Jesus and the Transforming Influence of Friendship
11:10 AM on Jul 13, 2019 by John Smith
This first 40 minutes of this presentation will provide information on the values of the historical sage Jesus of Nazareth. Followed by the social evils that confront our society in this present day. The presentation will be followed by 20 minutes of open discussion comments and questions from the audience.
This elective is aimed at encouraging the embrace of “Principle 10 of Creation Spirituality” which states, “The basic work of God is compassion and we who are all original blessings and sons and daughters of the Divine, are called to compassion.”
The initial presentation will analyse the difference between a “progressive Christian” approach to understanding the message of Jesus as opposed to a conservative orthodox Christian understanding of a message about Jesus. This will be achieved by reflecting, not only on the words and actions of the historical Jesus, but by examining the values of compassion and acceptance shown in his relationships with the people he meets.
The practical application of these values will then be compared to the values held by western civilisation and in particular those values reflected by Christian orthodoxy. The values that will be explored are our response to the problems of:
- Racism including Homophobia, Islamaphobia and anti-Semitism
- Sexism: including domestic violence and abuse of women generally.
- Social class and economic inequality.
- Our government’s treatment of refugees and asylum seekers.
The question that arises is, “Do we display through our words and actions the values of Jesus and if not why not?”
The social evils we are experiencing in our society are a direct result of the values we hold because they are culturally determined.
Finally, the session will address how these values can be challenged and changed through the transforming influence of friendship as shown in the life of the sage Jesus of Nazareth. The example of Jesus can assist us in reflecting on the impact in society of the values we hold. These values can be examined and challenged by our communities of faith that allow us the opportunity to practice appropriate morally coherent responses to individual needs in a safe and supportive environment.
Rev John Smith is a recently retired Uniting Church minister who was ordained in 1974 in the Methodist Connexion. John has had a varied ministry including, welfare management, chaplaincy and par...