Vision Magazine, no. 17, Sept-Oct 1976
AN AUSTRALIAN IDENTITY
The charismatic movement in Australia needs to discover its own distinctive spiritual identity. For too long now we have simply copied or embraced the cultural wrappings of the renewal in other countries without seeing a creative expression of the work of the Spirit in the Australian scene.
To some degree this is to be expected. Australia as a nation lacks a certain degree of cultural clarity. As a young nation it has excelled over many larger nations in sport, but has lacked a cultural confidence which is only now being rectified. This is partly due to our origins as a nation (as an English penal colony) and the more recent influence of America.
Until the Second World War Australia was mostly effected by the "home country" (England) and the English way of life. The Australian landscape was adorned with imitation English cathedrals and church buildings completely unsuited to the Australian climate. Even the time of morning church services has been the traditional English 11.00 a.m. which in the Australian summer approaches the hottest part of the day.
In the post-war era, and certainly since the advent of television, the influence has become most strongly American with the Australian church copying the American trends, particularly in relation to charismatic renewal.
Take music as but one example. How much music being sung in the renewal in Australia is home grown? Try a simple test in any charismatic/pentecostal church or service by asking the question, "How many choruses, songs or hymns being sung have been written by Australians?" (In many cases the answer is probably - NONE!)
Granted, we live in a global village and in the early days of the renewal we were helped, taught and encouraged by our "elder brothers", mainly from America, nevertheless, there is a crying need to see a creative music ministry birthed here in Australia. To be sure, it is beginning to happen here and there, but not to the extend that it should.
It is for this reason that we are thrilled to include in the programme of the next Temple Trust conference in January a new Australian musical entitled "Come to the River". Inspired by the National Charismatic Conference in Adelaide last January it is the first major musical to be born out of the charismatic renewal in Australia. May it in turn inspire and encourage others to develop creative music.
And what applies to music can be related to all the other aspects of the charismatic renewal. Let's see a new maturity develop as the creativity of the Spirit brings forth an Australian identify to the charismatic renewal.
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