Reflection: Group Response to Geering Sermon and event reminder

Thanks to one of the groups at last month’s gathering of the Merthyr Road Explorers for this summary of their conversation:

Do we need a creator?                                                               

 (Group Reflections on a sermon by Sir Lloyd Geering)

‘Do we need a creator?’ asked Lloyd Geering and that set our small discussion group off on a merry trail. No-one had an immediate opinion. We were all from a traditional Christian background and immured in the idea there was one,  so what was there to say.

Geering in his sermon made the point that evolution has caused us to face the reality of ever- changing growth and development, new world views needing new responses… so what we once thought of as God making/creating, are now thought of as natural, scientific processes–evolving over time.

Then Kevin said: ‘We are part of a new Ecological Civilisation—where connectivity is fundamental. It’s an ecological civilization based on the all-encompassing symbiosis between human society and the natural world. Human activity would be organized, not merely to avoid harm to the living earth, but to actively regenerate and sustain its health.’

Bev: ‘Whoo!  Say that again, please… in English!’

‘World views have changed significantly over the past thousand or so years. Science has helped us realise that humanity and the environment are deeply interconnected. We rely on nature and in turn must nurture the earth.’

Kevin further explained that an ecological civilisation assumes we live within beliefs and practices that hold that everything is interrelated. We must challenge a culture of selfish individualism and confront the consequences of living in ways driven by competitive impulses.

Bev: ‘According to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (a Jesuit and paleontologist who wrote about evolution) humanity is evolving and evolution has a goal.’

Rodney wondered:  ‘Are we going to live long enough to evolve?’

Bev:  ‘Good point!  We’ve made quite a mess of the world. Our greed and selfishness has almost finished it off. It wouldn’t be at all surprising if humanity (like the dinosaurs) was wiped out and possibly even by an ecological disaster we ourselves had created.’

Since the middle 1800’s, with the invention of the powered machine and the knowledge from science growing exponentially, humanity has become the key factor in change throughout the world. There are a lot of positive outcomes of this, but on the negative side, bull-dozers have ripped through forests. Rockets have soared into space leaving rubbish behind. Nature has been exploited shamelessly. Moreover, we—humanity, now has the responsibility of repairing the damage and very little time to do it.

Science arose in opposition to religion and has assumed primacy. Traditional religion has been in decline as many of its ideas have been challenged. Key among the challenges is the idea of evolution. But it is no longer reasonable for religion to ignore evolution and many religiously-aligned people have accepted that the world has changed and their views on life and theology must also change.

‘Religion’ and ‘religious’ ideas must be properly aligned to the way we now see the world, and our human experience of it, at our point in time. Religious ideas must be related to the context/culture in which we are living. It is important that new ways of seeing the world are vigorously expressed. Theologians have been doing this for some time now and new views are better understood… but it’s a slow process. Sometimes we only understand in hind-sight where our journey has taken us.

That’s the point of the Lloyd Geering message. We are on a journey of discovery, and we can enjoy being part of the process… everything we do, each action, each commitment makes a difference.

Kevin: ‘What we think is that CHANGE  happens at the edges… we must look for it in the ‘margins’. Slowly, slowly, society changes. We are part of that process. Everything we do… large or small… contributes to it.’

Bev: ‘What fun!   It is at the point where two edges meet that change happens… like the shore and the sea or two people with different insights.’

Joy: It may not be an ecological disaster that wipes us out… but what about world events like the Ukraine War… and Putin… there is a lot of pain and injustice in the world—life is far from enjoyable for so many. Do we just WAIT for something to change, for Putin to have a change of heart or to use nuclear weapons??? I am a person of hope… but I cannot make sense of aggression, suffering and injustices. I can’t even PRAY for them to stop because “God“ does not control that!!

Bev: ‘Pain and hurt are part of the nature of things.’

Evolution… from atom to algae, plants to people… is full of struggle. It’s focussed on ‘growth’ and the strongest (?),  smartest(?) get a ticket to the future. The evolutionary method is based on cause and effect. Mathematics even. It doesn’t seem to have the slightest care that plants or animals or people are hurt or may be destroyed. Its simple, singular motive is ‘progress’.’

