25 September 2017



2016
> The Hope of Christmas
> COMPASSION BREAKS DOWN BARRIERS

2015
> Northern Presbytery Moderator Christmas letter
> ANZAC DAWN REFLECTION
> Freedom of Speech or License to Stereotype?

2014
> Advent Hope and Interns
> 200 Years of New Zealand Christmas
> Prayer of the General Assembly 2014
> The Legal High Trade
> REFLECTION ON A JOURNEY
> Giving up for Lent - A Challenge from our Children

2013
> Christmas in the Graveyard
> FAREWELLS
> Mrs Hunters' Tea Party [Hunters Corner named ]
> PERSPECTIVE
> RISKS - HELP US GROW IN FAITH
> EMBRACING DIFFERENCE
> DOING OUR WORK
> 150years – We are part of this community

2012
> The Gift of Many People - Seven Years On.
> The Golden Rule - Don’t Do or Do?
> WATER, WIND and FIRE
> COUNCIL FOR WORLD MISSION at ST JOHNS
> Signs of Spring
> YOUNG, MESSED UP AND ON THE GAME
> REAL WORLD - AND THE HUNGER GAMES
> The Journey to the Cross - An Easter meditation
> Can Jesus Heal Cancer
> CHRISTIAN HERITAGE in PAPATOETOE

2011
> LIGHT ON THE HILL
> LOOKING FORWARD
> GOOD WORDS
> ALCOPOPS and EXCESS DRINKING
> COMPASSION in ACTION
> Christchurch Reports
> Shattered Illusions, Faithful journeys.
> EARTHQUAKE
> The Windows, Images of Faith - Opening Day

2010
> THE CITY CAN NEVER BE THE SAME
> "The Hope that Comes from Faith"
> SPARKING SPARKIES
> ADVERTISING A NON-GOD!

2009
> PRAYING FOR THE COMMUNITY
> DATES THAT COULD DESTROY
> MERCY, JUSTICE AND LIVING IN GOD'S WORLD
> Warmth in the Frost
> GENEROUS GIVING
> Hunter's Corner - A Dilemma of Publiic Space.
> Easter customs to tell the Story
> Our Mother Tongue God is too Small
> Tragedy at Fox Glacier

2008
> THE BIRTH STORIES OF JESUS
> CONNECTING WITH - FAMILIES IN OUR NEIGHBOURHOOD
> WELL If you want it Quiet ......
> Finding Pearls
> Of Winter fuel and things
> Disaster and Relief Work
> Prayer on hearing the News
> Conflict of Interest
> Practical Christian in the community.
> Who are these Christians?

2007
> We still keep singing the Christmas carols
> Getting our pirorities
> Travelling
> Spring flowers shout that life is not dead.!
> Focusing on the task
> Change
> Real Families
> Water - Source of conflict
> Prayer

2006
> Violence and Children
> Faith and Reason
> PEACETIME AND HOPE
> Playdough and PC
> Violence to Children
> Climbing Everest
> Celebrating the Good things
> THE GNOSTIC GOSPEL OF JUDAS
> Focusing on the Essential
> Living with other Faiths
> SuperVolcanoes and other worrying things

2005
> Advent - Saving the Earth Saving its Peoples
> Halloween - The time of the Saints
> Responding to Terror
> Time of Winter
> Noah - a Story of Conservation
> Off the Tracks
> Moving On and Looking Back
> Tsunami Prayers

2004
> Upside Down Christmas
> From Assembly - Dean Drayton address
> In the Community
> Weaving together the threads
> 150 years of History revisited
> July - Faithfulness
> Getting 150 years in perspective -
> Passion -The Film
> Letter From Niue

2003
> Christmas hope
> Maintenance and Mission
> Annual reports June 2002- June 2003
> Who will come to the Party?
> Time to Change
> Unity is Strength
> Prostitution Laws
> Gone Fishing


Minister's Minutes
October 2006

Faith and Reason

Dear People of St Johns

Once again we have a huge reaction by Muslim peoples – this time to a speech by the Pope . Pope Benedict spoke at the University of Regensburg , where he used to be a professor, and discussed the relationship between faith and reason in an academic paper..
One commentator wrote that
“Although the Pope's speech touched on violence and Islam as the Pope moved into deeper discourse on unity of faith and reason, what the media and leaders of what some might refer to as the "Religion of Perpetual Outrage" chose to focus on was solely that which dealt with violence and Islam. However, it's easy to see that neither the media nor the outraged Muslim leaders actually read the entire speech.

For any who wish to plunge into an academic lecture, I include part of the script of the Pope’s speech as translated by the Vatican. You will see that the topic is about reason and faith. The small part which refers to Islam, is reflecting on an original sura of the Koran which said “there is no compulsion in religion” and the response of an early emperor that forced conversion and religious wars are contrary to the will of God, unless God is capricious like the Greek Gods.
The exaggerated response to the Pope’s academic reflection on the Koran’s comments against forced conversion, { we do not have to go far for the sad history of Christianity in that regard also] is from those people who benefit most by having a divide between religions. The media follows unthinkingly rather than looking at the content in context. .The Pope also has some interesting comments about sola scriptura – the basis of the reformation which are not reproduced in the extract.
The gospel of Jesus critiques us and our cultures, any places where we deny humanity to others and where we define people by stereotypes. We will be in a desperate state if we suppress or allow others to suppress discussion of faith and belief and seeking understanding about how things work. The Presbyterian tradition is one which knows that we need to use our reason in order to understand what is best to do and live in loving one another as Christ commanded. We also need to listen to others, to discover if we are really doing what we think we are trying to do. [The old story about the Boy Scout helping the elderly person across the road, then discovering that they didn’t actually want to cross, would be a simple example of not listening or thinking before acting.]
Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) gave us the motto of "Faith seeking understanding [fides quaerens intellectum] as an answer to those who said that faith should never question because God Is. First we are given faith, then we enter into that continuing great adventure of finding out what it means for us to follow Christ our faith is changed as we do this and we learn to trust God, in the journey. We use our God given minds and wisdom we to understand the universe around us. Faithful reasoning, and a trust in the consistency of God and God’s own creation, gave rise to modern science..
The 2006 General Assembly will have been wrestling with what living faithfully with regard to sexuality might look like by the time you read this. I hope that we will have had the sense to come to a place of agreeing that none of us has the final answer, that there is more to discover and above all that we do not forget that that the church is a community where all are welcome, not a place of building barriers to keep people out.
We can also trust that no-one can prevent the work of God, for the Holy Spirit blows where it will over the walls of Jerusalem, around the Mosques and churches and through the cities of the world.
James K Baxter’s poem gives us a picture of the freedom of the Holy Spirit.
Lord Holy Spirit,
You blow like the wind in a thousand paddocks
Inside and outside the fences
You blow where you wish to blow

May the freedom of Christ be yours


Rev. Margaret Anne Low

 


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