WHAT’S CHRISTIANITY EVER DONE?
Western culture is changing, climate is changing, nation-states are changing, millions of people are relocating, religions are looking for a new way forward and not always doing it well. Global shocks are reverberating and while some are hurt, some are helping but others are welcoming a crop of neo-fascists. This does matter very much.
Let's start with where we have come from. Let's look across the cultural impact of Christianity (with other religions too) in the core disciplines that affect every one of us and especially those who are involved professionally. We will investigate :
how principles of faith have undergirded that discipline,
how persons of faith have been pioneers in that discipline,
how the church has corrupted their role
how there might be good collaboration into the future.
Why does this matter so much? Firstly, because most people in Western societies today know nothing of their own cultural history. We are so without foundations that it is hard to learn. In other words, we have made a vicious circle of ignorance. Secondly, in search of new ideas, if we can realize some of our cultural roots, we might talk with respect, find new hope and find a good renewing source and not a fascist solution. Thirdly, if we fear that taking a faith-position threatens the quality of our input, the stories here show that we could not be more wrong. Fourthly, if we are a triumphalist who declares that religion either causes all the wars or solves them all, we can look here and see that it is a lot more interesting than that.
And yes, time for a shameless confession, the title of this series comes from a satirical film - Life of Brian. Click on that title to see a clip.
We here offer a critical guide to an amazing history and, fear not, it is not an academic treatise on simply everything.
Rev Dr Ian Robinson was a university chaplain for the Uniting Church in Australia before crossing Australia to become the Alan Walker Lecturer at United Theological College, part of Charles Sturt University. He has an MA and PhD and has given himself to the work of authentic engagement between community and church. See makesyouwonder.org for more of this sort of thing
IF YOU REPEAT ANYTHING IN WXED, YOU MAY GET INTO TROUBLE...
because it is becoming popular to say that the church has been an evil institution since it began. Yes, there are good reasons to say that the church has been corrupt (we face this in each topic) but there are plenty of other stories to make you marvel at this old global, formerly Middle-eastern movement. The popular criticisms just don't know the story and they stridently claim too much, dump too much and project too much.
On the other hand, Christians claim too much also. The research for this series has taken years longer than expected, because so many pro-church authors claim too much credit for their team. I have worked hard on myself not just the books, to see the truth from the history. Ultimately, WXED may be a new form of Apologetic, a critical examination of the shared experience of church, the track-record of a divinely inspired divine organisation - that falls well short of its ideals but still does amazingly well.
SO we invite you to look again at how Christian faith strengthens culture
Why? The treasures of our life are now at risk from consumer materialism. Everything and everyone is being commodifed and globalised in a mush-ball of data. As a consequence, human communities are fracturing and inter-communal leadership is being marginalised by bullies. We are all in deep trouble. The legacy of the church needs a fresh and open consideration. The church has to apologise for its mistakes, if it hasn't already, then learn, reform and move forward.
So let's get WXED and here go back to the great adventure of the Christian faith in history.
Group Study books are linked below in the title bar.
Audio files of the full speech are linked below or cut and paste the url. Download these for your group to listen to on the way to work before the study .
Shorter video presentations are also linked. Show these at the start of each small group study.
Is it still healthcare or is it now budget-care? If you expect that, when you get sick, someone will of course help you, then you have a Christian culture in your head. It is not down to being 'civilised', 'rational', 'common sense' or 'efficient'. But let us admit also that there some terrible things were done in the church's name. Let's read the story and look to build a better future.
Click the title above to download the study book.
Sumptuous, stupid, sinful and soaring with transcendence, the long history of the arts and Christianity is often surprising. We make a journey through the chequered relationship and cultural impact between the arts and architecture and faith, including pioneers and idiots. We cast a hopeful gaze towards the future.
Click the title above to download the study book. Audio file:http://www.nedlandsuniting.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/20150809-Ian-Robinson-WXED-Arts-And-Achitecture.mp3
Like an old married couple, we observe in history some big arguments between science and faith. The story includes some great pioneers, past and present, some interfaith porosity, theological principles, embarrassing contradictions, truth and wonder and today's urgent need for collaboration .
Click the title above to download the study book. Audio file:http://www.nedlandsuniting.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/20150816-Ian-Robinson-WXED-Science.mp3
If you can read this, thank a teacher, and the movement which made schools and universities worldwide. The church borrowed from every religion and culture to create what is now a global system of secular schools and universities . There are also several corruptions that detract from that great record. Let's unpack the story.
Click the title above to download the study book. Audio file: http://www.nedlandsuniting.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/20150823-Ian-Robinson-WXED-Education.mp3
The creative costly contribution of Christianity formed some of the pillars of our Law, so much so that it used to be 'common sense'. New challenges and new forms of secularity have produced both bright and dark responses from the church. Can the practise of Christian faith still be good for the Law? And vice versa?
Click the title above to download the study book. Audio file: http://www.nedlandsuniting.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/20150830-Ian-Robinson-WXED-Law.mp3