I want to start out the new year with my first blog post as a positive one - and yet I worry that this might come across as blasphemous to both some Christians and in a sense to some atheists.
In the ocean, nobody can hear you scream ( apologies, pic link not embed) Bold red ( and black) letters, perhaps written in blood as per Nietzsche. Topical, relevant, important, clever, helpful perhaps. I could agree with this sign indeed almost all of them. I followed the signs - and then decided I wanted to meet the man.
Me with my proudly evolved atheist T shirt holding Rod's book "Plan B attitude" wearing the gosford anglican parish "Team Humanity" wristband.
Earlier in the year I had attended a couple of "Sunday Assembly" meetings, a so called (wrongly) - atheist church. I noticed their "radical inclusivity" approach, believers and non believers are welcome, doesn't matter, just be good people etc. I followed links from Rod Bower's signs to his website and noticed ... the same thing - radical inclusivity. Again, believers and non believers welcome. I wanted a chat with this man, something going on here, something ...special.
The day was very hot, I had done a lot of traveling. I had a bad migraine. This was my one chance to meet him that year before I had to travel a long way back home. My head - killing me, dont go, but ... I must. I did. I walked into the parish grounds wearing my mildly provocative though perhaps vague "A" for atheist T shirt. Is Rod here now? ( I had pre arranged to meet, we exchanged messages, Rod even gave me his personal mobile number !). Into his office, yay cooler than the scorching sun. We chatted, I was not sure what to expect, I had already surmised he is a great guy and does good work - but what does he think theologically speaking?
We chatted for ages about the state of the world, how to make life better for others, what was important in life etc. The solid emphasis on being a force for good on planet earth, helping humanity - just wonderful. Our theological differences just seemed not to matter anymore. The honesty, the depth of caring for people, just awesome, a highlight of my visit to New south wales, a highlight... of my year. I had nearly fell off my chair a few times in his office in shock / surprise at his thoughts. I thought I had taken up enough of his time so I wound up the chat. He asked if I wanted a coffee. They have cafe facilities there, yep, yes please. Just make my cappuccino strong and large please. How much? on the house. I said thanks heaps and sat down quietly in the grounds to ponder. I was on the verge of tears ( even as now writing this ) - then he wandered down from his office and we chatted again, not me barraging him with questions, I was questioned out. Just a chat, again, wonderful. I told him about the radical inclusivity thing, i asked if he would honour me with a pic in front of his sign, together - with me. He offered and then did change the sign letters for me. His lovely wife Kerry took the pic. I still had a headache, somewhat eased post caffeine and codeine. I had planned a big smile for the pic but was worried that the heat and headache would need me to force a smile. No, no forced smile, no fake grin - natural, real, genuine.
In my life I have gone through theism with evangelical zeal , then a year of ( awful) de conversion then some evangelical atheism. Now, after five years an atheist I have moved away from that. I see myself as post atheist. Maybe we really can meet on the grounds of making life better? Maybe post atheism & post theism is the same place?
Rod Bower ***** - Anglican priest - Gosford Anglican Parish
5 star rating from many theists. 5 star rating from this an atheist. Beat that!
See abc news clip
"Deeper issues in life" ? I loved how he went direct to "what kind of society do we want " etc wonderful emphasis on people, I can relate to this.
See also http://www.anggos.com.au/