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Adi Gibb

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Adi Gibb last won the day on March 20 2010

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About Adi Gibb

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  1. G'Day Annalisa, I don't post much these days but your search really spoke to me. Have a couple of thoughts, for what's it worth, but all that comes can be summed up with this sentence: To be a follower and adherent of Jesus, however you define that, does not mean being a follower and adherent to a particular church, though we must be open to the construct that sometimes the latter can surprisingly help you find the former! I would recommend, highly, you seeking out a course called 'Living the Questions'. Here is a link to an introductory video: It is a wonderful exploration of what PC is and how one can be a Christian in an inclusive, tolerant and socially responsible way. Second point relates to your explorations of other faiths. I too have explored many of the diverse paths to the Divine and I think the Pluralistic aspect of PC is something we should be quite proud of. My attitude has changed somewhat since I first began down my PC journey. I then felt that all faiths were valid and all represented reflections of the Divine. That hasn't changed totally truth be told. But I have now reached a point when I can say, without hesitation, that, like Borg, I feel that Jesus was the FULLEST revelation of God, what I call the Limitless Divine. Not the ONLY revelation, but, for me, the fullest. As I am a follower of Jesus, this makes sense, just as Buddhists would believe that Buddha was the fullest revelation for them, etc. But a dialogue with and learning from other faiths is vital, and I personally hope you continue to explore these faiths. Thirdly I just wanted to say that there are as many PCs as there are Anglicans or Catholics etc. Some are sacramental, some mystical, some SBNR, some of dual-paths, some are more comfortable with fresh expression of worship like concerts etc, some feel more comfortable in small groups, there are a myriad of 'types'. I am a 36 year old Anglican that sits, with my eyes closed, listening to a choir and participating in a Eucharist at a 'High Church' service every Sunday while my wife and son are at Sunday School in the hall. The Rector has a very progressive theology, but a love of the 'bells and smells' of a sacramental liturgy. And I really enjoy it! What sets PC apart from other areas of Christianity is that we don't just 'accept' these differences, but bask in them. Vive le Difference is alive and well in PC. What does that mean? It means that you should feel no guilt, whatsoever, in seeking an experience that 'fits', at least for the most part. Finally, I want to talk about embracing Jesus whom you miss. This can be done with or without a Church. As is spoken of in the Living the Questions programme, one can walk a labyrinth, join a Lectio Devina group, participate in social action groups, join a Christian Meditation group, there are many ways to worship and connect with Jesus without necessarily sitting on a pew on a Sunday. But what I would recommend is to just find some time to be still and silent. And pray! You can see this as a transcendental communication with a metaphysical Christ, which is how I see it, or you can see it as a centering of oneself, take the first step of just being still, and quiet, and recommencing a relationship with Jesus and the limitless divine that way. Having said that, some find Jesus in a church environment, it would be foolish to deny this. I don't really know too much about the UU. From what I have heard however a great many on this message board alone get a great deal from it. I guess the point I would make is that there is no reason you can't continue to attend the UU and seek a greater relationship with Jesus outside of those services, as Janet hints at. However, if you are seeking a Church experience that is Jesus centered, explore progressive and gay-friendly churches, absolutely, this is a good and noble pursuit to find the CHurch that touches your soul. Finally, and ultimately, I believe that if one makes a faith decision to open that door and allow Jesus in, all else will fall into place with time and exploration. That is the ultimate PC mission, explore, question, seek, and allow yourself to be transformed by the questions, not by absolute answers. Hope this helps, I have gone on haven't I? Adi
  2. Hi everybody, I am delighted to announce the formation of a new group for progressive fellowship here in Brisbane. It is called PAX (Progressive Anglican Christians) and will meet once a month over a shared meal, a DVD presentation and discussion. For more information see our facebook page: http://www.facebook....com/?sk=2361831622#!/group.php?gid=100712393323207&ref=mf Blessings Adrian
