Video Conversation #1: Where has God gone in people's lives today?
After months of planning we are pleased today to launch the first of our series of extended cyber conversations essentially discussing the future for religion in a world where most people seem to have lost interest, at least in the developed world. We hope this will not only be a conversation between experts — they're here to stimulate the conversation — but we want to hear your responses and opinions as well.
To set the ball rolling, we recently recorded a series of video conversations with four authors who have published recent books with incisive insights into some of the challenges being faced by the institutional Church today. Unfortunately our panellists are all males but we're going to seek to redress that in a subsequent series early next year, and we seek the input of women as well as men commenting on, or criticising, what is discussed in these videos. [See our further invitation at the bottom of this page.]
We will publish these videoed "conversation starters" each Monday for the next seven weeks with the exception of Christmas week. The first conversation today is a general introduction that helps introduce the entire series. In the following two weeks the panellists discuss in further detail some of their observations from their own research and books as to why such large numbers of people seem to have lost interest in institutionalised religion. The final three conversations, to be published after Christmas, will focus on the changing spiritual landscape. These authors would seem to share the common perception that while participation is declining interest in the spiritual or numinous side of life is very much alive. Their conversation in the final three programs focuses on how the spiritual landscape is changing in more positive ways.
The video today contains its own introduction to the panellists but we have also included further background information below on this page. We have also opened up a moderated discussion at the bottom of this page you can contribute your responses to the discussion. Hopefully there will also be contributions in our own more restricted forum for registered members.
Watch the video conversation here or on YouTube
Background Information about the Facilitator & Panellists...
Credits and Thank Yous...
The Conversations were recorded at Our Lady of the Nativity Primary School at Lawson in the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, on Sunday, 17th November 2013. We extend our thanks to Michael Cowley, Principal, and the staff and community at Our Lady of the Nativity Primary School for the use of their facilities.
We extend our thanks to Stephen Crittenden and the panellists: Eugene Stockton, David Tacey, Peter Todd and Kevin Treston. The books of these authors are available from Amazon, Fishpond and The Book Depository through the Catholica Spiritual Marketplace [LINK]
Producer, Director, Editor: Brian Coyne
With thanks to the Committee of the Blue Mountain Education & Research Trust: Eugene Stockton (founder), David Maguire (chair), Len Blahut, Brian Coyne, Anne Fitzgerald, Tony Griffin, Chris McGillion, Terry O'Donnell, Laurie Woods, Allan Walsh.
For assistance with catering and general assistance on the day of filming: Michael Cowley, Liz O'Callaghan, Carol & Len Blahut, Amanda McKenna, Allan Walsh.
Music by Amanda McKenna: "Breath of Creator" (composer & singer); "Theologica" (composer & performer).
People footage for opening titles sourced from Vadim I. Filimonov [youtu.be/6iuNSa4lJoA].
Original Footage from the Hubble Space Telescope [www.spacetelescope.org] sourced from David Schombert's tribute video to the space telescope: [youtu.be/Un5SEJ8MyPc].
Do women have a different perspective on these matters?
As publisher of this initiative I have already explained on our forum and via email that initially we endeavoured to seek female input on the perspectives. For a complexity of reasons, including budget and time constrains it ended up as a conversation essentially between five males. We have all been acutely conscious of this shortcoming throughout our planning and the discussions themselves. To redress the imbalance we resolved that early in the new year as a follow-up to this series we will organise a fresh initiative seeking exploration of the territory we're discussing in these conversation with a bias towards betting the female perspective. At this stage we are open to suggestions from readers about how to best proceed with this. As discussed on our forum, it might not necessarily just be by a repeat of the conversations we're now having but with a bunch of women. It might be via some different documentary-type form. Presuming the contrinued financial support of our donors and sponsors we are open to committing funds to the exporation of spirituality from the female perspective in either similar, or complementary ways, to what we're attempting to do in this present series.
Brian Coyne, Editor 1 Dec 2013
What are your thoughts on this commentary?
"In barely more than a hundred pages, Eugene Stockton – priest, writer, archaeologist, anthropologist, contemplative – launches his readers into 'the deep within'. His range of reference is astonishing, explained only by the interests that have filled his fifty years of thinking and writing, and then further back to his childhood in the bush of the Central Blue Mountains. From the depths of his own awareness, he invites us all into the depths of "the Kingdom of God within you', of the real self of connections and relationships, too often neglected and ignored by the restless ego of routine life. Guiding the descent into the depths of the true self are a wide variety of religious, philosophical and psychological markers, 'since it is difficult to describe on the surface what is shared in depth'. One constant resource and guide is the Aboriginal experience and Eugene Stockton's long familiarity with the spirituality of the original Australians. In short, there is something both homegrown Australian and genuinely universal about this book. The depths into which this author calls us will be a wondrous refreshment for all his readers." ...Professor Anthony Kelly, Australian Catholic University