Sunday, 29 July 2012

Sunday Sermon: Interlude

Everything, good morning. You are ineffable, un-nameable, the totality of all being. Thank you for the communion we all have in you. Thank you for every flower, every person and every word. Bless us all with provision for our stomachs, protection from misfortune, and forgiveness for our flaws, as we forgive others their flaws. And may your universal republic - peaceful, sustainable and just - come upon the Earth. Amen.


The sermon I expected to write isn't ready yet (my apologies) so, in a way, I'm having a break. But I will take the opportunity to speak informally to readers.

After nearly six months this blog is getting about 500 page views a month, with a slow, steady increase. My estimate is that there is between 40 and 50 of you, regular readers. Most are from Australia and the USA, though there may be one or two regulars from Germany the UK and Eastern Europe (there's a smattering from many places, but I assume one-offs are random people who found The House via Google and may never return). From the sample of information that I have you are a loose mix of Christians, ex-Christians, atheists, pantheists and, perhaps most importantly, other. In terms of the demographic of the readers of this blog, that's all I know, and it is half guesswork.

So thanks for coming by each week and having a read. I fear that I am so full of whatever it is that I am full of that I would eventually preach to the walls, and will continue to do so here regardless of audience, but to have a small audience is really gratifying. I sincerely hope my offerings are entertaining, interesting and critically helpful in some way.

When I pray at the end of each sermon that people not be deceived I am expressing a real fear, that by opening my mouth and teaching, as I seem constituted to do, I may by being wrong actually do damage. I have had a long and winding journey, and have already been wrong, in my current view, in very many ways. In deciding to preach, as my heart would have me do, I feel I have taken on a responsibility to try with all my heart and mind to see clearly and to 'get it right' regarding the major religious questions I am addressing. But all I can promise is a continued, hopefully developing, attempt.

So that is for anyone who was wondering, "Who the hell does he think he is?" I am a humble teacher, doing my best to speak truth and light to my generation. I could elaborate a long, anxy description of how I came to be comfortable with that identity, but I'd prefer to just leave it at that. To anyone who would learn, I do teach.

Perhaps over time I will tell more of my story. It is the story of a creature of great impressionability - even gullibility - alongside an almost infantile integrity and desire to explore. Most of my philosophical biography is most unflattering, but I can say that the positions I am most critical of today are positions that I have occupied, internalised and defended in the past, before clawing my way, via the inevitable contradictions that arise through practice, to new places. I suppose there are some preachers who might claim some authority on the basis of previous blamelessness, but I can't do that. Any benefit I might have from my past is the cumulative benefit of the trial and error of many pathways.

And what do I plan for the future? Mostly more of the same. I do dream of an assembly, an institution, even a formidable religious force, but I also dream of reformed religion in general - reformed Buddhism, reformed Islam, reformed Judaism, reformed Zoroastrianism etcetera - being a positive - indeed crucial - force in the globalising world. And there are wonderful signs everywhere. Every major religion has important and growing reformist elements, and in institutions like the Parliament for World Religions they are espousing very modern, universalist values.

And maintaining a proposition like, "Humanity is important" or even, "life is important" requires religion, in the end. Science and reason won't give us those conclusions, however crucial the same are to virtually every aspect of life. The economic market won't either. Religion has a horribly flawed history, and has many nasty expressions today, but we need it more than ever.

But for now, whatever the future may hold for this preacher and The House of Every, here is my platform, to preach my message of a consciously engineered religion in service of a new age of human awareness. Please, if you do like a sermon along the way, share it with friends who you think may be interested.
Every, bless my readers. Help them find their own way and to be what you have constituted them to be, with joy and celebration. And help them find the measure of my own words, that they may only profit from reading them, and are not deceived. So be it.


  1. Good morning Hamish, I love waking up on Sunday and reading your thoughts. Thanks for today's offering and for the link to the Parliament of World Religions. I browsed their website and then wondered what interreligious dialogue was happening in my own city and discovered the Multifaith Centre at Griffith and a local group called Believing Women for a Culture of Peace. I look forward to you writing more one day about your philosophical biography and the positions you have internalised, defended and then rejected (or moved through/emerged from). One of the things I appreciate about you is your capacity to hold a complex and nuanced position. Anyway, I love you (O and for transparency, I am Hamish's wife, so I'm a fan, but, I hope, a compassionately critical one).

  2. Thank you Dawn. Thanks for that bit of research. Here's links to those things, for any Brisbane people who may wish to look further:

    Multi-Faith Centre

    Believing Women for a Culture of Peace