  3. This morning I had the honour to shake the hand of Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori, presiding Bishop of the USA Episcopal Church. Unfortunately this happened after a startling service. After about five minutes a young boy, perhaps 12, walked in followed by a HUGE man, muscular, wide and tall, ...obviously his father. I saw a fellow parishioner in the next pew looking behind him at the man and finally walking over to one of the church wardens and whisper something. Then the man and his son got up and began pacing around the back of the Church. I wasn't sure what was going on until Bishop Katharine stood and began her sermon. The man proceded to take out his keys and rattling then, sounding like a small bell. I turned and looked at him and he stopped, then started again. Finally he got his bravado up and began ringing his keys in an ongoing manner, by now in an obvious attempt to disrupt ... See Morethe Bishop's sermon. The two wardens stood and approached the man, and I heard them ask him if he wished to discuss things outside, which he did. The sermon went on to the background sounds of this man's raised voice outside. I was struggling at this point. What should I do? I can't just sit there. Or should I? Should I just ignore this? So I prayed. I prayed for guidance, and I prayed that this man would find some grace, somewhere, and leave. At this point we had got to the sign of peace. And, just like that, I knew what to do. While others shook hands and embraced within the church, I marched out to the small throng of three, the man towering above the two wardens and calling Bishop Katharine a whore. "Gentleman!" I said, causing all of them to stop in shock. "We are sharing the sign of peace in there and I wanted to share it with all of you." So I shook the two wardens hands and then I reached out my hand to the huge disguntled man. "Peace be with you" I said. Looking a little shocked, he reached out and shook it, saying "Yeah mate, good on you". I left to the other wardens issuing what, to Aussie males, is great praise, "Good on ya mate!". Part of me wishes I had done more, but I am happy with at least that. The man turned out to be a brisbane-based member of the Sydney Diocese, evangelical and very anti-female ministers. The fellow parishioner had been turning around because the man had been muttering expletives in the pews and he had got his son to take photographs of Bishop Katharine doing the service. He had left by the time I shook the Bishop's hands and we were exiting the Church. As far as we have come, the mountain top is still so far!
  4. G'Day Murmsk, I am not sure if this will just muddy the waters some more but I thought I would share with you some experiences from my perspective. A friend of mine and I often discuss how one's own personality can influence the type of worship they feel comfortable with. For instance I tend to be more on the introverted side, so a ritualised worship in which I can blend in with the crowd and not feel compelled to sing or clap etc can be quite appealing. Others find ritual too staid and boring and need that more outward expression of faith. Ultimately, however, I am happiest in a small group, discussing faith and books and the bible, perhaps sharing a meal in the process, this is where I feel most fulfilled. So I think it is about providing a diversity of worship. Have a 'High Church' service for those who wish it, perhaps with communion. But also have a contemporary service with perhaps a live band belting out some of the brilliant contemporary Christian music that is out there. One of the biggest changes I personally would like to see is a shift away from this notion that unless you worship on Sunday you haven't worshipped. If members of your church want to meet in a small group over coffee or a meal on Wednesday nights, if this is the way their faith is strengthened, then that should be seen as just as valid as a Sunday worship in a Church. I personally also love knowing that my Church is DOING our faith, rather than just talking about it. At my parish, which I have only just recently moved to from another, I love the focus on diverse charitable works and one page of their pew booklet was devoted to letting the parishioners know which charities benefit from their donations to the church. They have also just started a friendship circle for immigrants in the neighbourhood, so every Thursday morning anyone, no matter what race religion etc can meet at the Church and be supported in their journey. Finally, I would love Churches to go back to having that feel of sanctuary about it. When I was growing up my Mother would always say to me, "A Church's doors are never locked!", but of course they are these days, literally and, in some sense, metaphorically. I think places of contemplation should be created in and around a Church so that people can go there during the day or night (not too late I guess) and sit and feel a part of the spiritual dance of the Church. Again, my new parish has a small rotunda with benches outside the Church proper, and people can sit there whenever they like and read, meditate or pray, no questions asked. Anyway, that is what I would recommend, for what its worth. Adi
  5. Hi Dean, That is great news. So glad it was 'air-clearing' (if that is a word) and it sounds like a great dialogue is opening up. Really pleased it went well, must have taken a lot of courage to open up like that, you should be really proud of yourself. Adi
