At this morning’s carol service at South Sydney Uniting Church I met Vlad Korotkov’s stand-in for the next twelve months. He is quite young, but seems good. His name is Andrew Collis, and when he took part in that very interesting episode of Radio National’s Religion Report he was a Chaplain at the University of New South Wales. I must tell him I actually know Prof David Flint (through the Mufti of Watsons Bay). Here is some of what Andrew had to say back then.
Reverend Andrew Collis is the Co-ordinator of the University of New South Wales Religious Centre, and he’s also the campus chaplain for the Uniting Church. Andrew Collis has a certain degree of sympathy for religious activism on campus but he’s also surprised at the intensely dogmatic form that this activism sometimes takes.
Andrew Collis: It does surprise me that in a place like a university where people are encouraged to think historically and to compare the literature of one culture with another, one time and place with another, that more conservative approaches to religion that encourage simplistic universal and eternal propositions are so popular. I can appreciate somewhat why that occurs, that as a response to all this relativism, here’s a simple answer over here, something to cling to. Often a person has moved out of home for the first time, is much more solely responsible for getting to lectures, getting assignments done, meeting new people, making new friends, and so a religious group on campus can offer security and stability at a time when there’s lots of change. I see a strong idealism and enthusiasm among young people who are attracted to religious groups on campus. They’re thinking, Well if I’m going to be a Christian, I’m going to be a real Christian. And there’s a place for that, there’s a place for immersing oneself into that tradition.
You can now download a PDF of our church’s paper The South Sydney Herald. Do so. I think you will be very surprised. Anything less like a Murdoch publication, or even a church paper, is hard to imagine. Consider it my Christmas present to you. That link is courtesy of REDWatch-Redfern Eveleigh Darlington Waterloo Watch: such a shame the name is similar to a notorious ultra-right outfit. No relation, I assure you. Far from it! 😉