To call oneself a Christian is to tell the world that you seek to live in a way which follows the words and deeds of the man himself.
Jesus is reported to have lived a humble, selfless existence in support of the downtrodden and in pursuit of those powerful people he regarded as self-seeking and hypocritical.
He was perhaps, a social justice advocate ahead of his time.
Over recent years, if Jesus were watching, he would likely be very disappointed in many of the people who purport to be the shepherds of his flock.
Too many priests and ministers have sexually abused children, and as we have learnt from the Royal Commission into Institutional responses to child sexual abuse, those who could have stopped them – their peers and bishops – covered for them, lied for them and discarded vulnerable children for them.
Compounding the hurt done to thousands of victims, many of the same people who knew of abuses and who protected the abusers have done little but obfuscate and squirm when pressed by the Royal Commission.
More recently, the release of 85 criminal justice recommendations has been met with near silence from the clerical leadership of Australia’s churches.
How courageous it is then that Maitland Christian Church Pastor Bob Cotton has spoken out so strongly in support of our children and those abused within Institutions, and so critically of his religious colleagues.
Bob’s letter to The Mercury regarding the moral bankruptcy of the hierarchy of Australia’s Christian denominations is so profoundly full of what it means to be Christian and to be responsibly human, that it deserves to become a wide read and widely supported legacy of the Royal Commission process.
Bob has shown clear moral and civil leadership on the issues of same sex marriage and the sexual abuse of children within Institutions.
He has unambiguously demonstrated that he is prepared to stand up for what is right, rather than that which is expedient or self-serving.
Perhaps others within Australia’s churches will follow Bob’s lead and exhibit similarly determined Christian behaviour – it is long overdue.