Good News in the Present Tense

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by the Rev Geoffrey Usher.

I feel a bit uncomfortable when people who have  been Christians for years insist on telling their
conversion experiences. It’s not the stories that make me uncomfortable, but the thought that they
ought to have something much more recent to communicate about their Christian life. A poet
commented:
Your holy hearsay is not evidence:
Give me the good news in the present tense.
The living truth is what I long to see. I cannot lean upon what used to be.
Show me how
The Christ you talk about Is living now.

Click here to read the full address.

Paper Bags and Calabashes

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An address given by Reverend Geoffrey Usher to the Spirit of Life Unitarian Fellowship.

Do you have a cardboard box of “good stuff”? Do you have a box which is what you’ll grab to take with you if your house ever catches on fire? Do you have a worn paper bag of bits and pieces – “love in a paper sack”?
Think back over the years. Are you aware of any sins of omission – of failures to seize opportunities which you might now be ready to grasp – failures to see what was really there – what was really being offered to you in the equivalent of Robert Fulghum’s daughter’s tattered lunchbag?
Are you aware – or prepared to admit – that you may have rejected, through sheer insensitivity, goodness only knows how many tentative offerings of open-hearted trust?

Click here to read the full address.

 

Reflection – April 15, 2018

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by the Rev. Daniel Jantos, given at the Spirit of Life Fellowship, Kirrabilli.

Some of us may identify philosophically, politically, spiritually as progressives but generally, in Australia or the United States, we know that there is a line, of sorts, to our left that one crosses with caution. The clearest way to cross that line is to start talking about Karl Marx and Marxism …..or to throw around the words colonialist and imperialist. We may be progressive but many are wary of that leftist Marxist fringe whom we suspect are mostly idealogues gone too far – university students or academics who don’t really know enough about the practical world.
Well today I would like to bring up some Marxist critique and some colonialist conspiracies as a part of a reflection. This in connection to a term that has captured my imagination over the past few weeks and I hope might be of interest to you also. It is a term from the writer Peter Hershcock. It is the term “the colonization of consciousness.” I am using it this morning as a way to reflect on just how much information technology has invaded our lives and is plundering our attention. To use a Marxist phrase: it has made a commodity of our attention.

The full address can be found here.

Life and Laughter Invite Us To Be Startled By Easter

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“The universes underpins and permits life,
of which we are a local manifestation”
(Paul R. Fleischman)

‘A pinch and a punch for the first of the month’.
‘Rabbits. Rabbits. Rabbits’.
Or if you are Irish: ‘White Rabbits’.

Today is a ‘first of the month’ day.
It is 1st April—April Fool’s Day—sometimes called All Fool’s Day.
One of the most light-hearted days of the year.

The rest of this Rev. Rex Hunt address can be read here.

Looking at Life

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Address by Rev. Geoff Usher :

I suspect that most people pause now and then to look at l i f e . And I suspect that
at least some people think that, on the whole, l i f e is pretty grim.

To continue reading click here.

Celebrating Earth and Wonder in Early Spring

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A talk given by the Rev. Rex Hunt on the 17th of September, 2017.

 

In 2005 when I was on a Study Tour in England I was fortunate enough to have a side-visit to ‘Down House’, the country home of naturalist Charles Darwin and his family. Few properties can claim to have been as central to the life  and work of its owner as this house.
I remember very well standing in his old studyand being engulfed by its history and its significance. For it was in that house and in that room that Darwin wrote  his most famous book, On the Origin of Species…, published in November 1859.A book which stands as a wellspring for what we now call ‘evolutionary biology’.
In the last paragraph of the book, Darwin wrote: “It is interesting to contemplate a tangled bank, clothed with many plants of many kinds, with birds singing on the bushes, with various insects flitting about, and with worms crawling through the damp earth, and to reflect that these elaborately constructed forms, so different from each other, and dependent upon each other in so complex a manner, have all been produced by laws acting around us.” (Darwin 2008:362)
Interesting indeed… For the debate it ignited not only led to the denial of the creation stories of the western religious tradition, it gave us the beginnings of an immensely richer, longer, more complex ‘story’,  rooted not in “the history of a single tribe or a particular people”,  but one “rooted in the sum of our knowledge of the universe itself”.
A scientific ‘doctrine of incarnation’ as one person has described it, which suggests “that the universe itself is continually incarnating itself in microbes and maples, in humming birds and human beings, constantly inviting us to tease out the revelation contained in stars and atoms and every living thing.”  (Bumbaugh 2003)
Yes, a ‘religious’ story…   that invites us to awe and wonder;       that demands a vocabulary of reverence.

The complete talk can be found here.

The Perfume of the Trampled Flower

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A sermon by the Rev. Geoff Usher given on the 20th August, 2017.

A puzzle. Within congregations that are supposed to be loving, caring, mutually supportive communities of like-minded people – especially in our liberal, tolerant Unitarian tradition – why is it that so often people remain unforgiving about some long past event, or remain unforgiving of the way that other members of the congregation reacted to that event?
Why is it that the health of the whole congregation – the health and well-being of the whole church community – can become lost in petty arguing, lost in what seems to be a stubborn unwillingness to mend the rips in the fabric of community?

The whole talk can found here.

Nostalgia

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“NOSTALGIA”

by Geoffrey R Usher
Sermon delivered to Spirit of Life Unitarian Fellowship
on 22 January 2017
Ten years ago my son Andrew and his then girlfriend Stephanie returned to England after a holiday of nearly three months in Australia, which included Christmas in Sydney with my wife Ann. As the weather in Sheffield got colder and darker, and I-thought of them enjoying the late spring and then early summer in Australia’s warmth — meals outside, long days of sunlight, swimming at the beach — I tried to persuade myself that I was not jealous. I have to confess: I was not very successful in that attempt to persuade myself that I was not jealous, and I kept finding myself remembering, remembering.. .

The sermon can be found here.

Two Travel Stories

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Rev. Geoff Usher asks us to think about what impression we make on on other people as we travel life’s journey.

To read this talk click here.

Fungi, Rabbits and Sheep

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She was born on 28 July 1866, at 2 Bolton Gardens, South Kensington, London. Both her parents were descended from wealthy families who had made their fortunes in the Lancashire cotton industry. Her brother, born five years later , was sent off to boarding school, so her childhood was essentially solitary , dull and leisured. She never went to school, but spent most of her time in the nursery of the large, dark, stuffy house – once described by a cousin as “a dark Victorian mausoleum, complete with aspidistras”.

Can you guess about whom Rev. Geoff Usher is speaking?

The full address can viewed here.

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