Author Archives: Paul Inglis

About Paul Inglis

Paul Inglis is a long time member of the Uniting and Anglican Churches in Australia. He recently retired as the Community Minister for Dayboro and Mt Mee Uniting Churches, just north of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. He accepted an invitation to become the Queensland's first Uniting Church Community Minister and continued in that role for more than 10 years. Previously he had been a State primary school teacher, school principal for 11 years and then Lecturer in Education at the Queensland University of Technology for 25 years. He has served on UCA Assembly, Synod, Presbytery and Congregational Councils. In retirement he is actively involved in family, church, and community. His commitment to 'progressive' Christianity emerged from contact with the late Professor Rod Jensen who founded the Lay Forum in 2004 and from his experience in ministry with people seeking an authentic faith. Paul's PhD from the University of Queensland is in Adult Learning.

Opinion: Australia and Globalism

A  Response To the Prime Minister’s Lowy Lecture

by (Rev.) Dr Noel Preston AM, nwpresto@gmail.com  (9th October 2019)

On October 3, 2019, the Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, delivered a lecture to the Lowy Institute outlining his vision for Australia’s role in relation to what he called “globalism”.

On the surface, the tone of his speech was plausible and reasonable. But, on closer examination, his declarations, couched as they were in general terms,  are disturbing for many Australians of goodwill who seek a better direction for our nation as an international citizen – including progressive Christians (to whom this response is primarily directed).

PM Morrison rejected what he described as “unaccountable international bureaucracy”, clearly a side swipe at the United Nations. There was no acknowledgement of the role prominent Australian leaders of the past  played in establishing international forums which have defended peace along with human and environmental rights.

While rejecting “isolationism”, Mr Morrison opted instead for what he called “positive and practical globalism”. Moreover, ignoring his power and responsibility to lead the nation and inspire Australians to less self-centred policies, he  insisted that he was “responsible to the will of the Australian people” (whatever that is) invoking that slippery term, “the national interest”, as his justification.

Throughout  this bench-marking oration he did not once mention the issue of Global Warming and Australia’s responsibility to take a strong lead internationally, as life on the planet faces climate change.  Interestingly, he did not repeat his recent assertion to a United Nations assembly: “We are meeting our commitments and reject any say to the contrary…” That dubious assertion was strongly disputed by experts as demonstrated on the ABC TV program “The Drum” on the 8th of October 2019.

Sadly, his silence about this number one global issue in the Sir Frank Lowy lecture speaks volumes about his unwillingness to  prioritise a national strategy on the matter. Instead, the priority Mr Morrison espoused was  “security through economic strength”, seemingly code for “business as usual”.

Furthermore, there was no mention of his government’s record (and that of recent governments of all persuasions) on matters such as our diminishing humanitarian overseas aid budget or border protection with its unnecessarily cruel policies. Clearly, he was asserting, the Australian government will not listen to “unaccountable” international bodies who justifiably accuse Australia of violating  human rights.

That said, the lecture also, presumptuously, invoked Australia’s “higher values”, presumably the tradition we share with other middle powers like Canada and New Zealand.  Arguably, these nations  with whom we share much history apply values  that promote a somewhat different stance toward “globalism”.

The content of the Prime Minister’s speech is all the more disturbing when set in its context.

Clearly, it was fashioned and delivered against the background of his recent international tour which included his absence at the UN Climate Conference in New York, but an elaborate State visit to Trump’s USA (and it is President Trump who has given currency to this term, “globalism”). Of course, the context is wider: China’s rise to power, Vladimir Putin’s nationalistic style and the UK’s Brexit push.

These geo-political shifts provide a reason for the Prime Minister to clarify Australia’s approach to international affairs but they also emphasise the need for caution, lest Australia fall into line with  the mood for regressive nationalism.

Finally, in my view, people of Christian faith and all those who share a hope for the common good, cannot avoid the conclusion that, as he has become a custodian of great political power, the Prime Minister’s loudly proclaimed Christian faith has evaporated in the years since he delivered a testimony to that faith in his maiden speech.

