Here’s an account of my twitter exchange on Sunday night (20 March 2011) with Dean Tregenza, whose Twitter bio identifies him as a librarian and “a tenderer of sacred spaces”:
@rod_benson For NSW tweeps, I’ll be talking with Kel Richards on 2CH at 10.40pm on what the churches see as key policy issues ahead of #nswvotes 26 Mar
@deantregenza As “the churches” don’t generally see a common view a lot of the time… how do you intend to do this?
@rod_benson Um, let me think…. Oh, I know, public issues of significance where there is general consensus.
@deantregenza For the NSW election that would be mental health services, policies of social inclusion, justice, poverty alleviation / and not anything to do with sexuality, abortion, ethics in classes, or education?
@rod_benson OK, let’s just talk about the issues that matter to you, and suppress debate on public issues you find problematic, shall we?
Following the radio interview, there was a further brief exchange (or rather, I made a comment and Dean responded with several posts):
@rod_benson Radio done. This time Kel Richards chose the issues & I responded. Alcohol abuse, poker machine reform, ethics classes, integrity in govt.
@deantregenza I am concerned how the ACL [Australian Christian Lobby] presents as “speaking for the church” and cuts debate down to sexuality, abortion, and marriage
@deantregenza the media doesn’t get religion and I am concerned about how debate and image of the church is reduced to doggy [dodgy?] sound bites
@deantregenza the list of subjects Kel Richards came up with was interesting… is there really concensus in the churches about on them?
I think the interchange raises some important points on what cluster of issues the churches should be addressing, how a consensus is reached, who (if anyone) is entitled to speak for “the church,” and how “faith perspectives” are best articulated to broad and diverse media audiences. How would you respond?
Theologian, researcher, teacher, writer, foodie, husband, dad. Works at Moore Theological College.