Out of Sight: Attentiveness in a Dismissive Age

The Richard Johnson Lecture
with Scott Stephens (ABC Religion & Ethics)

Now in its eighth year, livestreamed

The annual Richard Johnson Lecture is ​hosted by Centre for Public Christianity. The lecture seeks to highlight Christianity’s relevance to society and to positively contribute to public discourse on key aspects of civil life.

This year’s topic is ‘Attentiveness in a Dismissive Age’ and the speaker is Scott Stephens, specialist commentator on religion and ethics. He is the ABC’s Religion and Ethics online editor, and co-host of The Minefield on ABC Radio National.

The attentive glance gives life

We commonly hear that the times in which we live are “unprecedented”. Not entirely without justification, when we consider the proliferation of technologies that flood our waking hours.

Yet beneath the busy surface of our media-saturated age, there lurks a temptation that is in no way unprecedented: the old temptation to live superficially – which is to say, inattentively. Like Shakespeare’s King Lear, we increasingly crave affection, fear irrelevance, are unsure who to trust, and so banish those who might wound us “out of our sight”.

The eyes are a moral organ. The contemptuous gaze can wither; the attentive glance gives life. At a time when so many distractions can cloud our vision, Scott Stephens urges us – in the tender words of the loyal Kent, in King Lear – to “see better”.

Attend this year’s Livestreamed Lecture:
Date: Thursday 28 October 2021
Time: 7:30pm
Price: $12.00


Why the ‘Richard Johnson’ lecture?

Richard Johnson was the first chaplain in the British colony of New South Wales. When the British government drew up a plan to transport convicts to New South Wales, Johnson was appointed chaplain to the proposed colony and set sail with the First Fleet. The colony of Sydney was established on January 26th, 1788, and on February 3rd, Johnson conducted the first Christian service under the trees in Sydney cove. Today there is a monument to mark the spot, at the corner of  Sydney’s Bligh and Hunter Streets. The Richard Johnson Lecture continues this tradition of sharing Christ in the public sphere. Read more about him and search the lecture archives for insights into wide range of subjects.


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