  6. Hi Dean, If you wish to share, would love to hear how the meeting with your Pastor went. Anyways, thinking of you and hoping it all goes/went well. Adi
  7. Hi again Brad, No worries, really hope some of my ramblings help in some way. Bill is absolutely right about SBNR. Here is the facebook link if that helps: http://www.facebook.com/SBNR.org#!/SBNR.org?v=wall Okay, my journey. I was baptised an Anglican but my father is non-theistic and my mother is a lapsed Anglican, so I didn't go to church growing up at all. I got to Uni champing at the bit to learn as much as I can about every and all religion. At that point I was agnostic in the truest sense of the word, I was open, committed to nothing, and questioning. Over the years I studied everything from Buddhism to Islam to Judaism to Paganism, you name it (I am now a PhD student in the department of Studies in Religion at the University of Queensland - thesis: the portryals of Pontius Pilate in the early church fathers). After all of that I chose celtic pre-christian and christian (culdees) religion as something which resonated with me and thought of myself as that for a while. Then I began exploring celtic christianity more and, basically, decided I really should learn as much about christianity, the faith I was baptised in, as I knew of the other faiths! So I guess about five and half years ago I attended an Alpha course. A friend of mine, who happened to be an Anglican, got me to go to her own church's Alpha course. Half way through I broke my leg. The Rector of the church, who I had literally now met only about four times at the course, rang every day to ask if he could help. He moved the entire course from the Parish Centre to the Church just so I could get there, and he and my friend took turns in picking me up whenever I needed to go to the Church (my wife, at the time, didn't drive). I saw in them people LIVING christianity, not talking about it. Anyway, the Rector, and my friend, and the course (I ended up doing it three times!), and a painting by Holman Hunt mentioned in the course, all led me to realise that this was something I admired and wanted to be a part of. My faith has grown stronger and stronger once I stopped thinking too much and opened the door to allow myself to have a faith in something beyond human parameters. A supreme mystery, and this is how it should be! I can never know the limitless divine, and that is okay, because I have seen its face, for me, in Jesus, just as others see it in Buddha or the God and Goddess. But I did realise that I could only be a Christian if I was a liberal or progressive one. In the same way, I can only be a progressive if I hang on to a more metaphysical aspect of Jesus. I need that, personally. So there you are, thats me. 36 years old and I would say I am finally comfortable with where I am, though I am always, always learning and changing. Adi
  8. G'Day Brad, Mate, I am not sure if this will be of any help but I have to try. Ian Lawton, who runs the SBNR movement (Spiritual But Not Religious) said this recently: "You are safe to question old beliefs and stop believing them if they no longer make sense to you. You are free to rid yourself of assumptions and prejudices that are stale reminders of another time. You are free to grow and change and make mistakes. Learn and heal and do it in your own time..." I could be a wrong but I sense some guilt in your searching. The Heart and Head debate, one we all have from time to time, is a part of the exquisite search, and you should not in any way feel guilty for abandoning one kind of faith for another, however briefly that may be. You are, when all is said and done, a person of faith, and whether that be deism, theism, whether that be Christianity, Buddhism or Paganism, you are reaching out to touch the traces of the limitless divine, and that is a perfectly sound and noble pursuit. So while this might sound trite, and while this almost certainly wont answer your immediate question, I just want to ask you to give yourself the chance to question, allow yourself the time and the parameters to discover what you can, when you can. And, finally, allow yourself to be a person of faith, and take comfort that that is what you are. The exact path or expression that faith manifests itself into is perhaps something that is around the corner, but if it means becoming a SBNR, a Buddhist, a Bahai, a Humanist, allow yourself the freedom to embrace that which speaks to you. The Limitless Divine is just that, limitless, and you should delight in exploring all the aspects and all the expressions of faith you can. Adi
