Spirituality

November – From the Minister

I was recently given the gift of reuniting with some old friends that I worked with 20 years ago in Tacoma, WA, at a homeless shelter called Nativity House. This reunion brought back all sorts of memories of my time with the “guests” of Nativity House, and there is one in particular that has stayed with me. One afternoon, I was busy helping to get lunch prepared when someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned to find Andy, a regular guest, standing behind me, quietly crying and desperately trying to stay on his feet. Andy was extremely drunk and, by the looks of him, had been for several...

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October – From the Minister

Some years ago, I joined Jill Schwendeman, our Youth Director, in guiding our 7th and 8th graders through a whirlwind tour of the bible. We met with them on Sunday afternoons, packing plenty of pizza to wander with them through the desert of the ancient world to see how these sacred stories speak to their lives as young Unitarian Universalists. Jill, their teacher, gave them a beautiful gift in the first session: she translated the meaning of each of their names into ancient Hebrew, and spoke their names in that beautiful, strange language. She wrote each one out for them to copy from right...

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September – From the Minister

On the day of the eclipse I was in an airport. We were not near “the path of totality, ” but people were excited anyway, pressed to the plate glass windows, squinting their eyes and snapping pictures, sharing news from friends across the country and arguing adamant armchairastronomy with strangers. Little kids clutched snack-box pinhole cameras and grandparents traded memories of past eclipses, where exactly they were standing in 1970 and what it felt like when the world went dark at noon. Under one sky, headed for a thousand different destinations, for a couple of hours we were all...

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Summer 2017 – From the Minister

How do you tell your story, the history of yourself, and your people, your family and country, your sense of place and your own dirt—your land, your home, this common ground—and how do you tell it in relation to all the other stories, the story of the person next to you right here, and the story of the stars, invisible, right above your head (and also below you and around you, infinite in all directions), and the story of the soil beneath the concrete floor that holds the bones and dreams of ancestors whom we choose to call family, or not. The way you enter your story, locate your plot,...

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May – From the Minister

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

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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