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Co n fe re n ce Fin al De tails

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Co n fe re n ce Fin al De tails Conference planning is largely in place; a m onth out from the Conference registration we already had over one hundred registrations and there is still plenty of room for
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Co n fe re n ce Fin al De tails Conference planning is largely in place; a m onth out from the Conference registration we already had over one hundred registrations and there is still plenty of room for more. The sooner you get yours in, the easier it is for us to do our job here. There are several special highlights this year: One is the field trips. These are all looking very promising indeed. I've talked with the hosts at each location to be visited, and each has an exciting offering. Another is this year's book stall: we've engaged Scorpio Books to provide this resource, and it will feature quite a few books by people attending or m aking presentations at the Conference. A third is our after dinner speaker: I got to know Apirana Taylor well during his two years in Christchurch. He has great presence, and a real ability to entertain and inform, m ake you laugh and make you reflect all at the same time. We haven't m ade any special arrangem ents for getting people from the airport to St Andrews, but there are plenty of airport shuttles, and it's only a 15 minute run. Dawn Tilly is handling accom m odation, and notes that there are quite a few motels nearby. While we hope that m ost people will stay on-cam pus, we acknowledge that a few might like motel accomodation. Here are some nearby motels: Elm s The H o te l 456 Papanui Rd about 1.5k North. Very pleasant im pression on entering quiet and with am bience nice. Tariff: $ 110 per night double. Phone Tall Tre e s Mo te l 454 Papanui Rd. Pleasant, 'run of the mill' motel units. Studio unit for two people, $84 per night Phone: Diplo m at Mo te l 127 Papanui Rd: just South of Merivale Mall. Unit for 2 people (1 or 2) $99 per night - $15 extra for a third. pr, $159 for two bedroom unit for up to 4 people. Phone: See you at Conference! Ian Crumpton Arrangements Committee Chairperson 2005 Emergency Phone Newsletter 63 September Arrangements Committee Its Chairperson Invites you to register for the Conference 2-3 The Annual General Meeting of SoF(NZ) takes place at the Conference 3. A Newsletter of a Decade Ago and The Buddha puts in a plug for experience being a good teacher 4. Local Groups Waikato, Napier and Nelson tell us what they're doing 5. A Letter to the Editor and a response to it 6. Faith in Cyberspace The World Wide Web of interesting information 6. Dennis Potter and God Religion has always been the wound and not the bandage 7-9. Books: Environmentalism, and other New Foundations for Faith 9. SoFWord N o Last Word From the Chairperson, who salutes three retiring Steering Committee members and one who isn t. The Annual General Meeting of the Sea of Faith Network (NZ) will take place at 4:30pm on Saturday September 24, 2005 at the site of the Annual Conference, St Andrew's College, Christchurch_ Amendments to the Rules of the Sea Of Faith Network, NZ. To formalise the election of Life Members, clarify membership, the rights of members and the voting procedures at General Meetings of the Network, the following amendments and additions to the Rules will be proposed at the Annual General Meeting in Christchurch, September Remit 1: That a new subclause g. be added to Clause 4. MEMBERSHIP, consisting of the words: g. In this document, the term members refers to those who are on the register of the Society, and who may or may not have paid their current annual subscription. The term financial members refers only to those whose membership subscription is not in arrears Remit 2: That a new subclause h. be added to Clause 4. MEMBERSHIP, consisting of the words: h. Life members Life Membership of the Society may be conferred by the Annual General Meeting upon those members of the Society who are both long-standing and are deemed worthy by their contribution towards the objects of the Society. Nominations can be made by any of the general membership in confidence to the Steering Committee or by the Steering Committee itself. The final decision will be made by the Steering Committee and the names of new Life Remits In the name of Mary Boekman Members will be announced at the Annual General Meeting. Life Members will not pay subscriptions, and all reference to financial members in this document shall include Life Members. Remit 3: That the two sub-clauses of clause 14. VOTING be rescinded and replaced with three subclauses: a. At any General Meeting of the Society both members and non-members are entitled to speak. However only members who are financial at the time of that General Meeting shall be entitled to move a resolution, vote and/or stand for office. b. At any General Meeting, financial members shall have one vote each and no more upon every question, provided however that