Understood prophetically and progressively, Christianity, along with other like worldviews, believes the interests of the global community of life are paramount. It will be up to civil society in Australia, including  strong advocacy by religious leaders, guided by a different understanding of globalism, to push back and sound a different note. Otherwise, we will continue to slide further  from  authentic international responsibility toward a narrow and self-focussed national interest.

oOo

Progressive Church of Christ? Resourcing Ministry and Worship No.12

TLC Church Bayswater North, Melbourne.

265, Canterbury Road.

Truth and Liberation Concern (TLC Church) is an organic
community, responding to God’s grace and the call to love.
Just as the TLC community is a ‘work in progress’, so its vision
and mission statement is a work in progress. It is a snapshot of our
community and aims to give clarity to what is evident among us.
And it helps us dream and plan for what may be possible for the
journey ahead.

The TLC elders and pastors recognise and name the things that
give life and breath to the TLC community. We acknowledge the
founding faith statements and mission statements that have
underpinned our community for over 40 years.

Our Mission Statement

Spirituality and worship We affirm worship as an all-of-life endeavor, expressed in diverse ways as we respond to God and to one another. We seek to nurture the Christian faith within our community and to provide opportunities for spiritual growth.

A place to belong We offer people a home and a place to belong. We provide a space where people can find love, grace and dignity through their relationships with Christ and with one another.

Mission and community engagement We encourage one another to encounter God as we reach out beyond our boundaries, exploring and sharing the love and justice of Jesus.

An Empowering Community We empower people to take ownership within our community. We encourage one another to embrace both the freedom of the Gospel and the responsibility that the Gospel brings. Our challenge is to express our faith through the way we live.

Restoration & Healing We offer rest, healing and rejuvenation. We invite people to experience the love of God within our community, and we provide space for people to journey towards wholeness.

Go to – Our facilities

Go to – Global focus

Go to – Sermons

Go to – Fairs fair

Sunday Service – 10am.

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Book Review: Opening Doors

A seeker’s reflection on the rooms of Christian living

by Kevin Treston

I have been looking forward to more from Kevin Treston since his The Wind Blows Where it Chooses made practical sense of the crisis facing western Christianity. Opening Doors is a great follow on from that book and once again he has produced a text that is useful for personal as well as group studies. This time the exercise is to reconcile a contemporary faith with modern science, cosmology and spirituality.

Dr Kevin Treston has taught and lectured for many years in 14 different countries. He is the author of 30 books, and a highly respected presenter among Christian educators. He was a visiting Scholar at Boston College and is a member of the association of Practical Theology Oceania. He was awarded an Order of Australia Medal (OAM) for his services to education.

He calls himself a seeker because he has taken on board Jesus’ invitation to open the door to him, get to know him better and at the same time bring Jesus wisdom into contemporary society. He invites us to be seekers and gives us the tools for shifting from the old anthropocentric (human centred) faith to an ecocentric faith better suited to our times.  This is a very personal exercise and the book acts as a resource that guides the reader/s through a range of elements that enhance Christian living today.

For Kevin it is obvious that the Christ Story is told within the Great Story of the Universe which is a much longer narrative than the 2000 years of Christianity. The profound mystery of God within and beyond creation needs to be reframed within the wondrous story of the universe. He has developed this theme in previous books so that the three great movements from Jewish beginnings to the traditional story we are familiar with are linked to the emerging cosmic story including teachings, theology, liturgy, ethical living that form a new consciousness that includes modern science.

Kevin builds the discussion on a foundation of human evolutionary destiny for homo sapiens as an exclusive species of hominoids exhibiting unique attributes of self-reflection, language, art and consciousness over 150,000 years through towards today’s global people to emerging trans human forms. This is accompanied by a history of the development of religions and especially in the Christian religion the rise of the clerical class which has had a depowering effect on individuals ‘reducing them to a spiritually dependent lay state’. He makes the point that the propensity to be religious deeply embedded in the human psyche is not confined to those who endorse creeds and doctrines. But it does give each of us an inclination to consider the question What Does it mean to live life given the fact that one day I will die? He gives fresh insights into the meaning of ‘incarnation’ as core thinking in the human narrative.

