What I learned from Djuki Mala

This Aboriginal dance group did more than entertain me. They reached out to me across Australia’s cultural divide.

Dance isn’t my thing, but Djuki Mala was hilarious, possibly the best entertainment at Perth Fringe Festival this year. These five dancers might be the most entertaining representatives of Aboriginal culture in Australia.

They started by introducing themselves as Yolngu people from Arnhem Land, a culture much older than ours. They built rapport through honesty, acknowledging the clashes between their ancestors and ours, and how Aboriginal people were treated as non-persons (not even able to vote until 1967). They also shared the struggles of their community, and the story of the grandfather who inspired them to dance.

It was breathtaking: traditional dance in moody lighting, with campfire scenes screened on the backdrop. I felt more like a guest than an observer, as if they’d invited me into their culture. Continue reading “What I learned from Djuki Mala”

True believers, in the land of Oz

How are we doing with representing God’s kingdom in Australia?

A funny thing happened on the way to the kingdom. We thought big-name evangelists like Billy Graham could save the world. We thought recounting healings would convince people that God’s alive and well. Think again. Now only half the Aussie population (52%) call themselves “Christian.” Just 50 years ago, it was 9 out of 10 (88%).

What happened? Perhaps we should ask them. McCrindle Research did just that. They asked Aussies what attracted them to faith, and what turned them off. Want to know what answers they got? Continue reading “True believers, in the land of Oz”