‘What do you think God is asking of us in Australia?’ That’s the headline question for the National Plenary Council of 2020/21 and the starting point for the local consultations that are going on across the nation. It’s a good question. It asks us to try to put aside our pet peeves and opinions and to try to imagine how God sees things.
I have written previously about my recent time in Nigeria. When I had done what I went to do there, I travelled on to England for my annual leave - something I have done before but not for about 10 years. I am now going to take the great risk, with an Australian readership, of reflecting a little on some of the good things about Britain, why I feel so comfortable there and, to some extent, what I miss when I come home.
On the night following the ordinations, at the farewell meal, Fr Chris said again that it was not possible to thank me enough for coming all this way to Africa to be with them. I assured him in reply that it was quite possible, and that he and the community had achieved that quantum of thanks several days earlier. I’d been told before leaving home that the welcome would be warm and the gratitude enormous. Never a truer word.
Census results that show declining numbers of Christians always attract some comment. There’s a section of the community that positively delights in rushing to explain why the church, or often ‘religion’ itself, has had its day in an enlightened, scientific and liberal age.