Renewing Pentecost – Originality comes from the Origins

With Dr Marty Folsom – 10th October 2017

What does it mean to be P/pentecostal?  To act in a way which aligns the whole OT-NT works of God, as fulfilled by the Spirit through His people?

In this free lecture, Dr Marty Folsom will revitalize the meaning of Pentecost in terms of following the Spirit, as an echo of God’s history of liberation and fulfilment.

The Lecture will focus on the Passover-Pentecost pattern (God’s act/God’s fulfilment) as expressed through Jesus’ first sermon (Luke 4), the Day of Pentecost, and Paul’s concept of becoming a New Creation.

Dr Marty Folsom serves as the Executive Director (USA) at Pacific Association for Theological Studies, and is the author of three published novels.  He is a Trinitarian and Relational theologian and has a passion to help people connect real life issues with the gospel.

To register for this free event Please click here


Today would be a good day to be in Salisbury, UK (or the difference between space and place)

Thinking Out Loud ...

My sister reminded me this week of some of the places we have travelled together over the years. So in thinking about where I’d love to be spending time this Monday, I decided to reflect on a place we visited together ten years ago. Salisbury in the UK is well known for two of its stone structures: Stonehenge and Salisbury Cathedral. It is also home to the site of Old Sarum, a settlement dating back some 5,000 years. We were particularly excited to stumble upon this site, as we both read the book Sarum by Edward Rutherfurd while in high school after it was recommended by our beloved Pa. It remains on my list of favourite reads. With the areas around Salisbury as its setting, the novel tells the history of those who lived there from ancient to modern times, bringing this place to life.


What did I love…

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What does hospitality look like in speech and in action?

Thinking Out Loud ...

A few years ago I had a disagreement with a politician about words. He was using a phrase that had been understood in the popular media at the time as a kind of ‘slogan’ with a particular emphasis. I assumed that was what he meant by using this phrase; he assured me that he had a more nuanced perspective to communicate. The key to our disagreement was that he then said it was my responsibility to listen and understand what he intended to communicate, and my problem if I didn’t get what he meant. Conversely, I suggested that it was his responsibility to understand how I would hear what he was saying and to use words to ensure that I would receive his intention. In the end we had to agree to disagree, but it is a conversation I have often thought about since.

Does the onus lie on the…

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Life in the library

sophie louise

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I spend a significant amount of time studying in the library each week. Recently this has caused a lot of comments about my study habits. Words like “crazy”, “nerd”, “weird” and “great student” have been thrown around. On one level I find it funny because I’m simply doing what I need to in order to get everything done (and especially to understand what the heck is going on in my theology classes!). But as I was sitting at home on Saturday night reading articles about the gospel of Luke, I started to wonder why I’m the weird one and why more people don’t care or aren’t passionate about their education. Why do I feel as though I need to continually justify my decision to study over other activities? And why are study and education and those who enjoy learning regularly shamed?

The answer to those questions could probably be the topic…

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If juvenile detention is a detestable solution, can we think about the problem differently?

The footage from the Don Dale detention centre has upset many Australians and provoked a federal response. Some have expressed shock and surprise at the images, whilst others have reminded the public that abuse within our prison system is an ongoing issue, particularly for minority groups. Whilst unacceptable, the failings of the prison system should be no surprise. Prison has long been understood as the “detestable solution”, it is “dangerous when it is not useless” (Foucault, 1979). When recidivism rates across Australia are regularly upwards of fifty percent, it is tough to argue that the prison system is an effective solution to the problem of crime. The next challenge lie in thinking of a better solution.

Debate in the media on the scope of a royal commission into the revelations from the Four Corners program has some people calling for a national review of the juvenile justice system and systemic abuse. In contrast the Attorney General, George Brandis, has called for narrow focus so that practical solutions can be found. The practical solutions Mr Brandis is hoping for are unlikely to produce the revolutionary change Aboriginal activists are longing for in a system that has a blatant overrepresentation of Aboriginal young people. However, Mr Brandis’ emphasis on focus has merit. The focus of the commission will certainly determine its outcomes.

To focus a commission on the operations of the current “detestable solution” will only likely to produce findings that at best reinforce and reform the existing solution. Pausing for a moment from the need to fix the systemic issues presented by Four Corners, it is possible to ask: what is the problem for which juvenile detention facilities like Don Dale are the solution? The fear-inducing answer of “Youth Crime” is regularly broadcast by “tough-on-crime” politics. When the solution to this problem produces results that are so unsatisfactory, it gives reason to question the way problem is described.

The way in which a problem is understood creates the parameters for the possible solutions. If the problem is young people breaking the law, then the solution is to enforce the law. However, if the problem can be thought about differently then perhaps there is scope for different solutions. This is the power of a clear focus. To focus on the failings of the current system is unlikely to produce anything but reform. But to question the problem, might produce a new way of thinking and new solutions.

Critical youth academics and youth workers have been questioning the “moral panics” of “youth crime” for years. These kinds of popular responses inevitably describe youth as a time of “storm and struggle”, and emphasise the need for young people to change into (economically) responsible citizens. This narrow and deficit understanding of young people overlooks the current contribution young people make to society, not only economically, but also culturally (music, design, language), spiritually (optimism, hope, joy) and politically (progress, innovation, protest) just to name a few.

Similarly, much work is being done to reconceptualise the issue of crime by advocates of restorative justice for example. Restorative justice promotes an understanding of crime as a violation of relationship, rather than the breaking of intangible rules. Crime harms people, therefore the solution is to restore relationship and offer healing. Restorative justice is incorporated in limited ways into the juvenile justice system across Australia. There are also critics that point out that its underpinning logic is still reliant on change taking place in the young person, rather than challenging the social conditions that promote crime. However, the point here is that there are already other ways to think about this problem, which in turn produce different solutions.

When issues like those in the Don Dale detention centre are brought to light in the media the public outcry rightly demands a response. Unfortunately, responses which focus on reforming the existing solution overlook the need to question the foundational problem. Questions of public safety and the rule of law need to remain in the equation of crime and justice. However, results such as systemic abuse and high recidivism rates should suggest the need to consider not simply reform but the re-examining of the problem and the ways that young people and crime are thought about.

Ben Lohmeyer, Program Coordinator BASS (Youth Work), Tabor College