Present: Peter Challen (chair), Janos, Eddie, Paul, Ellena, Raza, Mary (notes)
The meeting began at 12.30, due to over-run of the training session on the 2015constitutionalists.uk site given by Piers. Peter welcomed a newcomer, Reza Sobati, an experienced webmaster, whose background included working for Jubilee 2000, Occupy, and the Christian Left. His Iranian muslim family from an industrial and trade union background, escaped from Iran in 1979, his parents wanted their children to be equal in England, and he went to Westminster School, at the time of the IRA, where he experienced first hand how immigrants are treated. Peter then invited others to introduce themselves, • Paul Standeven, bicycle who has run a project for asylum seekers, was also associated with Occupy, and is mostly involved with alternative medicine • Janos, originally from Hungary, who is involved mainly with monetary reform, in particular promoting the idea of Citizens Income • Ellena, also involved in Occupy, and become politically aware through the march against the invasion of Iraq • Mary, involved with Complementary Medicine and Community Currencies.
Reza led discussion on the film “We Are Many” which was a ten-year documentary project led by his friend Amir Amarani. But didn’t agree with all of it, but it portrayed the biggest protest in human history 80 million around the world. Tony Benn confirmed that, when you see the film, and said he would like to go to see the film again – idea to organise a group trip? His work on Jubilee 2000 had made him realise that Gordon Brown forgiving debts, was only a small proportion of the goal amount. We also discussed that when celebrities get involved, we can lose focus on the core issues.
Peter provided background on CCMJ, which formed from the “First report of the Christian Doctrine of Wealth Committee of the Congregational Union of Scotland” presented to the Union’s Assembly at Dundee on 10 May, 1962, ‘Wealth: A Christian View’ which became known colloquially by monetary reformers around the world as the ‘Dundee Report”, which came to the conclusion that the monetary system is fraudulent. CCMJ was set up over the years, Peter was involved for the last 18 years, it has expanded but has got nowhere in terms of influencing mainstream opinion in the Church. Particular individuals engaged in different walks life who wanted to be involved, created an Open Table not too closely tagged to CCMJ. This informal organisation also made contact with Clive Menzies, who has founded Free Critical Thinking, and has been a focus for many others involved with both palliative and curatives. Peter said that his approach is to say to people that each of you do what you can, but they are palliates, and as well as that you have to belong to a growing movement to say the whole thing has to change, which is the 2015 Constitutionalists Project, led by Ray Sheath. Peter explained that we are doing something very difficult, i.e. looking at a systemic whole, and in the spirit of “principled pragmatism”, trying in feasible ways to move towards it, Christians might call it creating the Kingdom of God, and other religions have their other ways of describing it. Fred Harrison, who has also been a major influence, describes our society as having a “culture of cheating”, and has pointed out that the concessions achieved at Runnymede – Janos said the story was very dramatic – the barons were camped there (like Occupy!) and refused the king’s summons, and the king was unwell, so had to be fetched by boat in a stretcher – were actually on behalf of the 1%, not the 99%.
Reza asked about Quantum Theology, and Peter referred to the notion of prior unity, as a holistic views, a picture of global consciousness, in which the personal and the global impact oscillate all the time and affect each other, not facing that the structures are fundamentally faulted. Reza asked if it had to do with the various Global Consciousness parties, and Peter referred to the notion of “Inscendence” (a term coincide by Thomas Berry), being an invitation to move into the immensity of the natural world in all its beauty and terror, to feel and embrace the livingness of matter itself; to awaken and KNOW that we are at home on the Earth, that we are the universe reflecting on itself. Because our natural genetic inheritance is a deep bonding with all living species and non-living components of the universe, we can restore our ’emotional connection’ with the processes of life embedded in the emergence of the Cosmos itself. Knowing we are born of the creativity of stars, galaxies, and the great flaring-forth, guides us toward evolutionary transformation.
We also talked a little about barriers to communication and the problems and definitions of Asbergers and Autism, and whether these tendencies in human behaviour are disabilities, or were emerging in response to technological developments. Janos wanted to talk about auditing what we are doing, and made reference to last week’s presentation “Learning through Disagreement (part 1). We discussed the stages of group interaction, i.e. forming, storming, norming, performing, mourning, which Reza was also familiar with from his study of Psychology 101, about 20 years ago.
Peter concluded by saying our emphasis was always on Inclusive Justice. Peter also referred to a letter he has written to to Diocese of Southwark asking them to recognise the work being done, and the fact that Rev Lucy Winkett, talks about “institutional drag”. A key moment was one year today, when Ray Sheath came back from being ill and began the constitutionalists project, Mary added that many others are talking about the same thing, but not yet connecting up. Peter had revisited an ecumenical group, who had been saying same thing for ten years, but were not doing anything practical in the world. He had been ordained 58 years ago, had always worked in chaplaincy, being part of the community, which was an “enabling” activity, but he found the church was actually more about rhetoric. He is now reviewing whether to continue officiating within the church.
– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –
*See other references to Thomas Berry, e.g. in http://earthheart.org/url/berry.htm: “In the Dream of the Earth”, a key quote describes the entire industrial age as: “…a period of technological entrancement, an altered state of consciousness, a mental fixation that alone can explain how we came to ruin our air and water and soil and to severely damage our basic life systems. During this period the human mind has been placed in its narrowest confines it has experienced since consciousness emerged from its Paleolithic phase. Even the most primitive tribes have a larger vision of the universe, of our place and functioning within it, a vision that extends to celestial regions of space and to interior depths of the human in a manner far exceeding the parameters of our world of technological confinement.” See also: http://www.thomasberry.org/Essays/ResponseToThomasBerrysTheGreatWork-Neville.html