Give Them Not Hell

A Time for All Ages John Murray and The Winds of Change by Christy Olson and Jessica York Sermon True or false: In April of 1775, Paul Revere rode through the streets from Boston to Lexington yelling “The British Are Coming”. True or false: The Declaration of Independence was signed by everyone on July 4, …

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Can I Get a Witness?

You never know what a casual, off-handed comment will lead to. Three times on Saturday, I made a casual comment about who I am, where I work, and what I do, and three times, I found myself sharing the good news of Unitarian Universalism. The first was outside our congregation’s yard sale. I must have …

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The Dangers of DIY

Over at Quest for Meaning, David Breeden made the case for Unitarian Universalism being a Do It Yourself religion. He writes: We do well to draw a sharp line between the subjectivity of religious experience and the objectivity of a congregational, corporate life together. Where I get my personal religious jolt is up to me—Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, …

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Social Gospel through Universalist Eyes

I recently studied American Theological Liberalism with Gary Dorrien, and was quite taken by a chapter (from Dorrien’s The Making of American Liberal Theology, Volume 1) on the social gospelers. As I read the chapter, I found myself saying “amen” to Walter Rauschenbusch’s understanding of Christianity, that Jesus’s message was that the personal and the political …

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Participating in the Universe

After the service Sunday, we had a small group conversation – what some congregations call a talkback but which Saratoga calls “church chat.” It was a lively discussion about the series of sermons I just wrapped up on God – over three weeks, I talked about the transcendent, the immanent, and the creating-creator aspects of the Divine …

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General Assembly: A People on the Move

I attended General Assembly in Louisville last week, and I’m still high off the buzz. (Those who follow me on Twitter or are Facebook friends got quite an eyeful, as I joined many of my fellow attendees live-blogging our experiences.) In a nutshell, it is a transformative experience; I was an offsite delegate two years …

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The Future Is Now.

I’ve been reading with interest a couple of the recent Berry Street Lectures – Paul Razor’s from 2009, and Fred Muir’s from 2012. They both explore what the future of Unitarian Universalism can be – from finding ways to embrace multiculturalism to shedding the negative impacts individualism and a polity founded in the dominant European-American …

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Words Matter.

Civil War historian Bruce Catton once said that if people are going to agree on something, any words will do, but it is an infallible sign of a coming fight when people argue over the precise wording. In Syracuse, in late October 1959, the UUA was very nearly an almost thing, simply because of a fight …

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Meeting Our Yearning for Unalloyed Joy

Today, I read an essay by Aurelia Isabel Henry Reinhardt entitled “Worship: Its Fundamental Place in Liberal Religion.” Reinhardt explores briefly the history of worship with an eye to what we have inherited; that we have always sought public religion to unify us “in the common search for the Ultimate Good” and that we aren’t …

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Death and Glory

I learned this week that I am a radical Universalist. I credit David Bumbaugh for this. In his book Unitarian Universalism: A Narrative History, Bumbaugh spends 20 pages outlining the beginnings of the Universalist church in America, from deBenneville’s sermons preached across Pennsylvania; to the founding of the first Univeralist church by Murray in Gloucester, …

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The Challenge of Free Thought

I’ve spent the better part of the last two days puzzling over Theodore Parker’s “The Transient and Permanent in Christianity”… and I honestly have no idea what to make of it. I am with Parker when he talks about the permanent being truth, which he identifies as finding in God and Jesus. I see what …

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History in Context

This week, in our UU polity/history course (taught by the marvelous Rosemary Bray McNatt), we looked at our history, in particular our European roots. This stuff is important, because context matters. It matters that theologians, ministers, and other thinkers – in different times and places – questioned the validity of the doctrine of the trinity. …

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