PEACEtalks: Saturday 14th March
Up in Smoke: Beauty, Generosity and Justice amidst the Bushfire Emergency
with Rev Dr Jason John
Now that the bushfire emergency of the last few months has eased, the temptation—especially for those of us in major cities that may have been choked with smoke, but largely avoided the flames—is to think of life as having more or less returned to normal. But something happened this summer, something profound, with the potential to reshape our common life and our future if we will allow ourselves to soak it in. These fires have left their mark on the landscape, and their ecological impacts will likely resonate way beyond the years it will take for all the charred trees to be overtaken by fresh growth. But they have also scorched our cultural and political terrain as well. So if we’re looking for fresh growth, where might it be found? Will we allow ourselves to be shaped by the deep lessons of this catastrophe? The evening will explore the landscape—theological, political, cultural—left behind by the flames.
This event is PEACEtalks: a monthly event (held on a Thursday or Saturday evening) starting at 7pm hosted by Paddington Anglican Church aimed at serving the community by promoting and cultivating deep conversations about life, the world and everything. ‘PEACE’ stands for ‘political, ethical, artistic & cultural engagement’. Also on iTunes / Apple Podcasts by searching for PEACEtalks.
About our speakers:
Rev Dr Jason John completed an honours in zoology before converting to Christianity, and studying for ordination. After his first placement as a University chaplain, he completed a PhD and wrote some books on the implications of evolution, ecology and environmentalism for the Christian story, especially in rescuing us from our human-centred theology.
Throughout his twenty years of ministry he has helped the church explore the implications of our faith in a Creator for our relationship with the rest of Creation, and in encouraging all people to live as better members of the Earth family.
This included working as an environment officer in the University of Queensland Student Union, starting the Adelaide and Bellingen eco-faith communities, working on the team at Uniting Mission and Education, and now as a half-time member of the Uniting Advocacy Team, where his focus has swung more specifically to engaging Uniting and the wider church in emissions reductions and public climate advocacy.
Recently Jason found a cathartic outlet for the often-arduous path of environmental engagement in slam poetry, winning the 2019 Bellingen poetry slam and placing 3rd at the Australian Poetry Slam national final at the Opera House in 2019.
He lives in the forest with his family, and many other members of the Earth family, trying to be a good neighbour to most of them.
Dr Byron Smith assists with preaching and pastoring in both our morning and afternoon services. He works one day a week in the parish while dividing the rest of his time between parenting, public speaking and the pitter patter of tiny (insect) feet. He has a doctorate in Christian ethics on emotional responses to climate change. He frequently speaks and writes about following Jesus in a warming world. He’s authored a number of scholarly articles and book chapters and has joined in creative peaceful actions against new coal projects. He has 2 worm farms and 3 bee hives and a regular podcast. He loves Five Ways and chatting with locals about religion, politics and the weather.