Oct 01 2008

Conference was Inspiring, as Usual

Published by under Meetings

The annual conference of the Sea of Faith in New Zealand was, as usual, inspiring and stimulating. It amazed me the way that the speakers approached the theme from different angles that wonderfully complemented each other.

Lloyd Geering portrayed the changes that have occurred in our picture of the world – the emergence of the ‘It-world,’ and the transition from polytheism to monotheism – and argued that we now have much in common with the ancients who called earth Gaia. What we need is a mystical re-union with the earth.

Carolyn King, a biologist and philosopher from the University of Waikato, analysed Gaia theory and put the current climate change into the wider context of geological time. She helped us understand why Lovelock is so pessimistic about the planet’s future.

Juliet Batten helped us to commune with Gaia, even taking us through a reflection or meditation in the course of her talk.

Craig Potton brought a prophetic challenge to political action, but integrated it with an amazing variety of quotations and references from religious traditions. In particular, he pointed out how good vegetarianism is for the planet.

Derek McCullough, minister of the Christchurch Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, also talked with us and explored how he and his community attempt to integrate ecological imperatives into their spiritual and religious understanding and practice.

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