World Christianity

I have been reading a book on World Christianity edited by Jonathan Tan and Anh Tran.  For those of us in Western nations, such as Australia and are Anglo-Celtic, our experience of church can be that it has been declining over recent decades.  We can think this is the overall reality when it is not.  Christianity has been growing significantly in other parts of the world and among other ethnic groups.  The book highlights that a major shift has taken place.  The traditional homeland of Christianity was Europe and North America.  Now Christianity is predominantly a religion of Africa, Asia and the Americas.  An estimated 60% of Christians are now living in the southern hemisphere. (more…)


August 2, 2018 at 4:16 pm Leave a comment

Positive Psychology and Jesus

I heard a radio program in which Martin Seligman, a leading figure in the field of positive psychology, was interviewed.  What he said made a good deal of sense.  He is an American psychologist, educator and author of self-help books such as Learned Optimism, Authentic Happiness and Flourish. I have also been reading Bonhoeffer’s Discipleship and what he says about Jesus’ call to follow him.  I majored in psychology years ago at the University of Sydney and have continued to have an interest in psychology. My major field of expertise is theology having a PhD in that field.  What follows are some thoughts about positive psychology and Jesus’ call to discipleship. (more…)

July 3, 2018 at 9:14 am Leave a comment

Black Preaching

Recently we had the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle at St Georges Chapel, Windsor.  It was a very grand, public event with some 1.8 billion people watching.  The highlight of the wedding was the sermon by Bishop Michael Curry, the first black bishop of the Episcopal Church in the USA.  It was notable because he did not change from his black preaching style and preached a dynamic faithful message. The emphasis was on love in all its dimensions which included reference to poverty and war.  It was a message that did not compromise but proclaimed his conviction about Jesus Christ. It is difficult to know how it was received by people but it certainly did register. (more…)

June 5, 2018 at 3:39 pm Leave a comment


We have had major renovations on our house.  For quite some time tradespeople worked on our house knocking walls down and rebuilding them, renovating the bathroom, painting etc.  Then there was a burst water pipe in our street which meant the water had to be turned off for hours while the council workmen fixed the problem.  These events made me very conscious of how much I depend on people carrying out their work well in order for me to live comfortably in our house. They have skills I do not have and I have some skills that others hopefully benefit from.  It is a matter of different vocations that collectively lead to the common good in our society. While the idea of ‘vocation’ is now understood in a secular way without reference to God, it goes back to Luther and Calvin at the time of the Reformation. (more…)

May 9, 2018 at 7:50 pm Leave a comment

Changing of the Guards

One of Bob Dylan’s most enigmatic songs is ‘Changing of the Guards’.  It has a driving beat, backing singers and images that defy clear explanation. It comes from his Street Legal album of 1978 and is included in the two album The Essential Bob Dylan collection of 2001.  Having read a number of attempts to understand or at least make comment on the song, let me offer my thoughts. (more…)

April 9, 2018 at 12:22 pm Leave a comment


I am teaching a course on hermeneutics which is about understanding and interpretation, especially of written texts.  Friedrich Schleiermacher, a leading nineteenth century German theologian, is regarded as the father of modern hermeneutics.  He said that rather than understanding being the norm, it was misunderstanding that was the norm.  Hermeneutics has to do with clearing away blockages to understanding so that we can grasp what is said or written rather than misunderstand what is intended. Understanding is not simple and there are methods to use to assist with grasping the thought or ideas. (more…)

March 4, 2018 at 1:50 pm Leave a comment

What is Success?

I have been to a men’s lunch with men from my church.  As well as the lunch we have a conversation led by one person.  This time we were asked to reflect on our working lives.  The question of what amounts to success was raised.  People shared about the different work situations they have been involved in.  In terms of success, it was hard to know how to evaluate this.  Most work situations have guidelines that are expected.  If people carry them out they are considered as doing a good job.  If not, they are likely to be asked to leave.  Within those guidelines people said they sought to be helpful to the people they were serving.  Even in a difficult situation one person did this and was appreciated for how he conducted himself.  So, what is real success? (more…)

February 3, 2018 at 9:28 am Leave a comment

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