in the case of equality of votes the chairperson of the meeting shall have a second or casting vote. Voting shall be on the voices in the first instance, provided however that the chairperson on his own volition may, and on the application of three (3) financial members shall, call for a show of hands. c. For issues deemed by the Steering Committee to be of sufficient importance, the Committee may at its discretion, arrange for proxy voting or postal voting. Only those who are financial members at the time of voting shall be entitled to vote.... continued Note: if any member intends to make any significant challenge to any of these proposed amendments, I would appreciate early notice because, while we have a tradition of completing the AGM in under an hour, democracy must be served. Thanks, Noel Cheer PAGE 2 Remit 4: That as a consequence of the previous remits, and errors of spelling appearing in the Rules of the Society, the following changes be made to clauses of the Rules: Clause 10: appointed by the members appointed by the financial members. Clause 11:.shall be given to each member fourteen (14) clear days be changed to : shall be given to each financial member fourteen (14) clear days Clause 12:.20 members be changed to : 20 financial members. macking be corrected to making...given to each member fourteen (14) clear days.. be changed to : given to each financial member fourteen (14) clear days. Clause 13 a:..any member may without notice ask any question, or move any resolution...any member may without notice ask any question, and any financial member may move any resolution. Clause 13 b: Any member intending to move a resolution.. be changed to Any financial member intending to move resolution...shall be forwarded to each member..shall be forwarded to each financial member. Clause 15: The quorum for all General Meetings of the Society shall be 20 members or 10 percent of the members whichever shall be the less The quorum for all General Meetings of the Society shall be 20 financial members or 10 percent of the financial members whichever shall be the less Clause 16 d: active member be changed to financial member. Clause 17:..shall be available to every member of the Society on demand..shall be available to every financial member of the Society on demand Clause 23 a: The members in General Meeting The financial members in General Meeting.. Clause 25: a majority of the members be changed to : a majority of the financial members.. Clause 26: tile be corrected to the. If these amendments are approved, the amended Rules will be forwarded to the Registrar of Incorporated Societies. A Decade Ago from Newsletter Number 13, October 1995 The third annual conference of the Sea of Faith Network... attracted 232 people to the Central Institute of Technology in Upper Hutt from the evening of Friday, August 25 to the afternoon of Sunday, August 27. Judging by the positive comments, those present particularly appreciated the stimulating lectures, variety of workshops, closing celebration and the chance to meet like-minded people from Kaikohe to Invercargill. They did not appreciate two frosty nights, compounded by the failure, despite all assurances by the CIT, of the heating system in the gymnasium where the main sessions were held. A quote from Don Cupitt s Taking Leave of God: The Buddha put spirituality above theology by exhalting the Dharma [personal righteousness] above the Gods. The Way comes first, get the Way right and talk of the Gods can be allowed to make its own kind of sense as best it can. Do not be satisfied with hearsay or with tradition or with legendary lore or with what has come down in scriptures or with conjecture, or with logical inference, or with weighing evidence, or with liking for a view after pondering over it, or with someone else's ability, or with the thought 'the monk is our teacher'. When you know in yourselves 'These things are unwholesome' then you should abandon them. When you know in yourselves, 'These things are wholesome, blameless, commended by the wise, and being adopted and put into effect they lead to welfare and happiness,' then you should practice and abide in them. The Buddha, from the Kalama Sutta **************** PAGE 3 Waikato Fred Marshall reported: The second combined session of the year was held on June 17; it was organised by Jock and Lee Crawford; there was some discussion on the formation of the new house groups of which we now have four. Then a talk on The Rise of Christian Fundamentalism , was given by Paul Louw and illustrated with two videos clips from local current affairs programmes. The first featured the Destiny Church in NZ, and the second was a report on Christian fundamentalism in the mid-west and its effect on the present American administration. The topic was the consequence of a visit by some of our members to the Auckland seminar on the subject. Paul Louw was born in Johannesburg, S.A. and trained for the Anglican ministry in the UK. He is now an agnostic. Contact: Fred Marshall Napier Louise Elvey wrote: When the Peak Perspectives lecture took