Farewell institutional power, hello grassroots influence

Sermon on the Mount by Bloch. Image: Wikipedia

Churches have probably lost the fight against the NSW Government’s plan to introduce ethic classes in public schools at the same time as optional special religious education.

Education Minister Verity Firth is glowingly positive about the review of the classes and while there are no plans to remove SRE, the once ‘sacred’ right to offer Scripture without competition in NSW public schools will soon be a thing of the past.

Of course this is a manifestation of a wider truth that the church has lost much of its institutional power and perhaps in the future will lose even more.

There are positives though and the main one is that if churches and Christians learn they can’t rely on a privileged institutional role in society, they may finally revert to the ancient source of Christian vitality –  personal and community transformation through offering real life encounters with a living God.

This of course can’t be done any other way than through authentic relationship and engagement with people of all kinds.

Grassroots influence verses institutional authority – which one sounds more like Jesus? Continue reading

Walking at the precise speed of menace

We were all just waiting for the bus, of no great stature or intent. He came prowling down the footpath, walking at the precise speed of menace and power. Black shoes and trousers, dark brown leather jacket and impenetrable sunglasses. Tanned face and pony-tail, probably taut muscles beneath his impeccable attire. He put the cigarette to his mouth with his fingers making a crooked V across his lip, and paused, as if the whole world depended on his inhaling. He stalked through the bus mortals, studiously ignoring our existence, not even props on his stage. The bus arrived and I clambered on board, watching him appreciate his reflection in the window. As the 438 pulled away, I caught a glimpse of him turn sharply and shout. Despite his glory, he’d missed the bus.