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2012 HERE WE COME

Sophia Think Tank has some projects and events this year that you may be interested in being a part of or finding out more about.  Here’s a taster….

  • Urban Conversations with Dr Michael Schluter on ‘Relational Thinking: A Vision for Engagement in Public Life’.  Ross Gittins of the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age recently wrote about Schluter being one of the most influential people in his life.  Read about that  at http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/breakdown-in-relations-is-everyones-business-20111206-1ogwl.html. Our event will be on Jan. 24th at Hamodava Cafe in Melbourne.  I’ll post more details soon.
  • This is the year that the Global Atheists Convention hits Melbourne (again).  It happens in April and is titled ‘A Celebration of Reason’.  Atheism is the ‘new cool’ in our Society and it needs some reasoned and respectful responses (1 Peter 3:15-16) from those of us who believe in the existence of God.  Sophia Think Tank is helping to cordinate the many and varied responses that God’s people are planning for Melbourne in and around April.
  • We have a few Projects underway for the coming year.  Here’s a brief outline of a couple of them…. I’ll be posting more about these (and others) in coming weeks….
  • Project 217:  this is based on Nehemiah 2:17 which talks about the need to repair and rebuild the City so that they can be once again proud of it.  The walls of our City are broken and in need of repair.  Richard Eckersley, a social researcher in Canberra, talks of the brokenness of the Social Environment for young people in Australia.  Project 217 is all about how the various Drivers in our Society are adding to such brokenness and how the Drivers can be a part of the healing process.  This is a big Project for us.  Roundtables are planned in Sydney and Melbourne (15 of them all up) along with 6 Project Updates across the year.  We hope to have a National Summit on the topic in Canberra in early 2013 and release the findings later next year.
  • Project City Gates is about engaging with the Bible in the Public Space and inviting conversations around the Bible and current affairs.  The idea is to get a group of people together in a Cafe and to start a conversation around an article in that day’s news and to discuss how the Bible engages with the issues raised.  Anything could happen…. and often does!  Why ‘City Gates’?  In Biblical times the City Gates were places of public disourse, policy making, and dispersing of justice, amongst other things.  The Cafe is a good public space in our cities to get these conversations rolling along.
  • Sophia Think Tank, as a part of Bible Society Australia’s Bible Advocacy portfolio is helping to launch a Natiuonal Network for Bible Advocacy.  We had our first meeting in Sydney late last year and are planning a follow up early this year.  The areas of Public Theology and Apologetics are being carried out by many groups in Australia and it is wise to learn from each other, partner together, and work in unity.

Thanks for travelling with us.  we would love to hear from you and see you at any of the public events we have planned across the year….

David Wilson

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WISDOM FOR THE ARTS

Another Driver of values and ideas in our Society is the Arts sector.  The Church has had a patchy relationship with the Arts over the years but in Evangelical circles in recent years the sector is often not regarded very highly.  This is in sharp contradiction to the Bible.  There are numerous Biblical passages that relate to the Arts, many of them affirming various artistic expressions, from music to fine art to crafts and so on.

Take for example the passage at Exodus 31:1-11.  God is giving directions for the design and making of the sacred tent and its furnishings as well as special clothing for the priesthood.  In so doing there is warm affirmation of the calling and practice of the Arts.  Consider the following:

  • Artists are chosen by God to do His work
  • The Artists are filled with the Spirit of God to get the job done
  • God has further given the Artists wisdom and skill to fulfil their calling
  • The creations brought about by this co-working of Artist and God are magnificent, pleasing to God and to all who encounter them.

What does this say to the Arts today?  In a word, affirmation.  It is good to be an Artist and it is good to be involved in the Arts.  Looking at the world around us reminds us that God Himself is an artist. Passages like the one above from Exodus tell us clearly what God thinks of the Arts.  Then there’s God’s foray into some wall-art (graffiti!?) in Daniel 5:5 and in John 8:6-8 we find that Jesus was involved in some pavement sketching!

So, to all you Artists out there, especially to those of you who have felt that you don’t belong, be encouraged.  Be affirmed.  And let’s hear from you about how you have found the Bible addressing what you do….

Food for thought

Dr David Wilson

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2011 in Arts

 

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