Jul 16 2013

July 2013 Newsletter

Published by under Newsletters

091011.SOFimageSea of Faith – Dunedin
Exploring Meaning in Life
Newsletter JULY 2013


We Started With…

A two minute period of silence.


From the Chair

As the incoming Chair of Dunedin Sea of Faith I’d like to thank Marjorie Spittle for her excellent work over the last three years and three months as chairperson (these last three while waiting for me to take up the reins). Her warm smile, calm temperament, and commitment have carried our group through another three years of good attendances at interesting and engaging meetings. Marjorie has been assisted by a committee of members, which contributes significantly and with a minimum of fuss. In addition, Marjorie and Bruce have opened up the building, undertaken all the underpinnings needed by each meeting, and locked up afterwards. Thank you Marjorie, thank you both.

I have been a member of Dunedin SoF for many years, following in the footsteps of my mother, Wynne Kershaw. Together we attended and enjoyed two Sea of Faith conferences (some time back), which will stand me in good stead now as Dunedin is to hold the national Sea of Faith conference here in late 2014. We haven’t lost Marjorie’s good offices; she is the Dunedin-based conference organiser. Fortunately for all, quite a lot of the organisation for each conference is carried out nationally, so we hope to be able welcome our northern friends without the usual conference angst.

The committee has developed a very good programme for the rest of this year, a mix of valued visitors and our own members, and always with plenty of time for reflection, questions, and discussion. I look forward to catching up with you.

Gretchen Kivell


Last Meeting

14 hardy souls braved the cold and damp to enjoy the lovely food from the Home of St Barnabas and a further two joined in for the meeting. The clash was with the City Choir Dunedin’s rendition of Verdi’s Requiem and a number of our regulars thoroughly enjoyed a sparkling performance by the Choir. By the time you read this, many of the choir will have travelled to Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to accompany those city choirs sing the Requiem.

Colin Gibson was singing in that performance and so was unable to be with us so he gave his paper to David Kitchingman to present. The paper is on our web site (and also accompanies the electronic version of this newsletter).

The Jesus Seminar would certainly be regarded as “leftie” or “very liberal” by many theologians as it strives to discover the real man who was Jesus, what can reliably be believed to be the things he actually said and the things he actually did. The Seminar initially consisted of 200 academics and they used all sorts of routine scientific methods from archaeology, calligraphy, linguistics, history, and so on to form an opinion about what was most likely to have been closest to the truth.

Many will say that that doesn’t matter at all – in the search, faith can be lost, but I have found the opposite. In all the layers which the Seminar has managed to remove, such as some of the stories turning Jesus into some sort of David Copperfield magician for example, I have found that which remains to be more powerful and more honest and to enhance and deepen my faith into the way to bring about creating a better society (“Thy Kingdom Come”). I sometimes think of the hype that surrounds a Hollywood celebrity or a famous politician, the advertising makes the person out to be something quite extraordinary. For me, the Seminar removes the hype, and reveals a very extraordinary man whose ethics and principles I can accept with all of my being.


Next Meeting

Otago Boys’ High celebrates its 150th Anniversary at the start of August and Lloyd is to be a Keynote Speaker. He has agreed to speak to us the night before the school celebrations begin and hence the change in our usual meeting times.

Feel free to invite as many friends as you like to the 6pm meeting (but not to the shared food as we should be unlikely to be able to accommodate everyone there. Stories of feeding the 5000 ringing in my brain as I write this).

Lloyd will give us the Michael King Memorial lecture that he prepared for the Auckland Readers and Writers Festival in May. It was greeted with a standing ovation from the 1400 people who heard it, so it will be Lloyd’s usual exceptional and stimulating address. On the very same day he repeated it, at their request, to the Auckland Sea of Faith group. It is entitled “How Humans Made God”.

Lloyd has certainly had a great deal of public exposure recently with his interview on Kim Hill’s programme on 13th July. If you missed it and have access to a computer you can hear it again as Radio New Zealand supplies copies of all the interesting radio programmes on their podcast site.

“From the Big Bang to God” is the title of his latest book, and that is the theme of his interview with Kim Hill. He integrates the thoughts of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin with those of Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher, John Robinson (“Honest to God”) and his own teachers in Dunedin to show how we are, in a way, god, as we hold the future of the earth in our own hands and are making “god decisions” each day in medicine, crop production, gene selection and so on (to say nothing of the military). The concept of god has changed and the old view needs to be replaced with a modern one, a more liberal understanding which is hard at work in the three Abrahamic faiths.

The radio programme is well worth a listen (and it can be downloaded and saved and heard again and again – well done Radio NZ).

You will need either Sky TV (Channel 83) or a computer to use the internet to go to Face Television’s web page to hear Lloyd and the Dalai Lama in conversation on Wednesday 24th July at 8.30pm. If you have neither… I’m sure you’ll have a friend who does.


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

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