The reader is given opportunities to consider the issues and questions raised by the author’s commentary on life, religion, spirituality, advances in science, love and relationships, the divine, sin, God as Trinity, the worship of Jesus, the teachings of Jesus and the Cosmic or Universal Christ, the exercise of ministry, the role and status of women and the problems of patriarchy and domestic violence, morality and shifts in teaching about morality. All of this leads to Kevin’s model for the spirituality journey which is really a framework for each of us to develop our own intentional model.

I found this book personally liberating and I was motivated to follow up on Kevin’s invitation to describe the room of life that I would like to be in after opening the door. Highly recommended for individuals, conversations and self-directed groups who will find some great ideas for getting underway. It is a resource suitable inside and outside the church with particular benefit to communities looking at the renewal and relevance of their mission focus.

Paul Inglis 14th October 2019

To order online go to: www.coventrypress.com.au

Phone: 0477 809 037 Email: enquiries@coventrypress.com.au

Post to: Coventry Press, 33 Scoresby Road, Bayswater Vic. 3153

Cost: $24.95 + *Postage: $9.95 for 1-3 books; $11 for 4 and more; free freight for orders over $100

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Early thinking on sexuality in divine-human relations

[Posted to demonstrate the diversity of thinking amongst our growing cohort of progressives and the fact that this sort of thinking was in scholarly circles in the 18th century...]

From Brother Mac Campbell, Society of St Francis

I became interested in an eighteenth century German philosopher/theologian who was responsible for the birth of Romanticism.

Perhaps the following might interest readers:

Johann Georg Hamann on sexuality; Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy:
“One must also remember that Hamann confessed that he could not conceive of a Creative Spirit without genitalia; indeed, he was quite happy to assert that the genitals are the unique bond between creature and Creator. So sexuality in divine-human relations has two aspects. First, as paradigm of creativity, it is the way in which our God-likeness can most strikingly be seen. Secondly, as the point of the most profound unity, it is the locus for our union both with another human being and with the divine. Provocatively, Hamann sees original sin and its rebellion as embodied not in sexuality, but in reason. Overweening reason is our attempt to be like God; meanwhile, prudery is the rejection of God’s image, while trying to be like God in the wrong sense (bodilessness). (See Essay of a Sibyl on Marriage and Konxompax.) One should therefore distinguish ‘likeness to God’ from ‘being equal to God’. In the Sibyl’s essay, the male version of grasping at equality with God (cf. Phil. 2:6) is the attempt to be self-sufficient, to be the God of monotheism: the sole ruler, who possesses self-existence. Instead, the encounter with the opposite sex should engender in the man an attitude of profound respect towards the woman’s body, as the source of his own existence, from his mother. As the source of his own joy, lovemaking also is an acknowledgement of his own dependence, his lack of self-sufficiency and autonomy. But this dependence on another paradoxically is the Godlikeness of the Creator, the father, the one who humbles himself in self-giving (a favourite Hamannian theme in his discussion of God). Meanwhile, the woman’s temptation is to an artificial innocence; a secret envy of God’s incorporeality and impassibility. The defence of one’s virginity is another cryptic attempt at self-sufficiency. Instead, the woman must brave the ‘tongues of fire’ in a ‘sacrifical offering of innocence’, in order to realize her Godlikeness; which is not to be found in bodilessness and the absence of passion, but in passionate creativity; in the willingness to be incarnate. Thus, if human beings are in the image of God, it is a trinitarian image of God, a mutual relation of love of ‘Father’, ‘Son’ and ‘Spirit’; found in creating, in saving, and in tongues of fire.”

