We are in Auckland, New Zealand. It is the middle of winter. The city is beautiful.
I have spoken in a church, to an Anglican College (St Johns) on the historical Jesus and to a group working with the elderly through the Anglican church.
Tomorrow all day it is Luke-Acts and then Progressive Dispensationalism (at their request) to an independent school (Laidlaw College) and then to Presbyterians in the evening. Friday will be a day off.
Christians are an extreme minority here as they are in Australia. It means that the kind of work I do is well received where we discuss the Bible with an awareness that for much of the audience the Bible is not a privileged book. The responses have been most positive, even in audiences that was theologically mixed. It has been enlightening to see the response to details about Jesus, the apostolic roots of the Jesus tradition, discussions of orality, and historical Jesus details. There is a desire to learn by those who are here, but there is a dearth of substantive teaching time given over to such details. Most of what is circulating is what we see on our documentaries on Christianity. So it is proving a most fruitful time. It also confirms to me the importance of being able to discuss the Bible in this way in such a context, helping people explain why the Bible should be appreciated to those who have had little exposure ot it. Here atheism, agnosticism, or being spiritual but not religious are the most common categories of religious classification.