at Christianity in New Zealand with reference to the Easter holiday last weekend. It’s 26 minutes long and worth a watch if you’re interested in some divergent views on a few things Christian from five NZ Christian voices.*

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The show is in two parts, firstly with the co-hosts Russell Brown and Toi Iti talking to Wesleyan Methodist minister Francis Ritchie and historian and Anglican priest Hirini Kaa. The second part has Brian and Hannah Tamaki of Destiny Church and Clay Nelson minister at the Auckland Unitarian Church. It’s quite a nice snapshot of the diverse Christian voice in New Zealand.

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One of the outcomes of my research on church and society has been to help church people see how something is different now in terms of the church and its place and engagement with society. I have used the concept of Christendom/post-Christendom as one way to illustrate this. Another concept that can be useful in showing this difference is secularisation. In this post I hope to provide an introduction to secularisation and why it’s not bad for the church.

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The word ‘secular’ simply means not connected with religious or spiritual matters, so a secular society is a society not concerned with religious or spiritual matters. Secularisation refers to the historical process in which religion loses social and cultural significance. Continue Reading…

2015 lineup

11 February, 2015 — 8 Comments

My hiatus from writing is over and I’m again aiming for weekly posts. The last two months have been full including visits to Bangladesh, India, and Thailand to see what New Zealand Baptists are doing there. I finished being a pastor in Christchurch New Zealand after my position was made redundant. I had a break in Motueka and walked through the best bit of New Zealand: the Abel Tasman National Park, and ten days ago I shifted to Auckland.

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I’ve had plenty on my mind to write about, and here’s a list of 19 things I plan to engage with over the next few months, most of which fit within the themes of communication, church and society, in no particular order: Continue Reading…

The 3 yearly general election is happening in New Zealand next month which is something I like taking notice of. I enjoy talking to people about politics, so a few days ago I held a “politics party”.

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It was specifically for people who weren’t sure about the political system, perhaps because they were young and haven’t be eligible to vote before.

There’s this thing I say to people when it comes to voting: Continue Reading…

In my doctoral research I interviewed people outside the church who have never been Christianized. If you’ve read other things in this blog you’ll probably know that there wasn’t a lot of positives in the perceptions people outside the church have of the church. However, some amazing good had been noticed by these people outside the church, and in this post I explain this significant contrast.

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The interviewees noticed some Christians who were committed to the practice of their faith (rather than just belief), specifically: Continue Reading…

It’s ANZAC Day this week. In New Zealand ANZAC Day has the biggest church service this country has each year. The irony is that most New Zealand churchgoers probably don’t attend.

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ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps and 25 April is a day for remembering. On this day services happen simultaneously throughout Aotearoa that greet the new dawn. I call this a ‘church service’ because most of the components of a church service happen as the people gather to remember the multifaceted dimensions that ANZAC Day now has attached to it. In this post I give my review of a recent ANZAC Day service I attended, and why churches should find ways to engage with this day: Continue Reading…

In November 2012 I gave the Baptist Research lecture at the annual Baptist Assembly (The Gathering) which was held in Hamilton, New Zealand. The recording of this lecture has recently been put online. If you’d like to hear me give an introduction to my PhD research, click the image below to have a listen – it will take you to the Resonate website that also contains the PowerPoint from my talk.

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The Resonate website is a storehouse of mainly sermons recorded at many different churches around New Zealand. Baptist Research have a few lecture recordings on Resonate and I list them below:
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The issue of Bible classes in New Zealand state schools has been in and out of the media for several years. A week ago parent Roy Warren, through the Human Rights Commission, got religious education classes removed from happening during school time in his son’s Auckland school. I felt the “Christian” viewpoint in my local newspaper last week was inadequate, so I sent in a letter which was published on 22 February.

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I think Roy Warren’s views are fair and reasonable in a post-secularised country that has never had an official religion. While I acknowledge the historical significance of the Christian church in New Zealand, with only 10-15% of the population being active church participants, it is unreasonable to expect society to remain the same or hold to the past to please such a minority. To think otherwise is to maintain a Christendom mindset which I believe is unhelpful in this post-Christendom time. Continue Reading…

I read an article last week in which I saw parallels with the church context so thought I would write about the same topic. The article by Olga Kahzan in The Atlantic is titled: “The Easiest Possible Way to Increase Female Speakers at Conferences.” The quick summary is: having just one woman on the organizing committee for a conference greatly increases the likelihood of women appearing at the front of the room.

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The contribution of women is a topic that concerns me because I am part of a Christian ‘movement’ that struggles with this: the New Zealand Baptist Church. This also appears to be a widespread problem for the church in general. Three points come to mind and I outline them below. Continue Reading…

The city I live in is recovering from a series of earthquakes that began three years ago. It’s a long slow grind. Earthquakes damage a city’s infrastructure, such as roads, and the sewers and water pipes that are mostly hidden deep below the road surface. Christchurch post-earthquakes has been riddled with orange road cones to highlight damage and repairs in progress. In June last year there were 100,000 road cones in Christchurch, worth more than $3 million. A day doesn’t go by without seeing many of them, they are a part of life here.

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This photo is a simple nativity scene made of road cones. Local artist Pete Majendie from the Side Door Arts Trust has placed this pregnant Mary and Joseph upon a pile of rubble on the corner of a busy intersection. The pile of rubble was once an historic church building.

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