I happened to sit next to Mr Christensen last year at the Church and State conference in Brisbane. He was a guest speaker at the summit, and was bold and eloquent as he defended the role of Christianity in the public square, and as an important conscience for Australian politics.
He was also very personable and down to earth, and he took a genuine interest in me as we chatted over the two-day conference.
Soon after, the two of us linked up online, and I was honoured a couple of weeks ago when Mr Christensen asked me to be the guest on the first episode of his new podcast.
The vision of Conservative One is Defending Traditions and Freedom. Mr Christensen sought out an interview with me to ask about my blog Cross and Culture. In particular, he wanted to know why a young person like myself would be writing about conservative issues, when so many my age are in lockstep with mainstream progressivism.
He was also interested in the Canberra Declaration. I was able to tell the story of how the Canberra Declaration came about, the vision we have for Australia, and the values that animate our ministry.
Given the current climate, it wasn’t long before the coronavirus question came up. Mr Christensen probed my thoughts as to where God is in the midst of this global crisis. In part, here is the answer I gave:
God is always in the midst of our suffering. I love Psalm 23. It’s the one that’s often quoted at funerals: “The Lord is my shepherd…” What it says a little bit later on in Psalm 23 is not that God is going to spare us from every deep, dark valley, but: “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.”
And that’s the key: “For You are with me.” God is always with us through our suffering. He’s not aloof; He’s not separated from us.
In fact, we just celebrated Easter. Easter is all about Jesus—God—taking on human flesh, stepping down into creation; stepping down into the world that we live in, and experiencing all of that for Himself, experiencing pain and suffering on the cross.
So the God that we believe in as Christians is a God who absolutely can relate to us because He has been through all the things we have. And so we can, in a very real way, say that God is with us in our suffering. He’s not just sitting on His throne. He’s still on His throne, but He’s also wanting to be with us and be present in our mess and in our fear and in our suffering…
One of the positive outcomes of [the coronavirus pandemic] is that it has forced us as a culture and as a nation to totally slow down and really consider all sorts of things that maybe we haven’t for a long time, like how much we love and value our families, and how much we really do treasure our freedoms, and how much our faith does give meaning and purpose to our lives.”
Mr Christensen and I went on to have a lively discussion about the current trajectory of Western civilisation; the growing divide between Christianity and culture; and whether or not Christians are now facing persecution in the West.
The final question I was asked to address was: If you were Prime Minister of Australia for a day, what’s the one big decision that you would make?
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