I suspect 2017 is a year in our national life we will not quickly forget. The changes to the Marriage Act have been supported and passed, and I suspect all sides of the question have found it hard in various ways. The LBGTQI community and their supporters went in apprehensive that they would be bruised by the debate, but came out celebrated and celebrating. Those who wanted to keep marriage as received also found the debate confronting, it seems to me, and came out with their fears confirmed—that they are the minority, and their views are implausible and their arguments unconvincing to the majority.
2018 may bring its own significant developments. The status of religious conviction and the freedom of believers to conduct their public lives, as individuals and through their institutions, according to the convictions of their faith-formed consciences is now on the agenda, thanks to the Prime Minister’s Religious Freedom Review. We can hope, pray and advocate for the continued embrace of such religious freedom, put together in our culture over such a long span, and so integral to the kind of society that we have enjoyed—a society that safeguards us against tyrannies large and small.
Our leaders by Rob Forsyth and Allan Chapple touch on these current affairs, and our first feature extends our engagement with these social concerns by hearing from Christians in the workforce as they encounter diversity training and the coming of corporately-adopted policies on diversity in the workplace. This can be a source of difficulty for Christians, even to the point that some Christians hear the message: ‘conform or get out’. If you want some insight on how some Christians are finding it, read on.
The Canberra-Goulburn branch of EFAC has generously provided written versions of presentations at their 2017 Preaching Seminars, and in this issue we feature Jonathan Holt’s analysis of the TED talk approach, and its grist for the preacher’s mill. David McLennan writes about preaching in a Prayer Book context. If you enjoy these you might like to find out more at the Preaching Seminars website:jonathan6412.wixsite.com/ preachingseminars.
Further along, Stephen Hale keeps our heads in the parish and looks to the changing nature of the ministry of small groups, and Gavin Perkins helps us meditate on the pronouncement of Jesus in the Nazareth synagogue: ‘Today the Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing’. A clutch of book reviews and a railing against the poverty of philosophical materialism by Peter Corney rounds out the issue. But don’t forget to block out September 6-8, 2018 and come along to the Anglican Future Conference jointly hosted by EFAC and FCA Australia in Melbourne. Spread the word about this too. It’s not just for clergy. See the notice at the back of the mag.
Ben Underwood, Editor