Tuesday 21 May 2013

The Christian and Politics

A post By Edwina Hine

All our readers who live in Australia must be aware that this is an election year. In fact the count down has begun, and it is only 120 days until the next federal election. This week it will have been difficult to escape news telecasts of the federal budget speech by Wayne Swan or the opposition's budget response a few days later.

The news from Canberra gives all Australians much to think about, as we ponder how the budget and other government initiatives may effect our vote later this year.  Case edition #13 ( from 2007)  entitled "The Christian and Politics"  has been a helpful read for me this week as my thoughts turned upon the subject of Australian politics. The articles in Case 13 are certainly not a "how to" of  Christian voting, but it is an excellent collection of articles. Collectively, the essays look at the way Christians view their citizenship and the roles of government, the stated purpose of Case #13 as Trevor Carney points out in his editorial, the magazine offers

".... a collection of papers that present arguments concerning the way our biblical understanding  should inform our political minds and actions"

One article I enjoyed was penned by the Hon. John Andersen -who was at the time the Deputy Prime Minister of Australia. His article  entitled 'Church and state' outlined the role people of faith should play in politics. He reminded the readers that the

" debate over the relationship between church and state is alive and well... The issues are difficult, they create real tensions and there are, in the end no definitive, final, neat formulas"

Courtesy of Google images
We are also reminded that in 1 Timothy 2 that Christian relationships with the 'state' are within the
framework of Gods eternal plans. Christians are to pray for political leaders so that they govern and oversee a peaceful society in which the gospel can be preached. Anderson  concludes his thesis by reminding the reader Christians

"must have a distinct world view that allows us to contribute  thoughtfully and theologically to public life"

In addition to John Anderson's article, this edition of Case also includes an article by Mike Thompson on 'Western Christians and democracy as a foreign policy objective' , and an article by Andrew Errington entitled 'Representation and good government'.  The latter can be read online as can he article by John Anderson. There are a number of other articles in  edition #13 well worth a look.

A back issue of Case #13 can be purchased here, or  if you wish to become a Case subscriber you should visit here. Case edition #13 on Christians and Politics also followed the 2005 New College Lecture Series 'Church & State'. Both John Anderson and Kevin Rudd were amongst the guest speakers and for those in an interest in the topic - you might enjoy visiting the New College Lecture website to view their talks here 

Thursday 9 May 2013

Engaging with others & giving a reason: 10 years on...

The latest issue of Case Magazine is out and it celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Centre for Apologetic Scholarship and Education (CASE) at New College. The Centre was established in late 2002 with my appointment as the 5th Master of the College. 

In the first issue of Case magazine I described its aim as ‘to provide a Christian perspective on social, intellectual and academic issues.’ The Centre was meant ‘…to engage people of all persuasions in dialogue, debate and discussion concerning contemporary issues of broad interest.’ It was to do this through publications, seminars, conferences, online resources, and engagement with others in varied public dialogue and discourse.

CASE has now been doing this for a decade. Case magazine has been one of the key activities of the Centre. Over the years it has tackled a huge range of topics, including family, climate change, debt, apologetics, work, philosophy, science and religion, euthanasia, creativity, poverty, wealth, evolution, witchcraft, atheism, ageing, politics, education, bioethics, war, peace, art, music, literature, happiness, and even Christmas! The early shape, design and make-up of Case was influenced by Dr Greg Clarke who I appointed as full-time Director of the centre and editor of Case in 2003. He held this post until 2006 when I assumed the role of Director in addition to being Master of New College.

As an incoming editor I made some minor changes to what had become an excellent publication. We created an Editorial Advisory Group and from Issue 12 we grouped the articles much more around a particular theme. Over the years, the themes have included The Christian and Politics (#13); Living and Dying Ethically (#17) To Give a Reason (#20); Work in Progress (#24); Acts of God (#27); Selling Christmas (#29); and Believing Science (#32). This has made Case Magazine more than simply a Christian current affairs magazine, or a journal to be read once and discarded. Over time readers, churches, schools and libraries subscribing to the magazine have used it as a reference library of high quality articles grouped in these topic areas. Themes we plan to address over the coming months include identity, media, secularism, refuge, and beauty.

CASE reaches well beyond traditional ‘defence’ apologetics. Its aim is to encourage all to consider the claims of Christianity, and to bring a biblical perspective to all of life. It has done this in many overlapping ways:

a) helping people understand and respond to direct challenges to Christianity (eg. New Atheism, scientism, the problem of evil, and historical challenges—even those in airport novels!);

b) providing Christian comment on areas of popular and intellectual culture and (eg. art, music, literature, history, science, philosophy, anthropology);

c) providing Christian comment on societal trends (eg. new technology, busyness, globalisation, climate change);

d) informing people about areas of potential ethical conflict between Christianity and the world, and how to respond (eg. bioethics, euthanasia, sexuality, consumerism);

e) encouraging people to live as thoughtful Christians in the way they approach day to day life (eg. work, money, family, education, church, social justice);

f) encouraging Christian to engage thoughtfully with the non-Christian world (eg. through political engagement, the media and so on);

and in all these things promoting the attractiveness of Christianity.

To celebrate 10 years of CASE, we have put together a bumper edition of Case Magazine, comprising a selection of some of the most significant articles published in the magazine over the last ten years. To kick the issue off, we invited our foundation director Dr Greg Clarke to write about his thoughts on key directions for apologetics.

The 10th Anniversary issue (#34) also marks the beginning of a new venture for CASE. For the first time, the magazine will be available in electronic form as an e-zine that can be downloaded and read on electronic devices. This will make it even easier for the next generation of readers to access. As part of this venture Koorong will now sell the magazine directly to its customers around the world. The printed version will also continue to be produced as it is now, giving readers the choice of reading the hard copy or the electronic format, or both! Full details on the varied ways to subscribe and buy Case magazine can be found by visiting the CASE website.

In addition, we will be returning to an earlier practice of Case Magazine, which is to provide a Discussion Guide for groups to download and use, to help discuss the content from each edition. This will commence with Issue #35, with the theme of Identity.

I hope that you will enjoy this special anniversary edition of Case. Thank you to those of you who have supported and contributed to the work of CASE over the last decade. To others, for whom this issue may be your first introduction to the Centre, I hope the work of CASE will be a blessing to you both now and into the future. If you would like to purchase individual issues of Case or subscribe to receive quarterly publications, then visit our website HERE.