Saturday, October 16, 2010

Peter Jensen on 'Being Human in this Glittering City'

In the last week I have been attending the Annual Synod of the Sydney Anglican Diocese. One of the highlights is always the Presidential address given by the Archbishop. This year the address by Peter Jensen was on the topic of 'Being Human in this Glittering City'.

He began by suggesting that this 'glittering city' of Sydney began as an experiment in human nature. "One of the architects of the whole [transportation] scheme was the Home Secretary, Lord Sydney. For him, transportation was not a penalty in itself, and even convicted felons did not lose all the rights of an Englishman. He thought that after a relatively brief settling-in period under the rule of military authority, the new colony would be self-governing, run by morally improved convicts."

In what sense can humans be 'improved' or even 'perfected'? He then goes on to talk about the dream of improving people, including convicts and aboriginals; the education of the early children in the colony before making the point that our view of humanity will have direct implications for how we treat people - like the first Australians, Prisoners, the needy, the dying and the young.  He provided a reflection on the trial of so-called "ethics classes" as a challenge to Special Religious Education (Scripture) and challenged us to rethink our vision for Christian education. He then went on to speak about the financial situation of the diocese and - more importantly - the progress of our mission.

It was a great encouragement to think Biblically about human nature ('Anthropology' for the academics) and to make sure we stick to the gospel mission.  For me the address is the highlight of Synod. Well worth a read or listen!

The full text is available here.

The Audio Version is available here,

and the video is available in two parts on Vimeo, Part 1, and Part 2.

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