Mar 07 2012

March 2012 Newsletter

Published by under Newsletters



March 2012


1. Annual General Meeting
2. Discussion and ideas forum: Where are we going? 

Three members gave a brief introduction, giving their ideas of where they would like Sea of Faith to be in five years time. This was followed by a time of sharing in small groups where everyone was able to have their say. The Committee was to  take note and use these ideas in their planning of the year’s programme.


Questions considered: 

  • Where would you like the Sea of Faith to be in 5 years time?
  • Are you satisfied with the programmes we have had over the past year?
  • Are there changes in direction you would like to see?
  • Are we moving too far away from the discussion of ideas of a religious/spiritual nature?
  • Should we be playing a more active role in moral/ethical issues?
  • Would you like to see changes to the format of our meetings i.e. talk or presentation followed or interspersed with discussion?
  • Do you have specific suggestions for a programme/ speaker?


3. Note from the Chairperson: 

It may well be that some of you missed the first meeting for the year due to the very inclement weather. Indeed we had a very sad start to our year with the sudden death of Don Feist. At the beginning of the meeting we paid tribute to Don, and the tremendous contribution he made to Sea of Faith both nationally and locally. A detailed tribute is recorded in the AGM Chairperson’s Report for 2012.

For those of you who had been in the Dunedin Sea of Faith group at its inception over 20 years ago, it was also a time to remember Mae Cairns who died in tragic circumstances in Wellington last month. Our group was started by Ian and Mae Cairns, at first meeting in the First Church manse, and both of them were very active in the group in the years before they left for Wellington.

We had a minute’s silence for them both.

4. Remembering Christ 

You will remember the article by Ian Harris in “Faith and Reason” in the ODT on 27th January 2012 “Good to rethink, But don’t forget Christ”. 

In that Ian concluded “For it is the Christ figure, much more than Jesus the man, that makes Christianity distinctive. Physically and spiritually, Jesus belonged within the Jewish faith. Islam reveres him as a prophet. Only Christianity affirms him as The Christ, the one who breaks through the roadblocks to a new way of being and a new order of humanity. 

One day, hopefully, Progressive Christians will find a way to affirm the Christ also – not in any supernatural sense, but as Christianity’s unique and enduring symbol of love, grace and transformation.” 


Don Feist suggested that there could be a discussion on “Christ”

A response from Pen Whitaker: 

…Prompted by Don’s suggestion, I have been rereading some of Matthew Fox’s “Coming of the Cosmic Christ.” Matthew Fox posits that “Cosmic Wisdom” might be a more meaningful, and especially a more ecumenical, expression.

Richard Dawson in ODT Faith and Reason 2nd March 2012 says Wisdom “is that elusive ability to be able to use knowledge for the betterment of one’s self and one’s community”. 

Nicholas of Cusa [1401-64] writes: “Humanity will find that it is not a diversity of creeds but the very same creed which is everywhere proposed… there cannot but be one wisdom. Humans must therefore all agree that there is but one simple wisdom whose power is infinite; and everyone, in explaining the intensity of this beauty, must discover that it is a supreme and terrible beauty”. 

If “wisdom” is not so much about intelligence as the understanding and awareness of what is good, true, whole, connected, and how to live life with dignity and compassion in the face of cruelty, aggression, ignorance, and indifference, then perhaps a discussion on Christ/Wisdom could be of value to us all.


Alan Jackson notes: I have just begun to read “Did St Paul Get Jesus right? By David Wenham [pub Lion Hudson, 2010, $16.99 – discovered in UBS].

The author notes that “Paul and others (is alleged to have…) turned Jesus, who was no more than a popular Jewish teacher and healer from Palestine, into a divine cult figure who came down from heaven to save humankind, died as a blood sacrifice for the sins of the world, was raised from the dead and ascended into heaven, and who will one day return to judge the world”. 

David concludes that “Paul was a very important figure in early Christianity, who probably did more than anyone else to make the Christian church an international movement – with strongly Jewish roots but with a universal outlook and practice. His letters, though they are not always easy to understand, represent remarkable insight into how the religion of Jesus of Nazareth, which started within the Jewish context of Galilee and Jerusalem, could speak to and be relevant to the non-Jewish world of the first-century Roman empire. But he did not invent either the idea of Jesus’ divinity or the idea of Jesus’ saving death”. 



Chair: Marjorie Spittle – Phone 481 1418 – Email: Marjorie
Acting Newsletter Editor: Alan Jackson Phone 473-6947 – Email: Alan
or: 55 Evans Street, Opoho, DUNEDIN 9010

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