Still Thinking Conversion
I was 16 years of age when I first responded to an evangelists call to follow Jesus. It took a lot in me to overcome my embarrassment of claiming my private conviction in such a public way. Some would say that that is the whole point, that there are no secret followers of Jesus so overcoming ones natural religious shyness catapults a person to a new and higher level of religious experience.
After this first time it got easier to come forward in response to the preachers call. In fact, I made quite a habit of "walking the sawdust trail" as the Southern Baptists have called it. Partly, as a deeply religious young person, I was seeking a kind of religious perfection. I knew that I was not as faithful as I could be; I knew that I had been sinful and failed to meet Gods standards. As I said in a sermon last week preaching about sin to young people is like shooting fish in a barrel, you know you will always hit a good number of them. But this was the 1960s and a very different religious culture.
As I reflected on those experiences some forty-six years ago, I realize that they probably kept me in the church; but sadly truncated my experience of life. It took some years to experience what St Paul called in Romans 8: 21, "the glorious liberty of the children of God." That experience came with the realization that it was not so much that I need to be "saved," but rather that what I craved was to be liberated, to be set free from that which bound and limited me in my spiritual life. And one of those things I needed liberation from was religion. Now that may sound strange coming from a minister of the Christian religion, but if we recognize that Jesus never established a religion and was in fact critical of binding oneself to rules, codes and creedal forms, then freedom from religion is the goal of the good news that Jesus preached.
Dont get me wrong I love the church. I love the rich and diverse history that covers the last two thousand years. And I am very aware that we need an institution that can be the vehicle that displays the "Body of Christ." When the church is the living, breathing spirit of Christ, alive in the world, then we are on track. When it is a formal, boundary setting, belief testing institution, we all know it is off track.
The spiritual/religious developmentalist tells us that young people need strong, challenging and decisive institutions that give them both boundaries and yet freedoms within those boundaries. Young people want to be part of a movement but they also want to know what the ground rules are. As they mature they crave a strange paradox of wanting to belong and yet desiring unlimited freedom. We know that young people, particularly young males, are risk-takers and this can cause them and others a lot of heart ache. But it really cant be any other way and the church needs to provide for both aspects of maturation. While what we call "conversion" may be an important experience in life it should be associated with claiming the good news of life lived fully through Jesus and not the limited moralist, sin based view that some of us passed through in our teenage years.
|Monday, 23 February at 12 noon:||Time for Fellowship Lunch.||Faichney Room.|
|Wednesday, 25 February at 6:30pm:||P Brown Handbell Choir.||Wettenhall Room.|
|At 7:30pm:||P Brown Handbell Quartet||Wettenhall Room.|
|Thursday, 26 February at 10:00am:||Prayers for Christian Unity.||St Johns Toorak.|
|At 7:30pm||Church Council meeting||Faichney Room.|
|At 7:00pm:||Lenten Studies.||St Johns Anglican.|
|Friday, 6 March at 2:00pm:||World Day of Prayer.||Swedish Church.|
|Monday, 9 March:||Labour Day Office closed|
|Tuesday, 10 March at 7:00pm:||Lenten Studies.||TUC Church West Transept.|
|Wednesday, 4 March at 6:30pm:||P Brown Handbell Choir.||Wettenhall Room.|
|At 7:30pm:||P Brown Handbell Quartet||Wettenhall Room.|
Notice Regarding Tram Track Renewal.
Pedestrian access will not be affected, but there will be some disruption to the #8 tram timetable.
Toorak Rd Will be closed between Grange Rd and Lansell Rd from Saturday 28 February until Monday 2 March.
Toorak Rd will remain closed from west of Orrong Rd to east of Grange Rd until Tuesday 3 March 2015 to allow for some final work to occur.
Some road closures along Toorak Rd will apply and on-street parking will be affected.
Traffic controllers on site will manage local access for residents and business operators.
The Progressive Christian Network of Victoria inc.
|When:||Sunday 22 February, 3.00-5.00pm|
|Topic:||"Is it possible to be Christian in the 21st Century?"|
|Speakers:||Rev Dr David Merritt, Rev Dr Christopher Page, Rev Dr Lorraine Parkinson|
|Where:||Glen Iris Road Uniting Church, Glen Iris Rd near the corner of High St Rd.|
Time for Fellowship Lunch
The first lunch for 2015 will be held on Monday 23rd February in the Faichney Room from 12 noon. The topic for discussion is "A Hot Day". Come and enjoy good food, lively discussion and meet new people. Everyone welcome.
