Still thinking Holding it lightly
Harvey Coxs recent book, The Future of Faith, is a fitting tribute to 40 years as a theological professor at Harvard Divinity College. I liked many things about this book; the insights into the early Christian communities; the value of his broad understanding of world religions, and his careful analysis of where the Christian church has been and where it may be going.
But what I appreciated most about Coxs writing was his lack on academic rancour, his genuine love for his field of study theology, and religion and his gracious recognition that the truth of life does not lie in one religion not even in all religious, but rather that it lies within the human heart (my words) and truth really lies in the myriad of communities, religious and "nonreligious" that seek life, not in dogma, but in the spirit.
Coxs approach is a generous one. He can hold the tensions and paradoxes of life with in his thinking and hold them lightly. G.K. Chesterton penned the aphorism, "Angels can fly because they take themselves lightly." It is unfortunate that we often think the capacity to hold ones beliefs lightly is a weakness.
Common sense and a good measure on humility should bring each of us to the realization that truth, love and life can be found in all the worlds religions and philosophies. Of course thats not to say that all religious endeavours are equally good. Some are dangerous and antiquated, while others are infantile and irrelevant.
A maturing person is open to the best they find in the world, embracing what brings life, while also rejecting all that is life denying. I have often felt that if you cant find fault with your own religion, or you need to be enclosed by people who believe as you believe, then you are probably missing the best that life can offer.
Some years ago I was flying from Seattle back to Australia and I struck up the usual conversation with the man I would "sleep" with for the next fourteen hours. Later in the trip I was reading some notes of Calm Abiding Meditation. "That looks interesting," the man sitting next to me said. "Yes it is, but it is really all about the practice and not just the ideas." I replied. "What do you mean?" he said. "Well do you want to try it?" "Sure" came back the reply.
So I led him through a three minute Calm Abiding Meditation practice; hands are held like this; body aligned like this; eyes half open, not asleep; breathing slow but natural; and so forth. All this happened while his wife was sound asleep next to him. When we finished he said, "That was good! So you are a Buddhist or something?" "No," I replied "I am a Baptist minister - a follower of Jesus." "Crickey, the church must have changed a lot from when I used to go to mass."
Well maybe the church hasnt changed that much. But I certainly have and in fact a lot of us have changed with the collapse of the era of dogma. I really feel that there is a new adventure in the spirit emerging. I have no idea what it will look like and I suspect that it will not be to very ones liking. But as morning follows night, religion and culture are not static and as the theory of evolution has taught us, those who do not adapt, die. Why is reality, so harsh?
|Sunday, 5 April at 10:15am:||Easter Sunday Service No 9am Service.||Church.|
|Monday, 6 April.||Public holiday Office closed.|
|Wednesday, 8 April at 7:00pm:||Bach Society Concert.||Church.|
|Sunday, 12 April:||Fundraising Stall.|
|Monday, 13 April at 10:30am:||Drop in Card Day.|
|Tuesday, 14 April at 12 noon:||Management Team.||Wettenhall Room.|
|Wednesday, 15 April at 6:30/7:30||PB Handbell Choir/Quartet.||Wettenhall Room.|
|Thursday, 16 April at 10:00am:||Morning Group "indigo".||Faichney Room.|
|Tuesday, 21 April at 8:00am:||Autumn Breakfast.||Kinross House.|
|Thursday, 23 April at 9:15am:||UAT Meeting.||Kinross House.|
|Saturday, 25 April:||ANZAC Day.|
|Sunday, 26 April at 10:15am:||Worship and ANZAC commemoration.||Church.|
Bach to Mussorgsky Roland Voit.
TUC Wednesday, 8 April at 7:00pm.
Acclaimed German Organist Roland Voit is returning to Melbourne with a colourful and inspirational program of works by JS Bach, Franz Liszt and Modest Mussorgsky, augmented by visual projection of great paintings including Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel.
Presented by the Australian Bach Society http://www.bach.org.au
Tickets: $35 and $25 (concession) Bookings: http://www.trybooking.com/GSUL
There will be a fundraising stall on Sunday 12 April. Delicious cakes and jams available. Any contributions will be willingly received please leave at the church office.
ANZAC Centenary Sunday, 26 April 2015 at 10:15am
You are warmly invited to attend our Anzac Centenary Service to honour those whose names are inscribed on the Toorak Presbyterian Church Great War Honour Board (129 names) and Roll of Honour Record of Fallen (24 names).
The service will incorporate hymns and readings from the Unveiling Services in 1917 and 1922, as well as a reading of the record of the 24 soldiers on the Roll of Honour.
The service will be conducted by Rev Dr Christopher Page and Rev Dr James Donaldson.
You are also welcome to the Lunch to follow. RSVP 20 April.
To contribute information about the families of those who served, please contact the Office: t: 9829 0300 / e: ToorakUC@bigpond.net.au.
8am Tuesday 21 April, Kinross House
Rev. Dr. James Donaldson will speak on Going to War, the Full Human History.
Reflections of a Christian Chaplain on the realities of WW1 upon the Australian people.
RSVP to the office 9829 0300 or ToorakUC@bigpond.net.au
Meeting of the Congregation and Election of Elders.
A meeting of the congregation will be held on Sunday, 24 May immediately after the 10:15 service.
The agenda items will be the election of elders and non-elder members of Church Council, the annual report, and the financial statements for 2014. These reports will be available from early May.
Nomination forms for the position of elder and non-elder member of Church Council are available from the office and must be returned to the office by Tuesday, 5 May at 12.00 noon. Members considering accepting nomination may wish to discuss the duties with the minister.
Please do not put anything on top of the new Continuo Organ! It may look like a useful tabletop, but it is definitely not!
It has been raised that many people missed the deadline for ordering resin name badges. The Office Staff will 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. Please let the office staff know before Friday, 1 May.
Are you interested in lodging a funeral plan with the TUC Office? It can give as little information as the hymns that you would like sung, or as elaborate as you like. If you would like to investigate the possibilities, please contact the office on 9829 0300 or email us at ToorakUC@bigpond.net.au
Emergency Cyclone Appeal
Call SHARE on 1800 668 426 to make a donation. Donations $2 and over are tax deductible.
News from Kinross Arts & Spirituality Centre
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 was on Thursday 12th March.
Enquiries to: email@example.com; tel 03 9829 0340
Come and see brilliant contemporary Japanese ink art in a special exhibition.
Open 8:30am - 3:30pm Monday to Friday.
For all exhibition enquiries and bookings please telephone Lyndel Wischer on: 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 12 April 2015, Easter 2
Acts 4: 32 35; Psalm 133; 1 John 1: 1 to 2: 2; John 20: 19 31.
The liturgical colour for Easter is white.