DAY ONE Thursday the 25th of May
Welcome 10.30 am
Dialogue Today and Tomorrow
This presentation addresses a key point of Renewal for the future which is a factor in understanding the Second Vatican Council and the ministry of Pope Francis i.e. Dialogue and particularly the issue of Inter-Religious Dialogue. There will be some emphasis on Buddhism and Christianity.
Dialogue Today and Tomorrow
Session One 11.30-1.00 pm
Mysticism of Teilhard de Chardin: A Solution to the Modern Religious Crisis.
Voices Choices : Seeking the Way of the Spirit : Living Jesus’ Commands to Love : Learning from our past for our future hope through Love in our present.
Session Two 2.30-4.00 pm
The Way of the Heart: One with the Heavens and the Earth
We all have to return to the beginning at some point in our lives, be it our faith lives or ordinary lives, to go back to where we first commenced our journey and take the time to recalibrate our compass to ensure we are in touch with the Source of all being.
This paper suggests this is where the church is today– reclaiming the future through a return to its beginnings in the form of a human shaped God walking boldly and courageously into a problematic future. Like the disciples who have to go back to the place where they first made that connection, the church is being challenged to leave aside the accretions of the centuries, undo the violence of law and guilt, to let go have of well worn doctrines and decrees and pulled down the fences of exclusion. It is time for the church to return to the uncertainty of an incarnated life and to reclaim the future as a humble, fallible and vulnerable presence, not unlike that of the Christ of Galilee.
This paper then makes some suggestions as to what a future claiming church, a church of the heart, might look like.
Ancient roots, new expressions: How the spirituality and praxis of Christian contemplatives are being reshaped by the demands of living in an evolving universe and a planet in ecological crisis.
Like the movement of Christian seekers in the deserts of Egypt, Palestine and Syria in the third and fourth centuries CE, there is a movement towards similar, yet different, forms of contemplative living today. To live such a life with integrity in the 21st century there must be an integration of new knowledge, new paradigms and new experiences.
In his groundbreaking work on intra-religious dialogue, on the Trinity, and on the cosmotheandric experience, Raimon Panikkar has opened a way for contemplatives to integrate both scientific discoveries at the cosmic, planetary and micro levels which were unknown to theologians and mystics in earlier centuries; and the insights and practices of other faiths, including the wisdom and integrated lifestyles of indigenous cultures. These insights can assist those exploring new forms of community, monastic, and solitary living, as they seek to contribute to the needs of both church and world.
Session Three 4.30-6.00 pm
Street, Seminary and Sacred: Expressions of Theological Animation and Activism in Victoria
Thirty years on from the publication of Ched Myers’ Mark-as-manifesto text ‘Binding The Strongman’ this session will introduce some local current and legacy-influenced expressions of alternative radical discipleship and explore what this model has already and could yet offer for personal discipleship and broader church renewal through photos, stories, liturgy and lectionary.
Holy Disruption : A Quaker Experience of Reformation Then and Now
Quakers, at times contrarian, at other times conforming to the dominant culture. From the mystical to the practical engagement with the issues of the day. From the Christocentric to the Universalist in spiritual formation and practice. From the ministry of all believers to the prophetic and the fallible. Often overlooked in Christian thinking and writing. While experiencing persecution and ridicule this diverse faith community experience has proven resilient. Quakers have been trail blazers in areas such as industrial and social innovation, peace research and peace building, in education and collective discernment. Today let us look at that which unites us, not so much seeking intellectual agreement but rather being united in love, and in our response to the call of the Spirit in a world that needs united voices for truth with compassion, with holy obedience reflected in working together for Kingdom Values.
Session Four 7.30-9.30 pm
Keynote speaker: Francis Moloney
Reform: Spirituality and the Person of Jesus: Christian Holiness as Deification (Theiosis)
A talk which points to the strength of the Lutheran (and others) return to the Word of God and the person of Jesus, and ask where we can go from there in terms of a spirituality.
DAY TWO Friday the 26th of May
Session Five 9.30-11 am
Becoming a Real Presence to Each Other: Beyond Resistance to Co-creation
Our technological and arguably rational global society irrationally exploits resources and living creatures, and violates people, turning them into instruments of wealth production and distributing resources according to self-interest in the pursuit of ‘more’. This is in sharp contrast with the Ignatian magis in which ‘the more’ is understood in the context of reaching beyond oneself for what is better.