  9. G'Day Dean Dough, Firstly, welcome to TCPC boards! I am not in here as much I would like to be but your post really stood out. I would like to echo the posts above and recommend honesty with your Pastor. Beyond that, I would like to, perhaps taking liberties here, I would like to suggest you think about what happens if your Pastor doesn't take the expected 'worse' course. I say this because, while I have just moved from my old parish to a new one, I stayed for about two years longer than I initially wanted to at my old parish after a chat with the Rector. Oh I laid it all out to him, how I couldn't stand the conservative parish council, how I found my progressive views to be in a minority, how I found worship there to be uninspiring, you name it. His response shocked me! He said that he liked to think that his parish was broad enough to include all theologies. He then said, "And if you go Adrian, then perhaps a progressive voice willing to speak out in this parish will be gone!" So I stayed, now unencumbered, and provided that progressive voice. Now I have moved to another parish as a dear friend of mine is a newly ordained curate there and, guess what, it is a liberal parish! (btw, this is SO amusing as my friend is quite conservative!). Anyway, the point I would make is just this. If your Pastor is willing to allow your theology in the parish, even though you may feel otherwise, at least consider staying as that progressive voice in the lay leadership. One of the fundamental duties of the PC, I believe, is to show the world an alternative face of Jesus. Adi
  10. Hi everyone, From here in Australia in the bright morning sunlight I wanted to wish you all a Happy Easter. On Friday I attended a three hour Good Friday Passion liturgy at Christ Church, St Lucia. A choir sang beautifully, the soloists, all Conservatorium students, were fantastic. Consisted of songs in Latin, readings from scripture, reflections by the Rector, poems and many times of silence in which to meditate and reflect. This is a quite progressive parish and Rector who do this kind of old school liturgy brilliantly. It was, however, quite solemn, as it should be, but today is the other end. Leaving aside the appropiation of the pagan fertility festival Eostre, and accepting for many that the resurrection is not to them what it is to me, today I am filled with joy as we remember the coolest man who ever lived is alive! Risen, risen indeed! Happy Easter everyone. Celebrate your faith and eat as much chocolate in a frenzy of decadence that you can, why not! Adi
  11. Hi BoE, I have said this before in other posts but it is indeed relevant in this holy week. For me my faith of Christianity relies on a transcendental but real communicative relationship with Jesus NOW. The object of my worship is not contained between two dust covers, but is real and alive, and able to walk with us in a resurrected form. So, consequently, I need to have a resurrection. Now this can be either bodily or what I call Spongian, ie, a spiritual resurrection in the hearts and minds of the disciples. Whatever the form, I need Jesus to have conquered the grave and be living now, otherwise, to be frank, I wouldn't be a Christian. Just my personal take of course. Another aspect is what the resurrection meant. For me the performing of the resurrection was a sacred YES from the limitless divine, that how this man lived his life, what this man taught, and how this man died, was a template for each of us, and to show just how special Yeshua was, the limitless divine did something so extraordinary that we had to take notice. Adi
  12. Hi again everyone, Thanks again for all your responses. Certainly helped me reached a conclusion about all of this. Firstly I would like to recommend this lecture: http://www.dundee.ac.uk/externalrelations/events/lectures.html Amazing lecture by perhaps one of the most eminent scientists of today who has a wonderful take on the new atheist movement. Neon Genesis, I totally agree that a wonderful partnership could develop between the world's SBNR people. But both sides would need to show humility and a willingness to respect the other side. A fault with both theists and non-theists at the moment. Many of you will perhaps baulk at this notion but I actually prayed last week for some guidance in this area, prayed that I would become clear in my mind whether to plea or not, whether I should be fighting those I think are distorting the message I passionately believe in, or taking a more passive and tolerant stance. Last night, and these discussion have been an instrinsic part of this, my mind did become clear. I realised that the means may not result in the desired ends. When I came to faith it was chiefly due to two people, a dear friend of mine and a Anglican Minister I barely knew. Their example, their sheer christian life is what inspired me to move more towards a committed faith, not their words or their arguments. When someone says to me, 'What do you think of Evangelists approaching you on the street and trying to save you?' I always say that it is through our actions and our example that we should inspire others into faith, not trying to foist our beliefs on others because we think they are somehow 'damned' because they are not like us. And, I must admit, Joseph's view about taking oneself out of the adversarial process was thought-provoking too. In short, I have come to the conclusion that constantly feeling defensive and counter-arracking those who do not believe in PC will not necessarily mean that the PC mindset will become predominant. Indeed, PC should perhaps set itself apart from the extremists and not indulge in this kind of theological cut and thrust. I am, I think, wasting precious time thinking and talking about new atheists and extremists of any sort. Instead I should be focusing on showing, through example, just how wonderful a jesus-centred life can be, how loving and tolerant. I need to become passive in debate, but active in deed. I need to stop 'thinking' and start 'doing' and forget those who disagree with me. And that, basically, is what I am going to try and do. Thanks everyone for your comments. Adi
