Monday, 15 March 2010

Doing theology on Aboriginal land

Here in Australia, the Uniting Church is proposing a new preamble to its Constitution. The preamble attempts to define the church's identity in relation to Australia's indigenous peoples; but the document raises all sorts of theological questions. Here's an excerpt:

When the churches that formed the Uniting Church arrived in Australia as part of the process of colonisation they entered a land that had been created and sustained by the Triune God they knew in Jesus Christ.... The First Peoples had already encountered the Creator God before the arrival of the colonisers; the Spirit was already in the land revealing God to the people through law, custom and ceremony. The same love and grace that was finally revealed in Jesus Christ sustained the First Peoples and gave them particular insights into God’s ways.
The next issue of Uniting Church Studies is exploring the theology of this document. I'm writing an article entitled “‘In his own strange way’: Confessing Jesus Christ in the Preamble”, focusing on the question, What does it mean for the church to confess? I'll be presenting a draft later this week at a systematic theology seminar in Sydney, and I'll post some excerpts here as well. In the mean time, here's a list of some of the things I've been reading for this paper:

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