Tuesday, January 07, 2014

It's nice to be home in Australia for January, after completing two and a half years of a PhD program at Fuller Theological Seminary in Los Angeles. One perk of being in Sydney, aside from reconnecting with family and friends, is attending my home church - Hillsong. I grew up in the congregation, and returned in 2010 before relocating to the United States. It's the thing I missed most while away. (Of course, an announcement was just made about a new Hillsong plant in Los Angeles in 2014 - so if I do end up in Pasadena for dissertation writing, I can worship there.)

Because the new-ish Manhattan Hillsong plant is going so well, there's growing interest in the United States in the church. Mainstream specialists in religion and religious movements are increasingly turning their attention to global Pentecostalism (or in this specific case, Oceanian charismatic evangelicals who really don't like "tags" being applied to them). This fuels more interest in Australia. Reactions to a plea from an Australian theologian, some remarks during a sermon by Hillsong leaders Joel and Julia A'Bell after a particularly libellous "expose" on Today Tonight, along with a few other coincidences, raised recurring themes for me, so I thought it might be appropriate to reflect a little on what it meant for me to grow up a "Hillsonger."

Read it all.

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