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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Down Among The Dead Men.

Moore Theological College is the driving force behind the Episcopalian Diocese of Sydney for it is from this institution that Clergy are trained who go out to be the "Cure of Souls" and fulfil the Divine Mission in the Diocese. Indeed, it is the desire of many within the Diocese that graduates of Moore Theological College engage in church planting outside the Diocesan boundary.

More than that, some seek to have Moore graduates installed into theological institutions around the globe (doesn't that strike you as odd - a Diocese failing to achieve church growth within itself except, as some have reported here, without transfer growth from declining denominations, having the audacity to inflict its inadequacies on another Diocese which may already be experiencing what Sydney Diocese cannot achieve - church growth!). Consider the recent comments of Robert Doyle in the recent 'Moore Matters" publication where he says "Moore College has considerable experience preparing people for missionary service. ... When you take into account our networking with institutions other than Anglican, the list, is of course longer [he had earlier named some non Episcopalian theological colleges]. In a hostile world, and too often in the context of deeply unfaithful Christian denominations, we need to support each other. Several of these colleges have our graduates on faculty; many others have a history of contact, support and service. The abundant gifts and resources that God has blessed us with at Moore and amongst our constituency, and the law of the nearest neighbour, make it imperative that as far as God continues to give us opportunity, we need to produce more theological educators, and work outside our comfort zones."

Yeah! that'd be right! A Diocese in an African country has been blessed with a large congregation of believers who accept God at his word in Genesis and its reward is to be inflicted with the Moore collage of possible beliefs on origins none of which involves taking God at his word.

I wonder whether it ever enters the head of Moore 'Collage' (for that may be the more apt title) graduates that they might be more a hindrance to church growth than a help? A Diocese so reliant on what comes out of its theological institution for the growth of the Diocese ought easily be able to assess the health of its theological institution by the church growth seen shouldn't it? Of course! Well how does it look? Not good at all when you remove the "smoke and mirrors" of transfer growth from denominations experiencing advanced theological decline.

Perhaps you might hold out hope for the future because of the Diocesan Missionary Statement and the much anticipated (or is it feared?) Connect 09? Well, let me inform you of an incident giving clear insight into the future for the Diocese, its Mission and its worth to the church abroad. Remember, Moore Theological 'Collage' is the engine room for mission flowing from the Diocese.

I heard last Saturday morning on the radio three people speaking of the Newtown Festival proposed for the following day (Sunday 9th Nov). It was said that it was a wonderful festival and the previous year it had attracted 80,000 people. Now that is an impressive figure of attendance and certainly worth a look. So off I went the next day and in my journey there I noticed how remarkably close the festival site was to Moore 'Collage', only a few hundred metres from the institution. Upon entry to the site I was overwhelmed by the number of stalls and the multitude of people just browsing around, most of whom I suspect are "dead in their sins". Surely, you would think, there would be at least one church making the most of the opportunity (you know what Robert Doyle said - "as far as God continues to give us opportunity") especially Moore 'Collage' students, but no, my walk around the site failed to identify any stall there representing Moore 'Collage' or a church. What a lost opportunity! A crowd of over 80,000 people ignored by the alleged missionary college to the world and by local churches. I did see one fellow ambling through the milling crowd wearing a name tag with "St Stephens, Newtown" on it but for all it was worth he might have just stumbled out of nearby St Stephens Church, Newtown, having mistaken the festival crowd for the crowd around the church morning-tea urn.

What I did see, however, was group with a stall who were keenly proselytizing the passing crowd. It was a group calling themselves Sydney Atheists. So consider the scene. Here we are on the eve of Connect 09. Within a few hundred metres of the the engine room for mission within the Diocese is a crowd of over 80,000 people just browsing around and who is there to reach them? The Atheists!

My friends, I cannot help but have seen a vision of the effectiveness of Connect 09. In year 2010, when measuring the effectiveness of Connect 09, remember Newtown Festival 2008 ... Atheists 1 vs Moore 'Collage' 0.

Sam Drucker

11 comments:

ans said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nathan said...

Thank you for noticing our stall, however I wish you'd come over and made yourself known, we love talking to everyone.

Our tagline is “good without god” as we feel ethics don’t depend on creation myth. We work through education, charity and by representing the voice of reason in public debate. We also get together to celebrate life and have fun.

Our values are:
An open and inquiring attitude;
Evidence based reasoning;
Inclusiveness and diversity; and
Respect, compassion and goodwill.

If you would like more information about Sydney Atheists, Please visit www.sydneyatheists.org

Kind Regards,
Nathan Dunn
Sydney Atheists

John said...

Nathan,

How do you know we didn't make ourselves known?

neil moore said...

Sam,

I understand Moore College students are doing exams about now but I agree, a rostered hour or two each of evangelising shows some commitment to Connect 09 and would have been an inspiration to the troops in the pews.

That nothing occurred has the reverse effect.

Neil

neil moore said...

Nathan,

I have never heard of Sydney Atheists. How long have you been operating as a group? Do you go to other festivals/markets or public events?

If you let me know where you are going to be I can perhaps call by to discuss.

Neil

Jason said...

@John,

re: "how do you know we didn't make ourselves known"

We talk. and had you rocked up to the stall, more than one of the group would have known about it, and while we're not the FBI, I'm sure someone would have mentioned it by now. If someone mentions they talked to someone from the 'sydney anglican heretics', I'll be sure to let you know too.

@Neil Moore

"I've never heard of Sydney Atheists"

You have now. Our website is at www.sydneyatheists.org, and has information on what we're all about, and how to contact us, and where we meet. We're not a big secret, though I can understand why you don't know about us.

J

Dave The Happy Singer said...

'I was overwhelmed by the number of stalls and the multitude of people just browsing around, most of whom I suspect are "dead in their sins"... My friends, I cannot help but have seen a vision of the effectiveness of Connect 09.'

Perhaps you could take nonbelievers a bit more seriously if you want to 'connect'.

At least you know where you can contact us when you're ready.

Critias said...

I've not been to the Newtown festival (too far from Newcastle...Sydney, not England), but it sounds like my type of place.

Great to see some posts from the atheists...usually atheists are good for conversation...unlike Moore folk!! There are exceptions on both sides, I must admit tho'.

The funny thing is, the whole Moore mission, seeing the church grow from the top down, is counter-scriptural in concept: the common or garden christian talking to his or her friends is how the church grows, not from 'professionals' beamed in from a college.

sam drucker said...

Point taken Dave but I was using lingo the Sydney Episcopalian Diocese uses and my blog was directed to that body.

Sam Drucker

neil moore said...

I am wondering whether any of you chaps have attempted dialogue on the Sydney Anglicans internet forum and if you did what was your experience.

The emergence of this site was due to disturbing behaviour of a few serial correspondents there.

Neil

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