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Formation of the Progressive Christianity Network – Qld.

The Plan

In line with long held plans to ‘catch up’ with other States and have a Queensland Progressive Christianity group, this concept was boosted considerably on Saturday 11th March. The gathering at the Treston seminar stayed on to discuss a draft proposal prepared by the committee of the Modern church lookformer Progressive Spirituality Network. The plan is to transition the hundreds of members in the latter group into the proposed PCNQ while establishing a close relationship with the ever growing UCFORUM. Of course many of our members belong to both groups. Paul Inglis has accepted an invitation to chair the group in the formative stage.

We now also have many international links and are aware of a need to move forward with them in mind. At the same time, as the Common Dreams Conference proved, Queensland has a lot to offer the progressive movement and there will be much about the PCNQ that is distinctly us.

What’s in a name?

The name for the group is not yet finalised but we are keen to align and link to interstate groups for several reasons. Feedback at this meeting and emails I am still receiving will help us to make the ‘right’ decisions.

What is the purpose of such a group?

The scope and purpose of the group is still under discussion, but the following have been mooted:

  • to provide a safe place for progressive thinking Christians and others to come together and discuss the many issues in the life journey
  • to be an organising group for seminars and conferences
  • to continue the work of the former progressive spirituality network
  • to build links with non-Christian groups with strong interest in progressive spirituality and religion
  • to welcome atheists in the ongoing conversations about the meaning of life
  • to work with similar interstate groups when planning visits from keynote speakers
  • to publicise events related to our interests
  • to make appropriate commentary on contemporary matters
  • to explore the growing literature and scholarship in the field.

 

Some proposed initiatives

The planning team has already begun the process of setting up a Round Table group made up of representatives of all progressive and ‘explorer’ groups and individuals who can informally come together to find common ground and share in initiatives.  A draft paper on this proposal is available on request from Paul. Your comments and suggestions are always welcome.

We will be considering whether this is part of the brief for the PCNQ.

We want to reach as many interested people across the State as possible and an early challenge will be to find ways to support individuals in isolation from progressive groups. Already we have many members who correspond with us and receive reading lists and other information.

Watch for further developments and please continue to participate in our activities.

oOo

 

 

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A reflection: Films that break the ‘conspiracy of silence’.

Our friends at A Progressive Christian Voice have recently posted the following commentary:

BEYOND ‘LION’ TO FILMS BREAKING THE “CONSPIRACY OF SILENCE”

by Ray Barraclough

Recently in cinemas around Australia tears were shed in response to the dramatised film Lion depicting the perilous journey of a young Indian boy losing touch with his natural Indian family. But there are hundreds, possibly thousands, of such stories in our own land.

And the children involved did not become lost but were actually forcibly removed from the arms of their families. The Royal Commission, which heard numerous testimonies from what was termed ‘the stolen generation‘, produced its report entitled Bringing Them Home [1997]. It contained dramatic accounts that could be the basis for not just one but many films depicting this Australian phenomenon.

The film Rabbit Proof Fence [2002] took viewers into this sad landscape. But there are many more such stories that Australians need to see on their cinema and television screens.

Bernard Lewis observed that:

History is the collective memory and if we think of the social body in term of the human body, no history means amnesia, distorted history means neurosis. [1]

Suppressed history and neurotic memory – both flow from what has been called ‘the conspiracy of silence’ in nationalistic Australian history. Timothy Bottoms, in his book entitled Conspiracy of Silence, documents what he terms ‘Queensland’s frontier killing times’. [2] But Queensland is not alone in this. No Australian state is devoid of such testimonies, such killings.

It is a challenge to the Australian film industry that that silence be broken. Brief and fleeting utterances have been given of the bigotry and violence that became cloaked in that Australian silence. Thomas Kenneally’s novel, The Chant of Jimmy Blacksmith (made subsequently into a film) attempted to give insights into the life of Jimmy Governor and the ripples of violence that still affect this country’s memory.

Every year on 25 April we are saturated with Anzac memorabilia, leavened with religious salvific terms such as ‘blood sacrifice’ and martyr-like language of men shedding their blood for the Empire and their country.

Admittedly the numbers who died at Gallipoli vastly outnumber those who died at Myall Creek and Coniston. But what of indigenous people – women, men and children – whose blood was shed for defending their own land? Can not a drop of Anzac memorial water be spared for them?

What Australian town, shire, or city, pauses even for a moment on the 10th of June or over the days beginning on the 15th August, to remember and reflect upon the massacre of Indigenous people that occurred respectively at Myall Creek (10 June, 1838) and at Coniston (from 15 August, 1928).

And there are records in white history that document these events. The two trials over the Myall Creek massacre [3] and the records of a Board of Enquiry [4] into the Coniston massacre, would provide ample material for a full length film script to reduce the enveloping silence.

Even an arch-conservative figure such as Tony Abbott can refer to the treatment over history of the Indigenous people of this land as ‘the stain on our [Australian] soul’. [5]

Fortunately in Australia there are film-makers prepared to make films that will break the Australian ‘conspiracy of public silence’ about at least two of the numerous massacres thRay Barracloughat occurred throughout the length and breadth of this country? Notable is the 2012 production of Coniston by Rebel Films, directed by Francis Jupurrurla Kelly and David Batty. [6]

If our nation cannot bring itself to publicly remember Myall Creek and Coniston, perhaps commercial films depicting these events can break the amnesia and neurosis of our country’s limited memory.

________________________________________

1. Bernard Lewis, Notes on A Century – reflections of a Middle East historian, Penguin, New York 2013, p.5.

2. Timothy Bottoms, Conspiracy of Silence – Queensland’s frontier killing times, Allen & Unwin, Sydney, 2013

3. For an account of the massacre and subsequent trials note Mark Tedeschi, Murder at Myall Creek – The trial that defined a nation, Simon & Schuster, Cammeray, 2016

4. Police Magistrate A. H. O’Kelly presided over The Board of Enquiry which was established on 27 November, 1928. One Board member was J.C. J. C. Cawood, Government Resident in Central Australia, and Murray’s immediate superior. Cawood revealed his own disposition in a letter to his departmental secretary shortly after the massacre: “…trouble has been brewing for some time, and the safety of the white man could only be assured by drastic action on the part of the authorities … I am firmly of the opinion that the result of the recent action by the police will have the right effect upon the natives.” Cawood to Secretary Home & Territories Dept 25 October, 1928. NAA A431 1950/2768 Part I.

5. Speaking in Federal parliament on 27 May, 2013, Tony abbott said: We have never fully made peace with the first Australians. This is the stain on our soul.

6.The documentary film entitled Coniston was awarded the best Docudrama award by the Australian Teachers of Media (ATOM) on 21 November, 2012. It was screened on ABC TV on 14 January, 2013.

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Where doctrine meets science – Kevin Treston

EarthA well attended seminar led by Dr Kevin Treston last Saturday heard about the impact of new scientific movements on the Christian story. Based on his new book Who do you say I am? The Christ story in the cosmic context, we were invited into the world of evolution, cosmology and the anthropic principle, connectivity in the universe, God as primal energy of love, quantum physics, emergence theory, morphic resonance, globalisation, DNA and genetics, global warming, consciousness, and inclusive global spirituality.

KevinTrestonWhile Kevin does not claim to be an expert on any one of these topics, he does have a good breadth of understanding of their basic principles. His book focuses on the challenges to the contemporary Christian churches that resists moving their doctrine along with new understandings. Many of these scientific discoveries offer new critiques for traditional views of fall and redemption, understandings of the incarnation and the significance of the coming of Jesus as the Christ. In terms of the latter, was it a result of the breakdown of humanity’s relations with God or the regeneration of life through the Jesus as Christ in the magnificent unfolding evolutionary story of the universe?

