I know there are fewer and fewer mysteries in the world as scientists learn more about the universe, but there are a few in Aotearoa New Zealand that have baffled me until very recently.
Two national elections ago, polls said Kiwis overwhelming opposed selling state owned enterprises. They thought public housing and transport should remain publicly owned. They believed potential monopolies like power companies should belong to the nation. They were all built with our taxes. We paid those taxes because we believed it was for the common good. Then inexplicably they voted overwhelmingly for a political party that made no bones about their intention to sell those assets if elected. When they followed through on that promise in spite of protests, they paid no political price. I was mystified. Continue reading Unitarian Values Are Universal→
Even if you have been attending worship here only for a short time you know about the Seven Principles that guide Unitarians in our efforts to live life in an ethical, compassionate and just manner. The banner that lists them is hard to miss in our sanctuary. But even life-long Unitarians are often not aware of the six sources that inform our living faith tradition. They are like wells from which we draw the waters of wisdom and spirituality that give life to our tradition. They include our direct experience of mystery, wisdom from world religions, our Jewish and Christian heritage, reason and science, Earth-centred traditions, and the one that inspires my thoughts on higher education today: “Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love.” Continue reading The Rise and Fall of Higher Education→
Did you know God is real and is a domineering white-trash bastard in a wife-beater T-shirt and ratty bathrobe who never gets off his computer? You already know about his son, but did you know about his daughter Ea? Neither did we until Rachel and I on a whim attended The Brand New Testament at the Auckland International Film Festival. This film by Belgian director Jaco van Dormael was made for Unitarians who like their Bible stories with a thick coat of satire. Continue reading A “Brand New” Testament: What if Jesus got a Do-over?→
Talking about privilege is a tricky business anyway, but particularly so when you are an able-bodied, reasonably bright, right-handed, heterosexual, white American whose gender identity is congruent with the outward physical signs of his maleness; who grew up in a home surrounded by books and had two loving, well-educated, professional, middle class, Christian parents, neither of whom ever experienced divorce. I never missed a meal involuntarily. I never experienced or witnessed violence in my warm and secure home. Not going to university was never an option. Annual family vacations were the norm. I was never told I’d have to choose between having a career or a family. And that is by no means a complete list. I am a poster child for privilege. I am reminded of my status every time I stop at a pre-pay petrol pump in Papakura and it comes on without me going inside first. Continue reading Privilege: A Roadblock to Wholeness→
We have lit the third Advent candle, the one for peace. It promises that the day is drawing near when we will once again hear the Christmas stories from the Gospels. In preparation for that I would like to give you my Christmas present early. Come Christmas Eve, I would like you to be able to actually enjoy and be transformed by the stories without having an internal argument with your rational side about Virgin births, moving stars, the birth of Saviours of the World, divine babies in human form, and whether or not any of it is history. Continue reading A Subversive Christmas→