Newsstand 13 - 19 May
Indigenous thinking and Australian theology, violence flares across the Holy Land again, the Vatican faces off against progressive Catholics in Germany, and why 2020 was a sign for some pastors to call it quits.
May 19 2021
Melbourne Anglican priest the Revd Dr Garry Deverell says that as an Indigenous man and Christian, it is in country, first of all, that he discerns the voice and activity of the divine. “Country is, if you like, an Indigenous Christ. It teaches us who we are, to whom be belong, and what our responsibility or vocation in the world might be.”
The Anglican Archbishop in Jerusalem, Hosam Naoum, has called on Anglicans and all Christians to pray in response to the eruption of violence in the Holy Land. Archbishop Hosam was installed as Archbishop during a service at Saint George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem on Ascension Day last week. He succeeds Archbishop Suheil Dawani, who has retired.
Violence has flared up once again in Israel-Palestine. A fragile peace has fallen victim to zealotry — and to the ease with which ultra-nationalist religious extremism can spur its troops and provoke in-kind retaliations. But this time, once the violence subsides, an alarming new reality could be left in its wake. Hopes for a “two-state solution” to the conflict are in tatters, along with the dream of a bi-national alternative: the “one-state solution”.
“The biggest theological story in the world right now – by far – is coming from Germany,” says the Southern Baptist pundit Albert Mohler, head of one of the world’s largest theological colleges. In a co-ordinated effort, over 100 Catholic Churches in Germany have held mass blessings of gay partnerships. But what does this mean for the global Catholic Church?
The Revd Peter Macleod-Miller is the Rector of St Matthews Anglican Church in Albury. Once a bastion of conservatism, Peter has now built a church community that welcomes everyone. As he prepares to receive his colourful flock and cook them lunch after the Sunday service, ABC-TV’s Compass explores what makes this fiercely opinionated clergyman tick.
The Archbishop of Canterbury has joined other religious and political leaders in condemning the surge of anti-Semitic incidents across the UK in response to the escalating violence between Israelis and Palestinians in the Holy Land. Legitimate protests have been marred by outbreaks of anti-Semitism. The Community Security Trust, a charity that works with the police and government to protect British Jews from anti-Semitism and related threats, has reported a sharp rise in incidents.
Migration is a premature kind of death: a rehearsal, writes Gillian Bouras, whose six-month holiday years ago became a lifetime when her Greek husband wanted to return to his home village. “You cross a border, the passport is stamped, and you eventually learn there is no turning back. Your old life has gone, and your essential self is sliced in two, divided into before and after.”
The violence that spread from Jerusalem to cities across Israel and the Palestinian territories has both historical and contemporary roots. Like many times before, the flame has spread from a spark ignited at Al-Aqsa mosque, which has deep religious significance for Muslims around the world. But, it is also important to highlight Al-Aqsa’s remarkable political relevance for Palestinians. These two facts make it a focal point for conflict.
A priest laments that the Church of England has misunderstood the mood of the nation in urging its 12,500 parishes and 42 cathedrals to address, search out, assess and remove offensive artefacts of “contested heritage” – historical figures associated with racism. “After the bleakness of the pandemic, we should be supporting our hurting and grieving parishes — particularly when it comes to the issue of mental health,” the Revd Daniel French writes in The Spectator. “Teenagers and young adults have taken the biggest psychological hit, and they desperately need our guidance, help and support. The church cannot afford the luxury of distractions and displacement projects, especially one as misguided as this.”
The past 18 months or so have been difficult for pastors, reports the US-based Religion News Service. Already stretched with the day-to-day concerns of running a congregation at a time when organised religion is on the decline, they’ve increasingly found that the divides facing the nation have made their way inside the walls of the church. Clergy also felt a sense of isolation, cut off from contact with their congregations and unable to do the kind of in-person ministry that drew them to the ministry. Instead of preaching and visiting the sick, they had to become video producers and online content creators.