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.
I have been reading Matthew Fox’s “Order of the Sacred Earth” in preparation for Common Dreams in July in Sydney. He says: “The forms of organised religion and education have become frozen and dinosaur like, unable to adapt, too large and waited down with canons and prescriptions of far too many bureaucracies. The result is that the joy of worship and the joy of living out one’s conscience get lost in the maze of rules called religion. Similarly, the joy of learning and the ecstasy that accompanies truth can get equally muffled by the institutionalisation we call education. Both dimensions of life require a simplification, simplification, simplification. Where has all the joy gone?”
The Art of Bible Translation, Princeton University Press (2019) by Robert Alter, Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Religion at University of California, Berkeley, where he has taught since 1967. He published a new translation of the Hebrew Bible in 2018.
Alter has been awarded: National Jewish Book Award for Modern Jewish Thought and Experience; Guggenheim Fellowship for Humanities (US and Canada.) He is currently President of the Association of Literary Scholars and Critics. He was born in 1935.
“The practice of translation, as I have learned from experience, entails an endless series of compromises, some of them happy, some painful and not quite right because the translator has been unable to find an adequate English equivalent of what is happening – often brilliantly – in the original language. “(Alter)
Alter is impelled in his years of work on translating the OT by ‘a deep conviction that the literary style of the Bible in both prose narratives and the poetry is not some sort of a aesthetic embellishment of the message of Scripture but the vital medium through which the biblical vision of God, human nature, history, politics, society and moral values is conveyed.’
He shows how word play, diction, rhythm, syntax and strategic choice of words are crucial to the shape of the literary authority and moral and religious outlook of the Hebrew Bible. No one else has done this! In the context of his overview in this book, he provides copious examples that give entirely different meaning to the text.
Reflecting on the history of English translations of the Bible, Alter claims all have been woefully inadequate.
The inspired literalism of the King James version has employed the original Hebrew parataxis (ordering of phrases and clauses), much of which has been discarded in modern English versions. He uses an example of the way ‘the flood’ in Genesis has been dealt with and the loss of authenticity and meaning. He demonstrates how ‘the rage to explain the biblical text’ has had unintended consequences in translation.
But the KJV shows how a limited knowledge of Hebrew by 17th Century translators has led to confused syntax, missed nuances and meanings. There is also a stylistic issue with the KJV. It’s treatment of Hebrew poetry is less successful than its treatment of prose. The Jacobean rhetoric has failed to capture the compactness of the Hebrew and introduced great amounts of extra information to the passages
Later translations have done worse.
“…The Hebrew writers reveled in the proliferation of meanings, the cultivation of ambiguities, the playing of one sense against another and the richness is erased in the deceptive antiseptic clarity of the modern versions.”
Many of the contemporary translations compromise the literary integrity of the biblical texts and Alter contends this is the fault of the university training of contemporary translators and he identifies their training institutions. Also, the absence of an understanding of the Sociology of Knowledge is a major culprit.
You cannot determine the meanings of biblical words without taking account of their narrative and poetic contexts. This has for centuries been a problem with literal translations. There are livelier and more surprising details in the biblical stories than we first realize but those are often erased by translators who have an inadequate grasp of how the narratives work.
Whether the reader of this work is a philological or OT translation scholar, or simply, like myself a seeker after truth in biblical literature and scripture, Alter’s work is seductive, interesting and rewarding.
My copy was purchased though Kindle Amazon Australia. Recommended.
Start reading it for free: http://amzn.asia/h9NeXdv
Saturday 15 June, 10.30am – 3.30pm Queensland Art Gallery Lecture Theatre South Bank, Brisbane – we seem to be all at sea. on how to live, many in our society struggle with social media and other addictions/abuses, our once most-trusted institutions (churches, councils, parliaments, banks, sporting bodies) let us down, advancing secularisation; cause, or ray of hope? popular culture looms large in contemporary moral guidance, from Harry Potter (eg the Harry Potter Alliance) to superhero films.
Can traditional religions, or civil society, claw back their moral authority? What other options are there?
Program 10.00 Registration/Welcome
12.15 Lunch (available for purchase at nearby cafes/restaurants
1.30 Panel session with Q&A
2.30 SOFIA AGM
(1) Rodney Eivers: Can a completely neutral stance towards ethics replace the unifying function of religion?
Perhaps from the influence of his mother and an early association with Christianity, Rodney started life with an aim to make the world a better place. In his teenage years he concluded that the prime need of human beings was food, which led him to became an agricultural adviser in Papua New Guinea. However, he soon came to realise that a more urgent factor than food for human beings, especially in Australian society, was personal relationships. For 30 years he instructed in Parent Effectiveness Training, a democratic approach to child-raising, which reignited Rodney’s interest in Christianity as a social binding force. With the collapse of a common institutional Christianity in Western society – to which, ironically, Rodney contributes with his espousal of ‘progressive’ Christianity – he has become uneasy about where people today imbibe those values which contribute to building a harmonious community. Rodney is currently President of Sea of Faith in Australia.
