Sermon

Reflections on Ministry and Departure

I expect that most of us here have come across questions during a job interview that ask us to state one of our strengths and one of our weaknesses (though this last question is often phrased these days as “an area for growth” or “challenge”). And, though answering questions about our strengths may be difficult … Continued

Celebrating Our Heritage

Today, I’m going to talk to you about celebrating our heritage as Unitarian Universalists and as the UU Church of Bowling Green, but before I do, I’m going to ask you to think outside the box a little bit.  There are ways that we share a common heritage, but there are many ways that our … Continued

Hosea Ballou and the Universalist Message

As most people in this room today know, the Unitarian Universalist religious tradition which we claim and which we celebrate here is a tradition that originates from two separate Christian denominations: the Unitarian and the Universalist. Both have long traditions. You can make a case that each goes back to Biblical times. The two traditions … Continued

Love and Fear and Everything in Between

When I was a child, I thought like a child. And I was taught by those who invested their time in teaching me, as a child with a child’s understanding. I expect that that was true for you, as well. As a result, we learned to identify two strong proclivities towards things and persons: “I … Continued

Spare the Rod

 “Violence is the intentional use of physical force or power (threatened or actual) against another person, that either results in—or has a high likelihood of resulting in—injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation.” —World Health Organization   “What do you do,” another mother asked me at a playground about twenty years ago, “when your children … Continued

The Cost of Freedom

In early April, 1963, just about 54 years ago, the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., announced plans for a demonstration in Birmingham, Alabama to gain civil rights for African American citizens. On April 12, he was arrested for violating an injunction issued by the state circuit court against holding that demonstration. He was placed in … Continued

Credo: I Believe

It’s a long-standing tradition, of course, that when a new year begins, people make resolutions to change certain behaviors that seem to impede their growth in one way or another. I thought that it might be a nice change to instead focus on those things we claim as our core beliefs, those things that allow … Continued

A Space Between Stories

I stumbled upon an interesting website this past week. It’s curated by a Presbyterian minister named David Hayward. I hesitate to share the name of the site—oh, well, I will—it’s called nakedpastor.com. No—don’t even go there! I was introduced to it through a cartoon that popped up on my Facebook page. Two men are sitting … Continued

Pride and Prejudice: Confessions of an Implicit Racist

Good morning. I love being home. This congregation raised me. I came to it in 1995, deeply wounded from my Catholic excommunication years before. Early on, I fought with a member during a movie when I thought I heard dogma and he emphatically denied it. I refused to sign the book for years, just waiting … Continued

Seeking Peace Amidst Violence

If there is to be peace in the world, there must be peace in the nations. If there is to be peace in the nations, there must be peace in the cities. If there is to be peace in the cities, there must be peace between neighbors. If there is to be peace between neighbors, … Continued

Stop Asking So Many Questions!

When I was a child I was told that I asked too many questions. Often. Mostly, I was told this by my mother, as she was the most available person to ask. “Stop asking so many questions!” I expect that she said this because she (1) was busy with other things, adult things, and that … Continued

The Depths of Thoreau

When you think about Henry David Thoreau, what do you think about, what do you know? My guess is that it goes something like this: he lived in the 19th century. He built a cabin in the woods near Walden Pond where he lived for a few years. He was a friend and protégé of … Continued

The Allure of Emerson

Ralph Waldo Emerson is best known to the general public as a 19th-century American writer and philosopher, essayist, poet, and transcendentalist. Unitarian Universalists know him in this way, too, but also as a Unitarian minister and an important influence on the development of our religious tradition. To read and appreciate Emerson today, you will face … Continued

Living in the Real World

Social change is slow, and it doesn’t start at the center; it starts at the edges. And we all live at the edges. At the edges of the “real world.”

What Do We Talk About When We Talk About God?

What do we talk about when we talk about God? It might seem an odd question to those of us who grew up in what we call “mainstream” churches, whether by that we mean Christian churches of a liberal bent or ones with a more “fundamentalist” perspective– though the fact that that distinction exists should … Continued

A Minister’s Response to the Massacre in Orlando

We are gathered here tonight to hold vigil in memory of those 49 people murdered at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, early Sunday morning, and the 53 people who were injured and hospitalized, at least four of them critically injured. But, more than that, we are here to hold vigil in support of their … Continued

Contemplation and Action

To talk about contemplation and action means inevitably to talk about an inner world and an outer world and the relationship between the two. The population of the world as of March, 2016, was estimated to be about 7,400,000,000: seven billion, four hundred million. As far as we know, there is only one outer world … Continued

Memorial Day and Our Civil Religion

Two days ago, President Obama visited Hiroshima, Japan in advance of the 71st anniversary of the dropping of atomic bombs there and at Nagasaki, the 71st anniversary of the end of World War II. His remarks, if you heard them, offered a chance to put the human propensity for war and aggression into a larger … Continued

Priorities

We all have certain things we think of as priorities in life, but it’s easy to lose track of what we value most highly by getting caught up in our perceived responsibilities and a variety of attractive distractions. Today, we’ll work on clarifying our personal priorities.