Panel discussion

Faith in Leaders, Leaders in Faith - Visionary leaders and institutions

Wednesday November 20 • 6:30pm

Faith in Leaders,

Leaders in Faith
Visionary leaders and institutions
A panel discussion with
Bishop Justin Duckworth, Allan Freeth & Marjolein Lips-Wiersma
Chaired by Rev Dr Margaret Mayman
In this discussion, panellists will explore the relationship between beliefs and leadership as seen through the eyes of secular and spiritual leaders.
Pope Francis, for instance, is actively pursuing his values and beliefs in his work as a new pope, and in so doing is setting the tone for the entire church.
In a similar fashion, the Dalai Lama is walking the talk, living his Buddhist values in everything he does and inspiring a community that goes beyond Tibetan Buddhism.
No charge for admission • we welcome a donation

Led by Rev Dr Margaret Mayman, the panellists are:

  • Bishop Justin Duckworth, Anglican Diocese of Wellington
  • Allan Freeth, former CEO of Telstra Clear
  • Associate Professor Marjolein Lips-Wiersma, Canterbury University School of Management

In this discussion, panellists will explore the relationship between beliefs and leadership as seen through the eyes of secular and spiritual leaders.

Pope Francis, for instance, is actively pursuing his values and beliefs in his work as a new pope, and in so doing is setting the tone for the entire church.

In a similar fashion, the Dalai Lama is walking the talk, living his Buddhist values in everything he does and inspiring a community that goes beyond Tibetan Buddhism.

No charge for admission • we welcome a donation

Panellists:

• Marjolein Lips-Wiersma

Former associate editor of the Journal of Management, Spirituality and Religion, Associate Professor Marjolein Lips-Wiersma has published numerous papers on workplace spirituality. Her research on meaningful work is widely used by for-profit businesses and not-for-profit organisations.

• Dr Allan Freeth

Chair of Housing New Zealand, Allan Freeth has served as a director for GNS Science, a board member of Save the Children Fund, as a trustee and director of Crimestoppers NZ and as deputy chair of Film New Zealand. Until recently Chief Executive Officer of TelstraClear, he lives in Khandallah with his wife and three children.

• Bishop Justin Duckworth

Anglican Bishop of Wellington Justin Duckworth was ordained in Wellington Cathedral on 30 June, 2012. Co-founder and leader of Urban Vision, which runs houses in Wellington in which young Christians live alongside folk from the margins, Justin and his wife Jenny also pioneered Ngatiawa, a contemporary monastery.


Tuesday lunchtime lecture

 

Why Honest to God Blew the Roof off the Church
and Let in the Fresh Air

Lloyd Geering

Tuesday November 12 • 12:15pm

in 1963, Bishop of Woolwich John Robinson unintentionally became a theological whistleblower by revealing to the people in the pews where the theologians were going. The words of his book Honest to God hit the church like a bomb, and according to Ruth Robinson, ‘things have never been the same again’.

A new basis for theology had been laid at the start of the 19th century by the father of Protestant liberalism, Friedrich Schleiermacher. It had been built on by the Modernists, and developed by Rudolf Bultmann, Paul Tillich and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Lay members of church congregations, though, had little or no knowledge of these discussions.

More has changed theologically in the fifty years since Honest to God was published than in the previous 150 years, however – in 1966, the world was shocked to hear of the ‘death of God’, and in 1993, Karen Armstrong published A History of God

So fifty years after Honest to God hit the streets, selling 350,000 in the first year, where are we now? What can we honestly say today about God?

A DVD will be available of this lecture

 


Study Course - Creating a Culture of Awakening

Facilitators: Landa van den Berg & Ramsey Margolis

Over seven Mondays • Monday October 21 to Monday December 2
6:30–8pm • St Andrew’s Conference Room 2

A secular Buddhist study course offered in association with Secular Buddhism Aotearoa New Zealand

About the course

Listening to and discussing recorded talks by Stephen Batchelor, participants will explore what kind of practice might emerge in a Buddhism divested of the religious, dogmatic and patriarchal features that have often characterised its role in traditional Asian societies.

What is truly distinctive in the teaching of Siddhattha Gotama, the man we now know as the Buddha, that sets it apart from mainstream Indian religious tradition?

Combining reflections on classical discourses with observations on the practice of mindful awareness, concentration and questioning, we will seek to answer this question by uncovering what lies at the radical heart of Mr Gotama’s teaching and considering how such ideas might be interpreted and put into practice in today’s increasingly secular and interdependent world.

Speaking from France, Stephen will be present by Skype to introduce the course, and for the final evening – along with Lloyd Geering – to answer any questions we may have. 

