“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: Dave Andrews
Dave, his wife Ange, and their family, have lived and worked in intentional communities with marginalised groups of people in Australia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Nepal and for more than forty years.
Dave is particularly interested in intentional community and the dynamics of personal and social transformation. He is author of many books and articles, including Not Religion, But Love, Building A Better World’, Down Under – In-Depth Community Work, and Living Community (see http://www.daveandrews.com.au).
Dave and Ange and their friends started Aashiana, Sahara, Sharan and Sahasee — four well-known community organisations working with slum dwellers, sex workers, drug addicts, and people with HIV/AIDS in India; and they are currently a part of the Waiters Union, an inner city community network working alongside Aborigines, refugees and people with disabilities in Australia (see http://www.watersunion.org).
Dave is a founder of the Waiters Union, a lecturer in community work at CHC, a trainer for the Praxis Community Cooperative, and an elder emeritus for Servants to Asia’s Urban Poor.
At my best, I can decide to lock myself in an empty house, to fast and pray for a month, vowing not to come out until I have sorted through all my thoughts and all my feelings to make sure that my actions will be in alignment with God’s will for my life. But at my worst, I can emerge from my suburban hermitage a more intense, more intent, more focused, more committed, ‘self‑righteous bastard’ ready to rip into any unsuspecting people I encounter about their ‘inexcusable unrighteousness’. In this talk I’d like to share what I have learnt about the delights of ‘righteousness’ and the dangers of ‘self‑righteousness’.
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.