Contact Lenore Newnham 9509 0496 or Jean Allison 9826 9926.
Prayers of Christian Unity
will be held at St Johns Anglican Church on Thursday, 26 February at 10.00am. This will be followed by morning tea everyone most welcome.
Led by Bishop Graeme Rutherford retired Assistant Anglican Bishop of Newcastle.
|Wednesday, March 4th at||St Johns Anglican Church.|
|Tuesday, March 10th at||Toorak Uniting Church.|
|Tuesday, March 17th at||St Peters Catholic Church.|
|From 7pm 9pm.|
International Womens Day Fly into Freedom
Guest Speaker: Prue Gilbert
Friday, 6 March, 7:15am 8:30am, Auditorium
Loreto Toorak past pupil. Prue Gilbert is a qualified Executive Coach, gender diversity consultant and expert facilitator with a legal background. In 2014 her company was recognised by the Australian Human Rights Commission for their work on pregnancy discrimination in the work place. Prue is committed to her work as a human rights advocate, for women and girls, informed by Ignatian Spirituality and her Loreto Education.
|Cost:||$20/$10 (Breakfast in a Box provided)|
|RSVP:||Friday, 27 February 2015.|
Lucy Grainger phone: 9823 8167
John Macrae Centre Afternoon Soirée
A special illustrated presentation will be given by Patricia Begg on her recent intimate perspective on the palaces at St Petersberg. This will be followed by an afternoon high tea and a glass of bubbles. The date is Sunday March 15, from 3-5pm and the cost per person is $25. Please book at JMC on 9829 0320.
John Macrae Centre Driver required
JMC urgently needs a volunteer driver for our 8 seater bus to pick up our members at 10am-11am on Fridays and to drop them home at 3pm-4pm. If you can help please ring Katrina on 9829 0320 for more details. No special driving licence required.
The Office Staff are about to order a new batch of resin name badges with the UCA logo. If you would like to order one, please email Catriona or Kimberly at ToorakUC@bigpond.net.au with the exact spelling you require. Cost is $12.50 each.
News from Kinross Arts & Spirituality Centre
The Water's Rim A solo exhibition of paintings by Jane Oehr
The Opening was on Thursday 5th February with Guest Speaker: Dr Vincent O'Donnell Presenter of the Community Radio Network's national arts and culture current affairs program Arts Alive.
Thursday, 5 February Sunday, 8th March 2015;
Open 8.30am - 3.30pm Monday to Friday. Weekends by appointment.
About the Exhibition:
Jane is joining with Kinross for her second solo exhibition at the Kinross Gallery. Jane is a visual artist and film maker. Her new work is inspired by the coasts of New South Wales and Victoria and Australia's famous beaches, rock pools and shoreline. The paintings evoke associations with water, moving currents, turbulence and calm and the mysteries beneath.
Moments in a Dream The world of Ink Art Seifu Sandaiji
Seifu Sandaiji is a Bokusho artist who studied her art form under the guidance of Kofu Ohashi and Jikihara Gyokusei in Japan.
She has had group and solo exhibitions in Japan, the USA and Australia.
From March 12th - April 26th Kinross will display a solo exhibition by Seifu Sandaiji of new work created for Australia.
The Opening of the Exhibition is on Thursday 12th March; 6pm - 8pm
Enquiries & RSVP to: firstname.lastname@example.org; tel 03 9829 0340
Come and see brilliant contemporary Japanese ink art in a special exhibition.
Open 8:30am - 3:30pm Monday to Friday.
Sunday, 15 March
Visual Art Performance Seifu Sandaiji
As part of the Moments in a Dream exhibition, A visual art performance by Seifu Sandaiji on Sunday 15th March 2pm - 4pm.
Accompanied by the bass flutist Peter Sheridan and traditional dancing by Murasaki no kai dance group.
Gold Coin Entry.
For all exhibition enquiries and bookings please telephone Lyndel Wischer on: 9829 0340 or email: email@example.com 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 1 March 2015, Lent 2
Genesis 17: 1 7, 15 16; Psalm 22: 23 31; Romans 4: 13 25; Mark 8: 31 38.
The liturgical colour for Lent is purple.