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Seminar Series:
Introduction to the
program for 2014


A Message from the Chair

Bishop Graeme Rutherford In his writing, Alister McGrath draws on a helpful distinction made by a Scottish theologian, John Alexander Mackay, in speaking of two different perspectives on life as viewed either from the 'balcony' or from the 'road'. The 'balcony' represents the position of the perfect spectator, for whom life and the universe are permanent objects of study and contemplation. Yet Mackay believed that the real place for faith and spirituality was on the 'road' where choices are made and decisions are carried out. Those on the 'balcony' are onlookers; those on the 'road' are travellers.

McGrath agrees. He says, 'the view from the balcony matters! It offers us a big picture that helps to make sense of the detail we see below. But you can't be content with studying the map all the time. There's more to life than thinking. Sooner or later we need to travel. ... The map helps us along the way, but our position — most of the time at least — is on the road, as we journey to that destination.' Some people assume that faith and spirituality are about being caught up onto the 'balcony' in rapturous mystical emotion and contemplation. But even the big 'M' Mystics of our tradition found that moments of rapture only occurred about once every ten years! And even then, such experiences came as a surprise! The story is told of a young nun who was overcome with shock when she discovered Teresa of Avila in the monastery kitchen eating a roasted chicken with both hands. Teresa quickly disabused the na├»ve spirituality of the novice by saying to her: "When I eat chicken, I eat chicken; when I pray, I pray!" Spirituality is meant to be part of the fabric of life. It is living into and out of the biblical text in the midst of the mess, ordinariness, brokenness, of the ordinary and the everyday. It's a life lived 'on the road'. My hope is that this year's ISS programme will help us to that end.

Bishop Graeme Rutherford
Chairman of the Institute for Spiritual Studies

Program for 2014

Click on the name or title for further details about any event.

1. Bishop Graeme Rutherford. Lenten Quiet Morning
Saturday 1 March, 9.30 am–12.30 pm

2. Dr William Johnston & Philip Harvey.
      Rescuing Dante from his Celebrators
Thursday 27 March, 7.30–9.30 pm

3. Associate Prof. Rosalie Hudson. Aging in the Spirit
Wednesday 30 April, 7.30–9.30 pm

4. Fr Austin Cooper, omi AM. Revisiting the Oxford Movement
Thursday 22 May, 7.30–9.30 pm

5. Tarrawarra Abbey. Ecumenical Vespers for the Vigil of Pentecost
Saturday 7 June, 3.00–6.00 pm

6. Rev'd Dr Duncan Reid. An Anglican precursor of current ecotheology
Wednesday 11 June, 7.30 pm–9.30 pm

7. Dr Simon Carey Holt. Eating Heaven: Food and Spirituality
Thursday 24 July, 7.30–9.30 pm

8. Rev'd Dr Craig D'Alton. Mission-shaped Buildings? Re-thinking the Parish
      Church in a Post-parochial World
Thursday 21 August, 7.30–9.30 pm

9. Br Bernard, OCSO. Monastic Life as Lived – One View
Thursday 25 September, 7.30–9.30 pm

10. Rev'd Michael Raiter. Recapturing the Wonder of Congregational Singing
Thursday 16 October, 7.30 pm–9.30 pm

11. Benjamin Myers. Scripture and the Culture of Desert Monasticism
Saturday 1 November, 9.30 am–12.30 pm

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