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Conference Resources

Christ and Culture Conference: Mother Tongue Theologising

Many of the sessions during the conference were recorded and are available to listen as MP3s on this website. Click on read more to read a synopsis of each session and to find a link to the recordings.

Please note that the link to the recording goes to an MP3 player page, you will have to note the title of the recording you want and click on that. Also, because the files are quite large, most of the recordings are in two or three parts. They should automatically play from one to the next.

Fixed Identities and Complex Subjectivities

Audio Title - Fixed Identities and Complex Subjectivities Parts 1 - 3

To listen click here



This session is about how individuals are treated within structures. Structures will impinge on us and seek to control us but they will never control us absolutely. There is something about human beings that will always wrestle with things that are imposed on us.

In this session Anthony talks about fixed identities which say all you can be is a fixed label; they are characteristics that someone imposes on you. Fixed identity leads to objectification where you turn a subject into an object. As human beings we are subjects. A subject can create meaning for itself. We can all find different ways in which to name ourselves. I can say “I am this”. No matter what the situation we are in there is always an element of free will. It may be a struggle but all of us always have the opportunity to say “I will do this”.

All of us are complex. We are all so amazing that no one can define you. Even if there is someone similar to you there’s no one on the earth who’s like you. We can be contradictory.We are never just a label or a stereotype. None of us are ever everything people say about us. There’s always more.The reason why we are complex is because God is complex. We are created in the likeness of the most complex being in the universe. So why do we expect to be simple?

Reading the Bible

Audio Title - Reading the Bible Parts 1 –

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deep_in_discussion_2_copyThere is always a relationship between the reader and the text itself. Who is reading the Bible has an important relationship in what they decide is true. In the history of the Bible it’s only in the past 30 years that people have asked “who is the reader?” It’s as if the Bible speaks for itself; as if the person reading has no impact at all.

The text never speaks for itself, people always read it; you do not read text neutrally. All our Churches have ways of spiritualising texts and taking others contextually. Who decides who takes what bit literally? All our Churches make these decisions.

The Bible is not God. God transcends even the Bible itself. It reflects God but it is not God. The Church existed before the New Testament.

Bible Study

Audio Title - Bible Study

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The exercise invited us to enter into the story to understand more about competing realities; seeing Jesus in his own time has impact on our time. This method shows different perspectives. Understanding the story is not always straightforward. None of us has a hotline to God that says I have the truth and no one else has. This exercise reminds us that there are often competing interests.

God’s time is a way of weighing priorities. What this passage shows us is the tension and challenge the Church faces in following Jesus. Often people are concerned with playing politics that preserve prestige. Jesus says I have no time for that - the rich and the powerful can wait their turn. How would your life be different if political parties did that?

Narrative Theology

Audio Title – Narrative Theology Parts 1 – 2

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When we are story telling about our life we are invariably talking about God. One way of looking at story is the God story. In our Christian tradition it is often encompassed in the Bible, but there are other ways of telling stories. For example, in the context of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures - what are the ways you talk about God? What are the myths in your context? Myths contain a truth that helps us to understand why we are here and what matters.

Both scriptures and our life stories are important. When Jesus wanted to tell people something he told a story. We tend to write reports in Churches now not stories any more.

Anthony shared some stories of his own life.

Where is God in the Struggle?

Audio Title – God in the Struggle Parts 1-3

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Synopsis Where_is_Jesus_in_the_struggle_copy

This session explores the question - Where is God in the struggle? If God is good then why does bad stuff happen?

Arising from his research and work in the UK Anthony has identified four categories of where people sit in relation to his question. After briefly describing the positions he invited participants to place themselves where they thought they belonged.

1. Suffering is redemptive

Suffering is transformative. By suffering people can learn something about themselves and somehow are brought closer to God. It’s a way of making sense of the reality of suffering. This concept works better at an individual level, the more you apply it to a group of people the more problematic it becomes.

2. God is not in this

This is an apophatic outlook that says what ever happens God is not here. If God is pure goodness how can He co-exists with evil? If God is there then God is callous, if He could stop it and He chose not to do anything then He is a sadist. If God is here then God is no use to us. It’s better to say that God is absent than to say He has done nothing.

3. God is suffering with us.

God is all powerful but God can suffer because he allowed His Son to suffer on the cross. It’s a powerful position. The problem is that it doesn’t necessarily change the injustice. It doesn’t stop the fact that the oppressive action is still taking place.

4. It is our job to end suffering.

Suffering happens because Human Beings are evil. The question is what are we doing about it? How do we enter into partnership with God to end evil? It’s not exclusively a faith position. I don’t need to believe in God I just need to love people.


A Black Theological Reading of John Ch 6: 1-15 - the feeding of the five thousand

Audio Title – Re-imagining John ch 6 1:15

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Anthony read from John Chp 6 1-15, the Feeding of the 5000. He then read a Black Theological interpretation of the same story.