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.

NZ Common Ground Conference

If you can make it to New Zealand in September, be assured of a great conference.

Creation: Ecology, Theology, Revolution

Aotearoa New Zealands’ 3rd 

PROGRESSIVE SPIRITUALITY CONFERENCE

Wellington – Friday 7– Sunday 9 September 2018

progressivechristianityaotearoa.com for all the details.

Guest Speakers

Prof Martin Manning One Earth, One Future, One People

Dr Emily Colgan  A Place to Call Home? Reading the Bible from the Perspective of Earth

Hon Grant Robertson MP  People, environment, economy— the triple bottom line

Workshops

Creating down to earth prayers— Bronwyn White

Earthed! Progressive Funerals— Rev Dr Jim Cunningham

Full immersion: Jungian slow release from the Christian ties that bind— Sande Ramage

Labyrinth, guided local walks

Lively panel discussion: How we “do” Progressive Christianity

Progressive Christianity Aotearoa is an informal network of churches, individuals and faith communities.

We are linked with Common Dreams (based in Australia) and ProgressiveChristianity.org (based in the US).

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David Williams Play – Quiet Faith

Coming to the Brisbane Powerhouse Theatre at New Farm:

Quiet Faith

From award-winning documentary theatre maker, David Williams comes a surprising journey into the world of the quietly, progressively faithful.

 

Go to:  https://brisbanepowerhouse.org/events/2018/05/11/quiet-faith/ to see a trailer of this impacting work and read more about the play, reviews and how to get to the venue.

The place of Christian faith in Australian politics is often linked to conservatism and intolerance. Many members of the current Federal Government profess deep Christian beliefs and groups such as the Australian Christian Lobby loudly intervene in public policy debates.

Yet, new faith-based social movements actively campaign against government policies. The spectacle of religious leaders undertaking non-violent acts of civil disobedience, including prayer vigils in the offices of Christian politicians, has captured the imaginations of many.

Generated from hours of interviews with Christian Australians, Quiet Faith offers a beautiful, immersive and heartfelt portrait of the very different ways that faith can underpin civic life.

Dates: FRI 11 + SAT 12 MAY, 2018

Venue: Visy Theatre

Tickets: Full $49*

Times; Fri 7pm, Sat 4.30pm + 7pm

Length: (70 mins )

Presented by Brisbane Powerhouse in association with Alternative Facts.

Books by John Queripel

Thanks to Rex Hunt for drawing our attention to Australian writer John Queripel

John Henry Queripel is a minister of the Uniting Church in Australia, author, scholar, teacher musician and community activist. He has a concern for speaking and living faith in the modern context in a manner which has scholarly integrity yet is accessible to the average reader. He has worked in a wide range of contexts: urban and rural congregations, community-based ministries, university and correctional centre chaplaincies.His strong social justice concern has been recognised in his being awarded several community and civic awards. He also enjoys being out in the surf riding a Malibu.

Watch for a review soon as well as more details about each of his books.

 

Christmas: Myth, Magic and Legend.’ John has stock ($23 incl post) queripel@tpg.com.au or order from Morning Star Publishing (Australia) or Wipf and Stock (USA).

 

• ISBN: 9780648232353
• ISBN: 9781498288088
• Pages: 144
• Publication Date: 20 February 2018

 

 

On the Third Day; Re-looking at the Resurrection‘, a study on the Easter events. John still has stock ($23 incl.post) queripel@tpg.com.au or order from Morning Star Publishing (Australia) or Wipf and Stock (USA).

• ISBN: 9781532619953
• ISBN: 9780987619365
• Pages: 136
• Publication Date: 7 April 2017

 

 

Bonhoeffer: Prophet and Martyr, a play and essay on the inspiring 20th century German theologian martyred for his opposition to the Nazi regime. John still has stock ($23 incl. post) queripel@tpg.com.au or order from Wipf and Stock.

• ISBN: 9781498229609
• Pages: 114
• Publication Date: 17 January 2016

 

 

Caloundra Explorers – Revisioning a Church for the 21st Century

Caloundra Explorers GroupCaloundra Uniting Church

56c Queen St Caloundra

Gathering Sunday 15th April 2018 – 5.30pm

Revisioning a Church for the 21st Century
with Special Guest Dr. Paul Inglis.

[A progress report on the Revisioning Project]

with bring and share finger food meal at 6.40pm.

