Best of UU

“we each decide our own purpose in being here. . .”

Filed under: Reflections — Jess at 11:37 am on Thursday, June 5, 2008

For summer services last year, the Unitarian Universalist Society of Iowa City, Iowa invited lay members to reflect on their beliefs as Unitarian Universalists. This is excerpt by Karen Fox, delivered on July 22, 2007, shows the natural progression of personal beliefs to the saving message of our movement. Many of the talks presented in the series are also available on the UUSIC website.

from This I Believe, what inspires me

by Karen Fox

Through reading, asking, listening and observing I have forged my own belief system that honors the vastness and wonder of nature and the Universe. I believe in that which is greater than all and yet a part of each; but that, for me is not an external god. I believe that if there is a God it is the energy of life and all of creation. I believe that that energy is what I am –what each of us is, so we are all a part of that God. I believe that we each decide our own purpose in being here, in being alive. There is no god in the sky deciding what we should be doing with our lives. Our purpose is what we each decide it is within our own being and understanding. I also believe that we are all one — part of that independent web of existence, part of that all encompassing energy, and that what we do, say and think has an impact on all other begins. Therefore compassion, striving to understand, and kindness are essential to healing humanity.

(Read on … )

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“. . . this is a time for radical engagement.”

Filed under: Sermons — Jess at 1:21 pm on Tuesday, May 6, 2008

John Ockels, a lay-leader at the Red River Unitarian Universalist Church in Denison, Texas, preached this sermon decrying the “Theology of Running Away” two weeks ago to his congregation. He challenges the notion of religion as constant searching, and encourages us as Unitarian Universalists to put down roots, “Kudzu-style.”

And I, for one, say “AMEN.” How about you?

Shall We Dwell At the River?

by John Ockels

This morning Iʼm here to criticize what I call “The Theology of Running Away.” Enough already with the theology of Singing the Journey, This World Is Not My Home, running-all-over-creation-chasing My Elusive Dreams, and nostalgic floating around in a boat, never quite docking, never quite engaging. “I’ve been sailing all my life now, Never harbor nor port have I known.” Please. Enough with all that. Enough with the theology of always being on a journey. Itʼs officially wearing me out.

This morning I want to argue for an end to all that Hank Thompson “Iʼm Moving On,” “We are going, heaven knows where we are going, Woyaya,” Christopher Columbus, thereʼs a better world over yonder, “Go West Young Man,” Herman Hesse Journey To the East, somewhere over the rainbow, life must be better somewhere else or sometime else stuff. Forget all that. Makes me tired just to think about it.

This morning I want to argue for a radical theology of loving where you are, staying put, spreading out, putting down roots … and taking over. Like a plant. And doing so successfully, like a successful weed. In short I want to argue a theology based on radical engagement where we are standing right now. A theology based on observing how plants interact with their surroundings, not one based on continued roaming predator behavior. A theology of taking over like a weed. A theology of Kudzu.

(Read on … )

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“connected to something larger, or deeper. . .”

Filed under: Reflections — Jess at 1:40 pm on Thursday, April 3, 2008

Today, another perspective on the use of religious language in our Unitarian Universalist churches, this time from lay preacher Bruce Arnold, at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship, New Bern, North Carolina.

Mr. Arnold argues that avoiding certain aspects of religious language does more harm than good, particularly in a congregation that aims to welcome a greater number of people into their midst. He offers a challenge to his fellowship, to reach deeper into what it means to be a religious community and engage with that depth.

Note: I am always looking for more good material by our lay members, not just ministers or historical figures, but these pieces are hard to find. If you’ve written, or heard, something that you think belongs on this site, please drop me a line!

A Rose by Any Other Name

by Bruce Arnold

Words have power.

They say sticks and stones will break your bones but words can never hurt you. They are wrong about a lot of things. Over and over, my domestic violence patients have said that the bruises heal and the broken bones knit up, but the cruel words last forever.

Words have power.

They say the pen is mightier than the sword. They are right about a lot of things also. During World War II, when Churchill warned Josef Stalin against conflict with the Pope, he replied scornfully “The Pope! How many divisions does he have?” The Soviet Union no longer exists. John Paul II left the papacy stronger than it had been in a century.

Words have power.

Talk about power: In May of 1961, John F. Kennedy gave a stirring speech about putting a man on the moon, at a time when we had not even worked the bugs out of the Atlas rocket. Just over 8 years later, Neil Armstrong fulfilled that promise, with stirring words of his own.

Words have power.

(Read on … )

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