End of Year Wrap up from the Director! - Giving up our rights for the gospel
G’day everyone! This year has rocketed by, and yet I still feel I’m at the beginning of my transitioning to Australia after serving in Portugal, and getting used to my new role as National Director.
I’ve come back to a different Australia, significantly changed from the one I left. What passes for appropriate conduct, morality and expression has changed. When I was at school, my teachers assumed fixed categories of right and wrong, which applied to everyone. Then when I got to uni, my teachers were starting to assume “truth” was largely a matter of perspective. In my time doing university ministry in Australia and Portugal students were often happy to dismiss the claims of Christ in the clichéd response, “that might be true for you, but it’s not true for me”.
As I’ve returned to Australia, we are now back to absolutes, but not based on an older, codified morality, but the notion of “my rights” – that must be identified, protected and facilitated at all costs.
Our new obsession with rights has come at a cost however. Older traditional freedoms have come under suspicion, such as freedom of speech, religion and conscience. The mantra is now that we must be tolerant, not offend or discriminate.
The Apostle Paul had a strong notion of his rights and freedoms in the gospel and yet for him “all things are lawful, but not all things are helpful” (1 Cor. 10:23-24). He was counter-cultural for his time and ours: he fearlessly proclaimed the gospel, yet was flexible and wise in his way of life, prepared to give up personal freedoms for the good of others, so that they might be saved (1 Cor. 10:28-11:1).
Let me also take this opportunity to wish you all a great celebration of the birth of our Lord over Christmas, and a very Happy New Year!
Together in Christ,
ECM Director - Austalia & New Zealand