All of the presentation was a stimulus to read Kevin’s book where the Christ story is told and celebrated within the context of modern science, especially evolution and cosmology. After hearing Kevin I was even more attracted to the documentaries by Professor Brian Cox! Kevin goes to considerable pains to ensure that all of this links to very practical features for Christian life each day. In his words: The warning for Christianity is that unless Christianity integrates its core teachings with positive features of the emerging modern world in which we live, Christianity will be further marginalised to the fringes of society and lose its treston-bookinfluence for the betterment of people and the earth community.

Published by: Morning Star Publishing $19.95

To order: contact sales@morningstarpublishing.net.au or a local bookstore or

Kevin: kevintreston@gmail.com

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Recommended for ‘entry to’ or ‘refresher of’ progressive theology

We are often asked for recommended readings and we give reading lists to new ‘explorer’s’ of progressive Christianity. Top of my list is Val Web’s Testing Tradition and Liberating Theology: Finding yourTesting Tradition and Liberating FULL COVER B.20.12.2014.indd own voice for many reasons. I am sure many of our hundreds of followers will have already read this wonderful text, but just a few comments for others….

Val is an advocate for theology being done by every Christian. She asks How can the church be a force in the world if its lay people have nothing to offer but dogmatic sound bites that fade into nothing when taken up and challenged by others? Thinking theologically is not the same as believing and we should re-think and investigate what we previously simply ingested by osmosis. In that way we can make sure what we think or believe is not someone else’s formula  for making our own lives make sense.

Many explorer groups exist on the sidelines, or in some cases even have a significant part to play in the life of congregations These are safe places for people to discuss questions without censure and to use their brains and life experience to make sense of everything. Nothing beneficial comes from religious debate where arrogant certainty or disdain, the use of clever words, or refusal to engage are the tools for discourse. These groups often share the growing number of books that demonstrate the great scholarship that exists in this field of thinking.

Val Webb’s book gives a good overview of the field of thinking around progressive Christianity identifying it as part of the stable of liberation theologies that have emerged from greater education, the impact of science and the challenges to the way in which church doctrine has evolved. It is also about a universal spirituality movement because the way God is discussed leaves room for openness to other religious traditions. We can learn more about our faith and ourselves by greater understanding of other faiths and atheism. Important to this is the move away from one meta story or universal truth and its medieval understandings of God as an external interventionist, in contrast with the notion of an indwelling Spirit.

Church historian Diana Butler Bass says that, for centuries, we have assumed religious commitment starts with assent to a set of beliefs that also dictates how we behave. This believing and behaving makes us eligible to belong to a church community. While this may have been the way of past generations, she suggests it should be the other way around – belonging, behaving and believing.This would take us to the way of Jesus who invited followers to join him – belonging – to proclaim and live the way of the reign of God – behaving. Beliefs emerged and these were fluid until the creeds declared orthodoxy.

Val manages, in one book to take us through the foundations of theology, the way in which we can all do theology, the history of the church and its theology, reasons for being bold with our doubts, the spiritual journey of life, and living out our theology in ethical and responsible ways.

I enjoyed this book immensely.

It is available from Morning Star Publishers 

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Spiritual Mindfulness

Just when I was learning about mindfulness and mind (brain) body connections while doing an intensive three week Back Rehab Program at Wesley Hospital Brisbane, along comes a message about Jim Burklo’s latest. (Thanks Noel Preston).

Mindfulness has been liberated from religion.  Jim Burklo’s new book liberates religion with mindfulness. The book anMindful Christianityd website are windows into mindful Christian spiritual practice for individuals, churches, retreats, and groups.  More at MINDFULCHRISTIANITY.ORG

About the book:

Just now, mindfulness – defined in secular terms, studied scientifically, and practiced ubiquitously – has come fully into the cultural mainstream.  Now is the time to rediscover it in the mainstream of Christian faith and practice, in the writings and practices of contemplatives throughout its history.  Mindful prayer leads to fresh interpretation of Christian tradition, and reveals the Bible for what it is: not a book of facts, not a fixed set of prescriptions for behavior, but rather a collection of wisdom and poetry and myth made sacred by the ongoing human quest for intimate encounter with the Ultimate Reality.

Mindful Christianity is spiritual practice in the service of engagement with the quest for social and environmental justice.  By seeing clearly what is, we can begin working on what ought to be.  The mystical knowledge of God leads to a life of compassion and activism.

For forty dawns in solitude before he began his ministry, what awe filled Jesus’ soul?  To what inner and outer realities did he awaken?  In silence, searching for himself, whom did he find?  MINDFUL CHRISTIANITY invites you to join Jesus in the desert, and with him meet God face to face.

Order multiple copies directly from the publisher, St Johann Press, or individual copies at AMAZON

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Who do you say I am?

Merthyr Explorers invites you to a Saturday morning seminar:

Saturday 11th March 2017, 9:00 am – 12:30 pm

including morning tea of yummy hot scones, tea and coffee.

WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?treston-book

The Christ story in the cosmic context

In Who do you say I am?, Kevin Treston explores the features of a Cosmic Christian Story that situates God’s revelation in Jesus as the Christ firmly within the evolving dynamics of creation. It is a Story that takes account of modern science, especially cosmology, quantum physics, energy field thKevinTrestoneories, genetics, globalisation, technology, and neuroscience that are changing forever how humans live as citizens of the planet.

Dr Kevin Treston will give an insight into the content of the book and there will be time to explore the concepts together. Kevin is a well known author and consultant. He has worked globally for many years in the areas of education, spirituality, theology and pastoral ministry.

Cost: $15 including morning  tea

Please register your intention to attend so we have numbers for catering purposes.

This book will be on sale for $20. Please note: no EFTPOS facility available. Cash or cheque only.

Enquiries and registrations:   Phone – 0409 498  403

or  Email: drgarn@bigpond.net.au

Merthyr Road Uniting Church Centre, 52 Merthyr Rd, New Farm

Bus Stop 13 on Bus Route 196. On street parking available.

Following the sessions there will be an opportunity to discuss how progressive groups across all churches and other independent groups can network together more effectively.

 

 

 

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Caloundra Explorers – Invitation

Explorers Group – Caloundra Uniting Church   

Your invitation to Explorers Group                  

       A Faith And the Modern Era series

SUNDAY 19th FEBRUARY

A   Sunday “Gathering” at 5pm sunset led by The Explorers Group in the Church Hall

This is the new approach to the Church’s scheduled “3rd Sunday in February” ‘Alternative’ evening service. We each bring a small byo light finger food supper plate to share during discussion around the table as part of the activity.  Tea, coffee and cold drinks are supplied. There is always plenty to go around.

Contact person for the “Gathering” is John Everall   Ph 5492 4229.

This Month’s Gathering is developed around a proposition put to 300 delegates at the Common Dreams 2016 Conference in Brisbane by acclaimed speaker Michael Morwood.

We will listen to him discuss:  “Three key questions that need to be raised and answered in any process of adult religious faith formation:

  • What are you asking me to imagine?
  • Where did that imagination come from?
  • How does that image or picture of reality fit with what I know of reality today?

Let’s start with “GOD”

Quoting Michael’s opening:  “Galaxies like the Milky Way probably have about 17 billion earth size planets. In the grand schema of galaxies, stars and planets, planet Earth rates in comparison with it all as little more than what a speck of dust is to hundreds of millions of planets. A speck of dust.

So, here we are on this speck of dust– and we think we know what “God” is?”

THEN DISCUSSION OVER OUR SHARED MEAL FOLLOWED BY A PERIOD OF CONTEMPLATION/PRAYER AS PART OF THE “Gathering”.

Everyone can feel at ease in contributing to conversation in this safe place.

