Science and faith part 8 personal experiences kiwiconnexion practical theology
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David B: Well, that’s been an absolutely fascinating
series of explanations of the slides, David. I’d like to draw our evening to a close with
this observation from the Auckland scene, in terms of experience, spirituality, religion,
and the science interface. We had an experience with the family in the church, and the mother
and the father are very happy for this to be public, and have been so for quite some
time; they had a very beautiful young daughter – a young woman who died of cancer, and I
was the Methodist Presbyter or Minister at the time. A number of months after, the mother
and father, WeeKheng and Anne, asked me to go and listen to a phenomenon. I wasn’t
quite sure what to expect, but I went to their home, and they took me into a particular location
in the home, and they said at two o’clock in the afternoon if you stand in this spot
you will hear a series of very similar to Chinese chimes in the distance.
They explained that this phenomenon had started when in fact they had returned to Malaysia
to visit relatives funeral, and the first time that WeeKheng] heard it was in an
elevator, and this set of chimes, which is very faint had followed them around into different
locations throughout Malaysia, and back into their own home here in Auckland. Because I
was following these kinds of phenomenon through the Scientific and Medical Network, particularly
back in the 90s and early 2000s, there were odd little snippets that would appear
in the magazines of similar kinds of experience. They’re not in the category of apparition.
We weren’t seeing things, but I listened and I heard exactly what they were describing;
there were 21 chimes. It was a beautiful effect, but it was faint. If you moved out of the
particular location you no longer heard it. With their permission I then asked Dr Leo
[Hobiss 40:26] – I don’t know whether you recall Leo, but he was a nuclear physicist,
instrumental in setting up… David L: Sure.
David B: I asked a fellow Methodist Minister/Presbyter to come with me, and [Weking 40:42] and Anne
and were perfectly happy. They’d shared the experience with a number of friends. So we
all went back a little bit later and we listened. Now, my Methodist colleague – Reverend Cedric
Hay, also heard this inexplicable sound. It was a very beautiful, very distant chiming,
and it was always 21 times, and the family noted that over a course of months the intensity
of the sound – the level of the sound had been declining steadily, and in fact it turned
out that they continued to hear the chimes for I think about another year, but progressively
getting further and further away, until no longer audible. So, my colleague, the Reverend
Cedric Hay heard the chimes. Leo did not, but Leo had brought – wait for
it; a portable tape recorder. We said to Leo, to have the tape going, and he put the recorder
-held it up like that to listen to the chimes. Leo was convinced that we had all heard something.
There was no question that we were adamant that we heard things. He hadn’t. In fact,
when he had the tape analysed by another person that was loosely associated with the local
SMN group, that was an audio-engineer – this person was able to amplify, and actually bring
up on the tape the chimes, and Leo heard it. He was as astonished as anyone, because he
had assumed that though our experience was genuine, it was not recordable.
David L: Yes, quite – absolutely. David B: We agreed that at that time there
were huge numbers of pastoral sensitivities – very raw experience, but [Weking 42:55]
and Anne were only too willing to share what they had heard, and we also heard. Since then
I’ve spent years trying to think of an explanation. Just prior to having this online meeting,
a few weeks ago I asked Leo about where the tape was, because I would love to have been
able to have played it. Unfortunately they had been through a number of house shifts,
and he was no longer able to locate it. He does apologise. He’s now in his 90th year,
and he sends his apologies for not being able to come online to talk to you tonight.
David L: Yes, greetings indeed. David B: He heard his own tape recording of
it, and that changed everything. I’m just telling that story because I think it’s the
kind of experiential thing – of course, it’s completely subjective, and of course it’s
completely objective in that eventually all of us who went to hear it heard it, as did
a number of the Lee family friends and acquaintances. It’s taken a long time
– not just because of the pastoral sensitivity issues, but also because of the potential
for embarrassment of talking about, we heard – it’s not a voice – it was a very distinctive
set of chimes, as if on a wind, is the only way I can describe it. Yet, it is the most
vivid, real spiritual experience because I cannot fit it into my theological religious
framework, except to call it something of a mystery of the Grace of God, because there
was feeling on the part of the family, and certainly for myself and my Methodist colleague,
that what we had experiences was in some sense a significant sign to say that all was well,
but not all was explainable – explicable. Any comments?
David L: Yes. Well, first of all, is there any significance in relation to Christine
and to chimes? Is there any connection between her and chimes?
David B: She was a very skilled young pianist, but that’s the only musical connection we
could think of. David L: Okay, there’s a musical thing, and
then how – did you say she was 21 when she died?
David B: I think she might have been 22 or possibly a little bit older when she eventually
died, yes. David L: I just wondered if there was any
significance in the number of times the chimes were heard, and the age at which she died.
David B: No, I don’t think so. I spent a lot of time thinking about the number 21, and
various symbolic interpretations that have been given to that. In Chinese literature,
if I remember correctly, it’s a very hallowed number.
David L: Okay. David B: Yeah, that’s about as far as I was
able to get into it. David L: The other more broad remark would
be that there’s a whole field called after-death communications, which is not necessarily apparitions
and classic things, but other senses are involved as well, so that, for instance you would get
somebody who loved roses for instance, and after they died, a smell of roses would come
into the house. So there are many different modalities for communicating and reassuring
those who are still here that you’re okay, because that’s the fundamental message of
all these after-death communications; for the deceased to reassure those still alive
in the physical that they’re okay. Once they feel they’ve got the message through, they
can move on; they don’t need to hang around. I think the distancing that you’ve talked
about – the fact that they got more faint, that might be indicative of the fact that
she was moving on, if this is a phenomenon associated with her, which it would seem quite
probable that it was. David B: Well look, thank you very much for
that particularly, but thank you very much in general David, for making your time available
to talk. There’s so much. David L: Okay, thanks and greetings to all
of you. Have a good rest of your evening. David Lorimer and the SciMedNet kiwiconnexion