And yet:

Bryan: ‘There is a life force in the world, encouraging us to LOVE. It is a goal for humanity to strive for, a motive for hopefulness. For me, love is the glue of our new society. This deepest ‘agape’ love (the highest and purest form of love) will be the bridge that unifies humanity; it will be the essence of our total giving, total forgiving, benevolent sacrifice and the means of total transformation and renewal of our new society, bridging the possible barriers of race, religion and nationality. It will build community that is lasting, forgiving and all encompassing. We already have models of this new world lifestyle through former years in people like Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Martin Luther King and St Francis.

Bev: ‘I like listening to Songs of Praise on Sunday mornings. You wouldn’t catch me inside a church these days, but I can’t help thinking that the hopefulness, joy and meaning I see as people in the congregation are singing, is what we need in the world. Perhaps it’s my memory of pleasant days in the past when I believed the words whole-heartedly, even though now a lot of the words/ theology need changing… perhaps it’s the music that touches my heart. Perhaps it’s something else.’

All: ‘We like listening to Songs of Praise too!’

Afterthought by Joy:  Even Songs of Praise is changing– years ago it was a program recorded in Australia in a local church (I remember one at Coorparoo Methodist when I was much younger) … in recent times it now has a few hymns/songs but also interviews with people to show how a focus church reaches out to connect with its community/or take on ecological projects etc…

 Kevin: ‘We are part of a MORPHOGENIC  system… a system that allows for growth, creativity and change… In all fields of energy, values and attitudes change and move… compassion, hope, love may be responses to changing circumstances/new forms of life…’

Bev: ‘Oops… What does ‘Morphogenic’ mean?’

‘Morphogenesis is a biological process that causes a tissue or organ to develop its shape by controlling the spatial distribution of cells during embryonic development.’

Bev: ‘Nope. That doesn’t do anything for me.’

‘In psychology, morphogenesis is the development of the form and structure of an organism.’

Bev: ‘Getting closer. So… “it’s a system that allows for growth, creativity and change… in all fields of energy, values and attitudes change and move… compassion, hope, love.” Aha! That’s what you said. Now I understand. Times are changing, and the world is built (created?) in such a way that we can grow our understanding and change as well.’

In fact, that’s exactly how nature operates. It’s a dialectic… something happens; there’s a response. That’s how plants and insects have developed a multiplicity of defences against predators.

In some ways, humanity has been stuck in habits and traditions and fixed ways of responding. In future, we will be less constrained to follow belief systems that do not suit us or the world we live in. We will respond to experience more readily and live in a more authentic way.


Bryan: ‘Let’s all write a one page version of “How my thinking has changed”… briefly outlining our journeys, life experiences, growth… so we can know one another (connect) better and feed each other (grow and change)’.

Note: This month’s discussion at Merthyr Road (Wednesday 26th April) will pick up on this suggestions.


8 thoughts on “Reflection: Group Response to Geering Sermon and event reminder

  1. Ingtid

    I WISH all these meetings were on Zoom. After being active all my life, I can’t get out of my house, due to chronic conditions…

  2. Paul Inglis Post author

    You and many others Ingerid. Until we get that capability we are trying to give as much in the reports as possible. Stay strong.

  3. Tim O’Dwyer

    Phew! Remind me, Paul, not to join that group next time. Thanks for sharing, though, gang!


    At a recent funeral of an unbeliever, the presiding minister (Rev Jean) simply, during the bible reading, said CREATOR instead of GOD. That seems to work well enough.
    And now I think of it – that substitution was enough to get St Mary’s South Brisbane exiled from from the big C – Is not that proof enough ??

    I’d have to say I am more concerned with a question like –
    I would not wish that on animals or Jesus.

  5. Bev Floyd

    Thanks for the compliment Paul, but I’m fairly sure no-one in our ‘gang’ would claim to be a ‘big brain’. What I think happened is that five people with a different store of knowledge and ideas were able to make a connection. The outcome was that the ‘whole’ became bigger than the ‘parts’. In a way that is the proof of what we were saying. The way of the future will be better and richer and happier when we manage to ‘connect’.

  6. Lesley

    I’m with Ingrid! Its just too expensive to catch a cab to zmerthyr so i appreciate cetailed reports of meetings. But how nice it would be then to share. Zoom? Great!

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