24 February 2014 DVD series “Exploring Open Christianity” Episode 2: ‘Exploring the future of religion’ with Lloyd Geering

The series comprises 5 interviews with ‘Progressive’ Christians, each consisting of 3 approx 10min sessions.

Lloyd started by outlining his interpretation of the first and second Axial Periods (800 – 200 BC & 17th century respectively).  The second was necessitated by a need to transform the religious traditions.  The ‘liberal’ period of the 1880s stalled.  Not easy to separate religion & culture.  Fundamentalism does separate these by living in the past.  The modern secular world has evolved out of the Christian west and has achieved many positive steps for society – abolition of slavery, tackling racism, equal gender rights, democracy, social welfare, (could I add: greater acceptance of LGBT people?).  With weakening numbers of children in churches, where will values be taught? Touches the topical issue of religion (Christianity) in Schools – v – teaching of ‘values’.

Lloyd supports the need for Christianity/religions to change reflecting biological evolution & society changes – only ‘death’ is changeless!  Christians need to participate in a movement rather than join an organisation.  Lloyd has an affinity for Buddhism; their term ‘awaking’ is analogous to Christian resurrection.  Any exclusive claims of Christianity must be rejected. He acknowledged that ministers in training are not taught how to convey modern knowledge of the Bible from research undertaken by such as from the Weststar Institute.  Ministers don’t wish to ‘disturb the peace of the church’ by introducing new knowledge which will challenge old understadings.  Lloyd also made the important point that the sermon is to provide encouragement – not teaching.  The latter is better suited to a midweek group.  Generally the church has been very poor at education

Do we need to re-discover our faith as a motivation for serving/acting in the world; lots of people do ‘good things’ who are not Christians – is their motivation different or not?  For Lloyd, the environmental green movement is the spiritual priority for today.

Ian Harris

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