Sermon

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.

Question Box Sermon 2016

For seven years now, we’ve given congregation members an opportunity to ask questions of the minister to be answered on a Sunday during a “Question Box Sermon.” Sometimes questions are submitted on paper and deposited to a real enough “question box” left out for that purpose. Other questions come up in conversations during the year. … Continued

Telling a New Story

“It is a moral imperative for us to be good and responsible stewards of the earth.” Fifty-three years ago today (April 17), the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) gave official recognition to a new fellowship in the movement: the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Bowling Green. The year was 1963. The President was John F. Kennedy. The … Continued

The Legacy of James Luther Adams

(The singer Merle Haggard died a few days before this sermon was presented.) You know, the only song of Merle Haggard’s that I was really familiar with before this week is Okie from Muskogee. It didn’t make me a fan of the man when I first heard it years ago, as I felt like my … Continued

A Strong and Supple Faith

If you are like me and most Unitarian Universalists, the word “faith” is, let us say, suspect.  For many of us, it’s a word that stands in opposition to “reason,” and reason holds a high place in our pantheon of values.  One definition of “faith,” is “complete trust or confidence in someone or something.”  Another … Continued

Reflections on the Resurrection

Easter marks the end of Holy Week in the Christian calendar and the high point of the Christian year: Easter, the holy day marking the resurrection of the Lord. As Unitarian Universalists who prefer to question rather to embrace blanket faith statements, this is, perhaps, the day that questions the most significant assertion of the … Continued

The Myth of Redeeming Violence

I. Introduction The Myth of Redeeming Violence (MRV) is one of the key premises of a social, cultural, and religious system by now at least five thousand years old. With a little practice it is easy to spot in events of world history, in speeches by present-day politicians, new laws that increase the prison population, … Continued

Separating Church and State

Opening Reading Believing with you that religion is a matter which lies solely between Man & his God, that he owes account to none other for his faith or his worship, that the legitimate powers of government reach actions only, & not opinions, I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people … Continued

Black Lives Matter. All Lives Matter.

Some of you have heard me talk about my friend Emerson before. I met Emerson about 25 years ago now at the Unitarian Universalist Church in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. He was 66 years old then and nearing retirement. Now he’s 91, still living independently with his wife, Judith, who is perhaps 12 or 15 years … Continued

Speaking of Obscenity

A friend told me last week that he was going to celebrate the first day of Black History month by listening to James Brown records. I thought that was inspiring, and so we are celebrating the first Sunday of Black History month by listening to that lively and irrepressible anthem “I Got You”, otherwise known … Continued

Why I Love My Church

Introduction – by the Rev. Peter Connolly When I assigned myself the task of asking church leaders and longtime members to speak about what the church means to them, the questions that arose were, “Where to begin?” and “Where to end?” There is quite a large number of people here for whom the church has … Continued

A Monk in Kentucky

What can we gain by sailing to the moon if we are not able to cross the abyss that separates us from ourselves?  This is the most important of all voyages of discovery, and without it, the rest are not only useless, but disastrous.   –Thomas Merton I’m one of those people who believe that life … Continued

Mindfulness or Mind Control?

“Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. When you’re mindful, you observe your thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them (as) good or bad. Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.” That’s the definition (and a commentary) that … Continued

Emotional Intelligence

How impoverished our lives would be without our emotions. How deeply unsatisfying our lives are when our emotions are out of control. Our opening reading is from Kay Redfield Jamison, who is a clinical psychologist and a writer. She’s also someone who suffers from a bipolar disorder. “Restlessness and discontent are vital things,” she says, … Continued

Wisdom in the Serenity Prayer

Good morning.  I returned to the church from a four-month vacation/ sabbatical last Sunday.  In the time I was away, much happened which caused confusion and emotional turmoil in the life of the church community.  Though ministers are encouraged to take a complete break from the church during sabbatical times, it was not possible in … Continued

A Halloween History

, the word Samhain being Old Irish for “summer’s end”.  Incidentally Samhain was the beginning of the Keltic year, the Keltic new year. Although our information about the Keltic Samhain celebration is limited, we do know that the celebration was what modern anthropologists call a “liminal” event.  It was a boundary, threshold, a “period in … Continued

Immortality for Real

“All men are mortal – Socrates is a man – therefore Socrates is mortal.” Students hear these words as they embark on a journey of mental gymnastics. Yes, this talk is cerebral. I am going to tickle the gray stuff. Are we all mortal? Actually, in Plato’s Phaedo, Socrates argued that humans have an immortal … Continued

Minding Our Manners

When my four siblings and I were in elementary school, my mother instituted Wednesday dinners in the dining room as an opportunity for us to learn and practice good manners. On those Wednesday evenings, Mom introduced us to table manners and polite conversation. Our dad took advantage of the opportunity to teach us to conclude … Continued

Science as Religion

We’ve probably all been asked the question: “What religion are you?” The answer “Unitarian Universalist” usually leads to more questions. You may have heard: Do you believe in God? What about sin? If you don’t use the Bible, how do you know what’s right and what’s wrong? What do you teach children in Sunday school … Continued