place on July 20, Napier Sea of Faith joined the organisers in presenting this year's speaker, Dr. Jim Veitch, who spoke on The Interaction of Religion and Violence in Christianity and Islam. The large numbers attending demonstrated the wish to hear whatever facts are available. The venue at St. Columba's in Havelock North was full, as a tribute to Jim's knowledge of Islam and his standing as a recognised authority on international affairs. Visual aids showed portions of the world where Islam predominates. It was sobering to hear that the present 25% Islam compared to 35% Christian world population is on track to reverse in a few years. Most interesting to begin with, the coming and present oil shortages. Oil! The big problem! The overhead projector showed an impressive list of oil-producing countries where peak production was reached some time ago. There is clearly a need for action; and also for alternatives to oil. One questioner represented many who worry about the implications of the Qu'ran. Those writings must be put in the context of their time, just as with the Holy Bible. We should look for Look on the website at for the complete list reliable background. A worthwhile piece of advice: read all you can find about that part of the world. Some aspects need to be better understood. Can the churches help? Maybe, once. Much of their credibility was lost some four or five decades ago. Changes in our world, in our lifestyles, are now evident. The world for our grandchildren will be very different. For all who attended, it was a significant meeting. We are grateful particularly to Jim Veitch for a memorable address; and also to SoF, Napier; and to Peak Perspectives of Havelock North. Contact: Alan Goss (06) Nelson Dr John Hinchcliff provided a thoughtful and stimulating presentation on theology, politics, democracy and spirituality. He [grew up] at a time when politicians were considered to be gentlemen. He contrasted this with a series of quotations attributed to leading US politicians and military leaders, their simplistic view of the world, and their belief that they were carrying out God s work by invading Iraq. Although the US Constitution had enshrined the separation of church and state, the current political leadership were promoting a fundamental view of Christianity that was increasingly less tolerant of dissent. He talked about the challenges facing liberal Christians in politics, the need to find a balance (whaka tauiti), and the importance of a framework of values to assist decision-making. He also spoke about the differences between a society that focused on maximising the potential of individuals and a caring community where people treated each other with respect. He shared his concerns at the posturing of politicians for the media, the use of spin doctors by political parties, the way the media frequently misquoted or misrepresented politicians and sensationalised trivia. He looked ahead with considerable pessimism at the challenges facing humankind in allocation of scarce resources such as oil and water, and the looming threat from bio-terrorism arising from new developments in technology. Contact: Lindsay Vaughan (03) PAGE 4 Le tte r to the Edito r In the last Newsletter, in your Last W o rd, you stated: Our re ligio us faith is abo ve e ve n o ur critical o r ratio n al facultie s. It in fo rm s o ur ae sthetic life. It give s co n scie n ce to o ur law -m akin g. It lifts us fro m be in g cle ve r, co o pe rative sim ian s in to 'hum an n e ss'. At a meeting of ten past and present members of the network in New Plymouth on Sunday last, we discussed your statem ent and found that by and large we disagreed. Som e suggested that values m ade us human; others the memory of experiences of love ; and still others our sym bolic thought. None of us had any time for your statement that it is our religious faith that m akes the difference. And we query what you mean by our religious faith. If we use such a term at all, we mean different things by it. This was in the context of a discussion about Patti Whaley s four categories of members of SoF (Newsletter No 58). We all agreed that we do not fall easily into any of her groups, but agree with some of each at different tim es and different circum stances. Some of us feel that Patti s categories are all too conservative. Whatever our views on Patti s categories, we all feel that your Last Word places the Sea of Faith too close to traditional church and theological orthodoxy. We may have an interest in thinking about spiritual experiences, discussing them, rem em bering them, enjoying them, but we do not necessarily think of that part of human life as the most important. Barry and Mary Boekman, Margaret and Frank Gaze The Re spo n se How refreshing to get a Letter to the Editor I wish there were many more because one of the reasons for having a Newsletter is to air different points of view of NZ members. Given the origin and ongoing nature of the Sea of Faith m ovem ent, different points of view are welcom e and healthy. My response starts with an apparent slip in logic in the Letter. The writers disagree with the statement that I made to the effect that our religious faith m akes a difference, but then they go on to confess, adm ittedly only im plicitly, that they don't know what I m ean by the term. They added, quite helpfully, that people who use the term are likely to mean different things by it. Of all areas of knowledge that deal with human activity surely it is in theology that there is the greatest muddlement in the lexicon. It would take an article on its own (perhaps even another Last Word ) to tease out that assertion, but let us stick with three words: 'faith'; 'spirituality'; and 'religion' along with their derivates. 