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Tuesday, 29 July 2008

On Earth as in Heaven

TEAR Australia National Conference and Festival at Stanwell Tops, just south of Sydney, this last weekend was a wonderful event. The conference organisers were almost overwhelmed by a conference attendance of 500 people - probably over half under 35 years of age.

Whatever is happening in the decline of the Christendom model of the church a socially engaged faith inspired by a range of influences from nineteenth century Evangelical reformers such as Wilberforce, through contemporary anabaptism to the new monasticism, is well and truly alive in Australia.

In the local TEAR groups, lobbying activities and community engagement many people are finding a faith community experience that is more coherent and in touch with everyday life than traditional forms of churching. This form of social/faith movement is characterised by leadership that is not constrained by denominational politics and is moved forward by the energy, gifts and skills of ordinary biblically and theologically literate people who are not waiting for clerical permission.

Your Kingdom come, on earth as it is in heaven - the conference theme was underpinned by enlivening biblical studies by activist Ched Myers who drew our attention to the social, economic and political reality against which the prophets of Israel proclaimed God's critique and the realities of the empire against which Jesus' ministry was set.

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