Notes from the talk by Rev'd Peter Knight given at our June 2019 meeting
We had a most enjoyable meeting with Peter Knight, a retired Anglican priest and prison chaplain who helped to set up the Malvern PCN group.
His chosen subject was, “What do we have that we wish to share with those who have a sense of what Marcus Borg called ‘The More’ but do not have the Judeo-Christian narrative?”
The answer to this emerged through various points, one of which concerned the difference between literal and metaphorical truth. He shed light on the subject with an example from his own life. When he studied A-level biology, he had to “unlearn” what he had been taught at O-level as it was too crude and over-simplified. If children learn about the nativity as a good story rather than the literal truth, they might avoid having to unlearn the ‘facts’ later and will retain the essential lesson that human births should be greeted with wonder.
What he takes from the New Testament is that life is good in itself, not just because it is validated by being from God. He summarised this with a quotation from Teilhard de Chardin: “We are not human beings having a spiritual experience; we are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Or as Peter paraphrased it, “We are not humans learning to be divine, we are divine beings learning to be human”
And how are we to enhance the human experience of others and relate it more confidently to the spiritual? Not by dragging them to church services but by showing them – in any way we can – the kind of love that the life and death of Jesus reveals; ie love that is not conditional on “correct” beliefs, which transcends social barriers and which brings us into right relationships with others.
One of the most accurate translations of “Shalom” is “May the Peace that comes from right relationships with others be with you”. And, as Spong says, “We are called to “live abundantly and wastefully”
Notes from Christine Davies