Brother Mac Campbell (the Society of St Francis)   October 2019

The German philosopher Johann Georg Hamann (1730-1788) was known as the “Wizard of the North.” He held that truth is a matter of subjective belief, and he sought to reveal the divine in things and people.      

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Book Review: Why are you here Elijah?

The Mystery of Meaning

by Walter Stratford

While reading this wonderful book, I felt a real sense of hope for the future despite the obvious challenges facing humanity and the growing challenges to our planet and humankind. It is a work that is dense with serious philosophical reflections on ‘the meaning of life’. Elijah is a great vehicle for demonstrating the conundrum that inevitably every thinking person is faced with – Why am I here?

Drawing on a range of great scholars in the field of existential theory, Stratford takes the reader on a journey through our links to land and Spirit, of our being in the world, our search for personal meaning that makes this being significant, the mystery of ‘God’ in the shaping of the meaning and the part played by shadows that hide the pathway ahead.

Ultimately, he grounds all of this in a series of case stories provided by a range of people who reflect on their own being experiences.

As the author says, there are two realities that undergird all in this book. Land and Spirit are fundamental for our being, and attachment to the land anchors our life…Imagination and story bind us to the earth and open pathways for the recognition of the Spirit.

We are reminded that a good religion has been ruined by its advocates, who got so caught up in literalism that its essence was lost. Consequently, much that passes for a Christian message makes little sense for so many. Stratford addresses this by describing God as a verb rather than an elsewhere person. In the web of possibility for hope and affection emerging from this view of God appears mythology and poetry which give life to a personal spirituality that has been lost, in the main, in the evolution of the Church.

Why are you here Elijah? Why in this place? Why not somewhere else and doing the job I called you to? This question encourages us to evaluate the situation in which we find ourselves and to live through that situation. It also encourages us to continue in a way of being, consciously, in a way that can be modified but which needs to be valued, to get on with living.

There is an intentionality about being that honours the earth as a gift for humankind, a place that needs to be nurtured if we are to maintain a healthy viability of being for all people. It also requires that we maintain kindness and truth as fundamental building blocks so that all people are accepted. There is a measure of personal responsibility implied. There is also a suggestion that we can all be greater than who we are now, and this will be validated, despite moments of uncertainty, as we become more aware of all that makes the framework of our life.

This book will cause the reader to think! You will also want to capture the hundreds of great philosophical reflections that Stratford produces, to stop and to make links to your own experiences of life. For me it was not for a single sitting because I needed to put it down for a while and let the ideas settle before coming back to it. Clearly this work comes from someone who has thought long and hard about the meaning of life. You won’t get a single answer to that question but you will be better able to answer it from your own perspective once you have engaged with this book.

The author: Rev Dr Walter Stratford is a retired Uniting Church Minister who served in such diverse places as the New Hebrides, Traralgon, Townsville and Dandenong. He also spent time as secretary to the Queensland Ecumenical Council, and as a chaplain at the Wesley Hospital, Brisbane. During his ministry Walter found time for study and completed a number of degrees, including a PhD in 2012. He is married with four adult children, a number of grand children and great-grandchildren.

Currently available as paperback from Amazon.com for $18 plus shipping cost.

Reviewer: Dr Paul Inglis

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CD5 Paper – Post-colonial theology and sovereignty

From the recent Common Dreams Conference in Sydney

Rev Dr Chris Budden

[Published with his permission]

Cert. Bio-Ethics, Cert IV A&WT, BA(Hons), GradDipRelEd, DMin
Sessional Lecturer
Phone: (02) 8838 8981
Email: rdcgb49@bigpond.com

Chris is a Minister in the Uniting Church, a resource worker with UAICC, an adjunct member of faculty at UTC, and an associate Researcher in the Public and Contextual Theology Research Centre at CSU. He has a long interest in relationships with Indigenous people, and a commitment to more just ways on being the church in this country. His particular research interests are theological method, theology in Australia, justice for Indigenous people, the relationship between discipleship and citizenship, issues in social ethics, and the social and theological location of the church.

