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Showing posts from November, 2010

That which our mind cannot grasp - reflections on the God Delusion

I know I'm really late in blogging about Richard Dawkins' "The God Delusion" and I'm sure there's a huge amount of stuff on them there interwebs all about it. But we've just had a very nice little discussion group about the book at church so it's on my mind. So I thought I'd give just a small thought about it. I think the key part of the book is the first chapter when Dawkins discusses in some detail the beliefs of Albert Einstein. Einstein clearly had a kind of a naturalistic mysticism, which Richard Dawkins argues is completely different from "supernatural religion." I think that conventional religion (if such a term is meaningful at all) is not in a completely different category from "Einsteinian religion." They are both in some sense, religion. But that would mess up Dawkins' argument so he pushes against it (a book about supernatural religion vs natural religion would be, in my opinion, much more interesting). The k

Church growth: where is the hole in our bucket?

I'm crunching some numbers for my church as we approach the end of the calendar year. We are pretty much stable in terms of numbers and I'm trying to work out what our "limiting factor" is. We're getting about 25 visitors in a year and about 2 new members. I'm trying to work out if we should be working to attract more visitors, or working to convert visitors into members. What kind of a percentage of your visitors can you expect to become members? I read somewhere 15%, which would mean we're doing kind of OK at that, and we should be working to attract more visitors. Or, can we expect to get 25 visitors a year and should be working to get say, 5 new members from that?

Israel-Palestine

I'm thinking of preaching about Israel-Palestine during Advent. My consciousness was raised about this at Greenbelt this year, but I still don't know much about it. Anyone know of any resources to inform me on this issue? What should local religious communities know about this issue? And what should they be doing?

Despair, faith and evangelism

Sometimes people ask me why I don't despair. I'm 28 and have dedicated my vocation and career to a religious community that is only 4,000 strong and in decline. Whether there will still be a Unitarian community to serve in 40 years at the end of my career is a genuine question. In fact I talk about this all the time (at least on this blog). I'm always arguing for us to face up to the reality of this situation. I constanty want to see the statistics that accurately describe exactly what our situation is. So why not despair? I find it difficult to answer that question. Maybe it hasn't really sunk into me. Maybe I will despair more in the future. We all have our good days and bad days. But overall I am genuinely filled with hope and faith. Why? Well perhaps because my faith is not ultimately in the institution, but in God. I have been saved by an inner transforming power, and I know the spirit's power to change lives, and I know that spiritual communities can become