“Be angry but sin not” has been an ongoing challenge throughout my life. While anger has given me incredible energy to address some situations, it has also cost me an inner calm and considered judgement. Earlier in my life, my relationships suffered as I chose to respond to hurts and frustrations with a fighting spirit. My journey of faith has enabled me to find alternative, more wholesome ways to respond. I am still angry, but I am learning to respond without adding further hurt to the broken world around me.
I am one of eight children born into a Christian family in the 1950s. I left my regional home town to go to Teachers College in Brisbane in the late 1960s. I enjoyed my time teaching in outback Queensland before marrying Neil and heading overseas to live in Christian community for a few years. On our return to Australia, I had opportunities to tutor aboriginal students, teach in a private business college and other secondary schools as well as live in a residential drug rehabilitation centre run by Teen Challenge. Neil and I have 4 adult children and 6 grandchildren.
Speaker: Dr David Benson (BAppSci.HMS-Ed; MA-Theology; PhD-Practical Theology).
As a former high school teacher, youth worker and pastor, Dave is passionate about pluralistic dialogue and the public expression of Christian faith in a post-Christendom context, toward the flourishing of all.
Based in Brisbane, he lectures at Malyon College in the areas of evangelism, apologetics, worldviews, faith–work integration, and practical theology, as well as supporting Christian Heritage College’s Millis Institute for Liberal Arts, in the field of philosophy. Dave is also the director of Traverse (the Malyon centre for bridging church and culture), and co‑founder with his wife, Nikki, of the intentional Christian community, Christ’s Pieces. His 2016 Ph.D project, entitled ‘Schools, Scripture and Secularisation,’ considers the telos of competing curricular visions and the place of Sacred Texts in Secular Education.
Never before have Aussies spent so many years being ‘schooled’. So many opportunities to learn, and avenues to be equipped for a bright new future. And yet, what of the dark side to the knowledge project? Beyond the explicit curriculum of the scholar-academic, what do the hidden and null curriculum teach about what we as a society really value? How are we formed and deformed in our ascent to secure a view of the world from above? In this embodied narrative theological exploration, Dr. David Benson reflects on his schooling odyssey and nearly two decades invested in Higher Education. Learning looks radically different—both more luminous and ludicrous than we ever imagined—when set against the biblical story of Eden’s Tree, Babel’s Tower, and Pentecost’s living Temple.
Speaker: Dr Paul Mercer
Paul Mercer is a suburban GP and practice principal in Brisbane. He is married to Katrina. They have three children, and six grandchildren. Paul is a member of the Theology on Tap Brisbane team. He has kept an eye on ‘matters theological’ throughout his adult life, having turned to Christ at five years of age. Paul is indebted to many mentors, teachers and people living with mobility disability (doctors and patients), for his medical knowledge and skillset. He will also introduce family members who live with mobility disability.
Medically, Paul has been a member and then the Chair of the RACGP’s National Preventive Community Medicine Committee. He has trained more than fifty-five junior registrars in general practice, as well as helping many more medical students in their exposure to general practice medicine. He has been an examiner for the RACGP fellowship exam for thirty years, and a member of the Doctors Health Advisory Service in Queensland for a similar time. Paul has been an active member of the Christian Medical and Dental Fellowship of Australia, has edited Luke’s Journal for the Fellowship for eleven years, and has served on an ethics working group. Paul has been a member of TEAR Australia Inc. for forty years and has served on the TEAR Board for eight years. He is currently the Chair of Health Serve Australia Board. Paul and Katrina are members of the Bayside Uniting Church, where Paul is an active lay-preacher.
In this presentation, Paul will develop a holistic theological narrative around mobility disability. He will share personal medical insights, highlight the medical literature and open the biblical narrative around mobility disability. The question, “What did Jesus mean by his claim: ‘The lame walk’?” will inform this presentation.
Speaker: John Steward
John Steward gained his PhD from Adelaide University in 1972, after completing his undergraduate and honors degrees in Agriculture.
He then completed studies in Divinity (BD Hons) at the Melbourne College of Divinity.
In Indonesia from 1974 to 1978 John was a lecturer in theology, agriculture and community development in East Java; joining World Vision in Jakarta in 1979 to initiate a Leadership training program for village development motivators.
Then, for 13 years he facilitated adult learning processes for indigenous community workers from over 50 countries, while a manager with World Vision in Melbourne.
In 1997-8 he was involved in the post-genocide reconstruction in Rwanda. For the next 9 years he returned to Rwanda every six months to mentor Rwandese peace and development workers. He heard the stories of change and made many friends.
From 2009-2011 John was mentor in Australia of a project to develop Vanishing Point, an on-line peace and conflict curriculum for secondary students, using stories of Rwandans who have healed relations since 1994.
Since 2012 his focus was on writing and his book on healing and forgiveness after conflict, which was published by Langham Global in 2015. From Genocide to Generosity brings alive stories of healing and hope after trauma.
In Australia John is a spiritual director with the Living Well Centre in Malvern, and with Wellspring, Ashburton.
Before going to Rwanda I had believed in, preached about and lectured on forgiveness. I had also requested it and experienced it, and yet I never really understood it.
The offer of forgiveness always has a context and it was only in my encounters with Rwandans that clear light came. They are my mentors, especially the widows.