 

 

YOU ARE ENCOURAGED TO JOIN IN THIS Faith And the Modern Era series.

It is for ALL, not just Explorers.

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Seminar:

Join us for an evening of stimulating ideas and discussion

THE JOURNEY OF LIFE: BASIC TO NEW DIRECTIONS FOR SPIRITUALITY

Presented by Dr Noel Preston AM

Featuring the Emmy Award winning DVD …

Journey of the universe

The documentary is hosted by Scientist Brian Swimme and produced by Yale University’s Mary Evelyn Tucker and John Grim (All are colleagues of the late Thomas Berry). After an introduction by Noel, the DVD will be screened for about 35 minutes and followed by open discussion.

 Weaving modern science with enduring wisdom from the world’s cultures, Journey of the Universe explores cosmic and Earth evolution as a profound process of creativity, connection and independence, and offers an opportunity to respond to the ecological and social challenges of our times, times when we, homo sapiens, emerge as the planet altering species.

This presentation invites us to reflect on the wisdom traditions which have evolved with human consciousness, “the cosmos come to consciousness” (as Karl Rahner referred to human evolution). So it prompts philosophical and theological questions which pose a challenge to our culture, our rituals and the way communities committed to a contemporary spirituality are to be developed. It presents the challenge of moving into the Ecozoic era when humans will be present to the Earth in a mutually enhancing manner.( T. Berry)

Questions to be discussed including:

 “What is at stake if human activity threatens this 14 billion year process?” “What would we lose if life on Planet Earth were so destroyed that the human species as we know it ceased to exist? “

“How are we (religious progressives) going to tell the story of life on Earth to our children?” “Why is this story basic to the new directions of future spirituality?” “What kind of belief system/spirituality/ethic will sustain an appropriate role for humanity in the continuation of this story?”

Presenter: Dr Noel Preston AM. Among many publications he is the author of Ethics with or without God (Morning Star Publishing).

Hosted by  West End Uniting Church –  26th February, 6:30 pm to 8:00 pm

Following the 5:30pm Contemplative Service

Venue:  West End Uniting Church Hall, 11 Sussex St, West End, Brisbane, Q.

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New Lenten Studies from Greg Jenks

Travel the Slow Path – Lent 2017

Rex Hunt has kindly forwarded details of Greg Jenk’s Lenten Studies. This may be of interest to our subscribers because of its contemporary and practical focus. We already have a link under “LGreg Jenks2eading Practitioners” to Greg and that site has items of interest about his work in the Holy Land and other places. Greg is currently a scholar and Dean of St George’s Cathedral in Jerusalem and Residentiary Canon at St George’s College.

These studies are available online from: Travel the Slow Path: Lent 2017

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Recommended Journal: Scientific GOD Journal

A scientific view of GOD

The Scientific GOD Journal has been recommended by a member of our UCFORUM Executive.

Scientific God JournalI have enjoyed trawling through its editorial board and examining its ethical and innovative process for approving articles for publication.

The current issue focuses on the theme: Beyond the circle of life.

Articles: Beyond the Circle of Life; Death, Consciousness, & Phenomenology; Consciousness, a Cosmic Phenomenon; Idealist View of Consciousness After Death; Science & Postmortem Survival; Non-Locality/Disembodiment; Tilde Fallacy & Reincarnation; Theory of a Natural Afterlife; & Vision Statement on Science & Spirituality.

The purpose and mission of Scientific GOD Journal (“SGJ”, ISSN: 2153-831X) are to conduct scientific inquiries on the nature and origins of life, mind, physical laws and mathematics and their possible connections to a scientifically approachable transcendental ground of existence – we call “Scientific GOD.” By “scientific inquiries”, we mean building concrete and testable models and/or hypotheses connected to hard sciences (e.g., physics, neuroscience, biochemistry and physiology) and doing the experimental testing. We believe that in this golden age of Science the GOD in whom we trust should be spiritual as well as scientific. Indeed, since we are all made out of the same subatomic, atomic and genetic alphabets, the scientific GOD each of us seeks should be one and the same whatever our race, religion and other differences. There is also a Scientific GOD Forum available.

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Visit of Len Baglow to Brisbane – your invitation

INVITATION from A Progressive Christian Voice (Australia)

Supporters of APCV, or of streams of progressive Christianity in general, are invited to attend a talk/discussion led by Len Baglow at 2:00-4:00pm at St Francis’ Theological College in Milton, Brisbane, on Tuesday, 14 February.

There is ample parking in the grounds of St Francis’ College. Also, the college is situated just across from Milton railway station, in Milton Road.

Three new members have joined the APCV Management Committee  – Len Baglow, Tiffany Sparks and Kenneth Castillo. all three bring distinctive experience, gifts and insights to APCV.

Len is from South Woden Uniting Church in Canberra.

The Topic: Len will be contributing ideas and strategiesLen Baglow relating to “Strategies for Progressive Christianity in the Australian landscape”.

About Len Baglow: Len Baglow is a policy advocate with qualifications in both social work and urban and regional planning. In recent years, He has been involved in refugee and asylum seeker policy, income support policy, housing policy and child protection policy. He is particularly passionate about the growing poverty and disadvantage of students from poorer backgrounds who are attempting further education.

In the 1980s and 90s Len was active in the environment movement and retains a strong interest. He is a keen bird watcher and bush walker.

Len has written several theological articles and one book. His interest is mainly in the practical implications of theology. Many different theologians have had an influence on Len.  Most recently he has been exploring the practical implications of Jack Caputo’s work on Derrida.

Please join us for this session of wide interest.

Enquiries: Ray Barraclough at raybarraclough@icloud.com

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A New Year Meditation from Richard Rohr

before-sunset

Image credit: Galapagos Before Sunset (detail) by Iris Diensthuber, summer 2007

From the Bottom Up: Introduction

A New Reformation
Tuesday, January 3, 2017

As I see it, religion is at its best when it leads us forward, when it guides us in our spiritual growth as individuals and in our cultural evolution as a species. —Brian McLaren [1]

Yes, we live in very troubling times; and we are fortunate to be alive now when we have so much possibility for growth in love. Many say we are in the midst of a spiritual awakening. Theologian Harvey Cox calls it the Age of the Spirit. He writes: “Faith is resurgent, while dogma is dying. The spiritual, communal, and justice-seeking dimensions of Christianity are now its leading edge. . . . A religion based on subscribing to mandatory beliefs is no longer viable.” [2]

There is a wide and multi-textured resurgence of the older and essential contemplative tradition. Many are returning to our mystical roots. Science has become one of religion’s best friends as it often validates the consistent intuitions of the mystics. Neuroscience helps us understand how our mind works and the impact of meditation and prayer. Critical biblical scholarship now has the help of anthropology, sociology, history, and archaeology.

There is a broad awareness that Jesus was clearly teaching non-violence, simplicity of lifestyle, peacemaking, love of creation, and dying to the ego for both individuals and groups by offering a radical social critique to the systems of domination, power, and money. There’s a growing recognition that Jesus was concerned about the transformation of real persons and human society here on earth. Christianity is meant to be a loving way of life now, not just a system of beliefs and requirements that people hope will earn them a later reward in heaven. There is a new appreciation for “many gifts and ministries” (1 Corinthians 12), “together making a unity in the work of service” (Ephesians 4) instead of concentrating power and knowledge in a top tier of male leadership.

Spiritual globalization is allowing churches worldwide to benefit from these breakthroughs at approximately the same time, which of itself is a new kind of reformation! The internet has opened up possibilities for learning, connecting, and networking with faith-filled, committed, loving people all over the world. As Brian McLaren says, now “we can migrate from organized religion to organizing religion—that is, religion organizing for the common good.” [3]

Christian denominations and world religions are realizing they are more alike than different. Consciousness is evolving. Christian theologians are predicting that this century will open up Trinitarian and practice-based spirituality, with a focus on the Holy Spirit, which many call “the forgotten member of the Trinity.” And we have a pope in Francis who is truly a man of the Gospel instead of a mere church man, someone at the top who genuinely cares about those at the bottom and our precious common home, the earth.