He has a particular interest in the way theology and church practices are shaped by relationships with power. He spent the last five years of full-time ministry as National Coordinator for the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress. He remains committed to supporting efforts to develop Indigenous theologies in Australia. His writings include Following Jesus in Invaded Space: Doing Theology on Aboriginal Land (Pickwick, 2009), and Why Indigenous Sovereignty Should Matter to Christians (Mediacom Education, 2018). He contributed to Unsettling the Word: Biblical Experiments in Decolonization (edited Steve Heinrichs; Orbis, 2019).

Thank you for the invitation to make this presentation.

I pay my respects to the custodians[1] of this place and particularly to their Elders – past, present and emerging. I thank them for sustaining the land and the stories of sacred life.

Introduction

Today we are talking about postcolonial theology and sovereignty for First Peoples. A more academic understanding of Postcolonial theology would highlight its reliance on critical theory, and the critique of structures of power, dominant systems, and embedded ideologies for social transformation.

More simply we can say that postcolonial theology seeks a more liberating response to the exercise of power – political, social, economic and religious – over access to what is needed to live, our bodies, and relationships, including with the earth. It is ‘postcolonial’ in the sense that it is focused on the struggles of those who have been invaded and settled by colonial powers, the justifying stories of those colonial powers, and the role of theology in the colonial context.

Postcolonial theology is a form of liberation theology. The difference is its emphasis on empire and empire studies of Scripture, and a very conscious focus on power.

Culture and power

Thanks in no small part to Reinhold Niebuhr’s work Christ and Culture, Western Christians are aware of the relationship between faith and culture. Joerg Rieger reminds us that we can no longer think about culture apart from power. He says:

The primary context in which we think about Christ – whether we realize it or not – is shaped by large and ever-changing conglomerates of power that are aimed at controlling all aspects of our lives, from micropolitics to our innermost desires…[2]

Power is about (i) the ability to determine/ influence the shape of economy and who accesses ‘wealth,’ (ii) the ability to make political decisions that shape the structure of society – including who belongs and who doesn’t, and (iii) the ability to influence the stories and practices that explain and justify the world.

Narrative

Power has to do with both the material and relational realities and the narratives – expressed in history-telling, law-making, rituals and celebrations, education and news, and memorials – that explain, justify and defend the world.

In his book, Dominion and the Arts of Resistance: Hidden Transcripts, James C. Scott talks about the public transcripts that those with power tell to ensure that people see the world their way. These are the transcripts that explain why some deserve to flourish and others do not. People who invade tell stories to justify to themselves why they – as good people, and we all want to be good people – can do this.

Scott also talks of hidden transcripts – the stories that oppressed people tell in private to sustain their lives. They are stories that mock those with power and affirm their own worth. They are dangerous stories, and when they surface in public spaces they are often ambiguous stories – i.e. stories that seem harmless to those with power, but are understood as quite subversive by those with ears to hear.

Let me explore the example of Jesus and taxes (Mark 12: 13-17). The story starts with people coming to Jesus to trap him, so keep that in mind. They ask Jesus is it ok to pay taxes to the Romans? Romans didn’t pay taxes; only those who were defeated militarily. Taxes were a constant reminder of occupation.

Jesus asks the religious leaders for a coin, which they produce fairly quickly. The coin had the emperor on one side and his mother – claimed to be a deity – on the other. First class example of idolatry, and yet they used the coin. Sort of takes away their high moral ground.

Jesus looks at the coin and says: give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. Good answer – affirms the Romans and God – and Jesus is safe. A divided world – which we love.

But while this interpretation suits us, it is – I think – fundamentally wrong.  Jesus believes that everything belongs to God. In Jesus’ world there is nothing left for Caesar and his idolatrous claims. And those who knew Jesus heard this as a word of hope.

