Against the Stream.
Progressive Christianity between Pulpit and Pew
by Rex A E Hunt. Morning Star Publishing, 2012.
184 pages. RRP $27.95
Review by Rev Dr David Merritt,
Secretary, Progressive Christian Network of Victoria
Few people in Australia have an opportunity to hear someone well informed about progressive biblical and theological scholarship reflect regularly on what it means to understand and live open to the complexities and richness of contemporary life.
This collection of reflections and sermons preached by Rex Hunt between 2002 and 2012 offers that opportunity.
Rex Hunt is now retired after a long ministry in the Uniting Church in Australia as journalist and parish minister. He was founding Director of the Centre for Religious Thought, Canberra http://www.progressivereligion.org.au and continues as an organiser of the Common Dreams Conferences for Religious Progressives that are held every three years in Australia.
The sermons are brief – “To preach much longer than twelve minutes these days is bad communication no matter who you are”. The print layout preserves the structure of a spoken message designed to be heard.
The Table of Contents makes it easy to identify topics of particular interest to the reader. A Preface provides an introduction to the development of progressive Christianity. References at the end of each sermon indicate some key sources.
Two final pages list books recommended for Further Reading.
At the end of the collection Rex quotes with approval the statement: “Religion declined not because it was refuted, but because it became irrelevant, dull, oppressive, insipid”.
No-one is likely to use those words about these 184 pages.