This course is relevant for people new to meditation and Buddhism as well as experienced practitioners. Limited to 20 participants.

To find out more about the course, click here to download an information sheet, send an email or phone/text 021 97 3531. Study material will be sent out in October.

• To register complete the form HERE.

No fixed fee

Since the teachings are considered beyond price, Buddhist organisations and teachers do not charge for teaching. Instead, donations are gratefully accepted for the teaching and instruction, enabling their work to continue and be offered to others. In recent years, this has come to be known as ‘paying forward’. 

There will be an opportunity to offer donations to Stephen Batchelor on the final evening. To find out how donations help create a secular Buddhist community in Aotearoa New Zealand, visit secularbuddhism.org.nz/about/generosity

Similar to the practice of koha among Maori, the practice of generosity – dana in Pali, a language spoken around the time of the Buddha – has kept Buddhist traditions alive for more than 2,500 years in Asia, where committed supporters have given generously to establish and run networks of monasteries and retreat centres, providing resources for millions of teachers and practitioners.

Stephen Batchelor is a Buddhist teacher, writer and translator known for his bestselling book Buddhism without Beliefs and his secular approach.

He was a monk for 10 years, first studying and practicing Tibetan Buddhism and then Korean Zen.

He travels widely, teaches regularly in North America, Europe and Australasia, and continues to write. Among his other books are The Faith to Doubt, Living with the Devil: A Meditation on Good and Evil and most recently Confession of a Buddhist Atheist.

In Nov 2010, Stephen discussed ‘Can Christianity and Buddhism Remain Relevant in the 21st Century?’ with Lloyd Geering at St Andrew’s on The Terrace, and in February 2012 he gave a talk ‘Being Completely Human – Buddhist Practice in a Post-Modern World’, also at St Andrew’s on The Terrace. Video recordings of both of these events can be seen atsecularbuddhism.org.nz/resources/videos.

To find out more about his work, go to stephenbatchelor.org


Ethics Matters

One week, two lunchtime lectures 

1 – Health Lessons for a Diverse World

Ben Gray

Tuesday October 22

Health practitioners are expected to be culturally competent with the aim of improving on the unequal health outcomes endured by minority cultural groups such as Maori and Pacific people.

The approaches required to achieve this could be applied to other areas of national life to maximise the benefit of our increasingly diverse population.

• Dr Ben Gray is an Otago graduate from the first class at the Wellington Clinical School who joined the Primary Health Care & General Practice Department of the University of Otago, Wellington in 2006 as a senior lecturer in General Practice.

He has worked as a GP for the past 25 years, firstly at Waitara and more recently at Newtown Union Health Service (NUHS). While Waitara has a significant Maori population, NUHS has a diverse population with significant numbers of refugees from many parts of the world and the practice has developed significant strengths in long term condition management, cross cultural care and interprofessional practice.

2 – Archbishops and Economics

Brian Easton

Thursday October 24

To what extent can economics ignore the issues which ethics raises?

• Brian Easton is an independent scholar who researches, writes, works as a consultant and teaches in economic, social statistics, public policy and New Zealand Studies.

A Fellow of the Royal Statistical Society, a Chartered Statistician, a Member of the Royal Society of New Zealand and a Distinguished Fellow of the New Zealand Economic Association, he was appointed to the Prime Minister’s Growth and Innovation Advisory Board for its entire existence from 2002 to 2009, and in 2009 he was the NZIER Economist of the Year.

Other major research concerns include current macroeconomic developments, economic evaluation (especially of health and the environment) and the impact of alcohol and gambling on public welfare, and public policy generally. 

His writings include a fortnightly column in The Listener,  and learned articles and reviews which appear on his website at www.eastonbh.ac.nz.


Spirited Conversation @ Thistle Inn

From Equal Access to Blind Justice?
The role of community law centres

Hannah Northover

Monday October 7

Community Law Wellington and Hutt Valley seeks to meet otherwise unmet legal needs. People drop in for short sessions and receive initial legal advice, and in some circumstances are taken on as clients.

Community law centres have traditionally been voices from outside the system, pushing for a more equal justice system. Can community law centres continue to provide that role as well as providing more and more day-to-day services? What do clients need?

• Hannah Northover started out as a commercial litigation lawyer but left that job four years ago to take a full time role at the Community Law Centre where she had been volunteering. She now manages Community Law’s Te Awa Kairangi (Hutt Valley) office.


Tuesday lunchtime Geering Lecture

Nigel Leaves – Too Many New Stories! Which One Do You Tell?