That is why the debate about monuments and Australia Day is important – it is about which stories shape our identity, access to power and economy, and sense of belonging. There is a questioning of the public transcript of discovery and peaceful settlement.

That is why the issue of whether people sing the national anthem at a football game matters. National Anthems are part of the public transcript, the way the nation’s story is told, how people’s history is dealt with, and what place people have in the nation. Not singing challenges the transcript – it is about voice and truth.

Because of its relationship with power and empire, the church and its theology is usually a public transcript. It is theology that has been shaped by its place alongside, and its role justifying, power.

Postcolonial theology explicitly recognises the way narratives/ celebrations support or question power and seeks to take the side of those who are oppressed and marginalised. It is a form of theology that is closer to a hidden transcript.

Postcolonial theology also stands against the way our society has, for three hundred years, divided the world into religious, political and economic spheres. It claims that religion is not a separate part of life but is deeply woven into every part of daily life.

Religion is not about personal and individual beliefs and behaviour. It is the narrative that holds together, underpins and makes sense of the world. It is a community agreed-upon set of social practices and rituals.

The problem when we let the world be divided into spheres is (i) religion is told to leave politics and economics alone and (ii) these other two areas of life have their own narrative and soteriology/ story of salvation – ‘security’ for the state and ‘the market’ for economy.

Distorted colonial theology

To understand the need for a postcolonial theology, we need to understand the distorted nature of colonial theology; the centre of which is the decision of the church to align with power and empire rather than with those who have been invaded.

There is no such thing as a neutral theology. All theology takes sides. The issue is: which side does theology take in our time and continuing colonial context, and what theology shapes that choice of location?

Continue reading

Request from Rex Hunt

G’day folks,

Does any one on the UCFORUM list subscribe to Westar Institute publication, FORUM?

If you do I would love a copy of the paper “The Ritual of the Hellenistic Meal: Early Christian Everyday Practice as an Exegetical Challenge,”  by Soham Al-Suadi, published in the current (probably still winging its way down under) issue.

Thanks, RAEH 

Reply by email to: Rex Hunt rexae@optusnet.com.au

Hellenistic art, 3rd century b.C. Marble relief with scene of family meal. From Cyzicus, Turkey.

Hopefully there might be someone in our large following that can help Rex find this publication. He has raised my interest and for the interest of our readers –

Soham Al-Suadi develops Hal Taussig’s work on the Eucharist meal as a typical Hellenistic meal, which was a site of “social, political, and religious experimentation.” Like McGowan, Al Suadi sees the origins of the Eucharist meal in the everyday practices of the ancient world. But it is important to understand that even an ordinary communal meal could be the place of transformation. So Al-Suadi examines the earliest account of the Christian banquet from Rom 14:1–12 and looks at what it reveals about Christian identity formation. In essence, Paul was faced with a tension between Jews and gentiles at the table and sought a remedy to the tension between them to “minimize the disruptive state of experimentation.” The decisions about identity made at the meal—on how the menu settles differences between Jews and gentiles—then continue after the meal, influencing daily life. Al-Suadi moves from comparisons to Hellenistic meals to the creation of a new hermeneutical method that combines socio-historical criticism with ritual theory and applies it to portions of Paul’s letters related to the Eucharistic meal. She focuses on several aspects: the terms of identification used for the participants, how the order within the meal ritual influences the interconnectedness of those involved, and what the order of reclining during the meal reveals about group and individual identity. As a result, the exegete becomes acutely aware of how participation in the Eucharist at once provides an opportunity to break or transcend social divisions, reflects the tensions that exist in the larger community, and seeks to resolve their differences in pursuit of forming a new group identity. Most interesting about Al-Suadi’s discussion is her argument that the birth of Christianity was not a singular, remarkable event; rather, it arose from the everyday experience of communal meals, occurring wherever Christianity had taken root.

Paul

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Common Dreams Conference in Retrospect

COMMON DREAMS 2019 a reflection by two members of the PCNQ

Steven and I attended this gathering during July, at Newington College and Pitt St Uniting Church in Sydney. To be honest, we were also attending the Royal School of Church Music Winter School and as these two events overlapped, we missed some sessions of both.

