Apr 10 2014

Newsletter April 2014

Published by under Uncategorized

091011.SOFimageSea of Faith – Dunedin
Exploring Meaning in Life
Newsletter APRIL 2014

Next Meeting

Dr Taneli Kukkonen

‘Islam, faith, and theological realism’

Thursday, 24th APRIL

Highgate Church buildings,

Maori Hill

Tea and Coffee will be available
between 5.00 and 5.40 pm
Food will be available
$7 for as much as you want to eat plus rent
$4 if you come for the meeting only
The programme will start at 6 pm


We Start With…

A two minute period of silence.


From the Chair

Those who attended last month’s AGM [thank you :-) ] will know you have a small committee doing all the behind-the-scenes work for our Sea of Faith meetings. Most things run like clockwork but we need some help in two matters:
We need extra help each meeting, from 5 – 6pm, with serving and washing up. We’d like to have different people helping each month, so please do offer if you can. :-)
The SoF library is now without a home. The role of Librarian has a physical aspect – moving six boxes of books to and from each meeting – as well as providing spiritual and intellectual refreshment. I will discuss this vacant position at our May meeting.

A Key Diary Date

Lloyd Geering at Mornington Methodist Church on Wednesday April 16th at 7.30pm $5 contribution.

Our Next Meeting

Dr Taneli Kukkonen hails from Finland and is Senior Lecturer in Islamic Studies at the University of Otago. His principle research interests lie in the history of Islamic theology, philosophy, and mysticism. Some of us who attend U3A were extremely impressed by his address on aspects of Islam recently. Taneli will focus on ‘Islam, faith, and theological realism’ and will take questions too. Since it is school holidays, Taneli’s six-year-old son Sulevi, will be along for a rare opportunity to see his Dad in action.
Those of you who wish to look at the text ‘Black Elk Speaks’ will find this site useful.

Thoughts from a Member
Should the Sea of Faith be more outward looking?

The discussion about whether the Sea of Faith should become more outward looking and take a public stance in addressing issues is an important one and has been raised by a number of members in recent years. I would suggest that individual members of Sea of Faith are free to be as public and vocal as they wish on any number of fronts and this is already happening. However, I would strongly oppose any move towards Sea of Faith speaking out as a united voice on any matter. It may attract attention to the group but far from increasing the membership I believe many present members would leave. The reason for this is that we are a diverse group that has no set dogmas or belief systems, or common views on issues such as euthanasia, abortion or oil drilling to name a few. We exist to explore ideas of a spiritual or ethical nature together and, most importantly, members must feel free to express themselves and be listened to with respect. As has been said it is “a safe place to explore unsafe things.”
Many have been attracted to Sea of Faith over the years because they have been relieved to find a place where they are free to explore ideas amongst a group of non-judgmental and supportive people. I believe Sea of Faith will exist for as long as there is a need for such a group. As individuals we may well be moved, as a result of our involvement with the group, to take a more active role on specific issues we are passionate about. To do so in the name of Sea of Faith would destroy its very raison d’être.
Marjorie Spittle

More Equality

Pope Francis has made himself very popular with a great many Christian folk, Roman Catholic or not, as he has adopted a much more modest life-style in the Vatican than previous Popes. Pope Francis wants a “poor church for the poor” (ODT 18th March 2013). He has called for financial reform in the world economy (ODT 18th May 2013), has taken action on alleged money laundering in the Vatican (ODT 17th June 2013), said that gays must be integrated (ODT 31st July 2013), likened the Vatican court to leprosy (ODT 9th October 2013) and has removed one senior bishop in Germany for building sumptuous offices and living quarters for himself at a cost of around $60 million. Pope Francis is leading from the front and ‘walking the talk’ in a way we have seen few leaders do in recent times. This gives him enormous integrity and māna in the eyes of the world. If he keeps this up he will rank alongside Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King Jr and Nelson Mandela. We can only give him our fervent hopes and good wishes for success and in whatever way we can, join in his crusade to bring about the Kingdom of Heaven into this world, now, rather than in a mythical place after we are dead.
The Archbishop of York, John Sentamu impressed many in Dunedin during his recent visit. He was outspoken on the issue of poverty and looked at poverty here under our noses as well as in the poorer parts of the world. Poverty is not just a matter of having very little money to live on, but being oppressed in any form, whether it be by bullying, family violence, lack of enfranchisement – that is a spiritual poverty which is also corrosive. In New Zealand we have two wage indicators which get regular attention in the ODT: the Minimum Wage and the Living Wage. When I read that people are asked to work for a wage that is less than the cost of living a decent life I can only think of slavery and oppression. We will have moved a long way towards a more just society and a realisation of the Kingdom of Heaven when those two indicators stand at the same level.
Alan Jackson
Newsletter Editor:
Alan Jackson
55 Evans Street
Ph: 473 6947

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