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November 3, 2023 November 2023, Regular Features No Comments

Hands up all those who will admit to dozing off in the middle of a turgid sermon. Or if not actually snoring in the pew, found their mind wandering about what might be served up for lunch later.

No such aberrant behaviour has been observed at First Church, primarily because of the unrelenting quality of Jim Veitch’s services. And of course the lusty singing.

This month, to further bolster the congregation’s enthusiasm we had the benefit of a lecture from visiting religious academic Professor Joan Taylor. She happens to be a kiwi but has spent much of her distinguished career in the hallowed halls of Harvard Divinity School Kings College London’s Department of Theology and Religious Studies. And more latterly Victoria University and the Australian Catholic University of Melbourne. 

She was therefore eminently suited to talk about her topic and book “Women Remembered – Jesus’ Female Disciples.” 

This sounded as if it could be an equivocal topic to misogynists who might think the role of women as encapsulated in the Bible is limited to a handful of stalwarts like Mary Magdalene, Mary, Martha, Sarah etc. Wrong.

A careful re appraisal of the evidence – biblical texts – especially the archaeological art of depicting  many women undertaking the full range of biblical functions – leads to the conclusion that their role has been gravely understated.

Joan’s supposition is that this minimisation was partly deliberate suppression due to male domination which was the social mores of the day. Emperor Constantine was one of the villains. These fascinating topics of stellar interest to both academics and church goers are under ongoing inspection and revision. 

Last word however goes to Bertie Shooster when he observed, “If the facts change I change my story”. Another Bertie ((Bertrand Russell) said that every grown-up needs to travel sceptically. And finally, if in doubt, try an alternative view of events from Mr D. Trump.

Meantime we applaud the stamina and erudition of Joan Taylor for shining a light on her entirely plausible version of the truth.

Kirk Fair – 25 and 26 November 2023   10 a.m. to 2.p.m. Town Hall, Waihinga Centre

The next item of ecclesiastical excitement is the Kirk Fair, which covers the usual excellent range of cakes, jams and preserves, produce, plants, men’s, and women’s high-end clothing and superior bric a brac, of course. Any donations are most welcome. Please contact Graham Howie 0274474082 or Ronnie Hawkins 06 3069277.

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