Storms and quakes
The shocking devastation wreaked in New Zealand by the recent storms, and in Turkey and Syria by the earthquake, remind us that in this fallen world our safety can never be assumed. All human life is mortal and vulnerable, and God alone is our Rock and our eternal refuge. These were natural disasters, for sure, but there were also exacerbating elements of human culpability. These include unwise land use, and worldwide unwillingness to make the changes that could more effectively reduce climate change, and – in Turkey and Syria – the complicating factors of poverty, inadequate building standards, division, and civil war. For Christians, such events also remind us to pray for all those who have been traumatised, or mourn, or have suffered other great loss, and to love our neighbours and offer support and practical help to those who need it.
Understanding Gen Z
NZCN warmly encourages pastors, youth leaders, and young adults leaders to register for the free The Open Generation events, being held in four different centres around New Zealand. Sponsored by Alpha and World Vision, these seminars will unpack the results of Barna research on the thinking of Gen Z (ages 13-17) youth. The study explored the thinking of 25,000 teenagers across 26 countries. The aim of the study was to help ministry leaders understand how teenagers see their faith and the world, especially in relation to Jesus, the Bible, and Justice. Each event will feature David Kinnaman (CEO Barna group), Dr Sam Bloore (Venn Foundation), and a panel of local practitioners from each city.
Register yourself and any other leaders from your church for this free event, which will be held in Auckland, Christchurch, and Wellington.
The postponing of proposed Hate Speech amendment
NZCN was pleased to see the Government withdraw its proposed legislation on “hate speech”, an amendment to the Human Rights Act to outlaw incitements to hatred on the basis of “religion”. Almost everyone agrees that all incitements to hatred and violence are deplorable, and that the horrific attack on the Christchurch mosques was utterly inexcusable. The inclusion of “religion” as a category in the legislation was problematical, however, as NZCN pointed out in our submission. Among other things, which religions would be included, how do you define majority and minority religions, and could this inclusion inhibit proclamation or critique by anyone of any belief for fear that someone somewhere might lay a complaint that they were being hateful? NZCN suggested the matter needed to be thought through much more carefully. We also note that the matter has only been deferred, and that the Government has previously also wanted to include some other protected categories.