Report: The Christ Option
Tasmanian Baptists Pastors' Muster, 2-3 March 2020
Pre-COVID-19 restrictions, Monday and Tuesday March 2 and 3, saw the Baptists pastors of Tasmania arrive in Hobart for 24-hours of good teaching, and inspiring connection with one another.
The guest speaker, Megan Powell du Toit is Publishing Manager for the Australian College of Theology. She has worked as a Baptist pastor, editor, preacher, lecturer and writer. As well, she is a podcaster, and co-hosts With All Due Respect with Michael Jensen.
Taking the platform at Citywide Lenah Valley, Megan spoke with insight and wisdom during her sessions as she romped through the Gospel of Luke not just once, but four times!
With a nod to the "Benedict Option", which advocated retreat from the world, instead we discovered the "Christ Option": an application of Christlikeness to our context.
Eating and drinking
Session One took note of the many times Jesus ate with people of all persuasions - he was criticised for feasting, and not fasting, for good reason! It was an encouragement to all of us to place high value on table fellowship, as Jesus did.
Megan quoted author John Vanderslice who said, "The story of Jesus' ministry is a ministry that takes place through meals. It's about sustenance, it's about delight, it's about joy. And it's about forming community."
Session Two reflected on the enormous number of stories Jesus told. The Gospel of Luke is full of them! Similarly, in our day and age, the importance of "story" cannot be underestimated as we connect with others.
Monday evening saw us all move to Hobart Baptist, where a public meeting was held as Megan spoke on ways to empower women in leadership. She spoke about the many women who are important to the Gospels, and she also told her own story.
Returning to Lenah Valley for Session Three on Tuesday, several of Jesus' stories were the focus, recalling the importance of imagination. God is spectacularly imaginative. Megan commented that "we underestimate how much each of us are made in the image of God." And once we start realising this, that "there is a call for each of us to reach into God's imagination."
And our final session drew on all the earlier sessions, as we were reminded to pick up our cross, every day. This would be by sharing food (Session 1), telling stories (Session 2), and using our God-imagination (Session 3).
"Jesus connected with both sinners and Pharisees over meals. Meals have a relational meaning."
Megan Powell du Toit
These are all costly exercises, because often, these activities in a Christian context are counter-cultural. Especially during a pandemic-inspired shutdown!
Some questions for you to consider . . .
- As you think about eating with others, telling stories, using your imagination, and picking up your cross, what are your goals as you pursue Christianity in Australia?
- And a final challenge: How will you behave as you aim for those goals?
Tasmanian Baptist Women
Bible Study with Megan Powell du Toit
Megan has worked with bible.com.au, producing a 14-day Bible study: Women of the Bible you Need to Meet