Last night’s Compass on the Uniting Church in Australia was obviously of interest to me. A transcript is now available. Next week, I notice, the topic is the coming election.
A week before Australians go to the polls Compass throws the spotlight on values, by talking to the country’s religious leaders and a leading philosophical thinker. What values would they like to see guiding voters at the polling booths on Saturday? What do they believe are the key moral and ethical issues underpinning this election? In previous election specials Geraldine Doogue interviewed our political leaders about their beliefs and values. This time she’s invited our religious leaders (Christian, Jewish, Muslim) and a leading secular voice to air their views on what should shape voters’ choices in the 2007 federal election. Our interviewees are: Catholic Archbishop Philip Wilson; Jewish Rabbi David Freedman; Australian Christian Lobby Jim Wallace; Anthropologist, historian/ethicist Inga Clendinnen; Muslim Imam Afroz Ali; and, Anglican Archbishop Peter Jensen.
Rabbi Freedman was at the Jewish school I taught in some years ago; he was then, I am sure still is, a rather impressive human being. Of course that promo should read some of our religious leaders, shouldn’t it?
On last night’s program, however, I will say that I did learn a few things, and my friend Dorothy did appear briefly. South Sydney Uniting Church (above right) is not one of the conservative/evangelical ones, as I am sure you will have gathered. Nor is it a big church. Even so, there is a remarkable variety of people to be met there. See also NSW Synod and Insights to get a view of the NSW church at large.
I am drawn to the Centre for Progressive Religious Thought personally, which features especially in the life of St James Uniting Church in Canberra; this received quite a lot of attention on last night’s Compass.
Each Centre is open to any and to all who wish to explore a more progressive and open theology, in a safe environment.
They stand in deep contrast to a general tendency which often requires a theology be built on what should be believed.
As such, folk who will find comfort in each of the Centres will be those who either (i) remain in the institutional church but find their progressive theology not reflected in much of the local church’s thinking, or (ii) have already stepped outside the institution and are ‘exiles’ or members of the ‘church alumni association’ yet looking for a friendly and safe environment in which to share discussions and push boundaries.
There is a NSW Chapter — that leads to their (PDF) information.
Recorded in Richmond Uniting Church, Victoria
As noted above, the transcript is now up.
See Duncan Macleod on this.
Overall I found the doco disappointing. There was little sense of engaging with the ‘messy middle’, nor with the emerging young voices I’m in touch with regularly. The documentary helped me understand the importance the Assembly of Confessing Congregations places on adhering to orthodox statements of beliefs – a ‘confessing stream’ within a contextual church.
I missed that typo in the transcript: watch out for the typo in which Max Champion advocates belief in reincarnation rather than incarnation!
On New LInes from a Floating Life: More recent posts tagged South Sydney Uniting Church.