(2) Gail Parataz:Religion as Culture – how Judaism has different strands of observance within an overall religious culture
Gail was born in Sri Lanka (Ceylon at the time) and emigrated with her family to Melbourne when she was a very young child. She lived there for 30 years before moving to Brisbane. Gail is married to David and has 2 sons – Benjamin 26 years and Jonathon 24 years. She has been a high school Art teacher and her last teaching post was at Brisbane Girls’ Grammar School. Nowadays Gail is the Interfaith Chair on the Queensland Jewish Board of Deputies (QJBD) and is also the Chair of the Queensland Faith Communities Council (QFCC).
(3) Professor Sarva Daam Singh: Pursuit of peace and happiness in a world riven by intolerance
Sarva Daman Singh stresses the indivisibility of humanity and its cultural diversity as a natural expression of its bountiful creativity. Professor Sarva Daman Singh, BA(Hons), M.A., PhD (University of London), PhD (University of Queensland, Australia), F.R.A.S., was born at Angai, in District Mathura of Uttar Pradesh, India and migrated to Australia in 1974.He won many awards and five gold medals during the course of a distinguished educational career at the universities of Lucknow and London. He has taught at the University of Lucknow; National Academy of Administration, Government of India, Mussoorie; Vikram University, Ujjain; and the University of Queensland, Australia; and held chairs of Indian History, Culture and Archaeology. He is at present Director of the Institute of Asian Studies, Brisbane. He was the Honorary Consul of India in Queensland from 2003 to 2011.
Neil Davidson is a community activator, catalyst and keynote listener who listens deeply, empathizes, synthesizes, and reflects back to diverse groups: interfaith gatherings, organizations, not-for-profits, NGOs and rural communities in ways that reveal patterns, weave threads and lift those present by unlocking hidden/ignored potentials. Neil takes photographs, writes poetry, and sometimes finds himself seeing/channeling the multiple wisdoms present in ways that surprises him and transforms those present. His academic background was Marine Biology and Geology.
At its heart, reconciliation is about strengthening relationships between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and non-Indigenous peoples, for the benefit of all Australians.
“… A reconciled Australia is one where our rights as First Australians are not just respected but championed in all the places that matter …”
Kirstie Parker – Board Member, Reconciliation Australia
For Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples, Australia’s colonial history is characterised by devastating land dispossession, violence, and racism. Over the last half-century, however, many significant steps towards reconciliation have been taken.
Reconciliation is an ongoing journey that reminds us that while generations of Australians have fought hard for meaningful change, future gains are likely to take just as much, if not more, effort.
In a just, equitable and reconciled Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children will have the same life chances and choices as non-Indigenous children, and the length and quality of a person’s life will not be determined by their racial background.
Our vision of reconciliation is based and measured on five dimensions: historical acceptance; race relations; equality and equity; institutional integrity and unity.
These five dimensions do not exist in isolation, but are interrelated. Reconciliation cannot be seen as a single issue or agenda; the contemporary definition of reconciliation must weave all of these threads together. For example, greater historical acceptance of the wrongs done to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples can lead to improved race relations, which in turn leads to greater equality and equity.
“Reconciliation isn’t a single moment or place in time. It’s lots of small, consistent steps, some big strides, and sometimes unfortunate backwards steps …” – Karen Mundine – Chief Executive Officer, Reconciliation Australia
Singing is a form of communication that predates language. It is a way that animals and humans alike identify as a group and it is a very important part of our church life.
Yet so many of the songs that we sing within our churches contain outdated language, that make it hard for us to sing out and identify with the messages within the music.
Join Heather Price at Common Dreams on July 12 to warm up your voice and learn new songs that express a progressive theology and embody diversity, while rediscovering the joy of community through voice and song.
Trinity Theological Library serves the Uniting Church in Australia, Queensland Synod, by supporting theological, ministerial, adult faith and chaplaincy education through Trinity College Queensland, Adelaide College of Divinity and Flinders University.
It resources the learning community that consists of students and staff of Trinity College Queensland and Adelaide College of Divinity and Flinders University, Queensland Synod staff, Uniting Church members throughout the Queensland Synod and guests.
The Library offers free membership to Uniting Church members throughout the Queensland Synod, as well as Raymont Residential College students and St Francis Theological College members. Members of the public are welcome to join on an annual membership basis (fees apply).
Through the generosity of Rodney Eivers (chair of UCFORUM), many progressive texts have been added to the library. Rodney continues to add more books on a regular basis. The current list of progressive texts is:
PCN EXPLORERS MEETS WEDNESDAY 29TH MAY, 10 am at Merthyr Road Uniting Church, New Farm Brisbane Q.
