Common Ground Editorial: September 2020

Welcome to the September edition of Common Ground, which falls at the end of Te Wiki o te Reo Māori and in the middle of the 2020 General Election campaign.

This is a significant time for our nation as we prepare to vote for representatives who will govern Aotearoa, New Zealand for the coming three years, and for two important referenda. Given the complex opportunities and challenges we face and the upheaval of this past year, it can be difficult to know what factors to weigh and how to weigh them in discerning how to vote. We need wisdom. To help, CEO Nathan McLellan has written an article, titled “How to Vote Responsibly”, in which he draws on Scripture and the Christian tradition to explore how we might prepare to vote wisely on 17 October.

Continuing the theme of wisdom, Michelle Young offers a reflection on Ecclesiastes and its call to acknowledge our creaturely limits as we seek to live well in a complex world: “God has created us and he knows our limits; this is a very good thing. In this we can rest.” Ecclesiastes also calls us to find joy in our work and life, a note John Dennison has picked up on in “Dune Aloe”, his playful poem about the succulent tree that grows in Cape Horn’s turning bay. This tree is the subject of Melody Cooper’s short photo essay that sits alongside John’s poem and of this month’s drawing by Kareen Durbin in the header of this editorial.

We’re also pleased to present a two-part reflection from Katrina Belcher and Luke Fenwick on the people, places, and experiences that have shaped their prayer lives, “The Ways of Prayer”. You’ll also meet one of our alumna, Waiora Te Moni (Summer Conference 2020), who, in this month’s Alumni Interview, reflects on the challenges and opportunities of full-immersion te reo Māori. And finally, this edition marks the release of the third episode in our inaugural Venn Presents series: Ascension, Pentecost, and the Church.

This is a rich edition of Common Ground, and we hope you find the articles and podcasts helpful as you navigate the complexities of life.

Kia tau ki a koutou katoa te atawhai o te Ariki, o Īhu Karaiti, me te aroha o te Atua, me te whiwhinga tahitanga ki te Wairua Tapu. Amine. (2 Cor 13:14)


The Venn team