Wednesday, January 28, 2009

credible witness book review, michael leunig and australia synchroblog

It’s a day late, but this is my contribution to the Australia Day synchroblog. I realise I’m not a fair dinkum Aussie, but 10 weeks in Adelaide last year are my claim to participation! Plus the fact I’m really appreciating Credible Witness by Australian Darren Cronshaw (published by Urban Neighbours of Hope in 2006).

It’s an excellent missional resource. It takes Australian context seriously. It asks what the Spirit might have already been doing in that place. In the case of Credible Witness, it trawls Australian history and the place of chaplaincy, of shepherds, of advocates for the marginalised, of servants and of generous hosts. What I love is how it refuses to stay with history, but suggests contemporary expressions of these images. One example is the suggestion that cartoonist Michael Leunig is in fact a contemporary spiritual guide and thus a model for what it might mean to be missional in Australia today.

Here’s my favourite Leunig prayer and it’s my prayer for myself and for Australia on Australia Day 2009.
God help us to change. To change ourselves and to change the world. To know the need of it. To deal with the pain of it. To feel the joy of it. To undertake the journey without understanding the destination. The art of gentle revolution. Amen. (Michael Leunig, When I Talk to You: A Cartoonist Talks to God, Harper Collins).

Credible Witness is a great example of what missional means: taking seriously the already work of God in the world and asking what it might mean for everyday and ordinary people to participate in that work. Well done Darren.

Other synchrobloggers are: Ben Wheatley on Australia; Les Chatwin on Some People are Never Happy; Fernando Gros on Australian Days; Brunette Koala on Spirituality in Australia; Matt Stone on Spirit of Australia; Heather on Together.

Posted by steve at 08:12 PM


  1. […] Steve Taylor on Credible Witness […]

    Pingback by Together « A Deconstructed Christian — January 29, 2009 @ 1:14 am

  2. Hmmm, Ive never seen that book. I agree with you about Michael Leunig. I am a long standing fan.

    Comment by Matt Stone — January 29, 2009 @ 1:22 am

  3. Steve,

    Looks like a great read! In it’s dealings with Australian history, does it at all touch on Aboriginal Christianity? Would love to know more about that one.


    Comment by Dan Lowe — January 29, 2009 @ 8:57 am

  4. Dan,

    a couple of quotes might best address the question – “The first chapter begins where the history of Australia as a continent began – with Aborginal Australia – and a model of spiritual companionship that resonates with the sensitivity to the sacred of indigenous spirituality” (p. 14) and “Following Taylor’s analysis (footnoting a PhD thesis by a Steve Taylor) that Maori religion is where spirituality in New Zealand starts, this book does not want to impose a Western Christian framework on Australian indigenous spirituality.” (p. 19). Steve Taylor – hmmm! – heard that name before 🙂 You did ask :)!


    Comment by steve — January 29, 2009 @ 9:19 am

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