However, COMMON DREAMS was the fifth gathering of its kind, drawing people from across Australia, New Zealand and even further afield. The fourth was held at Somerville House in Brisbane in 2017.

The vision for COMMON DREAMS is described by Rev Greg Jenks, an Anglican minister, former Principal of St Francis Theological College in Brisbane, but now Dean of Bathurst Anglican Cathedral:

Common Dreams is intended to be an interfaith and ecumenical project to promote, protect and expand the role of reasonable and tolerant religion in the public space. The significance of Common Dreams as a name for this movement is its potential to invite us beyond differences derived from culture, ethnicity and religion into a shared space where we have common dreams for a better future.

The theme of this year’s conference was Sacred Earth: Original Blessing, Common Home. It was a focus for advocates of spirituality and social change, providing inspiration for progressive seekers and sustenance for practical dreamers. International guest, Matthew Fox, leading exponent of creative Spirituality, addressed the conference with topics such as Spiritual but not Religious: the future of religion and of spirituality and of the Earth; On being Deeply Human in a Time of Earth-Crisis; But there were so many inspirational speakers – Norman Habel and Anne Pattel-Gray lead us in Time to Publicly Acknowledge the Creation Spirituality of our Aboriginal Custodians; Jonathan Keren-Black (Jewish scholar) spoke on In Judaism it is actions that count above all in healing the world; Rod Bower, from Gosford’s Anglican Church challenged us with his understanding of Common Home and A Just Society; Ro Allen, Victorian Commissioner for Gender Equality, showed us through honest dialogue and courage how to Honour the Rich Diversity of Sex, Sexuality and Gender within the Cosmos; and Rev Margaret Mayman of Pitt St UC gave the final keynote – Holding Hope and Acting Out: Engaging Tradition and Doing Ethics in Times of Conflict and Crisis.

We have come home, inspired and emboldened to look for ways we can put into practice our common dreams.

Here are some sound-bites which I can share with you. I hope you might find something that engages your thoughts, your feelings ……

We have twelve years left – before it is too late – to change direction in response to the climate crisis.

We are the first species who can choose not to become extinct. We haven’t made that choice yet!

Rabbi Hershel, who walked with Martin Luther King on the Selmer bridge, said of his own actions “I felt my feet were praying”.

Beware the sole path of rational thinking – look to intuition, deep feelings, mysticism. Rationality should serve intuition because this is where values come from.

There is nothing wrong with the world today other than we have lost the sense of the Sacred.

Thinking and defining needs to be led by experience and tasting. How do we do this – through silence, through the Arts, which will then open us to the Holiness in all things.

The Mystic is the Divine Child in us – the Arts will nurture this.

Albert Einstein believed God is the oneness of creation. The Cosmic Christ points to the Divine in the big spaces as well as in the little spaces.

The story of Abraham’s journey into Caanan has important parallels and lessons for us about our place in this land we call Australia, which is, was and always be Aboriginal land.

Abraham, the peacemaker, respected the peoples of the land.

We ask the same.

Abraham recognized the God of the Land.

We ask the same.

Abraham and the peoples of the land shared mutual blessings.

We ask the same.

The western concept of buying and selling land is not in the aboriginal ideology.

The wind existed before everything else in the stories of many indigenous peoples.

Life without wonder is not worth living.

The transcendent spirit becomes the inner presence of God in our hearts.

In our communities, “fitting in” isn’t “belonging”. A just society is about “belonging”.

PHILOXENIA means loving the stranger. This points to the act of hospitality.

“Jesus – the Man for Others” – Dietrich Bonhoeffer

The Feeding of the Five Thousand – a metaphor for “if we share what we have, there will be enough to go around –  and maybe even more”.

Trying to be religious in the public domain often results in what we say getting lost in translation. We need to find better ways of acting as well as talking!

