Flunking Sainthood

LISTEN: In her wry memoir, Jana Reiss shares a year-long quest to become more saintly by tackling 12 spiritual practices, including fasting, centering prayer, Sabbath-keeping, gratitude, and       generosity. Though she begins with the      question, “How hard could that be?” Reiss finds to her growing humiliation that she is “flunking sainthood.” In this sermon exploring the … Continued

Emotionality and Spirituality

LISTEN: Someone recently said to me, “Don’t make the mistake of confusing emotionality with spirituality.”  That got me thinking.  Do emotional experiences support spiritual depth?  Do they distract from it?  What is the role of feelings on the spiritual path?  We’ll explore these questions through stories and music, with the choir and special musical guests.    

From Snake Handlers to Skeptic

LISTEN: READ HERE With special music from the Southern Appalachian gospel tradition Here’s a provocative question: When it comes to the very soul of spiritual  seeking, are we     rational, often    skeptical Unitarian Universalists really all that      different from say, emotive snake handling        Pentecostals?  As my colleague Fred Muir observes: “We share with our Pentecostal brothers … Continued

A Recipe for Compassion

LISTEN: Recipes have cultural and historical roots. Each ingredient plays its own special part in infusing the dish with flavor. Many believe that even the mood of the cook can alter the outcome of the cooking. Let’s consider the ways in which food — for the stomach and the soul — can nourish us and … Continued

How did we get here? An incomplete story on how humanism became part of UU.

LISTEN: An important questions to ask about Unitarian Universalism is how we moved from our start as people asserting that there is one rather than three manifestations of a Christian divinity to the celebration of theological diversity that UU is today. Rev. Bob LaVallee will offer an abbreviated version of that history with some observations … Continued

The Church of Not Being Horrible

LISTEN: READ HERE In the words of Pastor John Pavlovitz: “The Church of Not Being Horrible will gather every week to celebrate the inherent goodness of people. We’ll share stories of the ways we succeeded in being less than horrible to our families, coworkers, and strangers, and we’ll challenge ourselves to be even less horrible in the … Continued

A Curious Bunch!

LISTEN: READ HERE One of the most popular UU bumper stickers states “The answer is to question.” We are an inherently curious bunch. For decades, inquisitive researchers have been trying to figure out the science of our human “urge to know,” and to decipher the way in which questioning happens.  They’ve discovered that what is … Continued

“The Sound of Hope”

LISTEN: In Scripture, according to the Hebrew and Greek words translated by the word “hope” and according to the biblical usage, hope is an indication of certainty. “Hope” in Scripture means “a strong and confident expectation.”  My talk will include stories of survivors of violence, the work we do at Women’s Services, and the role … Continued

Showing Mercy When it’s Us vs. Them

LISTEN: Our first principle is the inherent worth and dignity of every person.  This can be a hard principle to remember when faced with people who spew hatred and vitriol.  In our current political climate, where things seem more divided than ever how can we show mercy and compassion towards people who believe the opposite … Continued

Come Blow Your Horn

LISTEN: Have you ever noticed that “justice” is the only word prominently featured twice in our seven UU principles?  “Peace, liberty, and justice for all” in the 6th, and “Justice, equity and compassion in   human relations” in the 2nd. Together, they offer guideposts to justice making and community   building through compassion. What does it mean … Continued