Caloundra Explorers have been developing over many years a contemporary gathering format that includes a conversation with critical thinking about a relevant topic of concern. This is embedded in a context of reflection, song and food. There are many innovative elements in the gathering which breaks with traditional worship, captures much of the mood of the original Jesus followers and draws on contemporary elements of meditation, community peace and solidarity,

Dr Paul Inglis is CEO of the UCFORUM and chair of the Progressive Christian Network Queensland. He was for 11 years the Community Minister at Dayboro Uniting Church where he and Robyn remain and assist with its development. Dayboro UC also has a thriving Explorers Group. Previously Paul was a Teacher, Principal and Lecturer in Education at QUT. The Revisioning Project is a healthy discussion about change and adaptation that is needed in the Christian Church to make it relevant to people in the 21st century.  There was an enormous response to Paul’s questions:  What practical initiatives will help the Church become a significant part of society, give integrity to its work and attract new members as followers of Jesus? What do progressive Christians want the church to be like? and this is being analysed to move the discussion on to a practical stage.

Ideas have been offered from former moderators, clergy, lay people, theologians, writers and people who have left the church but have an abiding interest in the role of the church in our life journeys.

At this gathering there will be further opportunities for feeding ideas into the project.

Everyone welcome. Further enquiries to Paul

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The Common Good and Compassionate Communities

On 23rd March, UCFORUM Subscriber, Everald Compton posted on his blog The Vision and Politics of Nation Building

“Democracy is dead.

Murdered by political, financial and religious ideology inflicted upon us by ‘leaders’ with closed minds who survive by divisively spreading fear and greed.

It is time for a new world order called THE COMMON GOOD to take over.

It will succeed when decent people, with brains, commonsense and courage, step forward and insist on dramatic and decisive changes in the opposite direction to the insanity of Donald Trump and the woeful wilderness of Australian politics….”

To see what he said go to Everald’s blog at The Vision and Politics of Nation Building.

Rev Bryan Gilmore, also a UCFORUM subscriber, responded:

Hello Everald,
This is Bryan Gilmour who with Dennis Robinson and a bunch of enthusiastic laypersons began the first Regional Church in Queensland, where we attached a low fee Christian College, and together with other denominations established an Ecumenical College which also admits children of all faiths. Each of these were driven by a Christian principle, the golden rule, -“Do unto others what you hope others would do to you” – to reach a COMMON GOOD – or as Jesus said, let LOVE be the core virtue that sets the criteria of what we do TOGETHER in determining our values and attitudes towards ALL OTHERS. Yes the CHURCH (all denominations) is grossly at fault in over capitalizing its property with centres in every little community, rather than REGIONAL COMMUNITY CENTRES where they can work with other sectors of the COMMUNITY to build the COMMON GOOD. On the GOLD COAST a small group have established a COMPASSIONATE CITY thrust, where the GOLD COAST CITY COUNCIL have adopted the concept of becoming the first active COMPASSIONATE CITY in AUSTRALIA. This will reach to every sector of the community, where each grouping, – health, education, essential services, business, politics,faith groups, scientific exploration, etc will work together for the COMMON GOOD. I want to strongly endorse your plea for the whole COMMUNITY working together for the COMMON GOOD. On the Gold Coast a group called MAAG (Multifaith Advisory and Action Group) has been established for building better and stronger compassionate relationships between the respective faiths towards the COMMON GOOD. I want to endorse your concept of the COMMON GOOD across the whole society and where the political and economic leaders need to take a lead in identifying this concept to build a better AUSTRALIA and a better WORLD.

With great enthusiasm, Bryan Gilmour Past MODERATOR of the UNITING CHURCH in QUEENSLAND

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Book Review: The Wind Blows Where It Chooses

The quest for a Christian story in our time – by Kevin Treston

This is a text that is hard to put down. It is a powerful work addressing Christianity’s crisis of authenticity and integrity. But once outlined effectively, it does not dwell on this crisis. Instead it offers ways to recover the authentic Jesus and presents a way to a lived spirituality based on hope and positive seeking that does not deny the reality of the secular world, nor modern scientific advances, or the evolution of humankind.

The author has the right credentials (academic and experiential) to offer this guide to moving forward – practical and applied theology, work with learners and leaders in the churches and a wonderful knowledge of our Christian heritage beyond orthodox and traditional practices.

This is an aid to facilitating a renewal of a faith that incorporates everyday living, rapid social change, evolving family and community structure, the process of aging, and dealing with the many challenges of life. For those who want it, it also offers a way forward for progressive church reform. To do all of this, one needs to have a helicopter view of society, a method for telling the Jesus story to inhabitants of an increasingly secular world, a way to eliminate the irrelevant doctrines and dogmas that obscure this story, and ways for enriching and living life ‘in full abundance’.

For me, it was good to read  for my own learning. But the book is also useful as a guide for small group study. It is loaded with resource references. As a tool for church councils at all levels and across denominations in the Western world it is bound to provoke worthwhile discussion and action.