Tuesday, October 1

Postmodernity has let not one but many genies out of the bottle. Following Nietzsche there is not ‘One Truth’ but many ‘truths’. Likewise, there is not one new story but many new stories. Indeed, even within ‘liberal’ and ‘progressive’ Christianity there is a huge divergence as to what story should be told. 

In this lecture Nigel Leaves will outline the new Christian stories that are being promoted today, asking whether all these stories are permissible, how we decide between them, and what effect this choice has on our understanding of ‘God’, ‘the Church’ and ‘the future of religion’.

Nigel is passionate about bridging the gap betweeen what is taught in the Academy and preached in the churches, concerned that theology should be both honest and appropriate to the cultural situation in which it is situated.

Fearful that truthful ‘God-talk’ has been sidelined from ordinary conversation, he enjoins us to be more creative in our engagement with postmodernity.

• Nigel Leaves is on the staff of St Francis Theological College and Canon of St. John’s Anglican Cathedral, Brisbane, and adjunct lecturer in theology at Charles Sturt University, teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Author of God Talk and Religion Under Attack: Getting Theology Right, he is currently at work on a book which will have the title Which Jesus? Whose Christ?


Spirited Conversations @ The Thistle Inn

These are informal and inclusive conversations where questions and conversations are encouraged and all are welcome. Held at the Thistle Inn, (upstairs room), 3 Mulgrave St, on the first Monday of the month, the conversation starts at 7 pm and a number of us gather for refreshments downstairs beforehand.

Andrew Sweet – Emission Trading Scheme: beyond the fart jokes

Monday, September 2

The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) is a way of meeting our international obligations around climate change. The ETS puts a price on greenhouse gases to provide an incentive to reduce emissions and to encourage tree planting. Andrew Sweet discussed how the scheme was developed, how it’s working today and how it will help New Zealand meet the challenges of climate change.

After working in NZ forestry, Andrew took degrees in economics from the Universities of Canterbury and York. He spent several years at the Treasury, including as Manager of International Economics, and was a key consultant who advised on the Emissions Trading Scheme. Andrew is also Chairperson of the New Zealand AIDS Foundation and a keen tramper and climber.


Midvives of Change: Progressives shaping Faith Communities

Saturday, Aug 17, 9:30 am to 3:00 pm • 

Location: in the church at St Andrew's on The Terrace

 

Rev Dr Margaret Mayman, Study Trust Chair and Minister at St Andrew’s on The Terrace will present her keynote to the Australian Common Dreams conference entitled ‘Birthing with Blood, Sweat and Tears: Progressive Public Theology’

Synopsis: Progressive Christian theologians have turned our attention to the concern of Jesus and his friends for the social, political and economic well-being of the marginalized and excluded. On the other hand, much of contemporary Christian faith emphasises a privatised, ‘personal relationship’ with Jesus. Progressives can frame a new expression of public theology (which works for the common good and the establishment of a civil society) by engaging in the public square of ideas and issues. Like midwives we honour the embodied, relational nature of human life. As people of faith, we articulate understandings and spiritual practices that are drawn from our tradition but intelligible in a secular world.

This address will be followed by three workshops:

• Spirituality ‘scarier than asking about Sex’ – Rev Sande Ramage

Synopsis: Communication is dynamic, especially around religion and spirituality. So tricky that one healthcare worker reckons spirituality is scarier than asking about sex. Chaplains at Palmerston North hospital surveyed staff about attitudes to chaplaincy and spirituality after noticing some puzzling inconsistencies. For instance, they might be called to bless a room after someone had died but rarely called to be with the dying person. ‘The patient wasn’t religious,’ was the staff response when asked about it. A significant communication chasm seemed to be opening, given that chaplains expect to be open to all faiths and none. More investigation was needed. However, the chaplains got more than they bargained for. Big questions were raised about the communication tangles we face in a dynamic spiritual landscape, made more difficult when influenced by the bio-medical model. An interactive workshop with spiritedcrone currently puzzled but enchanted by hospital chaplaincy.

• Stop White Collar Crime. Changing the Political Religious Landscape – Rev Glynn Cardy

Synopsis: The influence of religious organizations in the political landscape of Aotearoa/New Zealand and Australia has changed significantly over the last 100 years. In a secular society, in a society that often mistrusts religious organizations, should those of a progressive faith persuasion try to influence political policy and outcomes, and if so how? ‘Stop White Collar Crime’ is a story of trying to address injustice within the Anglican Church [‘white collar’ referring to bishops], but like one tributary of a river it quite quickly joined with other tributaries to feed into a major national movement for social change. This workshop gives participants an opportunity to share stories about working for political change—the strategies, frustrations, and occasional successes of that—and the opportunity to learn from and support each other.

