The Persistance and Problem of Religion

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Brain-storming about mission in the middle of the week I wrote down this question, which is meant to be rhetorical: How do we in the progressive church movement share or create relations inside and outside our community of faith?

The next night I went to the local Fulbright lecture on the university campus which was on the topic used as the title of this post.  At the end I started to write some notes.

The present danger from religion is exclusive extremism from beyond the norm of social religion, using religious violence to impose its values on the majority group.

The alternative involves engaging in dialogue, teaching religious education as knowing and respecting the other person without entering into indoctrination, and joining together with the other person in actions of common witness.  Perhaps the next step will have us engaging with each other with affection for what we can do and share.

We are part of the diverse mix in society.  The alternative would be bland and conformist.

As I stepped out to go to the supermarket this morning I was surprised to greet one of my fellow residents at Manono House returning from morning prayers.  He was dressed in a white robe.  Today is Eid, and, despite the forecast, the sun is shining.

A hobbit’s morning at the opera

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So that was La Traviata, the end of the current Metropolitan Opera season.  I delighted in Natalie Dessay’s performance.  I found it fragile and moving.  The pared-down modern setting worked for me.  I was quite weepy by the end.

The highlights of this season for me remain Satyagraha with its combination of vision and music; and Gounod’s Faust, which set in the Manhattan Project was the discovery of a good opera.

Apart from that I’ve been to Parish Council this week, and I will have to act on meeting of the Pastoral Committee.  There is much for us to discuss.

Testing, Testing, 1, 2, 3…

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Strange. WordPress decided to send out an edit I made to an old entry as my latest update on RSS-Feed. I don’t know why that happened. I hope my interface is not acting up.

Parish Council last night, reported back on our Rugby World Cup Night, and on Dunedin Resource Group Meeting. Both were worthwhile events to attend. One of our sponsorship children has left Child Fund and we are supporting a new child in Sri Lanka, a twelve year old cricket player.

The Centre for Theology and Public Issues held a Forum on Inequality and the Future of Dunedin at the Burns Hall, the beginning a new series of forums that will continue in the new year. Well attended. I think that there were over two hundred people there. Quote of the evening went to Laura Black: “Globalisation has made us consumers. We need to be citizens.”

Dear Diary

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Last entry for the month, where was the Hobbit spotted in the end of October.

  • Third Wednesday of the Month is Parish Council night.  I talked in preparation for our Rugby World Cup Final night; and the Parish Self-Review, we will look at the questions when they come out, the self-review looks like too much organisation for a small parish like ours
  • Last Wednesday went and heard the Venerable Doctor Maitree Moorthi of the Sri Lankan Buddhist community in Dunedin speak on the topic How to control an agitated mind and body during exam times.
  • Last Thursday the Assisi Day of Prayer was celebrated at Holy Name Church with prayers being led by representatives of the Baha’i, Buddhist, Christian, Hindu and Muslim communities.
  • Sadly missed out on the Hallowe’en Hafla at the Kasbah, I decided to stay in as I had my mother visiting me.  Otherwise I would have provided a report.  Apologies to my Khamzin tribal friends.  Perhaps next time.

Parish Council


I reported back to Parish Council.  Fortunately the parish I represent is one that can meet its insurance bill.  It’s gone up from £50 to £200.  This increase is manageable.  Other churches with older complexes have been hit with more severe increases.  The rule of thumb is if the complex, or part of the complex, was built before 1935 then it will not meet the requirements for earthquake insurance and the increase in premiums will be significant.  Some churches are looking at partial cover.  They will not rebuild as heritage sites after an earthquake like what hit Christchurch.  Some churches are looking at alternative suppliers than the insurance provider the national office recommends.  Opoho church is in the situation that it can meet its cover.

We also started making arrangements for a community event in the church hall for the rugby world cup final.  I have stopped feeling anxious about this.  It is all coming together.