Sep 13 2010

September 2010 Newsletter

Published by under Newsletters



September 2010



Bruce Spittle briefly introduced Lloyd Geering’s latest, prize-winning book:

Such is Life!  A close encounter with Ecclesiastes

as a lead in to our discussing some of the issues it raises. A copy of the introductory comments and the questions to be considered has already been posted on our website  – click to see The book has also been reviewed by Don Feist in the national Sea of Faith Newsletter, number 88, May 2010.
[If you would like to read beforehand what Bruce is going to say, and cannot access the website, you may ring me and I will post you a copy –  Ed.]


Food Matters:

Marjorie would still like to have a few more names of people willing to take about one turn  a year in the kitchen, serving tea and washing up.


Our Library
A glance at the borrowing book shows that in the last 18 months there have been over 60 borrowings, covering 30 different titles.  The most popular were Karen Armstrong’s autobiography, “The Spiral Staircase”, David Boulton’s “The Trouble with God” and Lloyd Geering’s little booklet, “The Greening of Christianity”.

The Editor’s musing:
I learned quite a bit about myself in the session of the Book Group in which looked at the chapter headed “God Fades Out” in Don Cupitt’s book “The Old Creed and the New”.

Cupitt argues that for a thousand years, roughly 350 – 1350 CE, Christianity was genuinely monotheistic.   It was based on a dualism we can no longer accept, but it was self-consistent, and convincing for those times.   But with the earliest beginnings of the Renaissance,  Christian thinking and worship started to turn more to Jesus [and Mary] because people felt the need of putting a human face on God.   A god who was totally Other, totally spirit, seemed too remote.   Up to that time, although Jesus had been held to be divine, the human embodiment of God, he hadn’t been put in the place of God in the way he began to be at that time.

For me, this new trend is shown in the hymns attributed to Bernard of Clairvaux [although he was in fact a little earlier  –  1091-1153 CE]  – hymns I was rather fond of for a long time  – such as: “Jesus the very thought of thee …” and “Jesus thou Joy of loving hearts …”.     Also, I still remember the shock I felt, having been brought up to think that being Christian meant taking seriously the commandment about making no graven images, and no likeness of God,  when I saw a picture of Michaelangelo’s ceiling in the Sistine Chapel, with God’s finger almost touching Adam’s.   By the Victorian age, this humanising approach to Christian thinking about God had reached such a level that even a Presbyterian hymn book was willing to include such things as: “All hail the power of Jesus’ name …”,  and “There’s a friend for little children  …”.   This was a long way indeed from the original monotheism, where God alone was god,  in the centuries before the Renaissance!

What I think I now understand about the changes in my own thinking over the last 20 – 30 years, is that one reason I have so thoroughly rejected a realist view of a supernatural God “out there” or “up there” somewhere, is that a great deal of what I heard the Church was saying about God was compromised or contaminated by the view that “Jesus is God”.  Much longer ago than this, I had already been clear that I could not accept the dualism of two realities  – the world that scientists could study, and another supernatural world that only God and faith could reveal to us.   But I think the concept of God would have continued to have a stronger hold on me,  if the Church had still held to a purer concept  – a god who could never be thought of as a bigger and better human being.  I find it interesting that both Don Cupitt and Karen Armstrong have recently suggested that Moslems today are able to be more whole-hearted and single-minded in worship of Allah,  than the great majority of Christians are in their worship of God  – because they have not distorted or watered down their concept of Allah with human ideas and human values,  in the way Christians have done with their idea of God.

[As usual, comment  –  positive or negative  – for a future Newsletter, will be welcomed]

Chair: Marjorie Spittle – Phone 481 1418 – Email: Marjorie
Newsletter Editor: Donald Feist – Phone 476-3268 – Email: Don

No responses yet

Trackback URI | Comments RSS

Leave a Reply