• Midwives are ‘Hands On’: Progressive Communities and Engaging Politics – Rev Dr Margaret Mayman

Synopsis: Using midwifery as a metaphor for our work in progressive religious communities, suggests the challenge of being “hands on” in the transformation of the world for peace and justice. Sharing the story of her faith community as it has been involved in engaged politics over the last decade (from the decriminalization of prostitution in 2003 to their current involvement in the Living Wage Campaign), Margaret will offer a model of community politics that enables an intentional faith response based on collaboration with secular groups who are working for social change. Through participation in these struggles, St Andrew’s has countered the widely held view of churches as exclusive, judgmental and other-worldly. Engagement becomes an invitation to progressive community.

 


Dr Ben Gray – Cultural Competence

Monday, August 5

In this talk, Ben Gray explored what is understood by cultural competence and draw parallels between this idea and how we live in a diverse population. Can we use the principles behind cultural competence in health excellent principles to thrive in a diverse community? 

An Otago graduate from the first class at the Wellington Clinical School, Ben Gray joined the Primary Health Care & General Practice Department of the University of Otago, Wellington in 2006 as a senior lecturer in General Practice. He has worked as a GP for the past 25 years, firstly at Waitara in the Taranaki and more recently at Newtown Union Health Service (NHUS).

While Waitara has a significant Maori population, NUHS has a diverse population with significant numbers of refugees from many parts of the world. The practice has developed significant strengths in long term condition management, cross cultural care and interprofessional practice. There are unfair disparities in health outcomes where minority cultures have worse outcomes just because of their culture – as opposed to gender, wealth, education level. Health care practitioners realised that providing equal care irrespective of race colour or creed wasn't working, that care needs to be provided which is respectful of cultural difference.


From the Big Bang to God: the Evolution of Human Thought 

Lloyd Geering’s July 2013 lunchtime lecture series

July 9    Noogenesis – Emergence of the Thought World

July 16  Theogenesis – The Emergence of the Gods

July 23  Homogemesis – Humankind Comes of Age

July 30  Can Humans Play God?

We humans live in two worlds:

  1. The physical universe (whose evolution from the big bang to the arrival of homo sapiens was covered in the last series entitled Evolution: The Real Genesis) and
  2. The world of human thought (which humans have constructed in the last 50,000 years). 

It is through the lens of this latter world that we view, come to understand, and make our response to the physical universe of which we are a part.

This series sketches the evolution of this second world from the invention of language to the ‘death of God’ and the new responsibilities we now find ourselves facing.

Both this and the previous series of lectures, which together provide the content of Lloyd's new book, From the Big Bang to God, will be available on DVD. Each series is a two DVD set costing $35 a set. Copies of From the Big Bang to God will be on sale for $25.


Spirited Conversations @ The Thistle Inn

Monday, July 1

Internet Innovation – how the Internet helps drive social and economic growth

Ross Young says that the Internet could have been purpose built for New Zealand. It brings us closer to our friends, our families, products we like and customers we want to talk to. It makes sharing ideas quicker and easier. This talk covered why the Internet and its ecosystem is important and how people are using it to improve their businesses and their children’s education.

Born and bred in Wellington, Ross Young manages public policy for Google in New Zealand. He has worked in the public and private sectors in New Zealand and overseas, including the BBC, TelstraClear, Minority Rights International, Vodafone and the Commerce Commission. He is a member of St Andrews on The Terrace, is father to a gorgeous girl and is currently reading a biography of William Gladstone.


Spirited Conversations @ The Thistle Inn

Monday, June 10

Matthew Beattie started a conversation on Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace

Matt Beattie is chief executive of the Instep Group. He is a trainer in workplace behaviour, particularly performance issues, addiction, fatigue management, and psychological health and safety in the workplace.

A graduate in human resources, industrial and organisational psychology Matt has postgraduate qualifications in international relations and strategic studies. He has also attended the Programme on Negotiation and the Programme on Dealing with Difficult People at Harvard Law School.


Book Launch

From the Big Bang to God by Lloyd Geering

Wednesday, May 29

Launched by Dr Hamish Campbell Senior Geologist at GNS Sciences & Te Papa's geological advisor

At 95, theologian Sir Lloyd Geering continues his lifelong inquiry into the nature of the divine and the human. Geering’s latest book, From the Big Bang to God, covers, in the first half of the book, his 2012 lectures series entitled ‘Evolution: the Real Genesis’ which encompassed the emergence of the universe through to the emergence of humankind.

