The 2005 Boyer Lectures begin on Radio National at 5pm, next Sunday 13 November. This years lecturer is Peter Jensen, Anglican Archbishop of Sydney. The evangelical Anglican Archdiocese Sydney is a problematic world nationally and internationally within the Anglican communion. Peter Jensen, while promoting his brand of evangelicalism energetically, should not be treated too stereotypically. While I don't subscribe to the puritan origins of Sydney Anglicans, I find Peter Jensen quite wearable. His first statement as Archbishop pointed to a biblical sense of social justice. Soon after that I had a long telephone conversation with him - which was most gracious of him in such a busy period - which further impressed on me his commitment to a Christian sense of values and justice. Further statements on social justice during his episcopate have only reinforced my confidence in this aspect of his ministry.
Archbishop Peter says he will call on both major political parties to look carefully at their notions of contemporary liberalism and to re-examine their parties' origins, values and the freedoms they advocate in the context of the changing society. 'Can we trust each other to use our freedom well? Will my freedom to bargain be at the expense of your ability to look after your family?' I want to provoke a national debate with the Jesus of the Gospels,' says Dr Jensen. He aims to inspire widespread adult reading of the Gospels and recognition of the significance of Jesus for a modern world in which religion is increasingly on the agenda.
I hope that Peter Jensen is given a good hearing. Secular bigotry is alive and well in the Land of Oz and frequently rears its head to deride and undermine. May we listen to what he has to say with grace and good judgment.