Still Thinking Radical Openness
"I wouldnt want to belong to a club that would accept me as a member," these words are attributed to the comic actor Groucho Marx. Sadly, they are very true for many people today who feel excluded from the Christian church because they dont feel accepted or they just cant believe what the church says any more. While we may protest and say, "Everyone is accepted in our church!" is that really true? Dont we really say that you will only fit in if you agree with us? It seems so natural to us that belief always precedes belonging but for most they will never hear what we are saying if we are unwelcoming.
Whether we like it or not, the church is the spiritual and religious centre of our culture. We may want to claim Jesus as our own possession and we therefore have control over who has access to him, but thats no longer the world in which we live. Today, our culture has every right to demand that we are open to all people and that we are willing to accept the criticism that the society directs at us. We are on the verge of entering a radical openness in which the church will listen, perhaps for the first time in 1,500 years to the multiple voices around her, while in the past we have been told that we should not listen to the views of those outside the Christian community.
If we see Jesus as the central person and symbol of our faith then we it is important to see that through the resurrection he was, as the Bishop of Durham, Dr N. T. Wright in his 2006 Easter sermon said, "let loose in the world." Therefore the experience of the Holy, sacred and divine is to be lived out in the public arena. But remember that means an honest and robust conversation with those with whom we may disagree and whose views we may find repugnant.
As a minister and theologian I am an "openist." For me that means Christian theology is done at the centre of our society and not only in the church or in private. It demands a radical openness to the spirit of Christ and of truth found in all human endeavours. It means we listen to, and engage in conversation with the world of science, philosophy, religion, sociology, psychology, theology, art, any other departments of life that I have left out. I honestly dont see any other way forward for the church today. True, this does cause all of us a degree of uncertainty, insecurity and ambiguity, but no one wants a refuge that is an escape from the real world. What we really want is both a spirit of courage to face the unknown and confidence that we will meet the Spirit of Jesus let loose in the world when we engage others in meaningful conversation.
The Christian faith must be open to the myriad of voices that surrounds it. And the best place for that discussion is often in the newspaper, the workplace or around the coffee table, rather than exclusively in the church building or the theological college.
The Weeks Ahead at TUC
|Monday, 9 July at 10.30 am :||Drip In Card Day.|
|Tuesday, 17 July 5.00 pm :||Management Team Meeting.|
|Thursday, 19 July at 10.00 am:||Morning Group.|
|Sunday, 22 July at 12 noon:||Congregational Discussion.|
Thank you to both Merilyn and Stephen Aveling-Rowe who shared their musical gifts with us playing both the cello and organ at the 9am & 10.15am services today.
Next Sunday, 15th July, Hugh Fullarton, FRCO, will deputise for Jennifer as organist and choir conductor. Hugh was senior VCE Music Teacher and head of Choral Music at Balwyn High School from 2003 to 2008 and Composer in Residence, Head of Choral Music and VCE Performance teacher at MGGS from 2010-2012.
This week Jennifer will give an organ recital at St. Andrews Cathedral in Bordeaux on Tuesday 10th July and next Sunday, 15th July she will give a recital in the Basilica of Saint-Nazaire in Carcassonne.
Next Sunday, 15th July
Rev. Wal Baker will be taking the 9 & 10.15am services in the absence of Rev. Dr. Christopher Page
On Sunday July 22nd from 12 noon-1pm in the Faichey Room a Congregational discussion on the Stonnington UCA Churches Review and Discernment process will be held. All are urged to attend. We will consider the results of a recent survey of the five Stonnington UCA Churches and be led through questions about who we are as the UCA churches in the Stonnington Region.
for Rev. Judith Watkins will be held on Sunday 22nd July at 10.00am
at St. Leonards Uniting Church, 2 Wolseley Grove, Brighton.
Church Council Annual Retreat
will be held at Wellspring Spirituality Centre, 10 Y Street, Ashburton on Saturday 4th August from 9.15am-4.30pm. All members of Church Council are urged to attend. Forms are available from Church office or on the back of todays order of service.
Drop In Card Day
will be held on Monday 9th July at 10.30am in the Faichney Room. All bridge players are welcome.
will meet on Thursday 19th July at 10am in the Faichney Room. The guest speaker, Mrs. Bernadette DeVere will talk on: "Using Forensics to Solve Crime".
Dr Helen Mackenzie
The late Dr. Helen Mackenzie who was a missionary in Korea and co-founder of IL Shin Hospital in Busan received the Moo-goon-wha (Korean National Flower) order of National Service Merit, the highest ranking award from the Korean Government. This is a great honour, not only for the Mackenzie family but for all the churches that supported Dr. Mackenzies ministry in Busan. The delegates of Il-Shin Hospital will bring the medal to Melbourne and there will be a thanksgiving service at Deepdene Uniting Church on Saturday 14th July at 2.30pm followed by afternoon tea. For further enquiries please contact Rev. Jacob Yang on 0403 730 817.
TUC Handbell Choir
will be recess during the school holidays. Rehearsal resumes on Thursday 26th July. Newcomers are welcome. Please contact Jennifer:
Jennifer Chou will be away from Sunday 24th June until Sunday 15 July to teach and perform in Hong Kong and France.
South Pacific Musical Show
A limited number of dress circle tickets are available for the opening night of South Pacific at the Princes Theatre on Thursday 13th September. If you are interested in going please put your name down on the notice board outside or speak to Carrlo Jack.
Postcards of the Stained Glass Windows
that were on display during Heritage Day are available from the Church Office during the week. The cost is $10 for a set of 4.
News from Kinross House
Tuesday, 3 July
Sunday, 29 July
"Rocks and Trees" James Widdonson
an exhibition of black & white photography by the multi-talented James Widdowson. This is a 'must see' exhibition and a highlight in the artistic program for Kinross House.
Thank you to everyone who attended the preview of James' work on Tuesday 3rd July. This was a very successful opening and we thank James for his invitation to preview his stunning body of work depicting the southwest coast of Victoria.
About The Exhibition:
As a photographer with a strong visual sense, James Widdowson has won many awards for his advertising and fashion photography. He has directed music videos, short films and award-winning commercials for television and cinema, while his photo-digital illustrations have adorned the covers of highly regarded publications such as 21C and World Art.
"In the commercial world, I was most interested in the clear communication of an idea. But now when realising my own concepts it is more about capturing a feeling, like the way a certain smell can revive a forgotten sensation entwined in memory".
Sunday, 22 July
"Colours of Music" Boutique Concert Series at Kinross House.
Come and see Operaperta Duo (soprano and classical guitar) perform in Gallery 1. Visiting from Italy this is a unique opportunity to see the duo, Alessio and Elisa, perform here in Toorak. Tickets: $35.00; $28 Concession and Friends of Kinross House.
Online bookings at: www.operapertaduo.com
For all exhibition enquiries and bookings please telephone: 9829 0340 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the Kinross House page on the TUC website. You are also welcome to call in to the Kinross House Office which is normally attended 10 am 3 pm, Tuesday Friday or by appointment.
Lectionary Readings for 15 July 2012, Pentecost 7
2 Samuel 6: 1 5, 12b 19; Psalm 24; Ephesians 1: 3 14; Mark 6: 14 29.
The liturgical colour for Pentecost is green.