Tonight in Being The Church, the subject Chris Walker and I are teaching at United Theological College this semester, we looked at Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s reflections on disillusionment in his little book “Life Together”. Bonhoeffer must have gone through his own experiences of deep disappointment as he watched colleagues buy into the Nationalist Socialism version of positive Christianity. Here he writes about the challenges facing not only institutional bodies like the German Evangelical Church, but also locally formed communities such as the underground seminary he had formed in Finkenwalde.
It’s a week now since I returned from a week spent at the Uniting Church in Australia’s triennial Assembly, held at University of Western Australia. I was there as a member elected by the NSW/ACT Synod, joining approximately 265 members of the Uniting Church in Australia, along with office holders, Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress members, youthful members. Here’s a few personal highlights and reflections from the week, weaving together experiences from Australia and NZ.
Here’s the prayer of adoration and confession I used in the opening worship service at United Theological College on Monday. The gospel reading was Mark 8:31-38, including the questions Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do people say that I am” and “Who do you say that I am?”. I took on the challenge of writing a prayer of confession that rounds out the the sense of “acknowledging with” God. I think we’ve become far too narrow in our approach to confession, focusing largely on shortcomings, sin and forgiveness, and overlooking the transformative work of the Spirit in communities of Christ. The final section of the prayer could be strengthened further.