Last Saturday morning we had 102 women from across all the St Michael’s congregations in the church hall for breakfast. It was so good to be together again! We’re thankful for the easing of restrictions which meant we could have the event in the way that we did, albeit with some limitations in place to comply with our Covid safety plan. The last 12 months have taught us many things, not least the significance of being together in body – on Sundays, in small groups, and at events like this. It’s been a tangible reminder that we are not just brains or hearts, but embodied souls. But that’s a topic for another day…

I’m very fond of swimming (it’s my favourite day-off activity), so Dani Treweek’s topic really appealed to me – ‘Just keep swimming?’ (Surely the obvious answer is yes!). I’m also very fond of kids movies, so the Nemo reference wasn’t lost on me either. But Dani’s challenge to us as Christian women in 2021 was not about wellbeing or fitness, but to understand the culture that we live in – the water in which we are swimming.

The water that we are swimming in is pervasive and seeks to change us and take us with it, like a tide or a rip current. And just as it can be hard for us to recognise a rip or dangerous tide, it is hard for us to see the ways in which the world and the culture we live in is pulling us. The challenge for us as Christians is to recognise and understand the world we live in, in order to press on as God’s people in it.

Dani helpfully outlined four particular convictions that underpin the culture that we are living in, and helped us to see the ways in which they are a distortion of the truth of God’s word, that masquerade as truth:

  • the ultimate goal of expressive individualism (but the failure to recognise that God is the one who made us and knows us best)
  • the authority of my lived experience
  • oppressed and oppressor as the twofold moral category of the world (rather than a world in which all things are impacted by sin)
  • social action as a way to achieve a utopian society.

The worldview we live in hopes to bring about on earth what we know will ultimately only be achieved when God’s kingdom is consummated when Christ returns. That is the true hope we have – not the hope of a better world now. This week saw the celebration of International Women’s Day. The theme was #choose to challenge. Why not, as women (and men) choose to challenge the narrative of the world around us with the truth of the gospel?

Romans 12:2  Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

I commend the talk to you. You can find it on your favourite podcast app by searching for Wollongong Anglican talks.

Stacey Chapman
Assistant Minister