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Christianity in Australia

We are a weird bunch, on one hand people criticise any US multi media I use because it is "too American"....then I get told that Australian movies and TV are terrible compared to overseas ones.

Conferences we organise for pastors often feature American speakers, who we then criticise for being American....?!?

I can't work it out, and I wonder if it comes from our own heritage, as convicts. Has our convict past meant we are naturally insecure and negative about ourselves?

What I mean is, while we decry anything American, at the same time we are inheritantly insecure about anything Australian. In fact one of the critiques mega church pastors have levelled at them is that they are 'too American', but at the same time, for a certain segment of the church, these are the pastors we admire and look to for leadership.

What I do think is that we should be secure enough in ourselves to accept and embrace the pragmatism that the US church brings to us, while also embracing the reflective nature that possibily our Anglo church has given us, while all at the same time embracing the mateship/community aspect of church life that possibly our own culture has added to the mix.

Either way, overt criticism of American Churches may be more to do with our insecurity, rather than real critique, particularly if at their heart, the churches we are critiquing, are truly seeking to achieve the same thing all Christians are, follow Jesus and fulfill His commands.

7 comments:

  Glenn Globber

8:08 pm

"What I do think is that we should be secure enough in ourselves to accept and embrace the pragmatism that the US church brings to us, while also embracing the reflective nature that possibily our Anglo church has given us, while all at the same time embracing the mateship/community aspect of church life that possibly our own culture has added to the mix."
I get the feeling that there is a lot more to be said here than just those two facets of difference. I think there is a lot more differences and while the cultures almost seem the same we are actually quite opposite which leads to more issues, issues of pride, humility, understanding.
One of the hugest issues that gets me griped by the US church (very generally speaking) or more should I say, our seeking of US church, is the issue of what is success. Because many US church gatherings are large, we view them as successful so we want to hear what they have to say, a bit like Hills. My opinion would be that just because something is large or it's marketed well doesn't make it any more successful than the missionary planting a church in new guinea and doing it tough or the local chaplain who prays for their students everyday and knows each of them by name.

  Mark Edwards

10:56 pm

Maybe, but I dont think this is necesarily a US thing. One of the key things that is always talked about with Spurgeons church was its size. (http://www.metropolitantabernacle.org/)
To be frank, your comment about numbers proves my point, us Aussies characteristacally dont like talking about them, and maybe this is a problem we have....We dont want to be seen as promoting our own success.
As to the biblical defintion of success, how many people came to the Lord when Peter preached that sermon? And why did the bible writer include that figure? Because he was a boasting US preacher? Or because people are important, and we count what is important to us.

  Mork

6:27 am

He preached a VERY different message from that which we hear today, and there was a lot more going on than just Peter talkig - speaking in tongues, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, the beginning of a new era - I suggest a very diffent methodolgy was used that day than a "purpose driven" one - they hadn't even questionnaired the locals to ask themn what the wanted.

  Glenn Globber

7:59 am

I'm not saying numbers is the issue, I'm saying that we like to get people in to speak who we see as a success because of their numbers. We like to read books from pastors and follow their methodology because of their numbers. Quite often we don't even take notice until someone has large numbers because that is our formulation of success.
I think Aussies are very real and have a capacity to think more beyond the square and not be so stuck in their ways. I think they can see beyond some of the hype of numbers and personality driven leadership and don't want to just be followers of a US 'successful' church, we need to discover who Jesus is for Australians and how that reflects in our gatherings. (all generally speaking in both directions of course)

  Mark Edwards

10:10 am

Mark, Spurgeon was criticised heavily in his day because he used coarse language, smoked, and generally acted a lot like the community around him....sounds a lot like criticism directed towards leaders like Mark Driscoll in our day...and I dont agree when you say they did not question locals....how do you know that? It seems to me Spurgeon was very seeker sensitive.
As to Peter, I agree with you...they did not ask the locals, in fact they did not even want to take the message to non Jewish people.....but thats hardly an example we should follow. Despite being used by God 100 times more than I ever will.....that does not mean I should follow Peters example in everything. In fact Gods dream to Peter revealed a better way than the way Peter used.

Glen, People listened to Peter because they saw Gods power moving through him, both in signs and wonders, and thousands of people coming to Christ.
If someone comes and speaks and I have heard about what amazing things God is doing through them, I will go and listen. They might be a faithful missionary, like John Wilmot (friend of mine working in Malawi) or they might be Mark Driscoll.

Thank you both for your comments.

  Anonymous

5:17 pm

Mark - I'm not talking about Spurgeon I'm talking about Peter - how come Spurgeon got into it, I never mentioned him? When I said "he" - I meant Peter preached a VERY different message that day in Acts 2.
PS - I agree with the gist of your blog, you are damn if you do, you are damn if you don't - too true.

Mark R

  Mark Edwards

5:39 pm

Yes Mark, apologies. I picked that up after I had posted my reply.

In reference to your point about Peter, he preached a pretty frank and powerful message, that is true. All I would reiterate is that Peter is not the perfect example, as his reluctance to go to the Gentiles, and subsequent rebuke from God reveal. Furthemore I would agree with Paul (Saint) when he said we need to be all things to all people in order to win them for Christ, which is one of the reason I speak on the topics I do. Blessings and peace

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