We are called to Act Up, that is, to disrupt the establishment.

But we are also called to Act Out, which means exploring God’s expectation of love, justice and a shared joy of life.

Being disturbed by what we see around us can give us courage to Act Out into society.

We go to a theological reframing to help us understand the sacred in the world: we have been evolving this understanding for ever – there was Abraham, then there was Jesus, what next??

“If you want to follow Jesus, you’d better believe you look good on wood” – Daniel Berrigan (Jesuit)

Everything we say about God is metaphor…

God is our experience of God!

Jesus was the incarnation of love and freedom: he showed the divine power of LOVE and that we have the FREEDOM to act. Faith is believing this!!

The opposite of bad is good. The opposite of EVIL is the SACRED. There’s more good than bad in the world, but not by much…..

We can find inspiration in the words of Italian priest and philosopher Thomas Aquinas (1225-1274) and German theologian Meister Eckhardt (1260-1328). For example – Aquinas said “The proper objects of the heart are truth and justice”.

Taking a stand can be costly. Stand up for truth and justice: be surprised by joy (C S Lewis).

Trust is the basis of courage. How do you learn courage? Go to courageous people.

COURAGE – this word means “a large heart” – a heart so full that it sustains us for whatever ….

Trust is the basis of all courage.

Adele Nisbet September 2019

News and an Invitation from the PCN Explorers

Last Wednesday around 20 of us met to hear from some folk who had attended the Common Dreams Conference in Sydney in July. We heard about the highlights for each person – some notable quotes from Adele and Steven Nisbet are in a following post. Our discussions always take on a perspective of their own and led to some considerations around our relationships with our first nation people and I think that will lead us into another topic for one of our Explorers mornings in the future. 

David Hale, Anglican chaplain at UQ told us about his work encouraging students to explore theology in an open thinking environment and about their multi-faith activities. David has issued an invitation to an event  on 8th November, 7 pm to 9 pm at Old Bishopbourne, St Francis College, Milton, Brisbane.

How Can Christianity become a better wall against injustice?

How Can Christianity become a better wall against injustice? The Holocaust occurred in a mostly
Christian country, as did slavery in the US, and so how do we ensure Christianity can stop injustice.
To register, go to: www.eventbrite.com.au

Our next PCN Explorers is on Wednesday 30th October, 10:30 am at Merthyr Road Uniting Church, 52 Merthyr Rd, New Farm, led by Brian OHanlon, Retired Psychologist; Meditation Teacher; Feldenkrais Practitioner

A Spiritual approach to Christianity: Understanding the Spiritual Ego:

  • A summary of the ideas of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin with particular emphasis on ‘we are Spiritual beings!’
  • A summary ‘Heaven on Earth’.
  • We are Spiritual beings so, why are we not in the Kingdom, ‘Heaven on Earth’? (The Spiritual Ego what is it?) 
  • Turning down the Spiritual Ego.

Sound interesting? make sure it is in your diary – we are always the last Wednesday of the month. Come along and join in the interesting conversations and fellowship.

journeying and exploring together,

Desley

Desley Garnett
drgarn@bigpond.net.au
0409 498 403

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An Invitation from the Redcliffe (Q) Explorers

Dear fellow Explorer

Our next meeting will be on Monday 7th October which (yes!) is the Queen’s Birthday holiday. I’ll be making some personal observations on a number of inter-related topics including:  

Faith, Belief, Truth, Science, and do I believe in miracles? Be prepared for an occasional slightly irreverent interlude, along with some fairly serious stuff which will no doubt generate a bit of vigorous discussion! As usual we meet for our pre-session coffee and chat at 6 p.m. in the ground-floor meeting room at Azure Blue, 91 Anzac Ave. Redcliffe. All are very welcome. For further information please give me a call on 0401 513 723.

Shalom, Ian

Note: If you are coming please be sure to call Ian and let him know so you can be given access to the community at Azure Blue.

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