Wednesday, 13 June 2012

The Seven Decades - The 1970's

Although I made the observation in the last post that the adolescent years were a time of great change (and they were) an awful lot happened in the 70s too
I saw the greatest piece of theatre I have ever seen...Peter Brook's production of a Midsummer Night's the Adelaide Festival Theatre. And there was lots and lots of small plays and ensemble theatre, Alex Buzo, David Williamson ...and films...Cabaret, Sunday Bloody Sunday, Satyricon...(far too many to mention)
I was also in a variety of plays....The Tempest, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, All Well that End's Well, The Bacchae, and a couple of mad Noel Coward plays
I got a job, went to University, got another job, went to Europe, went to theological college...and there I was sitting at the end of 1979 waiting for the gift of ordination.
 In Australia the most outrageous political event took place when the Whitlam Government was dismissed .. but although Whitlam was a visionary and we have much to be thankful for...they were also politically naive. A disease which seems to beset Labor governments and looks about to overtake another one again.
Four years Tertiary education seems a distant memory, though it was time (for me) of great personal growth both intellectually and socially.
It was time of great religious growth for me. Though perhaps not as much as I thought. Finding a 'system' or 'style' of Christianity which I grew to love and which seemed to fit my personality, Anglo Catholicism, was a great gift of this period. But I also realise now that I fell foul of a ruthless megalomaniac who seemed intent on gaining an army of supporters rather than encouraging people to grow spiritually and intellectually. I am sure he would deny that, and indeed would even argue (that was his forte) that in making bigots he was leading people in a way he thought they should go.
Personally I love the eccentricity and extremeness of Anglo Catholicism, but it took me many years to realise I had also been wounded by it. Twas ever the case!.
I enjoyed teaching...but I was always going to be a priest. I am one of these fortunate people who has known that call since I was 10 or 12 years old. I don't think this is because I am psychologically inept or weak, it is the way that God chose to engage me.
When ever I am feeling that everything has changed so much that I want to get out, I also need to recall that I know the truth of my call...and have known it since I was young.
So St Barnabas' Theological College was both good and bad for me. Good because it was the prelude to ordination. I am very grateful for the bizarre amounts of time I was able to spend translating Hebrew....I just wish I could retain it better now.
But more than this....there was a deep  spirituality, prayer and worship that was inculcated without which I could never have survived (and many didn't)
There was also lots of stuff not broached....which meant that though I could start learning how to be a priest; I was in no way equipped for the great changes that have hit the world and the Church since 1980.

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