'Faith' and 'belief' are often reduced (in newspaper-speak) to 'provisional knowledge' as in I believe that it will rain tomorrow. But, in m atters associated with religion, it is an existential m atter. Would you would invest your very selfhood in whatever you are being invited to? What is it that holds your conscience captive ? [from the recent m ovie Luther]. You seek, like a swimmer, to be able to put your feet down and feel solid ground. 'Faith' and 'belief in' questions are questions of trustworthiness and value. To m e, 'spirituality' is all of the above and additionally (if other people becom e involved) the answer to who is my neighbor? 'Religion' is the system atised, form alised, often standardised reflection and response to the felt requirements of attempting to live a life which is inform ed by spiritual values, for exam ple, 'm ercy, pity, peace and love'. All of which can, and does, operate far from altar, pulpit and pew. Don Cupitt's definition that 'God' is the religious concern reified is spot on the concern come first, the terms in which we express it are sought anywhere in our faith com m unity, in our secular ethos, or our personal experience. That we are happy heretics enables and encourages us to do so. Noel Cheer We welcome Letters to the Editor on any matters of interest to SoF members. Address on page 10. PAGE 5 Faith in Cyberspace Sea of Faith Network (NZ) Newsletter 63 September 2005 The Future of Futurechurch Look on their website to see what they plan now that the Methodist Church has withdrawn funding support. One activity will be a conference with the title: Prodigal Journeys: weaving the threads of futurechurch which will be held from Wednesday October 12 to Saturday October 15, 2005 at the Community of St Luke in Auckland. Rather than speakers there will be animators including: Steve Taylor (BCNZ and Opawa), Brenda Rockell (Cityside), Glynn Cardy (St Matthews-in-the- City), Kevin Ward (School of Ministry Dunedin), Margaret Mayman (St Andrews on the Terrace), Rosemary Neave (initiator of futurechurchnz), Susan Jones (Opoho Presbyterian). The Westar Institute home of The Jesus Seminar, has a website. One link from it : es/4r_articles.html (one continuous word) contains papers of interest to radical Christians and post-christians. For example: David Friedrich Strauss: Miracle and Myth, by Marcus Borg Me and Jesus, an odyssey by Marcus Borg Almost the Whole Truth, an odyssey by John Dominic Crossan The Coming Radical Reformation, Robert W. Funk How Did Jesus Become God and Why, Lloyd Geering Is Christianity Going Anywhere?, Lloyd Geering Who Owns the Holy Land? Lloyd Geering How the Canon Was Formed, Roy W. Hoover Tradition and Faith in a New Era, Roy W. Hoover The Significance of the Work of the Jesus Seminar for Judaism, Sanford Lowe The Search for the Historical Jesus, Lane C. McGaughy Did Jesus Fulfill Prophecy?, Robert J. Miller The Da Vinci Fraud, Robert M. Price Jesus in Tibet, Robert M. Price Braveheart Does the Stations of the Cross, Daryl Schmidt Fundamentally Pluralistic, an odyssey by Daryl Schmidt Dennis Potter & God In his celebrated final interview with Melvyn Bragg in April 1994, with his cancer visibly gnawing away at him, and knowing that he only had a matter of weeks to live, the British playwright Dennis Potter spoke with characteristic bluntness, irony and eloquence of his God, his sense of God: The kind of Christianity, or indeed any other religion, that is a religion because of fear of death, or hope that there is som ething beyond death, does not interest me. What kind of cruel old bugger is God if it's terror that is the ruling edifice, the structure of religion? And too often, for too m any people, it is. Now that to me isn't religion. Religion has always been I've said it before and it doesn't matter if I repeat m yself, I won't get many more chances to repeat myself, thank God but religion to me has always been the wound, not the bandage. I don't see the point of not acknowledging the pain and the misery and the grief of the world, and if you say 'Ah, but God understands' or 'Through that you com e to a greater appreciation', I then think 'Well, you nasty old sod, if that's God'. That's not God, that's not m y God, that's not how I see God. I see God in us, or with us if I see at all as some shreds and particles and rum ours,
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