Category Archives: Events

A Progressive Take on Resurrection: “Which Resurrection?”

PCN EXPLORERS: Wednesday 25th March, 10 am (for 10:30 start), 

Merthyr Road Uniting Church, 52 Merthyr Rd, New Farm

A Progressive Take on Resurrection: “Which Resurrection?”

Dr Cliff Hospital will facilitate the morning’s exploration on this subject – relevant to us all as we approach the Easter Season. His argument will be that in order to arrive at a critical take on the resurrection event and its implications for Christian faith and life in the contemporary world, we need to begin with an honest awareness that traditional orthodox Christian thinking reflects a composite of disparate strands of tradition available to us in the Hebrew Bible, the New Testament, the Quran, etc.  

So, to explain the question “Which Resurrection?”:  Is it the collective resurrection of the people Israel (Ezekiel 37)?  Is it the raising of dead individuals on the last day–the day of judgment–shared by the Pharisees, but not the Saducees, by Christians following Paul in 1 Corinthians 15: 51-52, by Muslims following many passage in the Quran such as sura 78: 17-40?   Is it the thinking reflected in Jesus words to the good thief crucufied with him:  “…today you will be with me in Paradise” (Luke 23: 43)?   Is it the earliest accounts of resurrection appearances of Jesus found in Paul’s letters, and most fully in 1 Corinthians 15: 3-8, which includes the appearance to Paul himself?  Is it the apparently related distinction made by Paul later in 1 Corinthians 15 between a physical body and a spiritual body (the latter being the body of the raised dead)?  Is it the resurrection as depicted in the gospels and Acts 1, with forty days of appearances (little in common among the accounts) culminating in the Lukan narrative of Jesus’ ascension into heaven from Bethany (Luke 24:50) or the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:12)?   

Cliff will attempt to develop a plausible account of this diversity; thus Part A.  

Part B of the talk will look at a variety of modern expressions of resurrection faith and hope that he finds persuasive in the light of our conclusions of Part A.

Come at 10 for ‘eat, meet and greet’ and we will get started at 10:30. Finished by 12. Some venture to Moray Cafe for lunch – all welcome to that for more opportunity for friendship and further exploration.

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Dying with Dignity

Voluntary Assisted Dying. Crunch time at Queensland Parliament.

From Everald Compton

Last year, the Queensland Parliament voted to authorise its Health Committee to hold public hearings throughout Queensland to assess public attitudes to Voluntary Assisted Dying and Palliative Care. They did an extraordinary job of holding hearings far and wide across the State and encouraging all opinions to be expressed.

I spoke at one of the hearings and it was evident that there was huge support for Queenslanders to have the right to choose to end their lives peacefully and in comfort when faced with an incurable illness. It was also clear that people felt that palliative care services were not adequate and were not an alternate to Voluntary Assisted Dying as many people will choose both. People who attended other hearings gained the same impression as I did.

At the same time as the public hearings were being held, The Clem Jones Foundation conducted a professional survey of community attitudes on the matter and found that at least three out of every four Queenslanders believed that they should have the right to elect to end their lives via Voluntary Assisted Dying.

So, we now await the report of the Health Committee which is due to present it to Parliament no later than 31 March this year. I have no inside information on the matter but my gut feeling is that the Committee will recommend that Legislation to legalise Voluntary Assisted Dying be placed before the Parliament for a conscience vote as soon as possible.

The key issue is whether or not the Premier will decide to hold the vote before or after the election which is due in October, 2020. If she delays the vote it will become a huge election issue with every candidate being forced to state their position on it.

In my role as Campaign Leader of Dying With Dignity Queensland, I am pushing hard for an immediate vote and I have no doubt that it will passed by the Parliament.

To press the case for a vote before the election, Dying With Dignity is holding a Rally on THURSDAY, 19 MARCH AT 1.00PM AT SPEAKERS CORNER, which is in George Street just over the road from Parliament. We have a police permit and have invited every member of Parliament to attend. Some have already accepted our invitation.

This event is not a protest gathering and will neither march nor block the traffic nor abuse MP’s. We are simply asking the Parliament to vote urgently to authorise Voluntary Assisted Dying in Queensland for those who so choose, similarly to the right that Victorians and Western Australians now have.

I am one of the speakers and my task is to state why, as a Church Elder, I am publicly supporting Voluntary Assisted Dying when the Churches of Queensland have joined together to make a submission to the Inquiry opposing it.

The key factor is that they believe that God decides who lives or dies. I have never ever believed that. God gives you and me the spiritual power to handle whatever life and death throw up at us. With death being an inevitable and unavoidable part of life, why let many people suffer agony to get there.

I will be a definite candidate for Voluntary Assisted Dying if ever I face a terminal illness and I have advised my family in writing that this is my wish.

Indeed, if I become geriatric and am to be committed to a nursing home I will find a way to end my life. I have had a wonderful life and I am not going to end it as a vegetable. And I am not going to waste money on pointlessly and selfishly staying alive when I want my grandkids to have as much of my estate as possible.