Of course, when there’s movement forward, there’s always pushback. But that’s just a call for more action steeped in prayer. Here at the Center for Action and Contemplation, we seek to support individuals and communities in deepening authentic spirituality and engaging compassionately with our world.

Gateway to Silence:
Create in me a new heart, O God.

References:

[1] Brian D. McLaren, The Great Spiritual Migration: How the World’s Largest Religion Is Seeking a Better Way to Be Christian (Convergent: 2016), xi.
[2] Harvey Cox, The Future of Faith: The Rise and Fall of Beliefs and the Age of the Spirit (HarperOne: 2009), 5-6.
[3] McLaren, The Great Spiritual Migration, 14.

Adapted from Richard Rohr, “The Emerging Church: Beyond Fight or Flight,” Radical Grace, Vol. 21, No.4 (Center for Action and Contemplation: 2008).

Source:
Center for Action and Contemplation

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A Progressive Christian Voice

Just a reminder to regularly go to our friends at A Progressive Christian Voice (Australia) who are encouraging contributions to public debate by promoting a generous and future-focused understanding of the Christian faith.

A Progressive Christian Voice (Australia):

  • Understands Christian opinion to be more diverse and broader than that portrayed by the media.
  • Is dedicated to contributing insights from progressive streams of the Christian faith and community.
  • Seeks to minimise the effect that powerful lobby groups have on public discourse.

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Being to Becoming

Another subscriber has drawn attention to a recent ABC RN Interview:

The Posthuman on The Philosopher’s Zone

 with Joe Gelonesi  (3rd December 2016)

To listen, click here

In the 1960s Michel Foucault famously declared the end of man (sic) as we know him. In doing so he propelled what has come to be known as the posthuman turn—an all-encompassing worldview that held for over three centuries was deemed to be coming to a close. So, how’s the project going? Italian-Australian Rosi Braidotti, eminent philosopher and one-time student of Foucault, explains how we got here, and what’s still to come.

What are we capable of becoming – what are we becoming and not aware of it?

The so-called postmodern, post truth, post christian and post humanism era is upon us. But, of course, this has not happened overnight and philosophers can trace much of the end of the influence of the dominant European male face of humanism to the middle of the 20th century – even to the beginning of the nuclear age. The idea of the ‘thinking being’ has changed.

What takes the place of humanism? Is it a utopian socialist humanism or has that experiment failed? Or is it still to come? Or are we about to take a totally different political direction – towards an ethical, collaborative, community building – a form of radical democracy?

The unfolding political scenes around the globe have raised many questions about the future of humanity. This discussion raises the increasing emphasis on the non-human other that influences our future – the creation of a new technical culture.

Should we be pessimistic or optimistic?

Enjoy!

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The search for spirituality beyond organised religion.

hugh-mackayIf you missed it, it is well worth listening to this ABC Podcast

 

 

Hugh MacKay

Spirituality in a secular age (click on this link)

Regular church going has been on the wane in Australia for years. Those who call themselves atheists are more abundant in number. And many of the big institutional religions have suffered reputational damage in recent times. But none of this means we have abandoned spirituality or a search for meaning in the modern world. So says author and social researcher, Hugh MacKay. We want to feel connected to something bigger, he maintains, even if we have turned away from organised religion.

In Hugh MacKay’s recent publication Beyond Belief , he argues that while our attachment to a traditional idea of God may be waning, our desire for a life of meaning remains as strong as ever. In his social research on Australian culture, he asks what do people actually mean when they say ‘God’? Around two-thirds of us say we believe in God or some ‘higher power’, but fewer than one in ten Australians attend church weekly. In Beyond Belief, Hugh Mackay presents this discrepancy as one of the great unexamined topics of our time.

Recorded at the Brisbane Powerhouse 26th May 2016.

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Bishop Jeremy Greaves

Congratulations to Rev Jeremy Greaves, Rector, St Marks, Buderim, who will become Bishop of the Nor07d23821thern Region of the Anglican Diocese of Brisbane from mid February 2017.

The consecration ceremony will be held at St Johns Cathedral, Brisbane at 7pm on Friday 24th February.

Jeremy led our team over three years of planning for the very successful Common Dreams Conference in Brisbane this year. His guiding hand kept a large team with diverse backgrounds and skills working in unity for this long period.

Jeremy brings extensive and varied experiences to his new role:

He has been Parish Priest at Buderim since May 2013. Currently he is also Archdeacon for the area.

Before coming to Buderim, Fr. Jeremy was Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Darwin where he presided over the rebuilding of the cathedral badly damaged by cyclone. He has worked in parishes in Adelaide and remote South Australia as well as Katherine in the Northern Territory.

He has passion for ministry with people, often thought of as being on the margins. He will also maintain a strong interest in the developing Progressive Christianity movement.

Fr. Jeremy is married to Josie and together they have three children.

His administrative region covers all parishes on the northern side of the Brisbane River to Bundaberg and he hopes to reside on the Sunshine Coast where the Greaves children attend schools.

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Improved book buying

From Rex Hunt:

G’day folks,

After a lot of planning and discussing, and plenty of other negotiation, Morning Star Publishing – the Australian publisher of my books – has announced readers in UK and NZ (as well as OZ!) can order copies of all my books direct from their web site, and the books will be printed and delivered locally.

Readers in South Africa can also order the same way but their books will be printed in UK.

This is a significant break-through for all authors who reside within the Morning Star Publishing stable. Thanks to all concerned.

Morning Star Publishing:   http://www.morningstarpublishing.net.au/

Morning Star Publishing have publishing arrangements with Wipf & Stock.:   https://wipfandstock.com/

Thank you for support during the past few months.

Warm regards,  RAEH

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A Hymn in response to the NZ Earthquake

earthquake-nzFrom Bill Wallace via Rex Hunt

I am sending this hymn to you as a response to the massive earthquake in N.Z. earlier this week. It was written after the Christchurch quake but is equally appropriate now. It has been published in the USA by World Library Publications as part of a collections of some of my hymns Singing the Sacred Vol 2.

I would be most appreciative if you could send it out to all those who are on your Progressive Christianity list. It can be sung to Lucerna Laudoniae 77 in With One Voice.

Many thanks in anticipation, Bill Wallace.

“When Earth Wakes from Out of Sleep”

When Earth wakes from out of sleep

With a terrifying shake,

Does our faith lie torn apart

Like the dwellings we forsake?

Cosmic God, each process shows

Parts of wisdom Earth well knows.

 

Once we thought that earthquakes came

From a god to punish wrong;

Now we know they place Earth’s plates

Where for now they should belong.

Cosmic God, each process shows

Parts of wisdom Earth well knows.

 

If we think that all that comes

Is made solely for our good,

We have placed ourselves above

Cosmic ways and livelihood.

Cosmic God, each process shows

Parts of wisdom Earth well knows.

 

If Earth’s plates now need to move,

Its great need exceeds our own,

And it does not take account

Where we choose to make our home.

Cosmic God, each process shows

Parts of wisdom Earth well knows.

 

For the answers we return

To the Cosmos and its ways,

Ways that humble all our pride,

Ways that fill our hearts with praise.

Cosmic God of everything,

Your great mystery now we sing.

oOo

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Advent/Christmas Carol adaptation for Refugee Children

Rex Hunt has passed this on to us:

Our New Zealand friend, Shirley Erina Murray, harefugee-childrens sent me this song which reflects on Refugee children during the Advent/Christmas season. You may care to consider using it sometime soon. Thank you Shirley.

