May – From the Minister

Posted on May 1, 2017 in Spirituality

If you could see the journey whole, you might never undertake it, might never dare the first step that propels you from the place you have known to the place you know not. Call it one of the mercies of the road: that we see it only by stages as it opens before us, as it comes into our keeping, step by single step. - Jan Richardson Our 3 (and 1⁄2!) year old, Louisa, says, “You can have two feelings at one time, Papa. ” It is true. The state of my heart these days has been a mix of grief, love, appreciation, hope—curiosity for the future, gratitude for what has been. As I begin to say...

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April – From the Minister

Posted on Apr 1, 2017 in Spirituality

From the outside looking in, the religious life seems otherworldly and impractical, concerned with “what once was” or “what will be, ” and Paradise lost either in a fairy-tale garden to which we’ll never return, or gated in Heaven, which we’ll never attain. These are stereotypes of a shallow piety, yet even here I’ll sometimes speak about the necessity of “bifocal vision, ” and our call, as religious liberals, to dwell at once in two places: both in the world as it is—desecrated and despoiled— and as it yet can be: fair and just, beautiful and green, the hardearned and...

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March – From the Minister

Posted on Mar 1, 2017 in Spirituality

Our lives are frittered away by detail; simplify, simplify, simplify! These words from Henry David Thoreau, transcendentalist, naturalist, writer, and Unitarian, are as much a challenge today as they were in the mid 1800s when he wrote them. The call to simplicity, by its very nature, seems like it should be, well, simple. Wouldn’t it be nice, to sift through the complex matrix of our lives, appointments, tasks, agendas, responsibilities; to break out of the tangled thicket of a life, a world, complicated by frenetic news feeds and incomprehensible conflicts. Wouldn’t it be nice, to have...

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February – From the Minister

Posted on Feb 1, 2017 in Spirituality

A staunch humanist minister, while serving a historic humanist congregation, had a steel plaque hanging in her office that read: poetry is prayer. She had a lyrical heart, and mind, and spirit—recalling and reciting prayer and prose, favorite writings and readings by memory and by heart. It is as if the words that point to meaning and depth and intention and hope and love found their way into her mind and settled into her heart as a guide, an inner poet—and she held it like a prayer. Prayer isn’t a word to fear. We tend to get lost in the questions of who prayer is addressed to, or what...

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January – From the Minister

Posted on Jan 30, 2017 in Spirituality

“I’ve been a Christian all my life,” said one man, who said he was a Baptist, “but if my church can’t say yes to this, I’m not sure what my church is for.” One woman, a Roman Catholic, stood to say, “The Church can’t exist just to give me the sacrament once a week and make me feel good about myself.” Three people at our table, all members of a synagogue in the western suburbs, nodded their assent. We were at the Lutheran Church of the Redeemer in St. Paul, a small group from WBUUC on an icy, late November night. We joined 200 others from many congregations, at a quickly...

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December – From the Minister

Posted on Dec 1, 2016 in Spirituality

Defenceless under the night Our world in stupor lies; Yet, dotted everywhere, Ironic points of light Flash out wherever the Just Exchange their messages: May I, composed like them Of Eros and of dust, Beleaguered by the same Negation and despair, Show an affirming flame. -W.H. Auden September 1, 1939 The snow came just in time this year, just before Thanksgiving, to blanket our beleaguered world in quiet beauty for a time, softening the harsh, excruciating edges of November’s desperate news. It’s only weather- and in the midst of climate change, we can’t let ourselves be...

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