One More Step

Four years ago, when the New York State Legislature voted for marriage equality, I received the news with a mix of joy and sadness, relief and regret. I was so excited that justice, equality, and love won that day – but I missed my partner Tricia terribly; when she died in 1998, marriage was a …

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Scoundrels

This is not the sermon I had planned to deliver today. My plan was much more light hearted – talking about some of our most prized notables in our Unitarian Universalist history and their scoundrel nature – the mean nurse, the secessionist senator, the huckster showman, the tattletale pastor, the murderous daughter, the philandering minister. …

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Remembering

My memory is a little messed up. In 2007-early 2008, I had severe back problems and was on pretty heavy pain meds for about 18 months. Within that year, I had three surgical procedures, each one requiring general anesthesia. As I came out of that time period feeling much better and reemerging into the world, …

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A Mother’s Day for All of Us

Unitarian Universalists are great spin doctors. What I mean is that Unitarian Universalists are very good at redeeming holidays and holy days. On Christmas, religious educator Sophia Lyon Fahs reminds us that “each night a child is born is a holy night.” Easter becomes not just a celebration of Christ’s resurrection, but of the resurrection …

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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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Singing About God: Part Two – The Immanent

 Listen here. Last week, we started cobbling together our own universal translators. Unlike the Star Trek universe that Gene Roddenberry created, we aren’t equipped to automatically understand the many different languages of many cultures, and even if we were, we wouldn’t always know what people really meant. What we know is that real communication relies …

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God and Democracy

I have a confession to make. I am just nutso crazy in love with America. I have been in love with America since I was a little girl. It has been in my blood since 1630, since my great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather John Winthrop came to …

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In Memory

REMEMBER me when I am gone away, Gone far away into the silent land; When you can no more hold me by the hand, Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay. Remember me when no more day by day You tell me of our future that you planned: Only remember me; you understand …

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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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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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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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Freedom for Joy

In the months leading up to Justice GA, congregations throughout the denomination have been talking about and doing something about social justice. It is our call to put our faith into action, to help heal the world. For me, one of the guiding principles for the work of justice is Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s Four Freedoms. …

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