“Carol of the Refugee Children” (Tune: ‘Cradle Song’)

Away and in danger,

no hope of a bed,

the refugee children,

no tears left to shed

                look up at the night sky

                for someone to know

                that refugee children

                have no place to go.       

The babies are crying,

their hunger awakes,

the boat is too loaded,

it shudders and breaks;

                humanity’s wreckage

                is thrown out to die,

                the refugee children

                will never know why.

Come close, little children,

we hold out our hand

in rescue and welcome

to shores of our land –

                in *aroha, touching

       your fear and your pain,

                with dreams for your future            

                when peace comes again.

(© Shirley Erena Murray 2016)

*Maori for ‘warm embracing love’, alternative line “in touching, in healing’

 

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Who do you say I am? by Kevin Treston

Kevin Treston’s latest book is called Who do you say I am? 

treston-book

It can be purchased from Morning Star Publishing

 The religious landscape is changing rapidly and many of those still affiliated with the Christian communities are increasingly uneasy about the Traditional Christian
Story whose original impulse was God’s act of restoration through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus following the primal sin.
Who do you say I am?, Kevin Treston offers a complementary understanding of the tradition, exploring the features of a Cosmic Christian Story that situates God’s
revelation in Jesus as the Christ firmly within the evolving dynamics of creation. It seeks a response to how Christians may understand and celebrate the Incarnation within the wondrous evolution of all things in our cosmic context. It is a Story that takes account of modern science, especially cosmology, quantum physics, energy field theories, genetics, globalisation, technology, and neuroscience that are changing forever how humans live as citizens of the planet.  is book is for general readers who aspire to extend their understanding of the Christian story and live their faith in the modern world.

Kevin Treston is a well known author and consultant. He has worked
globally for many years in the areas of education, spirituality,
theology and pastoral ministry.
WHO DO YOU SAY I AM?
The Christ story in the cosmic context
Kevin Treston
Morning Star Publishing
9780995381520
148mm x 210mm
124 pages
$19.95

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“Best Conference Ever!”

This is how Jeremy Greaves, Chair of the Local Arrangements Committee for Common Dreams 4, oplac-2016ened his debriefing with the planning committee yesterday.

The official review based on participant surveys will not be available for some time but there was a good feeling about this conference from the presenters and the participants.

The planning committee grabbed a brief moment during the clean-up to have a photo taken [Missing from the photo shoot are Noel Preston and Ingerid Meagher]

Go to:  Photos   for a photo album of ‘moments’ which will remind you of how well things went. This conference will have an enormous impact on developments in progressive spirituality and give participants and their networks a lot to reflect on and act on in the months ahead.

Some stats:

  • Over 400 participants including the parallel special program for Gen Y/Millennials, the Emerging Generations
  • The largest contingent came from Queensland which more than doubled its previous attendance figures
  • Multi-faith representation was good as well as presentations providing Muslim and Jewish progressive perspectives
  • New ground was broken with the incorporation of a “Dine About” at eight Southbank restaurants
  • The World premiere of the new video from Living the Questions – Let’s be Frank was presented in the lunch breaks – soon to be available free from their website.
  • The book signing by many of the authors present led to queues.
  • 700 lunch box meals provided by the wonderful catering team from Somerville House College; 1500 morning and afternoon teas served in the splendid courtyards.

Send me any of your personal reflections –  More feedback

Let the conversation continue!

 

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Last chance to register for CD4

Progressive Spirituality – New Directions

Common Dreams 4

With the registrations for the Fourth International Common Dreams Conference in Brisbane closing in a few days, we have been reflecting on the two years of preparation for what promises to be a wonderful event. It is unlikely that Brisbane will see such a gathering of experienced practitioners and newcomers in the progressive field of spirituality for a long time. Our big team of volunteers has undergone professional training in readiness to make hundreds of visitors welcome, safe and happy. From the incredible range of speakers and workshops, to the delicious food and Brisbane hospitality, the bookshop, coffee stations, great technology, and cultural interactions this will be a memorable event in the splendid environment of one of Brisbane’s most advanced colleges.

The Local Arrangements Committee in Brisbane, recognizing that some people cannot make the whole conference, has negotiated with Common Dreams Incorporated for registrations for One Day Only – either Saturday 17th September or, alternatively, Sunday 18th September.  As a ‘one-dayer’, you will be able to fully immerse yourself in the Conference and all of the breakout groups as well as enjoying the morning and afternoon teas and picnic lunch being supplied to all delegates. In addition, at no extra charge, the ‘one-dayer’ will have full access to that evening’s Public Lecture by one of the international guests.

The cost of this One day Entry Ticket is only $135 and can be obtained by email or phone to the Queensland Executive Conference Coordinator Ms Debbie Riddell M:0407 573 423  E: sdr3296@bigpond.net.au . Debbie will arrange a bank payment process suitable to the short time frame.

The full program for each day can be seen on the Conference website www.commondreams.org.au

Make your choice as to which day you wish to attend, email your booking request no later than Monday 12th September, and then experience a whole “New Directions in Progressive Spirituality” day of great stimulation!

For last minute bookings for the whole conference, or for just the evening keynote lectures go to commondreams.org.au and make your booking before it is too late.

One Day Tickets are only available between Friday 2nd September and Monday 12th September.   All Conference ticket sales will close on 13th September due to luncheon catering contract commitments.

oOo

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Positions at Mapuru Christian School, Arnhem Land

Mapuru Christian School is described by its principal, Linda Miller, as the most progressive school in Australia. It is a place where ‘inclusive’ means having a worldview that is broad, generous and comprehensive. Linda is looking for staff who are keen to experience what Mapuru in Arnhem Land has to offer. See the details below, or meet and chat to Linda at the Common Dreams Conference in Brisbane.

MapuruAre you an experienced EAL/D teacher who loves developing students’ early literacy & numeracy skills?
Do you hold deep respect for Yolnu values, histories and languages?
Are you enlivened by the prospect of working collaboratively in teaching teams?
Are you a practical person who can develop creative, purposeful learning for students living with their families on their ancestral estates?
Are you interested to become part of our succession planning team for Teachers, Specialist Teachers and Teaching Principal?
Are you a committed teacher who holds an inclusive Christian worldview?
We invite you to consider joining our team at Mäpuru Christian School
Expressions of Interest are sought for the position(s) of:
Relief Teacher
English as an Additional Language Teacher, Yrs 1—10
Mäpuru Christian School has vacancies for EAL/D relief teachers who are keen to work collaboratively with Yol?u co-teachers. Relief teaching positions are available for short periods with a view to developing an ongoing relationship with Mäpuru, and to take up full time positions as they become available.

Mäpuru is in NE Arnhem Land and is a unique, beautiful and very remote tiny town of about 100 people inclusive of 40-50 students.  There is no alcohol, drugs or domestic violence and the children are enthusiastic learners.  We follow an innovative Elder and community guided bi-literacy and bi-cultural curriculum that involves much learning on country.

You can find out more about Mapuru by contacting Linda or visiting the website:

Linda Miller, Teaching Principal: Ph: 08 8970 4996
Email: linda.miller@ntschools.net
PMB 301, Winnellie NT 0822

To learn more about Mäpuru visit: www.arnhemweavers.com.au

If you open the Cultural Tours tab, you can see stories written by visitors to Mäpuru about their experiences, year by year. 

oOo

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Exciting Ministry Opportunity

The Joint Nominating Committee has today asked me to share the following with you in the hope that appropriately skilled, experienced and motivated people will apply for the position of Minister at St Michael’s in Collins Street Melbourne. Please pass on this invitation to people you think could apply…..if only I was younger! 

