“The working class don’t go to church because the capitalist class pray for them on Sundays and prey on them the other six days of the week”

Rutherford Waddell

A Christian socialist he rejected materialist socialism and anarchy.  His Christian socialism appears to come from a concern for the development of character.  Was this what the German society of his age called Bildung?  Literature was the meat of his thinking, his influences were George Elliot and Browning, Tennyson, Ruskin and Twain.

In contrast the common sharing of literature and information has become a gated community, we seek out knowledge as individuals, not as a society.

His younger years were spent on self-pleasing and enjoyment.  In his later years in ministry grew an interest in Scripture and the apocalyptic presence of Christ; the advent of the reign of the Lamb.  Was this imminence part of his Christian socialism?

Waddell woke New Zealand from its economic slumber with his passion and forceful personality.  Since then we have turned over and gone back to sleep.  Doing public theology is exceptional, especially when it accomplishes what he did.

Just two things that could have been oversights from the conference: the Christian inheritors of old St Andrew’s, St Michael’s Coptic Church were not included in the conference, a shame as they love the legacy of the place too; and the Mission Hall on Carroll Street is now Te Hou Ora Whanau, did no one think that there was opportunity for a powhiri including them in the day?

I hope that there will be a publication from the conference!

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