At deeper levels of consciousness where all things are experienced as neither good nor bad except that they are in consonance with the Mystery of Creation, ‘Becoming present', is the most affirming, loving and 'reformative' gift we can offer one another. ‘Becoming Present’ or 'Real Presence' is the magis of the present 21st century. Presence to languaged and unlanguaged life is exciting, awe-inspiring and invitational. Can we know and incarnate our desires in creative resonance with the soul of the Universe?
Strengthening Spirit - Releasing Potential: spiritual formation for the New Axial Age
The Axial Age (800 – 200 BCE) marks the time when human consciousness made a deep spiritual evolutionary change from tribal consciousness to individual consciousness. It was a time when the great religions of Taoism, Confucianism, Monotheism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Greek philosophy emerged, laying the spiritual foundations of humanity simultaneously and independently.
Technological advances, the development of the Internet and mass communication, are drawing humanity into a second Axial Age, calling forth a new consciousness to the interconnectedness of all creation. The difficulty for individuals and groups who wish to take religious belief seriously in the 21st Century is that many institutional religions are stuck within the first Axial Age consciousness, where an individual’s personal salvation remains as the central purpose of religion.
What impact does the new axial period have on our understanding of Call and the way in which we provide spiritual formation for the 21st Century. How do we strengthen spiritual vocations and release the potential that lies within?
Session Six 11.30-1.00 pm
Jan Morgan & Graeme Garrett
‘And they couldn’t even read Eggplant!’: a New Pentecost? Or, on being Monoglots in a Speaking World
At Pentecost we are told ‘all of them … began to speak in other languages, as the Spirit gave them ability.’ (Acts 2.4) The other languages here were other human tongues. We are in a different situation. Again the Spirit is calling us to new languages. But this time languages that are other than human. Indigenous peoples of our land have nurtured their amazing polyglot abilities across thousands of years. But we settler people are (by and large) monoglots. We speak ‘human’, period. But a new spirit is abroad. Scientists (Peter Wohlleben), writers (Ursula Le Guin), poets (Mary Oliver), artists (Fred Williams), philosophers (Jean-Louis Chrétien) are calling us to a New Pentecost. We live in a communicating world. In an amazing speech ‘from the whirlwind’, God shakes Job loose from the endless human talk that has filled the previous chapters. Human voices are one small part of a stupendous chorus of other creatures that constitute God’s world. – ‘And we can’t even read Eggplant’.
Monasticism, New and Old
The New Monasticism movement has been gaining traction across the Western world, particularly among evangelical Christians who are dissatisfied with their experience of church. This paper will present a critical reflection of the New Monasticism movement, its positive and negative edges, and some thoughts on how New Monasticism and traditional monasticism might learn from one another.
Session Seven 2.30-4.00 pm
New and Old Treasures: Wonder, Awe, and Creativity in Today’s Spirituality
The Reformation of the 16th century was not unprecedented. Reformers within the medieval church such as St. Francis of Assisi addressed abuses in the life of the church in the centuries before 1517. A major component of St Francis’ spirituality and activism was his focus on wonder and creativity. His approach to a spirituality of interdependence provides a timely opportunity to reflect on the significance of awe and wonder from the Reformation until now. Awe is the feeling of being in the presence of something vast that transcends your understanding of the world. Early in human history, awe was reserved for feelings toward divine beings, like the spirits that Greek families believed were guarding over their fates. But the newly developed science of awe, being developed in universities such as Stanford, suggests is that opportunities for awe surround us, and that their benefits are profound, that momentary experiences of awe stimulate wonder and curiosity. This finding would not have been anything new to mystics such as St Francis, but it does have some key implications for approaches to spirituality in today’s global and fractious world.
Sherry Balcombe & Robyn Reynolds
Spirituality and Land: Let's hear Aboriginal Voices
The first and major part of the presentation draws on the speech given to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians in 1986 by Pope John Paul 11. Sherry Balcombe’s paper on Aboriginal Spirituality follows and this in turn leads into the final part of the presentation which addresses issues relating specifically to land, ‘treaty’ and Christian spirituality.
DAY THREE Saturday the 27th of May
Retreat in the morning with Bernadette Micallef
The Saturday Retreat will look at the Way of the Spirit through the life stories of some well-known people, such as Thomas Merton, and also some less well-known people. We’ll reflect on our own life story through various visual images and seek to deepen awareness of our personal experience of the Way of the Spirit.