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Ethos - Launched and Navigating New Directions

Saturday, 16 October 2010  | Gordon Preece

Six months after Tim Costello launched Ethos: EA Centre for Christianity and Society (addressing climate change and poverty) we are boldly charging out of the harbour while still building parts of the boat (re-doing website, coordinating databases of Zadok and EA Public Theology etc). Having been to the Titanic exhibition in Melbourne we do so humbly, aware that just when you think you’re unsinkable, an iceberg insists on disagreeing!

Ethos seeks to address a range of issues to reflect the largeness of Christ’s Lordship and to resist privatising tendencies to focus only on personal, sexual or bioethics, though we do include these key topics in our think-tanks.

In late May we had a successful conference on the Atonement with international speakers Chris Marshall and Graham Cole and locals on Atonement, Nonviolence and Abuse. It addressed the important issue as to whether the Bible and the Atonement is violent and anti-women. It attracted 60 people. Addresses are published in Zadok Perspectives and Papers (www.zadok.org.au).

Ethos Business has run professional development courses for hospitals and finance professionals, and business ethics seminars for the June CMA conference. Ian Packer addressed the Religion in the Public Square Colloquium run by the Victorian Presbyterians on vocation and ethics as well as Menai Baptist’s SALT conference on faith and work. I am writing on business ethics for St. Luke’s Journal and also on calling for CASE at New College, UNSW. We prioritise equipping Christians for workplace ministry. I helped coordinate conferences bringing together the US based Theology of Work project and the Lausanne Marketplace Ministry Network  to produce a global Bible commentary on work. The process of addressing global issues evangelically will continue when we attend the Lausanne Congress in Capetown this month. Also, a link to a radio interview on ethical investment is at www.ethos.org.au.

Ethos Secularism tackled the Scripture vs. ethics teaching in schools issue in NSW (see link at ethos.org.au to ABC radio along with our introduction to ethos, and environmental issues) and is preparing a review article on Charles Taylor’s A Secular Age for Zadok Papers in March 2011.

Politically, we’ve encouraged Christians to address personal, social and environmental ethics in their voting, and to respect other Christian voters and candidates with different priorities. We plan a forum with Christian candidates from various parties before the Victorian election and to publish a non-party how to vote guide using the three ethical areas above, with specific policy areas outlined with a tool for rating parties on each issue. We will also suggest a covenant for civic debate.

Ethos Bioethics will be busy with the euthanasia issue looming in Federal parliament and the related Alzheimer’s issue is addressed in this Engage.

Ethos Environment is particularly busy with our Biodiversity and the Bible Conference on 20/11, a Climate Change conference on 4-6/3/11 and a National Day of Prayer on Climate Change.

Without your monetary and prayer support we could not do any of this. Check out the website if you’d like to contribute to the voyage.

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