Australian universities not talking about the role of religion and spirituality in community formation

It is revealing how UTAS has no mention of religion or spirituality in their ‘community concept’ for 2021. At best they might think it sits under ‘culture’, which is woefully inadequate.

 

We’re encouraging them to be more proactive in recognising a very important aspect of student community, wellbeing and intellectual life. By including it at several points, “cultural and religious celebrations”, “sport, photography, religious participation”, “formal dining, safe food events, religious fellowship” etc etc etc it triggers those in administration to think-to-think of these various, powerful points of synergy. Even, dare I say it, by only talking about “local charities” it assumes that social goods are merely horizontal, that there is no social good that comes through prayer and scripture and ritual.

Not to mention the talk of indigenous culture in the first point. It’s a lopsided respect for indigenous history and culture to leave out the spiritual dimension.

 

This little book by Stephen McAlpine is a great read for a ministry team or book club…

This little book by Stephen McAlpine is a great read for a ministry team or book club.

 

 

It provides cultural & historical analysis on the current cultural mood in the West & straightforward biblical reflection on how to live as Christians & preach the gospel in an increasingly dismissive & antagonistic context.

 

Stephen’s blogging has a tendency to overblown metaphors, purple prose & sometimes a kind of hysterical shrillness—all part of his schtick. These tendencies are dialled back here, which makes the writing more engaging for a wider audience & better suited for the book format.

 

I certainly didn’t find myself 100% in agreement with every step of Stephen’s cultural and historical analysis. Found myself sometimes thinking to myself “Yeah… could be…” or “… I suppose a bit… but what about…”

 

Some of the solutions and challenges Stephen offers also sound cooler than they are practical. For example, comparing the kind of deep discipleship the church needs to provides to the saturation of media, advertising and Netflix (29)… is a little comparing apples and oranges.

 

For all its interest in highlighting various cultural problems, it isn’t outraged or panicky, nor does it rush to complaints of persecution. Rather Stephen’s says we shouldn’t be surprised, but instead carry on with Christian life, discipleship, community & mission.

 

The closing chapters are exciting in their re-presentation of church life and Christian faithfulness in the world. They are telling us things that are true in every age, simply worded to be relevant to our particular age.

Attitude to social media among our students

One of our Uni Fellowship of Christians staff members invites student leaders to brainstorm possible promotional strategies for summer break period. First comment from a student leader:

“Does it have to be online?”

We are increasingly getting this kind of disengagement from social media attitude among our students. We’re post-paper and posters and fliers AND post-social media.

Curious to see what promotion looks like on next few years. Especially when seeking to broadcast to lots of people. Word of mouth is very hard to reach beyond the boundaries of networks.

A few guesses:

  • focus on word of mouth promotion to make it as effective as possible
  • email list & bulk SMS list more effective than social media
  • focus social media on those who DO use it to spread to word to those who don’t but rely on those who do to keep them updated…

I much prefer ‘truly man, truly God’ to ‘100% man, 100% God’

Regarding the incarnation, I find ‘100% man, 100% God’ and ‘fully man, fully God’ both to be ugly and ambiguous.

I much prefer ‘truly man, truly God’. It’s not like every single aspect of the Incarnate Son of God is divine. Nor is it that somehow there is some precise ratio in which he is no more God than he is man.

An odd time for ministry media communications and promotions

It’s an odd time for media communications I reckon… for many who might’ve consumed print media to stay connected, moved online to free social media… and then chosen to abandon social media without re-connecting with print media.

Many people are no longer easily reachable through traditional or online forms of communication in the way they were in 1995 or 2010

Things that might fill the gap:

  • Email subscriptions to key organisations?
  • Podcasts?
  • Video content?
  • Live events and their associated announcements and conversations?

Say what you will about the legitimacy of sodalities and the priesthood of all believers…

Say what you will about the legitimacy of sodalities & the priesthood of all believers & whatever…

If you’re in The Conjuring universe & you call for a priest & a Christian Union staffer turns up instead in an Easter Mission T-shirt & NTE Keep Cup, you’re not feeling reassured 🙂

Just a random silly thought. I don’t actually have a serious point to make!

About Xian Reflections

Xian Reflections is written by Mikey Lynch.

Mikey graduated from the University of Tasmania with a Bachelor of Arts in 2002. In 2000 he became one of the founding leaders of Crossroads Presbyterian Church where he was the lead pastor for 7 years from 2003.

Mikey now works as the Campus Director of the University Fellowship of Christians, University of Tasmania, Hobart. Mikey is the chairman of The Vision 100 Network (Tasmania) and a founding director of Geneva Push (national) – both church planting networks. He is also a chaplain at Jane Franklin Hall and the chairman of New Front Door: the Church IT Guild.