October 30 2014

Life and Faith: Halloween

Halloween is becoming more popular in Australia every year - but not everyone is happy about it. Some complain that it’s an American tradition; others, usually on religious grounds, object to the way it makes light of evil. Are there good reasons to celebrate this once pagan festival that (like Christmas) has been Christianised - then again secularised - and now very much commercialised? Life and Faith asked John Dickson for his thoughts on the meaning of Halloween - and the relationship of Christian believers to secular culture more generally.

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October 23 2014

Life and Faith: Origin Story

Origin stories - those accounts of beginnings that tell us who we are and where we come from - are often controversial. Debates about the Bible’s creation story and its compatibility with the theory of evolution can be especially so. Life and Faith spoke to Chris Mulherin, who lectures and tutors in the history of science, philosophy, and theology, and works with ISCAST (a group of Christians working in science), about how to distinguish the different strands of Christian belief about creation: Young Earth Creationism, Intelligent Design, and theistic evolution. The program also includes part of an interview with Oxford Professor of Mathematics John Lennox about how to read the opening chapters of Genesis, and concludes that sceptics do not need to choose between science and Christian belief.

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October 16 2014

Life and Faith: Rewriting Jesus

In September 2013, The Guardian declared that “Jesus is having a moment in literary fiction”. From Dickens to Norman Mailer, as well as a more recent crop of novelists, writers have been intrigued by the story of Jesus and have set out to explore its limits and possibilities in fictional form. Australian author Peter McKinnon asked himself the question: what would the character of Jesus look like in 1960s Australia instead of 1st-century Palestine? The result, The Songs of Jesse Adams, pushes the boundaries of our assumptions about Jesus with its reimagining of his life amidst the social, political, and musical tumult of the ‘60s.

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October 9 2014

Life and Faith: Life in the Old City

Arda Aghazarian lives in the Old City of Jerusalem, a place where the stark realities of living with conflict and religious difference are impossible to avoid. She has worked in radio and film, as well as with the YWCA of Palestine and the UN seeking to empower young women in places and periods of conflict. She wants people in the West to understand more about the religious and political complexities of daily life in Palestine, and came in to speak to Life and Faith about peace, justice, identity, bitterness, and hope.

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October 2 2014

Life and Faith: Sabbath Rest

Western culture tends to worship efficiency, which even creeps into our leisure time and challenges the possibility of achieving a good work/life balance. Life and Faith explores the concept of the Sabbath and considers what the benefits of taking regular time to rest might be.

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September 25 2014

Life and Faith: The 100-page Challenge

The Bible is the literary classic. Six billion copies have been sold; since records began it’s been the number one bestseller worldwide every year except 2007 (when Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows topped the list at 44 million sales). In 2009 alone it sold 30 million copies. But how many people in the West actually read it today? John Dickson, Founding Director of CPX, issues a challenge to those who would never dream of opening the Bible: give it 100 pages.

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September 18 2014

Life and Faith: Poetic Justice

Joel McKerrow is a Melbourne-based performance poet, writer, speaker, educator, and community arts worker. He’s the Artist Ambassador for TEAR Australia and co-founder of the Centre for Poetics and Justice. He speaks to CPX about how his art relates to his faith and to questions of social justice, and suggests how poetry can have an impact on real life issues. Visit joelmckerrow.com for more on Joel and his work.

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September 11 2014

Life and Faith: View from the Faraway Pagoda

Rob Banks met his grand-aunt Sophie Newton once as a young man; when she died, she left him all of her personal papers, detailing her fascinating life as a pioneer woman missionary in China for more than thirty years. Rob and his wife Linda have turned the documents to good account in their book View from the Faraway Pagoda, which tells the story of Sophie’s work in empowering women, opposing the opium trade, and challenging cultural practices such as foot-binding and infanticide over a period which spanned the Boxer Rebellion, the Nationalist Revolution, and early communist uprisings. Rob and Linda discuss early twentieth-century China and the many challenges and legacies of this remarkable Australian woman.

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September 3 2014

Life and Faith: Conspiracy theories

Theories about the historical Jesus - whether revolutionary Jesus, Jesus being elevated into God by his followers, or Jesus’ wife - abound, and seem to hold an endless fascination for us. Darrell Bock is Professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, and has written more than thirty books on biblical topics, including the popular Breaking the Da Vinci Code. He talks to CPX about some recent, and some perennially popular, theories that challenge traditional Christian ideas about Jesus and the Bible.

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August 28 2014

Life and Faith: Slave or Free?

We all want to be free - but freedom proves a difficult concept to pin down. Simon Smart and Natasha Moore consider competing visions for genuine freedom, and review a new film, Freedom, which tells the parallel stories of 18th-century slave trader John Newton and an escaped slave a century later.

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