The Combined Dunedin Churches put on a well-attended event at the Dunedin Town Hall.  Even though I knew I would not enjoy the worship music, which would be jumping, I went to hear one of the speakers, Highlander Captain and All-Black Brad Thorn.

I stood for the songs.  Mostly I did not sing as they were unfamiliar to me.  I listened to this wall of sound around me.  I joined in when they sang a version of Thine Be the Glory, Risen Conquering Son and sang with gusto.  I used to have a version of this from a worship service from the London Proms.  Perhaps a more orchestral sound next time?

As I said, it was Brad Thorn that I had come to hear and consider.  He was interviewed on stage by a pastor.  The conversation steered away from the details of testimony and theology.  There was several references to the recent Highlanders game.  Don’t ask me about that, I’m a sports non-believer.  Thorn was not on the field during the game.

I picked up some notes from what the big man said.  He’s from a Mosgiel family, with a back-ground in one of the churches that faded away when the family moved to Australia.  His success in both Rugby League and Rugby Union made him independently wealthy and at the top of his game.  He wanted more from life and with some encouragement made a commitment to Christ.  This involved a noticeable change of nature to those around him as he “put on the Christ nature” (his choice of words).

For him being Christian is being professional.  I’m guessing this is a reference to his role as a professional sportsman.  He lives by the code of the game on the field, in his public life, and in his Christian life.  I wonder if this a return to the chivalric romance of muscular Christianity as was popular in the first half of the twentieth century, a masculine ethos to balance feminine religion.

The evening ended with a 30 minute address and altar call from retired Youth for Christ man and family councillor Ian Grant.  I left wondering what the evening had been for? And who for?  It all felt muddled.

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