A life of unlearning – A spiritual journey to authenticity

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anthony-venn-brownPlease join Spirit of Life Unitarian Fellowship in welcoming Anthony Venn-Brown as our speaker on 23 January.  Services are held each Sunday as follows.  Visitors welcome.

Service:  10:30 – 11:30 followed by coffee, tea and biscuits

Location:  Kirribilli Neighbourhood Centre, upstairs gallery.  16-18 Fitzroy Street, Kirribilli, NSW

  • What happens when you come to the realisation that the Christian belief system you have built your life on, caused you to live in denial, reject and even destroy your true self?
  • How do you reconcile a belief system that tells you your homosexuality is an abomination and makes you unacceptaple to God and those close to you?
  • What do you do when you have more questions than answers?
  • How can you separate what is eternal, universal truth from what is man made truth?
  • What price would you pay to be true to yourself?

Anthony Venn-Brown was an ordained minister of the Assemblies of God and high profile preacher in Australia’s Pentecostal mega-churches. But there was a problem. Behind the scenes of a successful ministry he was fighting a secret battle. For 22 years he tried to change his sexual orientation through psychatric treatment, ex-gay programs, exorcisms and 16 years of marriage. Falling in love with a man at the age of 40 was the catalyst that forced him to face the reality; he was, is and always wiill be gay.

In front of a congration of 800 people, believing his faith and his homosexuality were irreconcilabe, Anthony resigned from the ministry and walked away from the church and his faith. Whilst now out of the closet about his sexuality another closet of denial and unresolved issues about his faith and spirituality had been created. Thus began his ‘Life of Unlearning’ everything he had believed God and his homosexuality…….in order to find the truth.

Anthony’s award winning autobiography ‘A Life of Unlearning – A Journey to Find the Truth’  is in its second print and has assisted people around the world to reconcile the percieved conflict between their faith and sexuality. He is also the co-founder and president of Freedom 2 b[e] ; Australia’s leading network for LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) people from Christian  backgrounds.

Anthony has become an ambassador for the LGBT community building bridges and breaking down the walls that have separated religion and gay and lesbian people. In 2007 Anthony’s name appeared on the inaugural list of the  25 Most Influential Gay & Lesbian Australians, and again in 2009 in acknowledgement of his pioneering work in the area of Christianity and Sexuality.

Charter For Compassion Talk

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Talk on the Charter for Compassion by Claire Morgan, July 2010

Before the talk started, I handed out copies of the Charter for Compassion, which follows. The reference list at the bottom of this document lists the Charter for Compassion website and all the texts that I mention.

Click here to read the complete talk by Claire Morgan

Charter for Compassion http://charterforcompassion.org )
The principle of compassion lies at the heart of all religious, ethical and spiritual traditions, calling us always to treat all others as we wish to be treated ourselves. Compassion impels us to work tirelessly to alleviate the suffering of our fellow creatures, to dethrone ourselves from the centre of our world and put another there, and to honour the inviolable sanctity of every single human being, treating everybody, without exception, with absolute justice, equity and respect.

It is also necessary in both public and private life to refrain consistently and empathically from inflicting pain. To act or speak violently out of spite, chauvinism, or self-interest, to impoverish, exploit or deny basic rights to anybody, and to incite hatred by denigrating others—even our enemies—is a denial of our common humanity. We acknowledge that we have failed to live compassionately and that some have even increased the sum of human misery in the name of religion.

We therefore call upon all men and women ~ to restore compassion to the centre of morality and religion ~ to return to the ancient principle that any interpretation of scripture that breeds violence, hatred or disdain is illegitimate ~ to ensure that youth are given accurate and respectful information about other traditions, religions and cultures ~ to encourage a positive appreciation of cultural and religious diversity ~ to cultivate aninformed empathy with the suffering of all human beings—even those regarded as enemies.

We urgently need to make compassion a clear, luminous and dynamic force in our polarized world. Rooted in a principled determination to transcend selfishness, compassion can break down political, dogmatic, ideological and religious boundaries. Born of our deep interdependence, compassion is essential to human relationships and to a fulfilled humanity. It is the path to enlightenment, and indispensible to the creation of a just economy and a peaceful global community.