Still thinking Forgiveness
Several years ago the celebrated atheist Richard Dawkins wrote an important book titled The Selfish Gene. In fact, Dawkins coined the term, "the selfish gene"; no such idea existed before the book was published in 1976. The book made a significant impact in the fields of both evolutionary biology and cultural development. Naming a particular gene selfish was problematic because as Dawkins and others explained, genes have no will or moral motivation, rather they are "selfish" in the sense that the genes that replicate and are passed on are those that serve the best interest of the organism to which they belong hence selfish.
Self-interest or selfishness has not had a good press in the Christian tradition. Most of us were taught that to put ones self before others was wrong, even sinful. From a young age children are taught to share and to put others first and that selfishness should be punished or at least corrected. And yet there is also the opposite view that the child must learn to be assertive and stand up to bullies and those who would exploit them. And we know that our society relishes competition and glorifies winners and barely tolerates a loser.
There is no denying that Dawkins "selfish gene" is essential to the survival of the human species and active in the healthy human being and that even acts of bravery and altruism can be in fact, self-serving, perhaps not observable in the immediate context but later in a larger vision of life. A healthy Christian view of life finds nothing wrong with that. The central tenet of the Christian faith is to, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind and your neighbour as yourself." I think it is fair to say that loving my neighbour is often in my and the neighbours, best interest.
An example of this reciprocity comes from the considerable research done in recent years on the therapeutic value of forgiveness. If one was to choose the opposite emotions to forgiveness they would be anger, hate, revenge or resentment. It doesnt take much imagination to recognize the damage these emotions do to ourselves and to those around us. It could be suggested that to forgive is an act of selfishness because I may get more benefit from it than the person I am forgiving. Letting go of grudges and bitterness can open the way for experiences of compassion, kindness and peacefulness and it takes me out of the role of victim and empowers me to act with courage and assertiveness.
Katherine Piderman, Ph.D., staff chaplain at Mayo Clinic in the USA recognizes that forgiveness can lead to: Healthier relationships; Greater spiritual and psychological well-being; Less stress and hostility; Lower blood pressure; Fewer symptoms of depression, anxiety and chronic pain; Lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse.
But it is important to note that forgiveness is a process rather than merely an event. We have all heard someone say, "just forgive and forget!" We also know that that is not so simple. Cheap or easy forgiveness neither helps the victim nor the villain. It may be just a way of avoiding conflict or burying a deep hurt. True forgiveness takes time. When we have been wounded or we have wounded another, it is legitimate to wait until that wound has begun to heal and we are less vulnerable. Nevertheless, there is a time to forgive. The Catholic priest Henri Nouwen said it this way:
Finally, it demands of me that I step over that wounded part of my heart that feels hurt and wronged and that wants to stay in control and put a few conditions between me and the one whom I am asked to forgive and forgive them.
|Monday, 27 July at noon||Time for Fellowship Lunch.||Faichney Room.|
|At 7:30pm||Finance Committee.||Wettenhall Room.|
|Thursday, 30 July at 10:00am||Prayers for Christian Unity.||Church.|
|Saturday, 1 August 10am 3:30pm||Congregation & Council Retreat.|
|Sunday, 2 August at noon||JMC Christmas Lunch.||John Macrae Centre.|
|Wednesday, 5 August at 6 9pm||PB Handbells.||Wettenhall Room.|
|Sunday, 9 August at 11:15am||David Hodges Memorial unveiling.||Kinross House.|
|Monday, 10 August at 10:30am||Drop In Card Day||Faichney Room.|
|At 7:30pm||Finance Committee||Wettenhall Room.|
|Tuesday, 11 August at 10:00am||Coordinating Forum||Manse Café.|
|Wednesday, 12 August at 6 9pm||PB Handbells||Wettenhall Room.|
|Thursday, 13 August at 9:00am||UAT meeting||Wettenhall Room.|
|Tuesday, 18 August at noon||Management Team||Wettenhall Room.|
|Wednesday, 19 August at 6 9pm||PB Handbells||Wettenhall Room.|
|Thursday, 20 August at 10:00am||Morning Group||Faichney Room.|
|Sunday, 23 August at 10:15am||Baptism Reunion service and lunch.|
|Monday, 24 August at noon||Time for Fellowship Lunch||Faichney Room.|
|Thursday, 27 August at 10:00am||Prayers for Christian Unity||Swedish Church.|
|28 August 6 November||Christopher Page on Roach Exchange to Denver.|
|2 September 25 October||Wolfgang Stahlberg on Roach Exchange at TUC.|
|Sunday, 29 November at 10:15am||Grandparents service and lunch.|
Congregation Directory Its time for an update.
