Free public lectures by renowned Christian theologians in Australia and beyond.
"No Lasting City": The Love of Place in Australia and how Christian Theology can make it better (Dr Andrew Errington)
The love of place is a potent and unavoidable aspect of our common life, and our sense of ourselves as a people, a nation. “I love a sunburnt country”! Love of place can seem to hold the keys to renewal and reconciliation, as in Tim Winton’s justly famous novel, Cloudstreet.
But love of place can also be distorted. It can float above the reality of place and become mesmerised by ideas and imaginations of place. When that happens, the dangers of exclusion and violence are never far away. Christian theology can help with this problem, disciplining our love of place by the light of the kingdom of God, reminding us that “Here we have no lasting city” (Heb. 13:14).
This lecture moves from Tim Winton to Saint Augustine, seeking to draw out some of the dynamics and promises of our love of place, to highlight its relevance to contemporary Australia, and to suggest how Christian theology can correct and enrich it, for the good of all of us.
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Church Responses to Violence Against Women (Prof David Tombs)
In her recent work ‘Scars Across Humanity’ (2015), British theologian and sociologist Elaine Starkey outlines different forms of gender-based violence which women can experience across their life-cycle. This lecture draws on Storkey’s work and on feminist biblical approaches for a careful reading of 2 Samuel 15-16 which explores the violence against the ten concubines left to look after King David’s house when David fled Jerusalem to escape his son Absalom. It highlights David’s shameful response to the concubines when he returned to Jerusalem (2 Samuel 20), and asks how churches can do more to avoid victim blaming and victim shaming in their response to violence against women.
Delivered by Professor David Tombs for our mid-year Commencement event on 9 July 2018.
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Resourcing Bush Ministry for the next 40 years (Dr Mark Short)
Barren Wilderness or Garden of Delights?
Bishop-elect Dr Mark Short headlined our 40th College Anniversary event on 23 April 2018 by considering the role of the bush, both real and imagined, in Australian culture and experience, and the challenges and opportunities this creates for Christian ministry. In particular, he explored how our context differs from other Western societies in this regard and why this necessitates a distinctly Australian discipline of rural ministry. He then gave suggestions as to how St Mark’s and other theological institutions might be part of this endeavour.
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A Theologian Reflects on Australia’s Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse (Prof Martyn Percy)
Risk, Responsibility and Redemption: Remembering Our Future
The Report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse was released in early 2018. But even before its release, it was already clear that many Anglican organisational structures were not conducive to hearing the vulnerable, and complicitly ignored Jesus’ expectation never to cause the downfall of ‘little ones’ (Matt. 18:1–10).
In this lecture, delivered at St Mark's National Theological Centre on 14 August 2017, The Very Revd Professor Dr Martyn Percy reflected theologically on the implications of the Commission’s findings — What can be our proper ongoing responses, both toward victims of such abuse, and to the watching world? How may the Church move forward as a redeemed and responsible people?
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That Meddlesome God: A Christian Future for the Church (Prof Stephen Pickard)
Reformer. Activist. “The Red Bishop”. “A Most Meddlesome Priest”. These are just some of the ways that Bishop Ernest Burgmann came to be known in Australia. Passionate and outspoken about social justice and civil rights, his activism strove to awaken Australia from its conservative complacency. In the words of Peter Hempenstall, who published a book on Burgmann in 1993,
"his actions had a profound and far-reaching impact on Australians well beyond the boundaries of his diocese. Burgmann’s words and actions hold a promise of extraordinary relevance to Australian society today."
St Mark's National Theological Centre, together with the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the death of Bishop Ernest Henry Burgmann — controversial reformer, social justice activist, teacher, writer, Anglican bishop — on 17 May 2017. The Rt Rev’d Professor Stephen Pickard gave a talk aptly titled, “That Meddlesome God: A Christian Future for the Church" where he spoke passionately about Burgie's heart for social justice, his advocacy for the downtrodden, and how the church today can learn from his zeal for public theology.
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The Good Book under the gum trees: the Bible in Australian culture (Dr Meredith Lake)
Australia was largely colonised by convicts rather than settlers with Christian convictions, which is why it's heartening and surprising to learn how much the Bible has woven its way into the fabric of Australian culture and society.
At St Mark's National Theological Centre's 2017 Commencement Lecture, Dr Meredith Lake took us through the many myriad ways in which the Bible has changed our country. Titled "The good book under the gum trees: the Bible in Australian culture", we learned how all kinds of Australians have made use of the Bible — from convicts to Anzacs, Aboriginal activists to writers and artists.
Dr Meredith Lake is a renown historian and published author. She literally wrote the book about The Bible in Australia which went on to become 2018 Australian Christian Book of the Year, and is currently doing a major study on the Bible's impact and influence in Australian culture and life.