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Ideas Have Legs

I have to confess, I am a Star Trek Fan.
Take the part where Jean Luc Picard speaks to 21 century humans who have been awaken after 300 years in cryogenic state and calmly explains we have nor need of material ambitions, money, wars or aggressive competition. We put that part of our human history well truly behind us. Now we focus on cooperating and discovery of the universe. The future is so much better than the past.

This is such a powerful idea.  Today, people are aghast and angry that perhaps the next generation (or even in the next 5 years) we may be more poor or be worse off;  for surely our destiny is onwards and upwards. But where did this idea begin?

In the ancient world the idea of progress was unheard of.  The ‘future’ was much the same as the present (or in the Hindu world it was cyclical).  The’ middle’ is often called the dark ages because many thought society had regressed from the Golden age of Ancient Big civilizations, such as the Greek and Roman empires.

Yet through small beginnings this idea was nurtured of progress particularly through commitment to invention, a movement to a better world and life into the future could be achieved.

Francis Bacon judged that, “owing mainly to an undue reverence for the past (as well as to an excessive absorption in cultural vanities and frivolities), the intellectual life of Europe had reached a kind of impasse or standstill”. Yet he believed there was a way beyond this stagnation if persons of learning, armed with new methods and insights, would simply open their eyes and minds to the world around them. This at any rate was the basic argument of his seminal 1605 treatise The Proficience and Advancement of Learning, arguably the first important philosophical work to be published in English.

This idea was scoffed at first. It stood against the wisdom of the day, but it began to grow legs, walk and then run through history –  growing, adapting and changing us to the modern world of today.

As a side track, are ideas ever really completely new? Some may argue Bacon may have been influenced by writing some 1100 years earlier when Augustine put forward a view of History that it is moving forward from its Beginning Creation to the New Jerusalem

But why am I babbling on about ideas?

Part of me some weeks ago felt a little bit trapped thinking about my work over the years of working mainly with Ideas. I was not really getting out there practically helping and serving those in need. Maybe what I’m working on is a waste of time. BUT then I remembered an old friend’s devotion entitled Ideas Have Legs. They run through History shaping our lives.

Being part of a Christian Higher Education, we work with ideas. We read them and analyze them and apply them. We also generate them.

A Fellow traveller, Professor David Smith, noticed because of His Christian worldview that most of the text books teaching foreign languages were framed by the big idea of consumerism. He asked the question, what if we made THE BIG IDEA OF HOSPITALITY the central idea of our foreign language program? What would it look like?

His approach is transforming one.

We need to conceptualize the present practices and ideas behind them in the light of the Gospel, let it show us the distortions and gaps, and then reconceptualise around a kingdom vision/dream… and ask WHAT IF?

This talk was given at an Eastern College Gathering on Wednesday, 16-Aug-2017

By Andrew Schmidt
Bachelor of Education Course Director

Book Review

Excerpt from Dr Jon Newton’s book review for the Spiritus academic journal:

Spirit Freedom and Power: Changes in Pentecostal Spirituality by Dr Angelo Cettolin.

” Why do I recommend this book? First, because Australia Pentecostalism has its own unique story and flavor rather different to that in North America, Europe or the “Majority World.” This distinctive Australian Pentecostalism is now being exported all over the world so it is wise for interested people to read about it from the viewpoint of an “insider.”

Second, Cettolin’s book draws on credible (international and Australian) sources to discuss the issues of twenty-first century Pentecostalism with a historical and contemporary perspective; this book could serve as a handy introduction to Pentecostalism in general.

And third, this book really talks to the people on the ground in good empirical research. It’s a model of grounded, honest, empirical research in the service of a Pentecostal goal.”


Dr Angelo Cettolin is the Dean of Faculty and Senior Lecturer in Ministry at Eastern College Australia.

Get to know Tom Edwards: Director of Research

Tell us a little about yourself…
– I am married to Laura, one cat.
– Director of Research at Eastern and work at Crossway Lifecare as a counsellor.
– BSc(Hons), MCounselling, PhD, Grad Cert Higher Ed.  Honours in developmental genetics (i.e. embryology of the central nervous system) and PhD in Behavioural Neuroscience looking at the biochemistry of memory.
– Director of Research at Eastern College Australia.

What’s your church background and involvement?
Anglican.  I have served terms on Parish Council.

What are your hobbies?
Fencing, exercising generally, bushwalking, landscape photography, woodwork, reading.

What are you passionate about in today’s Christian context?
Seeing people develop a personal relationship with God.

What is your hope for Eastern College Students?
To grow into whom God would have them be.

Tom Edwards is the Director of Research at Eastern College Australia and a great asset to the lecturers and educational life of the college. 

Get to know Sarah Michael: Lecturer in Education

Tell us a little about yourself…
I’m married to a wonderful man and have two lovely children. After graduating with a Bachelor of Education from university in England I taught in England, India and Bangladesh before moving to Australia. I continued primary teaching alongside other roles until my first child was born. I studied for my Master in Educational Leadership and began as an adjunct lecturer with Tabor (now Eastern) while home with our two young children, and then began my current role as Professional Experience Coordinator with some lecturing in Education.

What’s your church background and involvement?
I have grown up with the church being prominent in my life and have attended a range of churches due to numerous moves. The one constant has been finding a Christian ‘home and family’ in which to participate, and have enjoyed being involved in worship groups, children’s, youth and adult group leadership. I have attended Bridge Church for as long as I have been in Australia.

What are your hobbies?
I enjoy being outdoors enjoying the country, driving, walking and camping with family and friends. I love cooking and creating opportunities for people to spend time together, preferably with something yummy to indulge in (chocolate brownie anyone?).

What are you passionate about in today’s Christian context?
That Christians have and take the opportunity to add their voice and bring a Christian perspective across all aspects of society, from the Federal level to the local community level, in order to bring God’s kingdom values into people’s daily experience. I am specifically passionate about this in relation to the schooling experiences that children and young people receive.

What is your hope for Eastern College Students?
That they will find their place to contribute to their community, taking with them a knowledge and love of God, a love of people and a love of learning.

Sarah is a Lecturer and the Professional Experience Coordinator in Education
Discover her courses here: 

Bachelor of Education (Primary)
Bachelor of Education (Secondary)