Collins St 2St Michael’s Uniting Church is located in the heart of the world’s most liveable city – Melbourne Australia.

A rare opportunity has become available for an experienced Minister who embraces contemporary, progressive Christian theology and has an understanding of the factors that contribute to psycho-spiritual wellbeing in us all.

You must be an experienced, soundly-researched and inspiring preacher who understands the opportunities a well-resourced city church can offer.

Collins Street 1You will also

  • Have strong leadership ability and dynamic communication skills
  • Be able to inspire, energise and promote growth in the congregation, the life of the Church and its mission
  • Be committed to ongoing theological education, integrating other disciplines, contemporary thinking and promotion of mental wellbeing
  • Promote inclusivity and multicultural understanding
  • Nurture people in faith and spiritual development
  • Demonstrate experience, creativity and innovation in the development, management and evaluation of community projects
  • Enjoy working collaboratively with others in the Uniting Church in Australia and beyond
  • Understand the dynamics of a city church where all are accepted
  • Show how you have supported pastoral care initiatives

Collins St 3For further information or to apply, please email applications@stmichaels.org.au for a confidential response. Closing date: 14 October 2016

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Queenslanders getting in early for CD4 in significant numbers

Common Dreams 4With the Common Dreams Fourth International Conference being held in Brisbane this September, we expected that we would see a good number of Queenslanders registering early and we have not been disappointed. The Board of CD4 in Melbourne has kindly extended the Early Bird rate for registrations until 14th August, but time is running out for this lower rate.

You can register for the conference on Eventbrite, with a number of options.

For details about the Conference Program, Eminent Speakers, Workshops, the Special Optional Introduction to Progressive Spirituality and the Program for Young Adult participants go to the CD4 Website. You will also find a link to Registering through Eventbrite on the front page of the CD4 Website.

This is an opportunity not be missed.

If you would like to receive a brochure/brochures please email your postal address details to Paul Inglis. Alternatively you can receive this in electronic form by email.

Looking forward to a great gathering of progressive thinkers, leaders and practitioners at Somerville House College, South Brisbane, from 16th to 19th September.

oOo

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Robin Meyers captures essence of progressive thinking

Common Dreams on the Road

Rev Dr Robin Meyers, on his first visit to Australia, has been captivating large audiences in Perth, Melbourne, Sydney and last night at Merthyr Uniting Church, New Farm, Brisbane. The last opportunity to experience this brilliant scholar, theologian, Oklahoma University professor of philosophy and pastor to the liberal progressive congregation at Mayflower Church in Oklahoma, will be at Caloundra Uniting Church on the Sunshine Coast tomorrow (26/5/16) at 9.30am and 1.30pm.

You can still register a place by emailing John Everall.

$15 per session or $25 for both sessions paid at the door. BYO Lunch.

Session 1: How quantum physics is redefining “Almighty”.

Session 2: Undone – faith as resistance to empire.

Just to wet your appetite we have included here some youtube clips of the Australian Tour:

Saving Jesus from the Church

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cnfJcZkZ2OU

The Underground Church

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1h7zyX0y3bc

God Talk – reuniting science and religion

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eS5RjmJr6Yc

Things are not the same in Joppa these days

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwMPraLrUxU

oOo

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SoFiA – Muslims in Australia

SoFiA lunch, AGM and Mini conference – South Brisbane

The Annual General Meeting of Sea of Faith in  Australia  will be held at South Brisbane at 2.00 pm on Saturday 25 June 2016. As it is 18 years since SoFiA was founded, we can say we have reached our majority. To recognise this, the AGM will be preceded by a celebratory lunch and two typical SoFiA sessions – a presentation by an outstanding speaker, and a more informal workshop. It will be a mini conference on the important current issue: Islam in Australia.

Venue: Verandah Room, Fox Hotel, South Brisbane,Saturday 25 June 2016

Full details at: http://www.sof-in-australia.org/conferences.php

The guest speaker, Faiza El Higzi, was born in the Sudan and trained as an architect. She has held a number of senior positions and is currently the Manager of the Romero Centre in Dutton Park, an agency of Mercy FaizaCommunity Services. Newly graduated, married and pregnant, she had to flee her native country and finally settled in Australia. Here, she has worked in a number of roles, including as senior policy advisor on multicultural issues. She has also become involved in a wide range of cultural areas, including health, cinema, sport and fashion. The brief she has accepted for this presentation –Islam in Australia in the 21st Century – is to consider some of the scenarios that may arise in the coming decades in response to religious and political movements and events throughout the world. You can hear her 2012 ABC interview with Richard Fidler here: http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2012/08/07/3562519.htm

oOo

 

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How to register for the Fourth Common Dreams Conference – Brisbane

CD4 TagGo to CD4 Registrations

The theme of the conference is “Progressive Spirituality: New Directions” and the program will take participants through a broad spectrum of topics exploring what it means to be “spiritual” in contemporary times.  Eco-theological aspects of spirituality, indigenous spirituality, and aspects of Muslim and Jewish spirituality will also be examined.

Eminent international writers, researchers and scholars Dr Diana Butler Bass and Professor Pamela Eisenbaum and well known Australian theologian Dr Val Webb will deliver major public addresses and they will also participate in other parts of the program. Rev Dr David Felten, Co-founder of Living the Questions and an acclaimed speaker at the third Common Dreams Conference in 2013, will also feature as will Fred Plumer of ProgressiveChristianity.org and Adrian Alker of the Progressive Christian Network (Britain).

A strong team of Australian and New Zealand speakers will present keynote addresses, lectures and workshops.  These include Michael Morwood, Graeme Mundine, Lorraine Parkinson, Margaret Mayman, Jana Norman, Saara Sabbagh and Ian Lawton.

During part of the conference there will be a parallel program designed, presented and led by “young” people exclusively for their contemporaries.

oOo

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Seminars by Robin Meyers at Caloundra

UCA LOGOExplorers Group    The Caloundra Explorers Group  and Common Dreams on the Road,

  present:

Rev Dr Robin Meyers

Caloundra Uniting Church,  56 Queen St, Caloundra

9.30am  Thursday  26th May 2016

Rev Robin Meyers, PhD – Author of “Saving Jesus from the Church” Robin Meyers is a best-selling author and a highly regarded speaker. He is the senior minister at the Mayflower Congregational (United Church of Christ) in Oklahoma and Professor of Social Justice at Oklahoma City University and a Fellow of the Jesus Seminar.Robin Meyers

  • 9:30 am::     Re-uniting Science and ReligionGod-Talk : How Quantum Physics is Redefining “Almighty

‘In this lecture, especially geared towards those who yearn for science and religion to be reunited in the quest for meaning, Dr. Meyers explores the impact of recent scientific discoveries about the nature of the universe on our understanding of God.  Instead of our traditional view of a clockwork universe, where the Whole is merely the sum of its parts, quantum physics ( and especially something called quantum entanglement) has challenged long-held views on our relationship to the material world, even as it has validated the essential and timeless message of religious mystics.’

12.15pm.   Enjoy discussion and your byo Picnic Lunch in Church Grounds-tea/coffee supplied. Take the opportunity to meet open-minded friendly people in a safe place.

  • 1:30 pm: Undone – faith as resistance to Empire – What Kind of Church would You find Irresistible: The (Christian?) Imperative for socio/political engagement.

This Seminar is hosted by Caloundra Uniting Church Social Justice Group and is for all      who are  interested in social justice within our community .

Quote Dr. Meyers“ It is a myth that the gospel of Jesus Christ can ever be personally redemptive without being socially responsible. If there is one distinction that is crucial for the future of the church it is this : charity and justice are not the same thing”.