Churches, by opposing Voluntary Assisted Dying, are actually encouraging suicide and this is utterly irresponsible. There is clear and irrefutable evidence that people crash their cars in single car accidents because they want out and the laws of the land are denying them the basic democratic right to determine how they will live and die.

So, please come along to Speakers Corner on Thursday, 19 March at 1.00pm and help to convince Parliament that VAD legislation must pass the Parliament before the Election.

There are many Twitter and Facebook friends whom I have not ever met so I hope you will come along and say hello. And if you have any doubts about either the morals or ethics or legality of VAD, lets have a respectful chat about it.

Yours at large.

Everald.

oOo


How Can We be Good Ancestors?

Good Afternoon Explorers and Friends

This coming Sunday the 16th February, at 5.30pm , the  Caloundra Explorers start off the 2020 year with the  first Gathering.

The invitation to join us does, however, contain the crucial question of our time How can we be good ancestors?”—are you ready for the challenge of this theme!!

Our Gathering will be lead by Rev. Brian Gilbert.

Brian says “This Sunday is celebrated in some places around the world as Evolution Sunday.   The theme for the Gathering is, however,  not so much ‘evolution’, as ‘living with change in its many forms’.

Our Gathering will reflect on ‘managing change’ that we might be “good ancestors.

Please bring a plate for our shared meal at 7 p.m.

Everyone is welcome. 

Remember, we discuss and debate within a safe and non-judgemental environment

 Come along and join in what will hopefully be a very satisfying evening for you among friends, and new friends.    

CONTACT:  Leaders – Brian Gilbert – Mob 0417 002 274  or  Margaret Landbeck Mob 0402 851 422

WHEN:    Sunday 16th February  at 5.30 pm thru to approx 7.30pm

WHERE:  Caloundra Uniting Church HALL, 56 Queen Street Caloundra.

EMAIL:    jjeverall@bigpond.combmgil@westnet.com.au

Caloundra Explorers Group              

  Faith And the Modern Era

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New words to old tunes, new words to new tunes

Dear Friends in the Progressive Christianity Network and other interested people,

The Progressive Christian Network meeting at Merthyr Rd Uniting Church New Farm, Brisbane is please to advise that notable organist and soprano/choir leader, Dr Steven and Mrs Adele Nisbet from St Andrews, Creek Street Uniting Church, Brisbane will be the guest leaders at our next Seminar in February (see below). All welcome.

The first month of the year has almost passed so I guess any new year celebrations are forgotten and we are ready to start up regular activities and commitments. We have grieved along with all Australians the loss of life, property, wild life, farm animals and livelihoods in the devastating bushfires. Today we have both celebrated our Australian life and mourned the hurt caused to its First People.

Shirley Erena Murray died peacefully in Paraparaumu, NZ. 

Probably most of us did not know Shirley personally, but many have found her words of songs to be helpful on their own progressive journey.   In Shirley’s own words: “Go gently, go lightly, go safe in the spirit”

PCN EXPLORERS: Wednesday 26th Feb, 10 am (for 10:30 start), 

Merthyr Road Uniting Church, 52 Merthyr Rd, New Farm

All are welcome to join us as Steven and Adele Nisbet help us explore some new songs that express our faith. New words to old tunes, new words to new tunes. Come at 10 for ‘eat, meet and greet’ and we will get started at 10:30. Finished by 12. Some venture to Moray Cafe for lunch – all welcome to that for more opportunity for friendship and further exploration.

Kind regards

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

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Redcliffe Explorers – God, Ethics and the Secular Society

The Redcliffe Explorers’ first 2020 meeting will take place next Monday evening 3rd February in the ground-floor meeting room at Azure Blue (91 Anzac Ave Redcliffe 4020), starting at 6 p.m.  As usual, the first half-hour will provide an opportunity to enjoy fellowship, with tea/coffee and biccies provided. Entry is free, but a gold-coin donation to defray costs would be appreciated.

We will be starting to review and discuss what we think is a particularly important and timely book, titled God, Ethics and the Secular Society. Written by Melbourne-based Uniting Church member and former ordained Congregational minister John Gunson, the book deals with the vexed question of the future of the Church, and what such a future might look like. According to the author, it is the end-product of a lifelong search for the answer to the questions: How can we help to make a better world?, How ought we to live?, How can we find the motivation to do the truth when we find it? And what do we mean by the word ‘God’? Gunson finds the answers in what he calls ethical ecology, and in the life and teaching of an ancient sage – Jesus of Nazareth – who confronts us with the simple yet profound challenge: “Overcome evil with good”.

In addition, we’ll discuss a very recent sermon titled ‘In This Life’ by Rev Dr Roger Ray, Pastor of the Emerging Church in Springfield, Missouri. Rev Ray gives a refreshingly candid and matter-of-fact account of the ‘soul’, our mortality (or immortality?), and eternity, and how our understanding of these should affect the way we act.

Our Explorer meetings are open to anyone prepared to think outside the square and engage in friendly, civilised discussion about the big questions of life. If you’re not a regular attender of our gatherings you might like to contact Ian Brown (0401 513 723 or browniw5@optusnet.com.au) for details.    

Shalom, Ian.

