I’m writing just before taking off on a leftover plane-booking from when Dad still needed visiting. I’m now not going to Gore, but spending three nights in Dunedin. See you Sunday!
A topic rolling around a couple of the groups recently is how much we talk (or not) about our connection with St Andrew’s or spirituality or if we talk at all about anything beyond the daily round.
It occurs to me the average person doesn’t get the chance to talk much about anything beyond the cost of everything these days or their children’s foibles – or their parents’ foibles! Not going to church robs them of that chance.
Also, there are a lot of messages already out there which are negative portrayals of ‘God’. Even humorous caricatures image an Almighty God pushing everyone around. Or, focus on who’s good or who’s bad and how ‘God’ works that. Or, set up situations where ‘God’ is uninterested – or too interested. These supposedly ‘funny’ images exacerbate twisted ideas people can have about themselves and the divine.
So where do people find out there are some who still are spiritual people but do not subscribe to such comedic distortions? How do they find out there are people who do not agree with diatribes against gayness or ethnic minorities? How do they know thinking has changed in the church – or at least some churches? Only if someone they know well is brave enough to disagree out loud with the stereotypes. Hmmm.
It is great to talk about the positives about St Andrew’s here on The Terrace. But there are underlying spiritual, theological and philosophical reasons why St Andrew’s has become the church it is. Most of you know what they are even if you might not express them in the dense, concentrated talk a lot of academics use when they talk about those “‘ologies.” There’s a saying “Don’t let the devil have all the good music” (to use an outdated theology!) What about “don’t’ let the Enlightenment have all the best lines?”
People are interested in meaning, in what it is to be human, in what are the values which will help us live well together in this world. They are interested in how to be good people in the well-rounded meaning of that word; in what it takes to be loving partners, children or parents; in what it takes to live and die well. All of these are questions with spiritual components. If you like hearing fifteen minutes of reflection on a Sunday morning, why wouldn’t others like to talk with you about how your and their spiritual journeys have changing, are changing and will change into the future?
I know that I work in a place where this kind of conversation is happening all the time, but I too have my moments when a shop assistant or a health professional or a service attendant asks what I do. “Presbyterian minister” can be a conversation stopper, or, if I choose, a conversation starter. So, all the best with the conversations you have day to day. A one liner which sometimes works is that when people tell you they don’t believe in God, to reply “tell me what that God is like, I may not believe in him either.” My impression is that being part of the St Andrew’s community is a passion of many of you. How sad you might not get to talk about why that passion is important to you.
Last Sunday we were delighted to hear of the birth of Willard Edric Scholes Cone, a baby boy born to James Cone and his wife Vanessa Scholes on June 14. ‘Will for short’ was what we were told. Congratulations, James and Vanessa. We hope you’re delighting in the early stages of Will’s life.
We’ve spent June reflecting on compassion. (a good conversation topic out there!) July, we will wander around the Bible, beginning with “ The Mamas and Papas of ancient times” – the patriarchs and matriarchs of the Hebrew Bible – and their role in the forming of the Judeo Christian tradition. A reminder to the Rhythm of Life group that we meet at 11.45am. See you there!
To view the e-news click here https://mailchi.mp/a67ec9f1b71e/this-weeks-newsletter-from-st-andrews-on-the-terrace-1402349