Cost: $15 per session;       Pay only $25 for the 2 sessions;

Phone bookings and enquiries: Margaret Landbeck  Ph. 0402 851 422

Please Book Your Seat by Email jjeverall@bigpond.com    Tickets at Door.

 

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Common Dreams 4 – program details

CDImage

The website for Common Dreams now has the international conference program outline available for perusal. Shortly Eventbrite bookings will be open and there are significant benefits for early bird bookings. The conference runs from 16th to 19th September at Somerville House College, South Brisbane, near Lady Cilento Hospital.

More information about the speakers, topics, workshops and all of the program details will be posted soon on the CD site. A special parallel program for youthful participants is being offered with access to all keynote presentations for all people. We will keep you informed.

Thank you to the 37 volunteers (so far) who have offered their services to make this a great event. If you would like to be part of this team please drop me an email – Paul

Our Queensland local planning team has been on the job for two years and are very excited about what we have to offer. We look forward to welcoming visitors from all states and many from overseas. Included in the visitors will be a group of students from USA.

Hope to see you there ……

oOo

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Q&A – Christianity in Australia – Monday 25th April – ABC TV

Don’t miss Q&A next week or catch it later in iview. Just type in Q&A in the ‘Find a program’ box.

This link will take you directly to information about panelists on next Monday’s Q&A session at  9.36pm – Q&A Monday 25th April

Tony Jones with panelists:

Professor John Haldane – Distinguished Visiting Professor in Philosophy at the University of Notre Dame Australia, is one of the world’s foremost thinkers and a significant public intellectual within the Catholic tradition.

Journalist Julie McCrossin – An Elder and Church Council Member of the South Sydney Uniting Church in Redfern in Sydney. After 20 years as a broadcaster with ABC Radio National, ABC TV and Network Ten, she is now a freelance journalist and facilitator. She presented the radio show Life Matters on ABC Radio National for 5 years

Indigenous Anglican Pastor Ray Minniecon – A descendant of the Kabi Kabi nation and the Gurang Gurang nation of South-East Queensland. Ray is also a descendant of the South Sea Islander people with connections to the people of Ambrym Island. Ray’s most recent career engagement was with the Anglican Diocese of Sydney as a Pastor and Director of Crossroads Aboriginal Ministries.

Rev. Tiffany Sparks –  Tiffany was ordained in 2011 and appointed as priest in charge of St Paul’s Ashgrove. As one of the youngest female priests in Brisbane, Tiffany has continued on with her passion with social justice issues. Tiffany considers herself contemporary and egalitarian in her beliefs and ministry, while her liturgical style is traditional Anglo-Catholic.

Managing Dir. of the Australian Christian Lobby Lyle Shelton – In 1997 he became youth pastor at Toowoomba City Church before being elected to Toowoomba City Council in 2000. He was re-elected in 2004 and stood as a candidate in the 2006 Queensland State election. After a short stint as a political adviser to Queensland Senators Ron Boswell and Barnaby Joyce, Lyle was appointed national chief of staff at the Australian Christian Lobby in 2007. He was appointed managing director in May 2013.

More extensive bios are available at  Q&A Monday 25th April.

You can also participate in this session in a number of ways –

And later, tell us what you think! Email to Paul

oOo

 

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Peter Catt on Compass tomorrow

Just to let you know that Rev Dr Peter Catt, President of APCV, will be interviewed in the ABC TV Compass program at 6:30pm on Sunday, 10 April.

The program is about the churches offering sanctuary to those seeking refugee status. Peter is involved in that program as Dean of St John’s Anglican Cathedral in Brisbane, as Convenor of the National Churches group monitoring refugee policy and conditions and as President of APCV (A Progressive Christian Voice).

Peter Catt is Dean of St John’s Cathedral in Brisbane.

 

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Next Caloundra Progressive Service

This is a highly enthusiastic reminder that the next Caloundra Uniting Church Explorers ‘Alternative’ Evening Service is on 5pm Sunday 17th April (Sunday next!).

The great news is the Rev. Dr. Rob Bos will be the Guest Speaker  and Leader for this service:  Please make a note in your diary for 5-7pm Sunday 17th April.

The theme is “ ’Aboriginal Spirituality’  within a progressive Christianity conversation”.

A very special service of great interest to a wide section of the congregation and general community . All welcomed! BYO light finger food for meal and discussion within the service. John Ph. 5492.4229; Anne Ph. 5492 6761.

Rob Bos has had very long, and current, involvement with aboriginal communities in the Western desert APY Lands and Northern Australia, and his writing activities make him a fascinating speaker. I have given him the challenge of speaking and leading a ‘progressive’ service.

Educator, Writer, Editor,  Rob was formerly Principal of Coolamon College and Nungalinya College, as well working with the Uniting Aboriginal and Islander Christian Congress. He has had congregational appointments in Grace Christian Community, Aurukun and Weipa. He is the co-editor, with Geoff Thompson, of Theology for Pilgrims: Selected documents of the Uniting Church in Australia.

Rob holds the following degrees: Bachelor of Arts (University of Queensland), Bachelor of Divinity (Melbourne College of Divinity), Doctor of Ministry (McCormick Seminary, Chicago), Doctor of Philosophy (University of Queensland), Master of Distance Education (University of South Australia)

Rob is also a co-secretary of the Caloundra Church Council now that he is spending more time in Caloundra.

So, expect a fascinating service which has discussion within it.  Aboriginal spirituality, traditional Christian spirituality ‘overlaid’ throughout the last century, and now discussed within a modern and for many, a progressive spirituality, setting.

oOo

 

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What is Progressive Christianity?

Progressive Christianity’s most powerful “evangelism” tools are our willingness to empty ourselves of prideful claims to the ultimate truth, and our efforts to serve the common good of humanity.   Jim Burklo, What is Progressive Christianity?

Amongst the many definitions of Progressive Christianity is that of Jim Burklo author of Open Christianity: home by another road (available from Amazon), He offers 11 characteristics which he describes as ‘a work in progress’:

  1. Progressive Christians keep the faith and drop the dogma.
  2. For us, God is Love, not a Guy in the Sky.
  3. [If] God and Nature are one, science is a way to learn about God.
  4. Faith is about deeds, not creeds.
  5. We take the Bible seriously because we don’t have to take it literally.
  6. Spiritual questions are more important to us than religious answers.
  7. The morality of what happens in war-room and the board-room matters more to us than what happens in the bedroom.
  8. Other religions can be as good for others as our religion is good for us.                                         
  9. Our church parking is for cars, not brains.
  10. God is bigger than our ideas about God  
  11. God evolves, and so does our religion.

But there are other descriptors –

Progressive Christianity.Org  is a global network that offers thoughtful and practical resources for individuals, families and communities to explore and affect progressive Chrisitianity, spirituality, community life, social and environmental justice.

1.  Believe that following the path and teachings of Jesus can lead to an awareness and experience of the Sacred and the Oneness and Unity of all life;

2.  Affirm that the teachings of Jesus provide but one of many ways to experience the Sacredness and Oneness of life, and that we can draw from diverse sources of wisdom in our spiritual journey;

3.  Seek community that is inclusive of ALL people, including but not limited to:

conventional Christians and questioning skeptics, believers and agnostics, women and men, those of all sexual orientations and gender identities, those of all classes and abilities;

4.  Know that the way we behave towards one another is the fullest expression of what we believe;

5.  Find grace in the search for understanding and believe there is more value in questioning than in absolutes;

6.  Strive for peace and justice among all people;

7.  Strive to protect and restore the integrity of our Earth;

8.  Commit to a path of life-long learning, compassion, and selfless love.

These 8 Points were the focus in their latest progressive Christian Children’s Curriculum: A Joyful Path Curriculum, for ages 6-10.