While reading the book, I kept telling myself that this material is very timely – a post truth era, the diminishing identity of Christianity in our culture, the competition for people’s allegiances, the proliferation of aggressive ideologies, the fragility of world peace. Where is Jesus in all of this? The author urges us not to retreat into secure enclaves to shut out the world, but to live among the cutting edges and paradoxes of life lived in reality – no more fantasy, just awake to what is happening and calling up the teachings of Jesus as a guide.

Kevin Treston calls up new scholarship to recover the authentic Jesus story and helps the reader to unpack the accumulation of uncritical baggage that diminishes the real value of the cosmic Christ and links him into all of creation. In this, there are some strong messages for those leaders who have substituted clericalism for ministry and widened the gap between priest and people and reduced the people of God (laity) to passive observers.

But there is much more ….. I won’t tell you…go get the book and enjoy!

Scroll this blog for a recent post for the details for purchase. Or contact Kevin Treston

Dr Paul Inglis 22 March 2018

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Book Review – Resurrecting Easter

Resurrecting Easter: How the West lost and the East kept the original Easter Vision, by John Dominic Crossan and Sarah Sexton Crossan, 2018.

Front Cover: Apse, Church of the Saviour in Chora, Istanbul Turkey

Book Review by Dr Richard Smith
Biblical scholars John Dominic Crossan and the late Marcus Borg conducted pilgrimages over the years to Italy and Turkey, two of which I was fortunate to attend. We learnt that all the major events in Christ’s life are described in the Gospels but no direct reports of the bodily resurrection of Jesus. Instead many artistic impressions of Jesus’ resurrection were created, some we visited in churches, caves and museums. The first direct image appears by 400 and is part of the West’s individual resurrection tradition. The second direct image by the year 700 is part of the East’s universal resurrection tradition named the Anastasis, Greek for resurrection. For 15 years Dominic and Sarah Crossan travelled across Europe and Asia creating a comprehensive photographic archive of this resurrection imagery. How timely when this book with Sarah’s images, the ancient texts which inspired them and Dominic’s scholarly interpretation arrived for Easter. The cover image of their book is from the 1300s Chora Church in Istanbul, where we gazed at this beautiful Anastasis mosaic high in the half dome of the apse of the risen Christ, enveloped by a star studded mandorla, grasping the wrists of Adam and Eve, the personification of humankind.

Christ pulls them from their tombs while standing firmly on the shattered gates of Hell with lock and bolts strewn around his feet. Christ is trampling down a well-trussed Hades, guardian and personification of death, who is lying prone beneath his feet. Looking on are a rough clad John the Baptist and Solomon and David with crowns. Among an unidentified group on the other side is Abel with his shepherd’s crook, the victim of the violence by which the bible first defines sin, the ultimate cause of Jesus’ death. A death where the power of evolution represented by the Anastasis creates a movement of non-violence offering the Gospel of peace to a violent world. In the second millennium why did the West gut this heart of Christianity’s understanding of the Resurrection by rejecting this once-common universal iconography in favour of the original individualistic vision? Resurrecting Easter re-introduces this inclusive, community-based ideal that offers renewed hope and possibilities for our world. In the final images, the symbolism of an Anastasis image in the twin arches of the Resurrection Gate in Moscow’s Red Square challenges the display of Russian military might. Through this amazing re-visioning of Easter, such profound scholarly insights should empower us as a church “.. to confess The Lord in fresh words and deeds” (Para. 11, Uniting Church Basis of Union, 1992).

Available from Amazon Australia.  as hardcover or kindle.

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God Talk – a response

The conversation about the existence of God is ongoing. So often the concept God is used without any clear definition and we are left asking what does the speaker mean by God? We are grateful to Judith for the following comments on Rodney’s recent “Musings”. I am sure many people share her concerns:

Having been brought up in a strict Christian family, regular church goer for over 60 years, I have recently started to ask questions which the Church cannot answer. Consequently, I am at present an agnostic.

Who or what is God? I can see absolutely no evidence of his existence. The horrors and pain I see and hear of makes me ask where could he be! I am told he is love and loves humanity – show me. No, not just an example of the many fine Christian people who struggle to make the world a nicer place. I need to understand how a loving? Immortal? Being can watch the mess of this world and not intervene. Church just tells me to have faith, God is in control and everything will be alright in the end. Sorry, I am not convinced.

I have asked Rodney to respond to her comments:

Dear Judith,

Thank you for your thoughtful and heartfelt reply to my musings on walking the streets of Brisbane city on a Sunday morning. Our website manager invited me to respond further and I am glad to do so. You write of moving into a stage of your faith life where you are starting to ask questions. I trust you will continue to do so.

