Eaarth Day And G-O-D! Beyond ‘Belief’ To ‘Mystery’ And ‘Creativity’

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This is a talk given on the 22nd April, 2012 by Rex A E Hunt, who is a retired Uniting Church minister, Founding director of The Centre for Progressive Religious Thought, and Chair, Common Dreams Conference for Religious Progressives.

It was Christmas Eve in December 1968. Apollo 8 was orbiting the moon, the American astronauts busy photographing possible landing sites for the missions that would follow.

On the fourth orbit, Commander Frank Borman decided to roll the craft away from the moon and tilt its windows toward the horizon – he needed a navigational fix.  What he got, instead, was a sudden view of the earth, rising.  “Oh my God,” he said.  “Here’s the earth coming up.”  Crew member Bill Anders grabbed a camera and took the photograph that became the iconic image perhaps of all time” (McKibben 2010:2)

The space agency NASA gave the image the code name AS8-14-2383, but we now know it as “Earthrise”, a picture “of a blue-and-white marble floating amid the vast backdrop of space, set against the barren edge of the lifeless moon” (McKibben 2010:2). This image, along with another of Earth from space, called “Blue Marble”, and taken by crew on board Apollo 17 four years later, has appeared in TV mini-series, scientific publications and school text books, on greeting cards, a postage stamp, and advertising posters, not to mention having their own pages on Wikipedia!

As the other Apollo 8 Crew member, Jim Lovell, put it: “the earth… suddenly appeared as ‘a grand oasis’” (McKibben 2010:2).
But author and environmental activist Bill McKibben has pointed out: “…we no longer live on that planet” (McKibben 2010:2).

To read his thought-provoking talk, click here.

Are Unitarians Open To Change?

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This is the talk given by the Eric Stevenson on the 11th March, 2012.

Last Sunday after Fellowship, Davey, Colin and I had an important conversation with a visitor looking for a religious sea change. He had submitted his world view to the Religious Preference web site and Unitarian came up for his recommended religion of choice. But he could not see what it was in a religion without doctrines and dogmas that would sustain his private search for, and practice of a post modern spirituality. We looked to Davey who has been a Unitarian since birth in his big UU congregation in the States. Davey’s answer was definitive! The Unitarian commitment to the life changes involved in progressive religious thought is not only a private one. It is shared It is the sharing that makes us tick.

But there is something else that draws Aussie Unitarians together. I suspect that most Australian Unitarians (and some American ones I know!) are not dyed–in-the-wool like Davey. Most of us have had the experience of leaving a traditional congregation for a free thinking one, or at least of having changed from the doctrinaire religious belief in which they were brain washed. We have left that world behind and all now embrace the name “Spirit of
Life”. What does that imply? As we have stated in our Opening Words this automatically commits us to a living, developing, growing, evolving and consequently changing spiritual journey. That is why I felt so at home when I came here. I was in the process of leaving a congregation in which the Spirit was old and grey. If it wasn’t already dead it was dying! The doctrinal system was a closed book. An exploration of a divergent world view was a no-no!
The raising of doubt about authoritarian beliefs was a no-no. How then did we arrived here?

To read the complete talk, click here.