The second half of this new book sets the scene for this year’s series of four lectures which will cover the emergence of human thought through to the emergence of God and beyond.


Spirited Conversations @ The Thistle Inn

Monday, May 6

Jo Randerson offered a conversation around Writing with Spirit

‘As a writer, it is not cold hard, logical fact-based truth that I seek, but rather the more elusive kind: deep, universal truth that cannot be logically understood but can only be felt as an internal and inexplicable stirring of the soul.’

Born in Auckland in 1973 Jo moved to Wellington in 1977, attended Clifton Terrace School and then to Wellington Girls College where she was Head Girl. After choosing Theatre and Film as her major at Victoria University, Wellington, she was involved as a writer, director and performer in revues and theatre productions for VUWSA Drama Club. She also performed at BATS and appeared doing stand-up comedy.

In 1996 Jo participated in the prestigious creative writing course at Victoria University with Bill Manhire, and has since published two books of short stories: The Spit Children and The Keys To Hell. Jo formed Barbarian Productions in 2001 and has been touring and performing in her own shows since then – playing in France, Norway, Edinburgh, Belgium, Australia as well as around New Zealand. Jo has recently been nominated for the IIML Prize in Modern Letters.


Is Secular Religion a Contradiction in terms?

Friday, 15 February

A conversation between Lloyd Geering and Buddhist teacher Winton Higgins, chaired by Noel Cheer

    

Are current accounts of Buddhist and Christian secularity pointing to the seeds of secularity having been planted in these traditions, and can this give a new lease of life to both religions in late-modern conditions? Winton Higgins and Lloyd Geering will be discussing ideas such as this, and more.

The idea that secularity is the scourge of religion drives high-volume book sales by militant and not-so-militant atheists such as Christopher Hitchens, Richard Dawkins and Alain de Boton.

However, Christian commentators on secularity such as Charles Taylor, Gianni Vattimo and Lloyd Geering have a more insightful and suggestive tale to tell, and Buddhists such as Stephen Batchelor and Winton Higgins are attempting to align the Buddha’s teaching with the intensifying secularity in today’s western culture and thought. 

Are current accounts of Buddhist and Christian secularity pointing to the seeds of secularity having been planted in these traditions, and can this give a new lease of life to both religions in late-modern conditions?

Winton Higgins and Lloyd Geering will be discussing questions such as this, and more.

This conversation was very well attended and received extremely positive comments from attendees. It was broadcast live and was recorded, is available as a DVD and and can be seen on YouTube.

• • • •

As a background, consider this excerpt from Lloyd Geering’s 2005 Hocken Lecture published as ‘The Antipodean Christian’ in The Lloyd Geering Reader (eds Morris and Grimshaw, Victoria University Press):

‘The secular world is ... a product and continuation of the Christian West. To refer to it as secular does not mean that it is non-religious; rather it means that, as the supernatural world view has faded into non-reality, religious thought and endeavour must now fasten attention on this physical universe as the only real world. Thus religion is becoming secular in form.

... Certainly the secular world is not Christian in the way mediaeval Christendom was, but neither is it anti-Christian. Values such as freedom, love, justice, peace, mutual caring and goodwill, long dominant in the Judaeo-Christian tradition, continue to be held in high honour in the secular world. Their own inherent power to convince us of their worth means they no longer need the support of divine authority. That is why Dietrich Bonhoeffer referred to this new cultural period as ‘humankind's coming of age’.

... In this new secular age, religion is manifesting itself in a much more humanistic and naturalistic way than in the past. We are coming to value what it is that all humans have in common, irrespective of class, race, religion, gender, or age. We are developing a growing concern for human rights. We have come to see that what used to be regarded as the divine attributes are actually human value judgements, expressing what our forbears found to be of ultimate concern to them.’

And this excerpt is from Winton Higgins’ article in the Journal of Global Buddhism Vol. 13 (2012) entitled ‘The Coming of Secular Buddhism: Synoptic View’:

‘Secular Buddhism is coalescing today in response to two main factors. First, it rejects the incoherence of Buddhist modernism, a protean formation that accommodates elements as far afield as ancestral Buddhism and psychotherapies claiming the Buddhist brand.

Second, it absorbs the cultural influence of modern secularity in the West. Historically understood, secularity has constituted a centuries-long religious development, not a victory of ‘science’ over ‘religion.’

Today’s secularity marks a further stage in the cultural decline of ‘enchanted’ truth-claims and the intellectual eclipse of metaphysics, especially under the aegis of phenomenology.

In Buddhism as in Christianity, secularity brings forth a new humanistic approach to ethical-spiritual life and creative this-worldly practices.’