I have asked Terry Fitzpatrick from St Mary’s in Exile Community (SMX) to lead our thinking into this topic:
How do we continue to maintain resilience and relationships as we strive to sustain a viable future for our planet?
are the conversations you have been engaged in (or overheard!) since the
election last Saturday? In the bus? at the supermarket checkout? at the
hairdressers? Are the conversations different in the city and the country? Is
there a difference between the ‘Christian’ and the ’non-Christian’? How does
our understanding of the Christian story inform our thinking?
at 10 am for eating, meeting and greeting. About 10:30 we will move into a time
when Terry introduces our theme and its challenges and we can all join in
further discussion to look at the ‘how’ question.
Please send a quick reply to this email to say “I am coming” so we have an indication of numbers . Send email to Desley Garnett please.
Not Just a Dream by one of our subscribers, Bev Floyd, poet and author
“Not Just a Dream is my attempt to explore how far Australia has travelled along the path to a partnership society. I have not tried to write a learned or academic book. My aim has been to give a panoramic overview of social change from circa 7000 BCE to the present and to illustrate (with examples) the gradual ‘return’ to a partnership society. My definition of a partnership society is one in which ‘men’ and ‘women’ participate equally and can reach their potential to contribute to society. It is a society where poverty is minimised; race and religion are not hindrances to contribution and the environment is protected. I have tried to describe what a Partnership Society, ¹ might be like in various areas such as business, gender, the environment etc. I have been influenced by a book called The Chalice and the Blade by Riane Eisler… a work of enormous scope and impeccable research….
It is my hope that Not Just a Dream will clarify issues around contemporary trends and events that threaten our world—that it can be a blue-print for everyone seeking to hasten the return of an inclusive society free of war and want, a society filled with peace, happiness and love….
PARTNERSHIP AND GLADIATORIAL MODELS COMPARED The partnership model The partnership model is a mediator model rather than a gladiatorial model. People who support this model are active peacemakers. They believe in participation, compassion, inclusiveness. They are kind-hearted and thoughtful. Their role is to take care of children and the family. From early childhood, they develop nurturing skills. They have a full emotional range and use it in their role as peacemakers. Around them develops a flat management system where everyone is valued for themselves without a need to prove their worth. Their role is a virtuous and beautiful one. More females than males are in this category but there are also many males. Equality for females is extremely important to social change as women are more closely aligned to the partnership model of life and when their voice is truly heard and respected then society is more likely to change for the better.
The gladiatorial model The role of gladiators is to fight. They are reared knowing they will be gladiators and are trained for their role. They are competitive, heroic and tough. They must be courageous and have an intense will to win. In times of war they are in the forefront of the battle and keep the rest of their community safe. The most successful gladiators develop leadership skills, are decisive and good in crises. They learn to guard their emotions and to switch them off when hard decisions are required. Around them develops a hierarchical system where they test their strength and courage against the next gladiator on the ladder. The hierarchical system is valued also for its ability to instil obedience to commands as well as ensuring quick and effective responses to dangerous situations. Gladiators are generally male although not always.
Amongst many of Bev’s publications, she has made this one free, online. Go to: Not just a Dream
Contents Introduction 1. Not just a dream 2. Social change we have inherited 3. Australia, the lucky country 4. Signs of the times 5. Governance within a partnership society 6. Husbands and wives 7. Religion within a partnership society 8. Gender in a partnership society 9. Growing older in a partnership society 10. Doing business in a partnership society 11. Minding the environment 12. Role of the media in a partnership society 13. Creativity in a partnership society 14. Ethics, responsibility and regulation 15. Australia’s future role in the world
To find other publications from Bev Floyd go to: Bev Floyd
“We seek to be a community in which people matter more than dogma or institution. We aim to value each other, celebrate each other’s joys, care for one another in difficult times, and spur one another on to be the people we were created to be..”
DIVERSE & INCLUSIVE
“We seek to be a community that embraces diversity in age, gender, sexuality, culture, and social status. Our congregation includes young and old, straight and gay, abled and disabled, and people of Anglo, Asian, and other backgrounds, each contributing uniquely to our community life.”
Are you a “Bible believing” church?
“Bible believing” is often shorthand for churches that have a very conservative outlook on social issues, fundamentalist approach to truth, claim that all their views are the clear teaching of the Bible, and see conformity to all those beliefs as the basis of their community life.
That is not the type of church you will find at Hamilton Baptist. We’re bound together by a common conviction that we want to be followers of Jesus and to love and support each other on that journey. We very much value and honour the Bible and look to the story it tells to enable us to understand who God is, who we are, and how we should live in this world. We recognise that interpreting the Bible is not always simple and that there is room for significant difference of opinion. We have also found that the values of the Biblical story, and particularly of Jesus, need to be applied afresh in every generation. Sometimes this means continuing past traditions and sometimes creating new traditions.