The Nature of Current Debate

I am concerned by the way in which much debate is at present being conducted.  Social media has not helped when people post brief opinions on Twitter without argument.  The most glaring example is President Donald Trump who constantly asserts his opinions on Twitter.  Yet even when he addressed the United Nations he was anything but diplomatic.  He used the occasion to call the North Korean leader ‘rocket man’ and subsequently threatened to destroy North Korea if they attacked the USA in any way.  There was no attempt to offer reasoned argument as to why North Korea and indeed other nations should pull back from developing nuclear weapons.  Donald Trump has also made famous such expressions as ‘alternative facts’ and ‘fake news.’  It is worrying that this has been done for the more he asserts it, the more people accept it. Ironically his style of presidency has led to an increase in newspaper readership.  Unfortunately, media reports can be very inaccurate as the ABC program Media Watch points out.  There has been a reduction in the number of journalists and investigative journalists.  News outlets often rely on second-hand reports which are not necessarily accurate.  Popular news media are on the look-out for the unusual and extreme to entertain people more than provide in-depth analysis of what is happening around the world.  (more…)


October 30, 2017 at 1:30 pm Leave a comment

Commending the Faith

I have been teaching a course on “Commending the Faith in Australia Today.”  Recommending the Christian faith to others is a task that is given to all Christians.  The risen Jesus commissioned us to “make disciples of all nations” (Matthew 28:19-20).  Peter says “Always be ready to make your defence to anyone who demands from you an accounting of the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15-16). Commending the faith involves people sharing their faith as well as public proclamation of Jesus and his message of the reign of God. (more…)

October 9, 2017 at 3:05 pm Leave a comment

The Call to Maturity – personal and political


Bob Dylan has a line in one of his songs which speaks about seeking fortune or fame “though neither of them are what they claim.”  For many people, their goal in life is to become rich or at least well off.  This dominates their thinking and actions.  They become consumed by how to increase their financial position and are distressed by any set-backs in regard to this.  Related to this is the desire for fame.  Reality television shows give ordinary people the possibility of becoming famous simply by being on television with thousands of people watching.  I suspect that the success of social media is that people can talk about themselves and put up pictures which they hope will get many ‘likes’ even from people they do not know.  The truth is, however, that it is maturity not fortune or fame which is what we should really be seeking.  (more…)

September 5, 2017 at 12:11 pm Leave a comment


I have moved from Sydney to Perth and from working for the Assembly of the Uniting Church as national consultant for Christian Unity, Doctrine and Worship to working for the WA Synod and Murdoch University teaching theology.  It has been quite a change.  I sought to finish my previous role well and commence the new role with as much readiness as I could.  It has been a time of transition with both excitement and some anxiety and difficulties.  We are all living in a time of rapid change.  The Christian church is facing many challenges. I will share some of what being in transition involves if we are to navigate it positively. (more…)

August 7, 2017 at 11:52 am Leave a comment

What does the 2016 Census really tell us?

The figures for the 2016 Census are now available.  News reports gave some preliminary findings, some with the statement “Losing my religion,” the title of a popular song by the rock group REM in the 1990s.  The number of people stating “No Religion” has been increasing each census – from 18.7% in 2006 to 22.3% in 2011 and is now 29.6% – up more than 10% in ten years.  I suspect it is less a matter of people losing their religion as being more willing to say they were not connected to any religion.  This was helped by putting “No Religion” the first option in the census list.  Our society is predominantly secular and materialistic so the census figures understandably reflect this.  We do well to note that Christianity still represents 52% of the population. (more…)

July 5, 2017 at 11:46 am 2 comments

The Triune God

Next Sunday is Trinity Sunday so as a theologian I thought it would be appropriate for me to say something about the Christian understanding of God as triune.  The Christian understanding of God is that we know God through Jesus Christ and in the Spirit.  R. L. Wilkins says “Christian life is Trinitarian, oriented towards God the supreme good, formed by the life of Christ, and moved toward the good by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.”  So Trinitarian thinking is not esoteric, it is fundamental to Christian thought and life. (more…)

June 9, 2017 at 12:24 pm Leave a comment

Where is Home?

We live in a world in which many people do not feel at home.  Thousands of refugees have been displaced from their homes due to war and the threat of violence in places such as Syria and the Middle East.  Others have had to move from drought-stricken areas such as in Africa.  Others due to relationship or mental health issues do not have a place they can really call home.  In considering this issue of, ‘Where is Home?’ it is helpful to start by naming some of the qualities of ‘home.’   Home implies somewhere that is safe, that is familiar, that has people who care for us and we care for them, that has many of our own things, and that we can be ourselves in.  Let me expand on this.  (more…)

May 12, 2017 at 1:46 pm Leave a comment

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