At yesterday’s forum I felt I could not formulate the question that I would have put to the panel, that is the Churches have disengaged from being good citizens.  The popular model of church I’m seeing, at least among Presbyterians, is to withdraw from being a national or regional bodies; the perfect Christian community is based on the local church.  This doesn’t allow for a perspective for public issues outside the immediate boundary.  The space for discussing public issues is within the regional and national body.  Unfortunately the incentive for discussing these issues is in the progressive arm of the church, and the progressive voice is being drowned out by a growing conservative religious voice.  It may take a generation before the Church can speak on public issues in a way that I will find productive.  At the same time there is an emergence of voices like the Centre for Theology and Public Issues, and the New Zealand Christian Network, which are seen as speaking for the silent voice.  They may prove to be part of the problem.

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