You may have wondered what has happened to Nurturing Justice for 2010. This note is to inform you of some of the work that I am currently undertaking.
Last year I write the following submission for the Senate Committee that considered the Marriage Equality Bill put forward by Senator Sarah Hanson-Young (Greens, SA). That Bill was resoundingly defeated. You will note my critical observation about the proposer's claim that "financial implications" would be "nil". This shows that though Senator Hanson-Young can be commended for wanting political debate about this issue, the Bill as presented simply did not demonstrate any active and deepened political appreciation for the kind of changes the Bill purports to advocate. This debate will continue and I hope my Submission might be useful to those seeking to develop a principled appreciation for how public-legal recognition is to be given to variant forms of "living together". The issue is a significant and is not going to be justly resolved by presuming that Government's task is to redefine marriage to accommodate a particular kind of friendship.
I continue to edit the annotated bibliography Public Justice for All with a Feb 2010 update. This work documents the extensive publications in political science and public policy of Dr James Skillen, now Senior Research Associate for the Center for Public Justice, Washington DC.
In relation to this readers might find Skillen's Francis Schaeffer lectures from Covenant Seminary, St Louis, Georgia, worthwhile listening. Skillen has given two sets of lectures to the Francis Schaeffer Institute one in 2003 and the latest in 2008 before the last presidential election.
In 2009, I also completed an annotated bibliography, Philosophy as Dependable Analysis, of the works of the philosopher Roy A Clouser. In this there are various papers that are of vital interest to political science and public policy.
As well, I am continuing work on providing an update for the Bob Goudzwaard Bibliography, Cultivating Care within a Vulnerable Economy.
This bibliographical work is not only relevant for an Australian political context, but the works of these three Christian scholars does contain insights of vital relevance to our political tasks as citizens in this part of God's earth, not only in Australia and New Zealand but most particularly in the South Pacific and South East Asian regions in which we are actually located.
With Robert Wolfgramm in Fiji, I have produced a 2009 edition of Bob Goudzwaard's Christian Political Option (1972). We have called it Face to Face with Justice: A Big Task for Ordinary People. Our aim was to contribute to provide a much needed stimulus to Christian political thinking in Fiji. However, Face to Face with Justice had to deal with a situation in which our Suva publishers had come face to face with yet another coup. The dissemination of this book, even in electronic format, has been curtailed due to the Good Friday 2009 coup when the military government sacked the judiciary and has since proscribed any political reporting in the nation's newspapers and media.
Maybe you didn't even know about this.
We have given this matter some thought and aim now to produce a regional edition of Face to Face with Justice to focus upon and highlight the importance for Nurturing Justice in the South West Pacific region. This will mean that our aim is to provide a manual to promote Christian political thinking among the nations of the region - it will include Australia and New Zealand but also seek to be of service in a practical way for all Christians in this part of the world. To use the terms utilized by Jim Skillen in his essay "Christian Action and the Coming of God's Kingdom" (see bibliography at Nos. 36 and 69), the Christian political response need be neither one of "quietism" nor "activism". It needs to be formed as a special royal and priestly service that is made possible for those who are invited to "enter into God's rest" with a politics of firm hope (Hebrews 10). This, at some stage, will require strong organisation, and in the meantime with every means at our disposal we, joining together (the Greek term is "synagoguing" which the seas did at creation when the Lord gathered them to allow islands to appear) to encourage each other in our citizenship. Our hope is in the Promise of Him who will not delay in bringing His work to fulfilment in those who seek the requisite skills for promoting justice (dikaiosunhV).
So with this situation in mind, we try to focus upon our own regional responsibility? How should we, Christians living in Australia, respond? Do we not need to reassess our place in the world - are we not called to believe that Jesus Christ calls us to a political ministry of mercy in our region, for the true healing of broken lives, in the setting right of broken human relationships? Dare we reconsider our citizenship of the South West Pacific region to deepen our awareness of how Fiji's "coup culture" and other political problems in the region actually relate to our own Christian political responsibility. Perhaps this is in parallel to some degree with the general consensus in Australia concerning "reconciliation" with indigenous Australians and islanders, extending it to recognise our failures as a people called by Christ Jesus, to fully face up to our regional location. And that will require some extensive education. How will we put ourselves in a position where we want to learn of "those things which we ought to have done" for decades past with respect to supporting and encouraging the lives of those with whom we share this part of the world? Is "reconciliation" going to take on a regional character as we ask Jesus Christ, through His Spirit, to show us how to live justly here and now? Will we, in this part of God's earth, confess Christ's Kingship and rise to the challenge as citizens of the region? We cannot simply develop our rhetorical critique of evident injustice. Somehow we have to learn to be citizens of the Kingdom of God in this region and thereby reach out to love our neighbour as ourselves.
Nurturing Justice is written by Bruce Wearne, Point Lonsdale, to encourage a sustained Christian political contribution by seeking justice in the gentle and merciful rule of Jesus Christ, the ruler over all of the earth's political regimes.
March 2010 © The contents of this email are copyright. Documents may be photocopied or retransmitted in their entirety but not otherwise reprinted or transmitted without permission. "Nurturing Justice" is a project to encourage Christian political reflection based upon wise and loving civic participation. Comments are welcome and should be sent to email@example.com
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