  13. Hey, Neon Genesis, You bring up a valid point but I should say that I never would, should or could make the claim that atrocities done during the soviet era were 'because' of atheism. I brought that period up in direct response to this new atheist's claim that as soon as one expunged religion from society then all would be good. Naturally I find this to be a simplistic, almost childish notion, and just used the soviet era to make a point that things are a bit more complicated that that. I have indeed seen that meeting between Dawkins and the Bishop and yes, he was very polite. He seems to be, sometimes, to those he considers worthy of such treatment. I am a little obsessed with Dawkins, mainly because of the evangelical and almost fundamentalist zeal he has for his own particular belief system. He seems to worship at the altar of atheism almost, ironically, and I find this fascinating. Anyway, as such, I have seen many, many panel shows and interviews with Dawkins, perhaps too many, and I feel justified and informed enough to state categorically that the man is an intellectual snob with a condescension and arrogance that can, frequently, be legendary. I would like to think that if Dawkins was an Anglican Bishop and showed the same traits I would still apply the same epithets to him. I guess that is something that I am just convinced about and sorry if this offends and tarnishes a man you may admire. Just my personal view. Joseph, your words and indeed wise and I wish I could live up to them. As I said in the first post, I know I should be above responding to any of this, but I do, and this upsets me. God grant me more patience and true transcendence. At the risk of losing a great discussion, I did just want, if possible, to move the discussion back towards what I was hoping this post would be predominantly about. I used the example of the new atheists because these people are the ones that illicit the reactions I wished to discuss, and give rise to the dillema I have. So let's try a different tack. Let's say that, instead of atheists, one is reading about a diatribe by Beck or similar, against the progressive christian movement. It is filled with misinformation and blatantly absurd perceptions about PC. You know that many many people are reading this and believing it, are getting their only information about PC through this source, and it is wrong. My question is, should one mobilise? Should one stand up, cease a passive and silent resistance, and proclaim loudly what PC really is about? Should we, against our inherent natures, be more evangelical, if you like, in our stances? Should we be placing full page adverts in newspapers, starting our own television shows, begin proactively calling to account those taking the Christ message and distorting it with hatred and bigotry? In other words, instead of turning the cheek, which PC's are excellent at, should we be turning over the tables in the temple? The first option feels right, it feels like what the love-centred Christ would want us to do. But the second option may be the only way a huge number of Christian and non-Christians alike can be exposed to the notion that there IS an alternative, there IS a way of being a Christian and NOT being Pat Robertson. Thoughts? Adi
  14. Thanks for the initial responses. "Perhaps we need to plea, not simply against the new atheists, but with all people to take a fresh look at religious faith, that there is way of life that doesn't fall in the extremes of fundamentalism and scientism." I agree with this 100%. Indeed, this goes to the heart of my post really, a conflict between my desire to do the above, while at the same time not attempt to evangelise and not indulge in adversarial action which may go against the spirit of Christ's instructions to us. It comes down to whether we should be seeing PC as an activist movement, if you like, keen to win the battle of hearts and minds and show the world, literalists, fundamentalists, new atheists etc, that we represent an alternative. The paradox is that one of the essences of our alternative way of living our faith is a reluctance to so foist our views upon others, even when we are being labeled as ridiculous or wishy washy by our 'opponents'. (Dawkins recently said he respects creationists more than liberal christians). So the question is, when do we fight back, if we fight back at all? Maybe, not to sound too dramatic here, but maybe not just PC but all faith needs the progressive movements to take a more vocal and active stance, so