Eremos Magazine - Current Issue

Magazine no 135 [ June 2016 ]

We are more connected with everything and everyone else than we ever imagined...

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Inside this issue

Home: Between Here and There by Stephen Pickard
Exploring Religious Conflicts in Syria and Iraq by Rob Brennan
Can Religion Be Part of the Solution to Rising Fundamentalism? by Peter Maher
Metaphysics of Love in Sufi Writings by Milad Milan
This Elusive Oneness by Paul Kielich
Together in Creation by Sarah Bachelard
New Wine Skins for a Vintage Gospel by Tracey Matthews
David Tacey's 'Beyond Literal Belief: Religion as Metaphor reviewed by Digby Hannah


On this World Refugee Day,
let us recall our common humanity, 
celebrate tolerance and diversity and open our
hearts to refugees everywhere.

– Ban Ki-Moon

June 20 is World Refugee Day. In February this year I attended the launch of ‘Home: between here and there’, an exhibition of asylum seeker art at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture (ACC&C) in Canberra. The painting shown on the cover of this issue really drew my attention that night, and again at a follow-up retreat conducted by Susanna Pain based on these artworks. Its strong colours and shapes spoke to me of resilience and the rich layering of memory that is a part of a sense of home for all of us. Another of the paintings is included in Stephen Pickard’s article. The artist, Babak Jahangirzadeh says of this work: ‘I have lost my home. There is no home now, and here I am lost in the darkness. But I hope there’s still light.’

Stephen Pickard says more about this event as well as the vision and programs of the ACC&C. Hopefully you will find resonances here with the Eremos vision of promoting conversations on contemporary issues and recognising the arts as an arena for prophetic expression. Rob Brennan’s ‘Exploring Religious Conflicts in Syria and Iraq’ reminds us of the value of providing a forum for interfaith discussion on such areas as religious radicalisation and extremism.

Rob’s recollection of this recent Eremos event is helpful in unpacking some of the complexity behind a situation that is of concern to us all. ‘Can religion be part of the solution to rising fundamentalism?’ asks Peter Maher in his discussion of the multi-faith centre at the London School of Economics and its strategic role in promoting a more respectful religious understanding among potential world leaders.

If fundamentalism divides, mysticism can draw spiritual seekers together, as the ongoing popularity of Persian Sufi mystic poets like Rumi (13th C.) and Hafiz (14th C.) suggests. Milad Milan introduces a less familiar 12th Century Sufi mystic’s treatment of the metaphor of romantic love to convey humanity’s desire for union with God.

Paul Kielich’s ‘This Elusive Oneness’ shows how science rather than religion supports what the mystics have always known – that we are more connected with everything and everyone else than we ever imagined.

Francis of Assisi, that most grounded of saints, has much to offer a world in need of healing and reconciliation, according to Sarah Bachelard, because he bears witness to the possibility of living in solidarity with all creation when we come from a place of ‘compassion, gratitude and non-possessiveness rather than scarcity and threat’.

‘New Wineskins for a Vintage Gospel’ is an exploration of new ways of doing church in the face of what is sometimes called ‘The Great Religious Recession’.

Finally, Digby Hannah reviews David Tacey’s most recent response to fundamentalism: Beyond Literal Belief: Religion as Metaphor.

Love and peace

Frances MacKay

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