Category: Faith Explorers Recent Topics

Recent topics and materials covered by Faith Explorers

20 March 2017: Mission in Contemporary NZ – a discussion paper by Prince Devanandan, President of Methodist Church

We have lost a sense of Mission as traditionally understood in the last 100 years. It’s no longer ‘saving souls’.  It’s something that the church helps, prepares, trains members to do.  We are in a new axial period so there is no clear path as to the future direction of Christianity.  Is ‘being active in the community’ sufficient? No, as...

13 March 2017: Article “‘…as we forgive them…’ or not: when forgiveness is inappropriate” a précis of and by Trish McBride 2010; led by Heidrun

This challenges the traditional view that forgiveness is the embodiment of the Christian message; in some situations, it is not appropriate eg abuse of children, rape, lack of guilt.  Acknowledged that forgiveness is a laudable and a real Christian characteristic.  Forgiveness allows those who have been injured/wronged to move on, but need time and opportunity to release feelings.  Whether forgiveness...

5 December 2016: film on Utube ‘Taking Root: The vision of Wangari Maathai’

Wangari won the Nobel Peace prize in 2004 for her work in Kenya.  Wangari first came to some prominence when she started a movement (The Green Belt) to address a shortage of firewood for cooking in villages, by simply planting trees.  The villagers collected seeds and propagated them and nurtured them until large enough to be planted out. Wangari’s story...

28 November 2016: Book ‘Matter and What Matters’ by Lionel Sharman Chapt 11 – led by John

This last chapter starts by considering prayer.  If god in non-interventionist, is prayer a waste of time? We thought not – it clarifies and calms our thoughts, stimulates the brain to a higher consciousness, calms a troubled mind – via the rosary, Taize chants.  Is there some spirit in the universe which draws mystics towards a common understanding, vision –...

21 November 2016: Book ‘Matter and What Matters’ by Lionel Sharman Chapt 10 – led by Ian

With the backdrop of the Presidential election in the US, we discussed the seemingly dawning of a post-factual, post-truth age; lies are put forward as truth, those that wish to believe do – the rejection by non-believers is not important or relevant.  The lies are ‘revisited/re-interpreted’ later. As God is not interventionist what are the implications for biblical themes of...

7 November 2016: Book ‘Matter and What Matters’ by Lionel Sharman Chapts 8 & 9 – led by Ian

Chapt 8 is titled ‘Stories’.  We are creators of meaning from nature and history.  Reality is only what is perceived by our senses and then ‘interpreted’ by our brain.  (The story of a blind person trying to interpret the form of an elephant through touch.) This led to the thought that the reality of the physical world is ‘more’ real...

31 October 2016: Book ‘Matter and What Matters’ by Lionel Sharman Chapts 7&8 – led by Adrienne

Chapter 7 is titled ‘Back to Humans’ (compared to biology & Physics).   Sharman makes the point that we are much more than our constituent parts, that view is too reductionist, we have self consciousness, sentience.  If the universe is to have meaning does this imply the reality of God?  Is meaning just laws (of nature)? We thought not, there is...

17 October 2016: Book ‘Matter and What Matters’ by Lionel Sharman Chapts 5&6 – led by Heidrun

These chapters consider the operation of our brains.  Does the brain operate in the coherent, predicable, mathematically way Lionel proposes?  Some brain functions are innate, most from ‘experiences’ – both are stored in the brain.  How much is the brain like a computer – some functions ‘hard wired’, some determined by programmes (and increasingly now by learning). We considered ‘out-of-body’...

10 October 2016: Book ‘Matter and What Matters’ by Lionel Sharman introduction – led by Ron

Lionel identifies 6 features which encourage him to attend church – we couldn’t disagree with any. He poses some searching questions – are events in the universe all determined by cause and effect?  Are our bodies also subject to the same laws as the rest of the universe?  What is the nature of ‘free will’, do humans really have it...

19 September 2016: RNZ interview with Brian McLaren – Nights with Brian Crump early 2016 – led by Adrienne

Brian responded to the questions posed very gently, calmly and positively.  These were his views but he wasn’t about to force theses on others or expect others to agree.  He started his Christian journey as an ‘evangelical’ but became unsatisfied with ‘standard answers’ to difficult questions. Jesus taught ‘love one another’; if we don’t (love one another) we faces consequences...