that we are not represented by the Glen Becks etc. There is a reason why the new atheists go after the fundamentalists, a sitting duck is easier to shoot at than a moving target! Neon Genesis I agree with much of what you say. I have always said that if I was speaking to an atheist and a fundamentalist I would agree more with the former than the latter. But the kind new atheism of which I am speaking is incredibly derisive of people of faith. Dawkins was just in Australia and he was so condescending on a panel show that one of his allies suggested to him he should tone down the arrogance. An atheist here in OZ, Philip Adams, wrote an article called "The Atheist Delusion" in which he seeks to distance himself from Dawkins and Hitchens, but then goes on to proclaim that people of faith should be pitied for our beliefs, because we are victims of a fear of death, one which, of course, Adams claims to have overcome as a five year old! So it is strange, despite what I said above, I can handle a fundamentalist going red in the face and saying I will burn in hell far more than I can an intellectual telling me that I am somehow beneath him intellectually because I have faith in my life. That is when my blood starts to boil, mainly because I don't see him as intellectually inferior because he is an atheist, that is his right, but a similar politeness is not accorded to people of faith, we are just deluded simpletons beneath contempt (and I have had a new atheist say that directly to me, that I was beneath his contempt. He also said "Do the math Adrian. The world is full of religion, the world is in chaos. Religion equals chaos!" When I reminded him that the Soviet Union did some pretty terrible things during their atheistic heyday he replied, as Dawkins does, "Oh but that was an ideology relacing religion!". Isn't atheism an ideology I asked? "Of course not!") Anyway, I have gone on. Thanks for the responses. Adi
  15. To Plea or not to Plea The Christ example can be so hard to live up to can’t it? Absolute love, compassion, tolerance and love for all, just thinking about it can be daunting. But, for me, displaying this tolerance is hardest not when dealing with those of other faiths, those of literalist views within my own faith (though that is challenging) nor even those who use my faith as a weapon for their bigotry. No for me the hardest act of tolerance I can perform at the moment involves, increasingly, those of a ‘new atheist’ agenda. What is ‘new atheism’? Put simply it is being of the opinion that there is no God, but also going further and asserting that faith, of any kind, does harm, and must be expunged for the world to be a better place. The major exponents of this are writers like Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. The thing is, I want to just leave these people to say their piece. I want to have that Christ-like love and tolerance that would allow me to stand back and let these people vent their spleen and not let it affect me. But in venting their spleen they often ridicule and condemn things which mean the world to me. Furthermore, they see people of faith as ignorant, ‘deluded’ simpletons who need to grow up. We are, at best, to be pitied for our ridiculous superstitions based on a fear of death, at worst, be held culpable for hundreds of thousands of deaths occurring yearly because of ‘religion’. When I read articles by new atheists and the comments that often follow, my blood starts to rise and all I want to do is plea for my faith, join in the comment wars and stand up for a faith that is not couched in archaic notions of misogyny and homophobia, that embraces evolution and rational thought while holding on to a faith mindset. But to do so, I realise once the passion has cooled, is almost anathema to the kind of progressive Christianity I adhere to. For one, the concept of any kind of evangelising is, perhaps due to the history of the church, vehemently shied away from amongst PCs. As predominantly pluralistic by nature, we feel it wrong to foist our individual beliefs onto others, even atheists, and so remain silent often when attacked. Secondly, to join in an adversarial debate in order to defend oneself from a verbal onslaught does not seem to be ‘offering the other cheek’ as it were. The example of Christ on how to deal with one’s enemies would seem to indicate a stoic silence to the rants of Hawkins et al is preferred, not a rejoinder of similarly red-faced vitriol. Yet I do join in the fray sometimes. I do stand up for my faith and try and show that ‘religion’ is not a black and white concept represented by literalist creationists waiting for the rapture. And I always feel guilty afterwards. For the new atheists have as much right to their opinion, their articles, even their scorn for me and my kind, as I have a right to my faith. And I know, I just know, that if Jesus were reading these articles, he wouldn’t respond. His heart would fill, like mine, but with love, not a defensive rage. And I long to live up to that example, I really do. Yes, to plea or not to plea, that is the question.
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