Friday, June 10, 2016

Quo Vadis KiwiChristianoi?

Two underlying questions through all the years of this blog have been "quo vadis?" or "which way" is (a) Anglicanism headed and (b) Christianity in Kiwiland headed?

I note to you, therefore, in respect of the latter question, two public lectures advertised thus:

"You may be interested in attending one or both of these lectures host by the St Andrew’s Trust for the Study of Religion and Society held at St Andrew’s on the Terrace Church, 30 The Terrace, Wellington.

The C-Word and Secularisation in New Zealand
Tuesday June 14, 12:15 – 1pm
Dr Geoff Troughton
“New Zealand Christianity underwent a series of remarkable transformations during the twentieth century. Notably, and perhaps most visibly, support for the historic “mainline” shrunk and these churches waned in influence. The public reputation of Christianity also took a battering. This talk seeks to understand these changes to the social role of Christianity in New Zealand in the context of wider debates about secularisation. It focuses on certain patterns within early twentieth century discourse and piety that may help to explain at least some contemporary attitudes.”
Is the future of Christianity a sectarian one?
Thursday 14 July, 12:15 – 1pm
Prof Peter James Lineham
“The types of Christianity which flourish in New Zealand in some respects seem very sectarian. They take a very narrow approach to faith and they are exclusive in their membership and they are not particularly interested in interacting with wider social and political issues. Is this an indication of the future of Christianity, increasingly locked into a narrow cultural backwater? There is another side of the argument that certainly the religious landscape is becoming much more pluralist, but at the same time even the most sectarian of faiths – Pentecostal, Mormon, even Jehovah Witnesses and Exclusive Brethren – are being reshaped so that sectarian is not as narrow as it used to be.”"

Unfortunately I will not be in Wellington on either date so I can only hope that these (very apt, interesting and timely) lectures might be made available soon after for public reflection.

I am particularly interested in Peter Lineham's lecture topic. It looks like it is engaging with the observable phenomenon that as census numbers for Christians decline we see the congregation in the church up the road increasing its numbers.

I am also interested in his topic re the Anglican church because, arguably, in certain ways, both at liberal and at conservative ends of the spectrum of theologies, we are becoming sectarian; to say nothing of the question of whether adherence to "books" as main apparatus of our liturgical worship makes us seem as "odd" as some "sects" appear to be to the general secular public.

How we are seen by the general secular public relates to the focus of Geoff Troughton's lecture and thus reading (or hearing) both lectures will be highly interesting.



MarcA said...

The Midfield Monk and political philosopher John Neville Figgis wrote in the early 20c that as nations became more pluralist so Christianity would become less extensive but more intensive. That's what seems to have in England the occ offices have taken a battering but regular churchgoers now give far more financially ...the Free Churches have declined enormously but Black Churches and somewhat incohate Evangelical/ Pentecostal fellowships have mushroomed...though they seem to come and go over a 10 yr plus period. RCs hold up...declining sharply in its northern heartlands.Lpool, NW and Tyneside but has been re invigorated by immigration.In the C of E we have become much less " parochial", and the traditions have bifurcated and moved further apart...though no significant schisms yet...

Father Ron Smith said...

Hi, Perry,

I presume you meant the 'Mirfield' monk, Fr. Figgis. I didn't know he played at midfield, but then, he could have. Anything's possible at Mirfield.

Was he any relation I wonder, to the Fr. Figgis, once Dean of Suva Cathedral here in Fiji?

I've been following the ABC's little disasters in connection with SEC lately. Does he know SEC's connection with TEC, I wonder, and how closely related are these two Episcopal Churches?