The Directory is a great tool to help us engage with one another.
Thank you to Brian Clough who takes the TUC choir for the whole month, contributing to the whole of the TUC music ministry and bringing the TUC choir much fun, laughter and joy.
Thanks also to Jonathan Lancaster who is playing the organ at the 10.15am service today.
Jennifer is to perform her final concert in Denmark this coming Tuesday and will be back to TUC next Sunday.
In our Thoughts and Prayers:
Bunty Moretons family and friends, following her death on 18 July. A Memorial Service will be held at TUC on Wednesday 29 July at 2.30pm.
Church fundraising stall
Thank you to all who supported the stall last Sunday. $468.40 was raised for church funds.
Lenore and Lyn
Time for Fellowship Lunch
Monday 27 July 12-2pm. Topic is "A childhood visit to the dentist." All welcome.
Reverend David Hodges
There will be a Dedication of the Reverend David Hodges Memorial following the 10:15 service on 9th August in Kinross House. It will include morning tea. Please RSVP to Nina Mumford for catering purposes on 9505 6775 or firstname.lastname@example.org
John Macrae Centre
A special mid-winter Christmas dinner will be held at the Centre on Sunday August 2nd at 12.30 pm. Come and enjoy a convivial feast - entree, roast turkey, and plum pud with hard sauce. Our guest speaker, Patricia Begg, will inspire us with her discoveries during a recent trip to Russia "Opulent Moscow".
Please ring the JMC office on 9829 0320 for bookings. $40 per person. Everyone is most welcome to attend.
Toorak Op Shop
still needs winter clothing donations. 143 Canterbury Rd, Toorak. Ph: 9827 3172.
The Future of Religion, Jesus, & Christianity
The Progressive Christian Network of Victoria & Common Dreams on the Road present a Lecture & Symposium by Dr David Galston.
|Venue:||Toorak Uniting Church|
|Friday 28 August 7.00 pm||"Has Religion a Future?"|
|Saturday 29 August 10:00am||"Has Jesus a Future?"|
|11:30am||"Has God a Future?"|
|1:30pm||"Is There a Post-Christian Christianity?"|
|Bookings:||Will Open Soon.|
News from Kinross Arts & Spirituality Centre
Power & Purpose Ceramic Exhibition by the Stables Artist Co-operative
A group exhibition of ceramics by women experiencing mental illness. Each artist has been mentored by professional ceramic artist, Ann Ferguson.
Generously supported by Stonnington City Council, Toorak Uniting Church and Boroondara Community Outreach.
The Opening was on Wednesday, 17 June from 6pm 8pm.
GLOW Winter Festival
This event is delivered in partnership with the GLOW Winter Arts Festival
Proudly supported by the City of Stonnington.
3 to 4pm
From the Orient and the Middle East Kinross Poetry Readings
Readings will include: Amichai, Basho, Gilgamesh, Poetry from the Old Testament, including from Job and the Psalms, Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam (translated by Robert Graves), Rumi, Rabindranath Tagore and Tao Te Ching
Henry Dobson and Lawrie Groom are passionate about poetry. Both writers, Henry has a deep interest in philosophy and existentialism, while Lawrie's interests include painting and public policy. Both enjoy good conversation and chess. We greatly appreciate Henry Bucks on Collins St for their generous sponsorship of the 2015 Kinross Poetry Readings.
Entry: gold coin donation. Wine, cheese and biscuits will be provided.
For all enquiries, please call Henry 0478 712 881 or Lyndel Wischer at Kinross Arts Centre 9829 0340, email: email@example.com
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 2 August 2015, Pentecost 10
2 Samuel 11: 26 to 12: 13; Psalm 51: 1 12; Ephesians 4: 1 16; John 6: 24 35.
The liturgical colour for Pentecost is green.