Christianity: Aesthetics: Spirituality: Life: Stuart and Moira Gray

Thoughts and Reflections on issues of Christian theology which have arisen in my life as a result of teaching, or as a cathedral organist, or as a result of issues I have raised in the public domain

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Moira Gray
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This will be an ever changing page with nothing to be subtracted but plenty to be added as my life evolves. It includes an introduction to a new emerging web site. Is this the heart of all belief and the original mode of communication between God and humanity?

Aesthetic Theology: Aesthetics, its appreciation and practice, should be accepted as normal as reading and writing, yet seems sadly neglected. After all, it precedes other forms of communication by over 13 billion years.

Christian Unity: This is a sermon I gave in St. John's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Limerick to open the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in 1996. The focus is on meditation, the core objective of all religions.

Capitalism, the new morality of the 21st century: With the decline in the moral and cohesive influence of Christianity the vacuum has been filled by the self-centred needs of politicians and the financial market.

Traditional versus Evolutionary Christianity: I was often accused in the public press and in private in Ireland of being an heretic. Here is my response, that it is possible to hold to evolution in theology while encouraging others to tread the more traditional path. There is room for both but only if openness of mind exists.

Ecology: This is a growing problem and one with which ChristianityTintern Abbey is beginning to grapple. The problem is that Christian humanity feels it has a divine right to both survive and to control the whole of earth's creation. Did the dinosaurs feel that way? How confident should we be of our own survival given the mess we are creating?

Same sex relationships: Following the much publicised debate throughout the Anglican Communion on the attempted elevation of Canon John in England and the elevation of Gene Robinson in America to the episcopate I was asked for my reflections on the problems posed by gay/lesbian relationships. Here is my response: Good in terms of human relations but why include theology?! There is, after all, no established theology of sex, so why cloud the issue?

Arch in Tintern AbbeyLent: What really happened during the '40' days in the 'wilderness'? This, for me, was the core element of the life of Jesus - meditation for a healing and teaching ministry.

Good Friday and The Resurrection Part 1: The origins of Easter lie in the pagan world which has now taken over from Christianity at this time of the year with its emphasis on consumerism. The response has been 'Designer Christianity' where the individual, as in consumerism, counts for little.

Good Friday and the Resurrection Part 2: Fact, fiction, or spiritual enlightenment? This was not an issue for the early church. Paul, interestingly enough, attests to a spiritual resurrection, yet he never met Jesus and operated long after the supposed date of the Ascension - a fact rarely mentioned in churches! The problem was resolved only after some 300 years of debate, and many now feel unsatisfactorily.

Christmas: Comments on the nature of truth in its two divisions, historical reality and the influence of society on its perception of truth, the growing divorce of practical spirituality from organised religion, and the consequent inherent conflict between individual responsibility and authoritarian control.

Reflections on Tintern Abbey: Thoughts occasioned by a visit to this wonderful ruined monastery made famous by the poet Wordsworth in his "Intimations on immortality". The patina of true spirituality and endeavour remains forever etched in the stones of these buildings, through the spiritual use of natural space and human architecture conditioned by liturgy, the unification of human endeavour to expose a spiritual presence within the ordered world of God’s creation, but devoid of all the human tensions and conflicts which must have existed in its time.

A search for compassion and realism in religion explores the nature and dangers of Fundamentalism in Religion and the World. Fundamentalism tends to the divisive and authoritarian in a world increasingly concerned with individual rights. Yet all world religions share common attitudes to compassion, meditation and self development.

The Nature of God and Human Destiny in East and West Religions. A brief look at what the religions of the East (e.g. Buddhism, Hinduism, Confucianism) and the West (Abrahamic faiths of Judaism, Christianity and Islam) each have to offer in humanity's search for spiritual truth, enlightenment and fulfilment.

Consciousness and the Universe: the effect of Music. David Bohm and the Implicate Universe. Are we holograms of the universe, capable of appreciating all that is and has been in the universe? After all we were there at the point of creation and are nothing but recycled bits of exploding stars.

The church featured is that of Tintern Abbey. It is a marvellous expression of medieval architecture, full of light and symmetry, and full of the sense of eternity in a setting which blends the sacred with natural creation. These buildings endure and still speak to us. Wonderful. Could that be said of our modern buildings? I may be an evolutionary theologian but I revere the past and their achievements. Too often those who would change for modernity's sake throw out the spiritual (never the intellectual!) aspirations of past generations be it in buildings, music or liturgy. They do so at their peril and to the detriment of the faith. An old friend of mine, Ivor Bulmer-Thomas, first Chairman of the Redundant Churches Fund which cares for many an unwanted gem, referred to them as "sermons in stone". Amen to that. As I travel round the amazing variety of British churches I shall photograph them and include them on this web site.