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An address by The Rev. David Johnson, Unitarian Universalist minister from the United States, recorded on Sunday, 2nd September, 2018 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide. David served as a full time Unitarian Universalist Minister in the USA for 30 years - before retiring in 2017. For the 20 years prior to his ministry, David was a marine geologist. In this address, David uses several vignettes to illustrate the need for steadfastness and hope when confronted with of our human frailties and making do, innovating - when things go wrong, for it is our lot as humans to remain "eternally incomplete and undeveloped" but always with the potential to be fashioned "into the Image of God" - or in Unitarian terms - to strive towards betterment - if inevitably - falling short of perfection.

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Falling Upwards

An address by the Minister, Rev. Rob MacPherson - recorded on Sunday, 2nd September, 2018 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide. In this address Rob ponders the purpose and meaning of human suffering and the traditional Church's failure to find a believable theodicy that reconciles Good (or belief in an omnipotent and benevolent God) with suffering and evil. This has pastoral implications for spiritual communities.

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An address by the Minister, Rev. Rob MacPherson - recorded on Sunday, 2nd September, 2018 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide. In his Fathers Day Address, Rob draws the distinction between "fathering" and "fatherhood".
No two men do 'fatherhood' in the same way. While there is plenty of direction - there is no script - both Jesus and Buddha forsaking fatherhood.
Rob introduces the notions of "differentiation", "mindful discernment", and "reciprocity" and shows how these lead us to mature parenting - for "we are forgiven as we forgive".

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An address by the Minister, Rev. Rob MacPherson - recorded on Sunday, 29th July, 2018 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide. In constructing our personas - so as to be socially acceptable to others - the dark, less socially acceptable side of our personas are repressed. Rob suggests ways in which we can recognise and face up to our darker side and integrate it into our persona as an essential part of our journey towards spiritual maturity.

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In constructing our personas - so as to be socially acceptable to others - the dark, less socially acceptable side of our personas are repressed. However, our best and brightest qualities inevitably cast shadows. Our"shadow-self" - our "dark side" that we are taught by parents, peers, religion and the media to repress, excise and feel ashamed about - becomes part of our shadow-selves and is the price of becoming a social being.
In bringing our shadow side into consciousness and integrating it into our persona requires "fearless and searching honesty".  In doing so, we begin a journey towards greater spiritual maturity. Should we fail to integrate both sides of our persona, there can be little chance of deep, nourishing relationships or any true relationship to any divinity we might be striving for. In this address, Rob suggests ways in which we can recognise - and face up to - our darker side and integrate it into our persona as an essential part of our journey towards spiritual maturity.

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A dialogue - between our president, Jenny Dyster and Barbara Willow - identifies entrenched sexist attitudes and collective mind-sets that continue to maintain the Gender Gap. They suggest ways in which gender stereotypes may be effectively challenged and what may be achieved politically and educationally to achieve justice, peace and collective prosperity for all - irrespective of gender.

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The Tao of Pooh

An address by the President of the Unitarian Church of SA, Jennie Dyster, recorded on Sunday, 12th August, 2018 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide. Jenny uses A.A. Milne's character, "Winnie the Pooh" to show the virtue found in simplicity and spontaneity - as distinct from complexity and artifice. Jenny whimsically applies the Taoist "Principle of the Uncarved Block" to Pooh - that "bear of (supposedly) very little brain". She concludes that when we discard arrogance, complexity and a few other things that get in the way, sooner or later we'll discover the ability to enjoy the simple, the quiet, the natural, the plain - and the virtue to be found in unpretentiousness.

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The Civil Thing

An address by the Minister, Rev. Rob MacPherson - recorded on Sunday, 29th July, 2018 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide. In this address, Rob laments the rise of incivility and outlines the reasons for it. He refers to the science of brain physiology and especially the primitive "flight or fight" part of the human brain - the amygdala which we share with the reptiles. This explains why we are often so slow to respond effectively to incivility - what Rob refers to as the "amygdala hijack". How do we stay cool in the midst of conflict? Where might we find models of dignity, lucidity, civility in an increasingly uncivil age? If incivility is the enslavement of the reptilian part of our brain - the amygdala - Is it possible - Rob asks - for each of us to control our propensity to incivility in the midst of conflict? He uses the example of Elin Errson, a courageous 21 year-old Swedish student protesting against the deportation of a young Afghani refugee, to show how this can be done. See the link at - https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/jul/25/swedish-student-plane-protest-stops-mans-deportation-afghanistan.

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Idols and Icons

An address by the Minister, Rev. Rob MacPherson - recorded on Sunday, 29th July, 2018 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide. In this address, Rob reflects on  the iconography to be found in places of worship around the world - sometimes venerated, prayed to, decorated, kissed, danced to, and offered sacrificial giving. In contrast, non-conformist traditions - Quaker, Congregationalist, Unitarian - seem "cleansed" of iconography. But are they? He cites examples of Unitarian icons that risk becoming idolatry - even the Ministry itself! Rob also warns of the many icons and idols abounding in our wider society and urges caution whenever our icons risk morphing into idolatry - to entrap and enslave us.

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Chance

An address by a member of our church, Charlie Madden - recorded on Sunday, 22nd July, 2018 in the Unitarian Meeting House in Adelaide. Charlie commences this address which he calls "Chance" by defining Chance as an unexpected event, a risk, an opportunity, or probability of an outcome happening. Charlie cites examples of three basic kinds of chance: - the chance that we have complete control, no control or some control - i.e.  the chance that we can influence an outcome. It's this third type of chance that Charlie focusses on in addressing effective action for climate change. Decision-making based on evidence-based science is the key to meaningful action on climate change. It is through our informed choices - in personal dcision-making, in joining an action group to apply collective pressure on government and "big business" and who we choose as our political leaders which will give us our best chance of meaningful action on climate change.

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