Tai chi class ousted from NZ church

Tai chi class ousted from NZ church

Having identified tai chi as a threat to its ‘spiritual wellbeing’, the Central Southland Presbyterian Church in New Zealand told a group of elderly women and arthritis sufferers who do the gentle Chinese martial art at the the parish hall to bugger off.

The group’s leader said the 20 women had been doing tai chi in the hall without issue for five years, but were approached by parish council clerk John Willis and told to leave.

[The parish council] decided because tai chi had religious links we’d have to go. Maybe it did hundreds of years ago when it was started by a Taoist monk, but the classes I teach are for older ladies and arthritis sufferers and have absolutely no religious significance.

The teacher said Willis’ manner was “quite rude” and she could not understand why he had not discussed his concerns with her before deciding to exclude the group from the hall.

She had booked the hall for the remainder of the year but had to cancel the booking and find a new hall, which was not as well suited to the group’s needs.

If I could have just talked to them about this before it all happened, we could have avoided this whole thing. I’ve been going to church since I was 13 but I won’t be going back – that’s how much this has affected me.

All the other ladies have had to go home and tell their families. It’s upset so many people and it’s enough to put anyone off the church.

Willis said he had written to the leader of the group to apologise for the way he approached the issue. He had not meant to cause offence, he said.

The council had spent “a considerable amount of time” debating the issue and acknowledged many of the women were achieving better health as a result of the classes, he said.

But while the council understood the programme did not include any religious content, it believed tai chi conflicted with the church’s teachings and threatened the church’s spiritual wellbeing.

As church leaders we need to look after everyone in the parish, and their spiritual wellbeing. The first commandment is that we must honour God and have no other God before us, and having come from Taoism tai chi is promoting another God.

Willis said he believed most people weren’t aware of the origins of tai chi and believed they were just doing exercises.

There had been discussions about allowing the group to remain in the hall if they stopped referring to the activities as tai chi, but the teacher had declined this, he said.

He was saddened that some parishioners had become disheartened with the church.

Sometimes in upholding the truth people get hurt, but I hope they will come back to the church.

Hat tip: AgentCormac

17 responses to “Tai chi class ousted from NZ church”

  1. John says:

    “having come from Taoism tai chi is promoting another God.”

    Someone flunked comparative religion, didn’t they? What a twonk.

  2. Trevor Blake says:

    Magic spells (sometimes called prayers) are muttered in Parliament in NZ. Whose wellbeing does that exclude?

  3. Broga says:

    ” but the classes I teach are for older ladies and arthritis sufferers and have absolutely no religious significance.” That’s all very well but the Presbyterians can’t afford to take any chances. The Devil lurks everywhere.

    I would prefer to be a Taoist than a Presbyterian on this evidence. Some busybody in the church wanting to demonstrate his power over a group of arthritic old ladies. Pathetic.

  4. annette says:

    So now the Presbyterians are turning into nutters. Are the Congregationalists next? They need to chuck the religion before it
    completely eats their brains.

  5. TrickyDicky says:

    The church’s facebook page is down, I wonder why?

  6. Laura Roberts says:

    Every time an incident like this occurs, more atheists are born.

    With enemies like these, who needs friends? 😉

  7. Har Davids says:

    But can we still eat egg-rolls, is a question that needs to be addressed. This is about as ridiculous as humping your wife on a camel’s hump, whether she likes it or not, according to a representative of Islam.

    I’m fine with religion as long as it makes people better, caring persons, but some outspoken believers have lost the plot.

  8. L.Long says:

    Well being here I will refrain from writing the string of 4 letter words I would have said to the dumb assed bigot. I bet he does Halloween, Easter, xmas, etc……The dimwitted hypocrite!!!!

  9. AgentCormac says:

    ‘Sometimes in upholding the truth people get hurt…’

    What John Willis and his ilk believe to be the truth and what in reality is the truth are diametrically opposed. And if the twat thinks that booting a bunch of aged, arthritic-riddled women out of his church hall is ‘upholding the truth’ then he really does need a reality check. But I suppose he is at least being honest when he says that people get hurt when they get in the way of religion. Always have done, always will do.

  10. AgentCormac says:

    Going OT here, but good to see that some of those accused of shooting teenager Malala Yousafzai in the head on a school bus have seemingly been brought to justice and handed down stiff jail sentences in Pakistan. Quite how that sentence might compare to the retribution they would have faced had they been accused of burning a few pages of the koran is of course open to conjecture.

  11. RussellW says:

    Wise move, it reminds me when the local Anglican minister refused to allow yoga classes in the church hall. Certainly yoga is an even worse spiritual influence, I became a devout Hindu after a month of yoga classes.

    Yes. That’s the totalitarian monotheist mentality at work.

  12. sailor1031 says:

    The only religions in China that believe in any kind of doGs are those christian ones the missionaries (christian and islamic) forced on the native population.

  13. Robster says:

    How do they quantify “spiritual well being”? Is there a machine like those silly Scientologists have, perhaps a well stocked bar is the indication. Talk about nebulous nonsense.

  14. barriejohn says:

    John: Spot on.

    “having come from Taoism tai chi is promoting another God.”

    So what if it did? And isn’t there supposed to be only one God anyway according to the Christian faith? How can you promote the worship of beings that do not exist? My brain hurts.

  15. Brian Jordan says:

    @Har Davids
    “But can we still eat egg-rolls, is a question that needs to be addressed”
    Indeed, but first we must settle the matter of which end of the egg should be broken. You can hardly expect a Littlendian to eat a Bigendian egg roll, or vice versa. Then there’s the matter of which way the egg should be rolled…

  16. 1859 says:

    “….tai chi conflicted with the church’s teachings and threatened the church’s spiritual wellbeing.” Well now, old ladies do eat egg rolls – and very often make them for others. AND don’t forget, egg rolls stink – just like in purgatory and the sulphurous pit of hell. Hence, the ‘threat’ to the church’s spiritual wellbeing must clearly come from satan himself. It stands to reason therefore that these old ladies are servants of lucifer, converting the innocent to the dark side using egg rolls – it’s obvious! No, Mr. Willis did the right thing!