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The Ship of Theseus

An address by the Minister, Rev. Rob MacPherson - recorded on Sunday, 15th July, 2018 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide. Rob reflects on the inevitability of Change within our church and our attidudes to Change. He uses a classical analogy: the Ship of Theseus and the futile attempts by the Athenians to use it as his "lasting" memorial. In venerating the past, 'Loss aversion' to institutional change becomes idolatry.
So it is with human institutions - and our Church - which will inevitably evolve into something new. Time past is contained in time present. Our attitudes to change will be critical in how we - as a Church - are to shape our future  and chart a way forward.

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An address by the Minister, Rev. Rob MacPherson - recorded on Sunday, 8th July, 2018 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide. Within the context of the immensity of the universe, Rob explores how we humans - according to the Fermi paradox are - each of us, individually - an incredibly rare, unique and precious, individual starship of star-matter. He suggests how - especially when the going gets tough - it's abstract, non material things like Justice, Contentment, and Love, especially Agape Love that shape our lives and give them meaning.

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With reference to the challenge of Jesus for us to become "fishers of women and men",  Rob uses the analogy of "a ship of fools" - smug in their comfortable, self-satisfaction  - sailing on an idyllic sea. Are we a ship's company prepared to watch foundering souls drown - rather than risk the challenges of rescuing them?
 
Rob poses the question "Why are we so unknown"? - when far from being a fringe movement, we are representative of mainstream liberal values and behaviours, rational, cvompassionate, willing to envision, model and build a better world of justice and peace - where no soul is left un-moored and foundering - for all of us were once foundering souls rescued by this community.
 
Rob leaves us with a choice of direction - to remain smug, content, self-satisfied - chasing our personal vision of what we, individually want our church to be - a "ship of fools" - or to reach out - united as a Unitarian community - to meet the needs of those whose lives will be enriched by what we can offer them?
 
Rob's address was followed with a "branding jam" session that explored ways in which our Community might plot a course that best reaches out to others and avoids foundering on reefs hidden under the "sea of complacency".
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An address by the Minister, Rev. Rob MacPherson - recorded on Sunday, 24th June, 2018 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide. This week we are encouraged towards a more compassionate narrative for those we are frequently urged to judge. Rob examines how a consumer-oriented society frequently blames the poor and unemployed for their poverty. Rob is supported by guest speakers, Pas Forgione of the Anti-Poverty Network of SA and Tracey who advocate an increase in the Newstart Allowance which has been 'flat-lined' by successive Australian governments since 1994. Together, they provide eloquent testimony about what it is like to try to live on the Newstart Allowance - well below the poverty line. Tracey also describes from personal experience what it's like to be blamed by others for being poor.

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An address by the Minister, Rev. Rob MacPherson - recorded on Sunday, 17th June, 2018 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide. In the third of our Month of Discernment addresses: "Judge Not - Shifting from Judgement to Compassion", Rob explores the chasm that so often exists between judgement and compassion - between the humane values we espouse and our actions which seem to fall well short of these values. This included a buzz session on how our (pre-) judgements of certain "others" may get in the way of living a fully compassionate life.

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An address by the Minister, Rev. Rob MacPherson - recorded on Sunday, 10th June, 2018 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide. Rob emphasises the importance of free-will and self-determination as preconditions for spiritual growth. Spiritual practice is grounded in Metacognition - "thinking about our thinking" - and Neuroplasticity where spiritual practice can quickly become ingrained neural pathways leading to change. Bigotry and  prejudice can be overcome once people have an opportunity to share each other's life stories/experiences - to "walk awhile in each other's mocassins". Rob cites the unlikely alliance and friendship that formed between Iain Paisley, head of the Ulster Unionists and Martin McGuinness the head of Sinn Féin - once they had shared each other's stories.
Listeners to this podcast will also have glimpses of the hymns, music, sharing of joys and concerns and spiritual practices that comprise a Unitarian Universalist Service - including a buzz session where we share the things that we are most judgmental about - which point to our vulnerabilities but also point the way towards spritual growth within ourselves and within our spiritual community.

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An address by the Minister, Rev. Rob MacPherson - recorded on Sunday, 3rd June, 2018 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide.
Drawing on the Muslim month of Ramadan and the Christian Lent, Rob challenges us to consider a Unitarian Month of "mindful discernment", to share our individual jouneys with each other - and - in so doing, collectively grow as a spiritual community.
We commence this journey with an exploration of the reasons for the superficial judgments that we so readily make of others - drawing our conclusions ahead of our understandings and what this judgmentalism reveals about ourselves.

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Combating Cynicism

An address by the President of the Unitarian Church of SA, Jennie Dyster, recorded on Sunday, 27th May, 2018 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide. With irreverent input from Schrödinger's Cats, Jennie draws on social commentator, Hugh McKay's exploration of the ways in which we may find spiritual fulfilment in a secular age in his recent book, "Beyond Belief" - and what constitutes "a good life".
In this address, Jennie identifies the strategies suggested in "Beyond Belief" for combating the all-pervading cynicism arising from the prevailing negativity of an informational age - but which - if we are not careful - is but one step away from anomie, powerlessness and alienation.

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Why We Preach.

An address by the Minister, Rev. Rob MacPherson recorded on Sunday, 20th May, 2018 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide. In the context of Pentecost Sunday and the "tongues - as of fire" it inspired amongst the disciples, Rob reflects on the opportunity costs and benefits of preparing a sermon and invites - even challenges - members of the congregation to reflect on their unique life-experiences and the wisdoms they might offer our Unitarian community.

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An address by the Minister, Rev. Rob MacPherson recorded on Sunday, 1st April, 2018 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide. On Mothers Day, Rob reflects on the cognitive disonnance between our instinct to nurture and our acquiescence when leaders - through fear and/or profit - encourage the production of weapons of war.

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