Lyle-Shelton-150x150It was great to attend the Easterfest music festival in Toowoomba.

Thanks to local ACL supporters who helped staff our stall so we could have a presence amongst the many organisations showcasing their good work.

Festival director Dave Schenk asked me to participate in three speakers’ forums over the weekend.

These covered topics close to my heart – fostering greater unity in the church, balancing love and truth and overcoming evil.

There is no doubt the Christian Leaders’ Network in Toowoomba  has given us a glimpse of something Christ was praying for in John 17 when he yearned “that they may be one”.

Unity is always fragile (and costly) and the Toowoomba Christian leaders would be the first to admit their efforts are far from perfect.

But the fruit of unity has been impressive with 16 years of the counter-cultural Easterfest but one example.

Hearing some of the Toowoomba Christian leaders talk about the struggles and joys of this journey was inspiring. One gets the feeling that having tasted unity, there is no turning back for them.

Sharing a platform with Jars of Clay band member Dan Haseltine was a privilege as we and other panellists navigated law and grace, truth and love.

There was agreement that holding these in tension is necessary, particularly in the light of current cultural and political debates over marriage and human rights for the unborn.

Overcoming evil was a big topic and it was great to unpack this with my sister Tish who runs City Women in Toowoomba and Maddie Wiederman of Emily’s Voice.

Tish works with young girls suffering from the effects of the sexualisation and objectification of women because of our culture.

Maddie, who vulnerably shares her experience of aborting her first pregnancy at 18, is passionate about helping Australians again fall in love with the unborn.

With two small children and a third on the way, her personal experience makes her call for change compelling.

I was asked about being “crucified” during a Triple J interview on marriage where I was defending the rights of children to their mum and a dad.

While not all of ACL’s media experiences are quite as taxing as Triple J, it got me thinking that crucifixion is of course a big part of Easter.

Christ was crucified by the cultural and political elites of his day.

Overcoming evil will mean sometimes upsetting cultural elites. It may even mean laying down our lives.