You seem to be challenging some of my comments but it is not clear which particular ones they were. There does seem to be some connection though with what may have seemed my pleading for the reality of God and the way it may affect the behaviour of people as they live, work, and walk the streets of Brisbane or any other locality. Perhaps your quarrel is with my implication after the visit to the Museum of Brisbane that Godliness is of benefit to society. You will note that I cautioned that to the extent Godliness assumes a theistic entity (more on that later ) this may not necessarily be a good thing. Continue reading

The hidden influence of progressive theology.

The following post from Len Baglow is reproduced here with his approval. It was first posted in the APCV blog – A Progressive Christian Voice Australia

Recently I had the opportunity to attend the Henderson Conference 2018 at the University of Melbourne. Professor Ronald Henderson, led a national inquiry into poverty from 1968-1975. From this inquiry came many wide-ranging reforms including increases to the aged pension. It also saw the creation of the Henderson poverty line, which continues to be updated by the Melbourne Institute, and is used by policy advocates like myself to this day.

The conference brought together outstanding speakers from around Australia all of whom were committed to reducing poverty in Australia. This resulted in truly fascinating discussions and it was great to be among so many committed people.

However, one of the highlights for me was at the conference dinner, when Ronald Henderson’s son William spoke of his memories of his father. In particular he remembered a framed quote from the protestant theologian Reinhold Niebuhr which was on his father’s desk. The quote ran, “Remember, if a thing is worth doing, it will take more than one generation: hence the extreme importance of hope.”

I am not sure how traditionally religious Ronald Henderson was or whether he was a church goer at all. However, it is apparent from his son’s recollections that there was something in the progressive theology of his day that helped guide and galvanise his actions.

As it happens, I had been thinking a little about Niebuhr of late because it was he who championed the Jewish philosopher Abraham Heschel in the USA during the 1950s. For the last 4 months I have been engrossing myself in Heschel’s work, which, though written over half a century ago, prefigures and resonates with much postmodern theology.

Towards the end of his life, Heschel became involved with Martin Luther King in both the civil rights movement and the anti-Vietnam war demonstrations. He was involved with the Selma march and his daughter, Susannah Heschel records, “The greatness of that Selma march continues to reverberate because it was not simply a political event, but an extraordinary moral and religious event as well. For my father, the march was a deeply spiritual occasion. When he came home, he said, ‘I felt my legs were praying.’”

Progressive theology needs legs. If it does not lead to loving committed action it is useless, a waste of time. It also needs to be grounded in that loving committed action and not something produced in the ivory towers of universities alone.

One of the things that Henderson did when he first began his research into poverty was that he sent his young university researchers out into the community to talk with every community group who would listen. They talked about their findings and discussed their implications. In this dialogue, their ideas were tested and they developed a strong sense on how to communicate. I am not sure whether he got this idea from Niebuhr or not, but it is certainly a model which is strongly biblical.

Today, too often theologians and the church have forgotten this and talk just to themselves and those like them. (Perhaps this is why Bishops often appear to be talking gobbledegook; they have forgotten the common language.)

Palm Sunday is coming up. This is a time Christians have traditionally prayed with their feet. In Australia while church attendances have been dropping, those in the secular society committed to justice have taken this festival up. It is now a rally for those who want justice for refugees and for people seeking asylum. What a sign of grace! Though we in the churches have forgotten the covenant, God has not forgotten!

Palm Sunday is our opportunity to do theology on the street and with our legs and with our ears. On Palm Sunday you will hear a God who confronts, who calls for justice, who challenges and for those who have committed themselves to justice, who also consoles.

My first challenge then to progressive Christians reading this article: Get out on the street this Palm Sunday. My second challenge is for you to ask your local Minister, Pastor or Bishop to be there as well.

Len Baglow  March 2018

Management Committee of APCVA (A Progressive Christian Voice Australia)

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A new kind of Christianity

From Rev John Churcher – Permission to Speak

Following the Way of Jesus means that we have chosen the responsibility to speak truth to the powers that be, challenging injustice and any unjust systems and laws that work against both the individual and the common good.

As followers of the Way of Jesus we have chosen the responsibility to be involved in creating a world in which there is a fair sharing of the abundance of all the good things that Earth has to offer to all people.

Followers of the Way of Jesus are called to defend human rights, freedom of speech, freedom of actions, civil liberties – and we should never take our hard-fought for freedoms for granted, nor should we use them irresponsibly to abuse or exploit others.

Following the Way of Jesus means that we have chosen to serve and, if necessary, to sacrifice our comfort and even risk our lives for the benefit of others.

Following the Way of Jesus is to choose to ‘love your neighbour as you love yourself’.

Following the Way of Jesus is to choose to work to tackle the causes of poverty both at home and abroad.

For the full article go John Churcher