This book presents theological, cultural, ecclesial, and hermeneutical explorations from a specific context—Australia. It invites reimagining of theology and hermeneutics against the horizons of indigeneity and sovereignty, contingencies of context, feminist theologies, multiculturalism and intercultural theologies, sexual abuse and ecclesial cover-ups, suicide and worship, tradition(ing)s and betrayal, art and popular cultures, climate effects and climate (in) justice, disability theories, Islamic insights, migration and the images of home, and heaps of contextual matters in between. The chapters are organized into three sections: (1) Roots presents some of the starting points for contextual thinking in Australia and beyond; (2) Wounds attends to the demands of “bodies on the line” upon theological, biblical, and ecclesial engagements; and (3) Shifts pokes at thinkers and critics.
Jione Havea is native Methodist pastor (Tonga) and research fellow with Trinity Theological College (Aotearoa) and with the Public and Contextual Theology Research Centre of Charles Sturt University (Australia).
List of Figures
Part 1: Roots
2.Postcolonial Colonialism and its Multiple Contexts of Solidarity
Mark G. Brett
3.A Kaleidoscopic Vessel Sailing a Kyriarchal Ocean: The Third Wave Feminist Theologies of Women-Church (1987–2007)
Anita J. Monro
4.The Reason We Do Not Hear: Theology Struggling with its Colonial Location
5.Multiculturalism as Theology and Policy: The Challenges and Possibilities
John G. Flett
Part 2: Wounds
6.Grace and Disgraced: Child Sexual Abuse and the Holy Roman Catholic Australian Church
Cristina Lledo Gomez
7.When Easter Dawns and All is Not Well: A Pastoral Encounter with Disappointment
8.Faithfulness or Betrayal? Tradition in “Geriatric Assemblies”
Part 3: Shifts
9.Images of Jesus and Masculinity in the Work of the Artist Reg Mombassa
10.Climate as Context
11.Reframing the Way We Read the Glorified (Veiled) Moses at Sinai and Corinth
12.Who is the “Us”? Shifting the Audience for Christ’s Sake
13.Reimagining Home: Migration and Identity in a Changing Climate
About the Contributors
"Settlers" in a culture more than forty thousand years old now engaging their faith traditions may well ask: To whom might we listen? Where might we look? From whom might we learn and why? With whom might we talk? How do we celebrate? How might we grace one another in our life together? Searching for theologies catholic enough to address such questions – and many more, the writers in this collection of essays provoke the willingness to contribute to the regeneration of how the ‘home’ we all share with a multiplicity of other creatures may become richly hospitable to one and all. Much to be done. Begin here!
Drawing on diverse voices from the Australian context, this exciting volume explores past, present, and future theological horizons in an interdisciplinary dialogue. A timely contribution which addresses the impacts of Australia’s colonial past and hopes for decolonisation into the future, this volume brings together some of Australia’s leading theologians whose chapters offer insights both local and global, challenging the past and the present for the sake of new possibilities in the shifting landscapes of theology and hermeneutics.
As much an Australian book, this collection is an international contribution. It invites the reader to engage with ‘bloody’ good theology. The essays remind that theology in denial of its context has wrought dislocation and mayhem, and continues to foster a culture of deception, a ‘good news’ rooted in violence and disenfranchisement. Exegesis that denies the hearer condemns the word to be unheard and reduces the scripture to an oppressive text.
So this Australian set of essays does theology out of context and experience. The authors all work from the place they stand, engage with art, climate, hospitality, abuse, culture and more, offering a broader horizon. Our writers here also know that the reader stands in a different place, is rooted elsewhere. Yet more of God is revealed when these two sets of horizons fuse than when one is denied and the presence of the living God rendered a colonizing tool.
From the perspective of Christian faith this book offers a rich and varied account of the origins (roots), current problems (wounds) and contemporary challenges (required shifts) for the peoples of Australia. The horizon for critical engagement with context and issues is self-consciously against the tide of “explorers, missionaries, traders, settlers and colonialists.” This gives the essays a critical and unmistakable prophetic quality. A formidable and seasoned array of Australian theologians and practitioners explore and make concrete proposals for finding a new way forward on a range of issues that include multiculturalism, First Peoples, feminism, disability, climate, colonial post-colonial worlds, institutional sexual abuse, suicide, aging churches, art and masculinity and the land, migration, and Islam. Viewed through the lens of the theological and hermeneutical imagination, this volume is an excellent wide-ranging and stimulating inquiry into Australian society, its contexts, concerns and future possibilities.
The study of the reception of Christianity around the world is crucial to contemporary theological scholarship. The construction of Christian identity is a complex, challenging, and often contested process. As many Christians and Christian communities are discovering, the European missionaries brought more than just the Gospel when they arrived on our various shores. For this reason, books like this one help us to wrestle with what it means to be authentically Christian in our varied cultural, linguistic, and historical contexts. As an African Christian theologian, it was an immeasurable joy to learn from colleagues and friends who are wrestling with issues of theological identity, hermeneutics, and the decolonization of the Christian archive in the Australian context. Thank you to each of the authors for offering such a rich, challenging, and insightful set of contributions on the ongoing debates related to authentically Australian Christian theologies. Your critical scholarship helps us to move forward in understanding our uniqueness, and commonality, in relation to the Christian faith.