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Feedback from PCNQ and plans for 2020

Hello PCN friends

Last Wednesday, 31 of our group gathered to do some exploring of the meaning of Christmas. Now, 90 minutes of discussion cannot be summarised in a few sentences – you have to be part of the group to pick up on all of the threads. A couple of things stood out for me:

  • when we literalise the Christmas story, we lose much of the intense meaning of how the life of Jesus was a message to society
  • From the community perspective, does the church have only 2 ways of communicating Christianity – Christmas and Easter? Does that mean the essence of the Jesus story of his life and teachings is not understood? How can we do that better?
  • Many of the activities that churches put their effort into – decorated Christmas trees, Walk through Bethlehem, Christmas lights, Carols evenings do little to help people understand the meanings that the Gospel writers had in mind – the meaning behind the crafted stories.
  • How do we help children and young people to think about the meaning behind the story? 

Someone else may like to share their perspectives after the discussion. That is probably best done through the UC Forum website or through the PCN Facebook page. (Sorry I do not have the link for that, but if you search for Progressive Christian Network on Facebook I think you will find it)

We are already planning for 2020, so do mark 10 am on the last Wednesday of each month in your new diary. We will start the year with Steven and Adele Nisbet introducing “Sing a new Song”. I am sure there will be time for singing some of those new songs – many to familiar tunes. 
Enjoy your Christmas!

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

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What is Christmas all about?

Our friends at Progressive Christianity Network Qld will be discussing this at their final gathering for the year on 27th November at Merthyr Road Uniting Church, New Farm.

What is Christmas all About? And what are we celebrating?

It’s a wonderful time, but I wonder …….

So started a song I learnt many years back! Back then I did not think any deeper than a manger, shepherds, angels, wise men ….

Now, I do wonder more about the meaning of Christmas and its celebrations each year. Do you? Do you have a new understanding? 

Let’s explore Christmas together at our next PCN Explorers meeting on 27th November, facilitated by Paul Inglis. There are many books that look at Christmas, drawing on new research and thinking. We have attached 2 one page documents that will introduce our thinking. I hope you have time to browse them in the next 10 days before we meet.  Request these from Paul . Maybe you will have other resources in your own library. You might also like to look at Jo Holden’s blog on “I don’t believe in the virgin birth”.

Now for some starter questions for you to play around with and meld with your own:

In what you have read about Christmas from a ‘progressive’ Christian viewpoint:

  • What was an aha moment for you?
  • What makes you say – “that is something I have not considered before”?
  • when did you say – “that does not sit easily with me”?

What do you think of the statement that Christmas is a celebration “under construction”?

Tim O’Dwyer wrote: I once had a letter published in The Courier-Mail recalling how, many decades ago, there was a move to “put Christ back into Xmas” and suggesting the churches should vacate 25th December, leave it to the secular world and celebrate the birth of Christ sometime back in September. How do you react to that suggestion?

PCN Explorers will meet for the last time this year on Wednesday 27th November, 10 am, Merthyr Road Uniting Church.

Come at 10 for eat, meet and greet and we will start our conversation. Some people like to continue the fellowship at Moray Cafe after the discussions so maybe you would like to plan for that also.  

Desley


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Heaven on Earth – Taming the Ego

Brian O’Hanlon, retired psychologist

Today’s gathering of the PCNQ Explorers at New Farm was another excellent interactive discussion, this time including practical exercises.

Discussion leader, Brian O’Hanlon, is a member of the group, a frequent homily presenter at St Mary’s in Exile, South Brisbane and author of:

A Path to Peace based on his work with veterans experiencing PTS, and

Experiencing the Spirit

Brief notes from the session

  • Scripture, especially the NT is often seeking enlightenment from a position of love
  • Jesus taught that the kingdom of heaven is within and around you
  • The Buddhist concept of Nirvana similarly calls for a quietening of the mind (taming of the ego)
  • An enlightened person lives without judgment, with acceptance, awareness of the eternal dimension, the sacred
  • Matthew Fox, from the recent Common Dreams Conference – What the world needs now is a sense of the sacred
  • Eckhart Tolle’s concept of the mind is open to God/love when it is empty
  • Damascus Road experiences are brain activities of experiencing enlightenment or liberation from/of the ego. But there are also many examples where the outcome of an experience of enlightenment where the ego is not completely managed leads to a dogmatic view of life – the ego has not completed the awareness experience. Many examples in history of people who have not managed their egos and taken others on pathways to destruction
  • Dogmatic thinking comes from the left side of the brain – shifting this allows/prevents the spiritual ego stopping an advancement of awareness.
  • Ego is your past insisting it is you now.
  • Example from Philippians 2:7 – but emptied himself,
        taking the form of a slave
        being born in human likeness.
    And being found in human form
  • Ego is a verb, a process and like power can be good or bad
  • A balanced mature ego is found through silence/meditation/emptying the mind.

Brian took us through exercises to demonstrate to ourselves how this can be done. It was good to have a psychologist’s perspective entering our very diverse discussions.

Watch for a notice about our November gathering.

Paul Inglis 30/10/19

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