Dr Macnab in Conversation with Bishop Ian George
Notes on the conversation between Dr Francis Macnab and Bishop Ian George, 19 June 2016.
By John Abbate.
The conversation took the form of an interview, with discussion flowing freely from questions placed before Dr Macnab by former Archbishop of Adelaide, Ian George. The two men filled the church with their abundant mutual respect, intelligence and humour.
A summary of the topics covered during the conversation follows.
1. The transformation of St Michael’s church, from its congregation to its architecture
- The establishment of the Cairnmillar Institute and St Michael’s global outreach
- The big issues facing society:
- Social destructiveness and aggression, from obvious, macro-level violence to micro-level aggressions
- The difficulty of establishing satisfying relationships with others and keeping negative emotions under control
- Tenderness in a secular society
- Dr Macnab’s influences:
- the work of the followers of Freud and contemporary psychoanalysis
- the revolution in theology following Rudolf Bultmann
- the international scholars of the Jesus Seminar
- in collaboration with the St Michael’s congregation, the development of the New Faith to deliver a more practical, relevant and contemporary religious experience
- The tradition of art and music that Dr Macnab has fostered at St Michael’s, including its existential religious art in stained glass, its smaller stained glass windows in the doors of the church, the large tapestry, the sculpture at Mingary, the depth of musical talent, and the new art gallery – as creative expressions of the spirit.
- Flamboyance and bringing colour back into church life; the irony of coming from a very sober, Scottish presbyterian tradition
- Dr Macnab’s return to Australia after his unique training in Scotland:
- Dr Eric Cunningham Dax
- lifting the church and the global practice of psychology