Nov 09 2012

November 2012 Newsletter

Published by under Newsletters

091011.SOFimageSea of Faith – Dunedin
Exploring Meaning in Life
Newsletter NOVEMBER 2012


Next meeting

Dr David Clark, Labour MP

for Dunedin North


Thursday, 22nd November

Highgate Church buildings,
Maori Hill

Tea and Coffee will be available

between 5.15 and 5.50 pm

 Food will be available

$5 for as much as you want to eat plus rent
$2 if you come for the meeting only
Kitchen volunteers:
Sheila Clark, Alan Jackson

 The programme will start at 6 pm



 From the Chair


We often have some food left over after our meal. As we do not want to waste this, we would ask those of you who would like to take some home to bring a small container such as a margarine pottle along with you. It would help people in the kitchen immensely if you could return dirty dishes and cups to the serving counter as soon as possible.


 Next Meeting 22nd November 

Dr David Clark, Labour MP for Dunedin North, will speak on the role of Government in implementing a framework true to the best values embodied in our Western Christian heritage; the specific danger to our society presented by growing inequalities; and the importance of developing effective language to communicate values.

Dr David Clark 

In November 2011 he was elected to be the MP for Dunedin North. Previously, he was the Warden at Selwyn College in Castle Street. Before that he did a variety of things, including working on farms, factories, was a Presbyterian Minister and celebrant, worked as a Treasury analyst and served on the Otago Community Trust as Deputy Chair. He has been a representative cyclist for Otago and has twice completed the New Zealand Ironman at Taupo 2003, 2005.


 Our Last Meeting 

There was a clash with the Fullbright Lecture at University and that may have accounted for the drop to 19 present to hear about Conference. Marjorie explained the way the theme grew from the 2011 Conference when Jeannette Fitzsimons argued that we need a different set of values to save the earth from further despoliation and society from further decline. In 2012 Valerie Grant pointed out that since every living thing is unique and thus different from others in the same species group and since evolutionary forces will select for the best characteristics, inequality and competition are fundamental. Marjorie focussed on three questions from Valerie’s paper;

Is there still a place for unconditional giving or does there always need to be a degree of reciprocity? 

How can we create a society where the privileged do all they can to redress the unequal distribution of the good things of this world? 

What is your response to the contributions made to society by religion? Can these be provided without a belief in a theistic God? 


Alan showed photos taken during Conference weekend to give a feeling for the venue and also to rekindle memories of friendly faces met at many earlier such meetings. He reported on Andrew Bradstock’s paper about theology and values in a secular society and highlighted some of the questions Andrew posed to the folk in Auckland;

How can the market promote a good quality of life for all and not just some?

Does our wellbeing consist primarily in our wealth and possessions, or do we have deeper, even spiritual needs which should be met? 

Is the main purpose of our existence to consume and possess, or were we created for higher things? (Tesco ergo sum – in UK at least) 

Are we primarily motivated by self-interest or by a concern to co-operate, to be our brother’s and sister’s keeper? 

Should we measure an economy’s success purely in terms of its growth, or also take into account objectives such as sustainability and wellbeing? 

Andrew’s hard final question was; “If there is any sense in any of this, what can we do to carry the debate forward?” and that is what the Centre for Theology and Public Issues is all about.

Jesus Married? 

In the Weekly Telegraph for Sept 26th-Oct 2nd,

there is a report on p16 of a piece of papyrus no bigger than a credit card, which includes the words “Jesus said to them, my wife” and “She will be able to be my disciple” which seems to refer to his marriage to Mary Magdalene. It also includes the phrases “My mother gave me life” and “Mary is worthy of it”.

Prof Karen King of Harvard, who presented the fragment to a congress in Coptic studies in Rome, believes that this came from a gospel, written in Greek in the second century AD. “Christian tradition has long held that Jesus was not married, even though no reliable historical evidence exists to support that claim” she said.

Some historians believe that the text comes from a gospel written by members of the Gnostic sect who questioned whether Jesus was both human and divine.

Given the Dead Sea Scrolls unearthed in 1947 and the other documents at Nag Hamadi, now this one – who knows how we shall have to modify our thinking about Jesus and God not to mention the role of women, in future?

Newsletter Editor: 
Alan Jackson
55 Evans Street
Ph: 473 6947

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