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The Age of Intolerance?

Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a world famous critic of Islam and especially of sharia law.  She is Somali born, ex Muslim, now atheist.  She champions free speach, women’s rights, opposes genital mutilation, Sharia censorship, so called “honour killings” and Muslim extremism.  Two weeks ago Alison Bevege wrote in the Murdoch press “to our great shame Australia could not guarantee the right of the most important ex-Muslim thinker of our time , to tour and speak.”

At last check, Sydney universities have still banned Gideons from giving out their famous New Testaments on campus.   Christians game enough to engage in social media on the issue of same sex marriage often face vicious abuse and ridicule, no matter how moderate or respectful they are when expressing opposition to same sex marriage.  The purpose of me raising the issue is not to whinge or cry “poor us”.  It’s to ask “what has changed in the Australian secular and spiritual mindset to cause this retreat from open healthy tolerant debate?

In His 2012 book the “intolerance of Tolerance” Prof Don Carson argues that the concept of tolerance has undergone a massive shift in recent years and that Christians need to grasp and grapple with this.  Tolerance has moved from defending the rights of those who hold different beliefs to affirming all beliefs as equally valid.   He argues that the “new tolerance is not only socially dangerous and intellectually debilitating but also leads to a genuine intolerance of genuinely held beliefs contrary to what is the social norm (politically correct).  Sadly I think Carson prediction is now  a reality and we need to grapple with this reality if we are to lovingly and effective engage with the soul of our age.

Your Brother in Christ, Graham Crew

Hello, I’m Alyce and I have come to Gymea Anglican this year to gain ministry experience as a part of the Year 13 Gap Year program. So far I have been helping out in Gymea’s wonderful Children’s ministry at Dropzone and Kid’s Church on Sunday. This has been a valuable experience to be a part of. As a Year 13 student, I will shortly be going on a month-long mission trip to Fiji, far from the tourist track. This will take place from 8th June to 6th July. Year 13 is committed to long-term mission service in Fiji, and so they have been taking these month long mission trips since 2008, returning to the same towns and villages year after year. I’ll experience genuine Fijian culture as I help encourage, serve and share the gospel with local Fijians in various schools, orphanages, women’s refuges, local churches, kid’s clubs and youth groups. I’ll also have the opportunity to participate in hands-on projects within local communities. If you would like to support me financially that would be amazing, but even more so I would really love to be supported by you through prayer, as I’ll definitely be challenged and pushed outside my comfort zone. On Sunday 28th May (after 9:30am, Arvo, and Night Church services) I will be holding a fundraiser stall to help raise support. If anyone would like to support me financially or get my trip itinerary to pray for me – please come along. This will be my first mission trip and I’m really excited to learn more about God and His world from people who live life so differently to us.

Thank you. Alyce