This was the first event of the year for the Centre for Theology and Public Issues, a conversation with the new Anglican Bishop of the Diocese of Wellington.  He created interest from the local media for being at his installation the barefoot bishop with dreadlocks.  Despite being a sunny day in Dunedin, surprising in itself as the country gets high on unremitting sunshine for ten days, an unexpected summer treat, attendance was, also, high.  Perhaps I wasn’t the only one who wanted to know if this was the second coming of James K. Baxter.

He was here for the national meeting of bishops in Dunedin, the one city in New Zealand where he wears jandals, too much glass on the streets.  On the other hand he described the city as most likely to be Hogwarts.  Potter and Dumbledore are just around the corner.  Beware of low-flying wizards!

He described his background as not just being unchurched, but pagan.  This is just like being unchurched but everyone thinks it involves goats.  Then he got Youth For Christ (YFC).  This group gave him three values

  1. Live in missional obedience.  If Jesus says from heaven Jump! then the believer responds How high Lord?
  2. Live in community.
  3. Recognise the gospel’s preference for the poor

The way the church exists these values have become optional for many Christians.

A life lived this way has provided the Duckworth family with a rich and deep experience of living hospitably.  The home should be neither a castle nor a motel.

Discernment is necessary in the supermarket of faith. He values using liturgy for quiet-time practice.  I understand that, I do the same in my own practice.  The contrasts he makes against this are with a fizzy, burpy Christianity, and a dispassionate society.

The faithful need to culture-shift their decision-making authority to those who are remaking the church.  I think that that may involve discernment too.

Our authority doesn’t come from our financial power, our lives are the currency that pays the price to gives us a right to speak out.

Is it right for the profit-makers to have the greatest voice?  They try to seduce us with affluence, entertainment and security.

The conversation was an introduction to Justin Duckworth, the shiny new bishop (with dust on his feet?) of Wellington.  My bias towards liberal religion has heard how his faith and theology has grown from that beginning.  There is more to know.  He is not James K. Baxter returned.  A person only walks this earth once.  I think we may have heard someone who can teach us how to be transformed.

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