 

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Still more high interest seminars coming

Following the spectacular response to Val Webb’s seminars (approximately 400 seats occupied in total), we now look forward to Robin Meyers coming to Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast in May.

As we prepare for the Common Dreams International Conference in September in Brisbane, these outstanding speakers are wetting our appetites for what is shaping up to be a feast of brilliant scholars and writers……an opportunity to explore future expressions of faith and spirituality, eco-­theology and inter-­faith issues (including indigenous connections)
with a program of distinguished international speakers and eminent Australian and New Zealand experts. More about that soon …… but for now:

Robin Meyers

ROBIN MEYERS

  • Minister, United Church of Christ, USA
  • Professor of Social Justice, Oklahoma
  • Fellow of the Jesus Seminar
  • Author of 7 books including Saving Jesus from the Church

at Merthyr Road Uniting Church, 52 Merthyr Rd, New Farm:

Tuesday 24th May, 7 pm: From Galilean Sage to Supernatural Saviour:  The Heresy of Orthodoxy

Cost: $20 per head – payable at the door

Tea/coffee available 6:30 – 6:50

Bookings are not necessary for this opportunity to hear Rev Dr Robin Meyers speak. However, your rsvp with your intention to attend will be helpful for setting up sufficient chairs. drgarn@bigpond.net.au or 0409 498 403

and then twice at Caloundra Uniting Church, 56C Queen St, Caloundra

Thursday 26th May

  • 9:30 am: God-Talk : How Quantum Physics is Redefining “Almighty”: Re-uniting Science and Religion. (Hosted by Caloundra Explorers and open to all)
  • 1:30 pm: Undone – faith as resistance to Empire – What Kind of Church would You find Irresistible: The (Christian?) Imperative for socio/political engagement. (Hosted by Caloundra UC Social Justice Group and open to all)

Cost: $15 per session; $25 for 2 sessions

Bookings and enquiries: jjeverall@bigpond.com

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‘Made on Earth’ by Lorraine Parkinson – now available

The latest from Dr Lorraine Parkinson.

For Australians and New Zealanders it is free of postage for $35 from Spectrum Publications.  The web site is www.spectrumpublications.com.au

Why have millions of Christians across two millennia been convinced that Jesus of Nazareth is the divinely anointed Christ?  Lorraine Parkinson sets out compelling reasons why the gospels may be found to have been ‘made on earth’. She builds a strong argument that each gospel was written to make a distinct case for Jesus as the Christ. She presents detailed evidence that the Christ of the gMade on Earth 1ospels is the creation of Mark, Matthew, Luke and John, plus later editors. The sub-text of this book contends that by including teachings of Jesus alongside claims for him as Christ, gospel writers bequeathed to Christianity two contradictory gospels – the gospel of Jesus and the gospel about Jesus. There is both detailed and courageous biblical scholarship in Made on Earth.

Rev Rex A E Hunt, Founding Director, The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought, Canberra. Immediate Past Chair, Common Dreams Conference of Religious Progressives, Australia/New Zealand : At last! A book that helps its readers to see and understand how the Way of Jesus with its emphasis on this world, was wrong-footed into fixation on “the Christ” and the next world. There is no bigger challenge to Christianity today than to rid itself of this fixation and from creedal adherence to the worldview that shaped it. In this book Lorraine Parkinson provides us with the perfect follow-up to her previous work, The World According to Jesus: his blueprint for the best possible world.

oOo

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Could you be a Common Dreams Conference Volunteer?

An invitation to progressive thinking peopleCDImage

With the fourth international Common Dreams Conference in Brisbane in September this year, we are now inviting people from Progressive Groups in SE Queensland to offer themselves as volunteers. Volunteers will be particularly important to the smooth running of the conference at Somerville House College, South Brisbane and we also need some assistance for our action teams that are now working on components of the action plan.

A vibrant committee has spent two years planning the conference and assisting Common Dreams Incorporated with the mounting of CD4. Now we have Teams responsible for:

  • Transport and Hospitality
  • IT Coordination
  • Registration management
  • Speaker Support and Stage Direction
  • Venue Management including Music Activity
  • Local Marketing and the ‘Brisbane Experience’
  • Coordination of Volunteers
  • Other emerging tasks.

We can use your interest and enthusiasm for the developing stream of progressive spirituality.

Contact: Paul Inglis  or  John Everall

 

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Dr Val Webb’s seminars attracting lot of interest

Val WebAs expected the “Testing Tradition and Liberating Theology” and “Practicing Theological Hospitality” seminars have drawn a significant number of registrations. It is not too late to register. Just scroll down for all the details of Val Webb’s presentations at New Farm Uniting Church on 5th March. We need to know numbers for catering and space. Look forward to a great day!

Enquiries: Desley Garnett

oOo

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Progressive Christians offering sanctuary to refugees

More than ten Australian Churches across Australia are offering sanctuary to refugees who may be transferred to detention on Nauru. Now 10 Anglican and Uniting churches around the country have offered sanctuary to the asylum seekers who are at risk of being returned.

The Churches, all with strong progressive values, are invoking the historical concept of sanctuary, opening their doors to asylum seekers facing removal back to offshore detention centres.

Key points:

  • ‘Sanctuary’ concept yet to be tested under Australian law
  • High Court rejects challenge to the legality of Australia’s offshore detention centres
  • 270 asylum seekers in fear of being returned to Manus Island or Nauru

The High Court has rejected a challenge to the legality of Australia’s offshore detention centres, a ruling that means nearly 270 asylum seekers who came to Australia for medical treatment could be returned to either Nauru or Manus Island.

One of Australia’s senior Anglican leaders, Rev Dr Peter Catt, said places of worship were entitled to offer sanctuary to those seeking refuge from brutal and oppressive forces.

Peter Catt is Dean of St John’s Anglican Cathedral, Brisbane. From 1997 to 2007 Peter was the Dean of Grafton. He helped establish and run the International Philosophy, Science and Theology Festival, which wPeter Cattas held at Christ Church Cathedral, Grafton. He holds a PhD in evolutionary microbiology from the University of NSW and a BD from the Melbourne College of Divinity.

His interests include Christian Formation, liturgical innovation, the interaction between science and religion, and Narrative Theology . He is a member of a number of environmental and Human Rights organisations and has serves on Anglican Social Justice Committees at both Diocesan and National level. He is the current chair of The Australian Churches Refugee Taskforce.

The Australian Human Rights Commission’s new report reveals what Ms Narayanasamy describes as the “alarming impacts of detention on children”.

The report is based on interviews and medical testing of children at Wickham Point detention facility, many of whom spent time on Nauru.

Immigration Minister Peter Dutton is under increased pressure to allow asylum seekers to remain in Australia following claims the overwhelming majority of former child detainees are at risk of serious mental health issues.

Labor MP Melissa Parke has lashed out at her party for supporting the Federal Government’s “utterly repugnant” offshore processing regime following a High Court ruling upholding the policy of detaining asylum seekers on Nauru.

A woman who was held in detention on Nauru before giving birth to a son in Darwin last year after complications during the pregnancy has described today’s High Court decision as a nightmare.

Immigration minister Peter Dutton said the government would not be “dragging people out of churches” but insisted that the people’s cases would be individually considered on medical advice.

As well as St John’s Cathedral in Brisbane other churches and affiliated chapels offering sanctuary were:

  • St Cuthbert’s Anglican church, Darlington, Western Australia
  • Wesley Uniting church, Perth
  • Gosford Anglican church, Sydney
  • Pilgrim Uniting church, Adelaide
  • St John’s Uniting church, Essendon
  • Paddington Anglican church, Sydney
  • Pitt Street Uniting church, Sydney
  • Wayside Chapel, Sydney

Acknowledgement: Material taken from several ABC News bulletins and The Guardian News.