All posts by Clay Nelson

Ignore Easter? So tempting.

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Rev. Clay Nelson

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Rev. clay Nelson © 16 Apil 2017

When I was in seminary, every seminarian was assigned a parish to do field work in for two years. My second Easter, I was given the opportunity to preach on Easter Sunday. A few months later a couple in the congregation came to see me. They brought me a novel the wife had written. In a former life they had been Idaho sheep farmers. The book is about the lonely life of a shepherd who cares for his flock. Continue reading Ignore Easter? So tempting.

Roots and Wings of a Unitarian Lent

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Rev. Clay Nelson

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Rev. clay Nelson © 2 Apil 2017

Each week we sing “Roots hold me close; wings set me free.” It is the Spirit of Life residing within each of us. The image resonates with a truth so deeply entrenched in us it could be part of our DNA. The metaphor is universal. I wonder if it might go back to our earliest ancestor, one that we all share. Carl Jung might consider it an archetype: A concept that resides in our collective unconscious the world over. Continue reading Roots and Wings of a Unitarian Lent

Loving your political opponent – Creative Conflict

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Rev. Clay Nelson

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Rev. clay Nelson © 26 March 2017

In this Age of Trump, for many of us, loving our political opponents seems a step too far. Friends in the US report political differences in their families and life-long friendships are fracturing them, some seemingly beyond repair. This goes way beyond “unfriending” them on Facebook. Marriages are dissolving. Children and parents are estranged. Communities are divided. Political debate has always been a blood sport in the US, but this level of carnage is beyond my experience. Continue reading Loving your political opponent – Creative Conflict

Reforming the Reformation

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Rev. Clay Nelson

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Rev. clay Nelson © 19 March 2017

Until 500 years ago this year, one church had controlled all of Christianity for more than a millennium. It had become grievously corrupt, in part because it had become interwoven with the state. One particular abuse was the last straw that enraged a young monk, Martin Luther, so much that he sent a message to his bishop condemning the practice of selling indulgences to political leaders to raise money to build St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. An indulgence was like a “Get out of jail free” card. No matter how serious the sin, the rich and powerful could buy an indulgence and have the church’s guarantee that they could get into heaven, without having to confess and do penance. Continue reading Reforming the Reformation

Unitarians Seeking Sanctuary

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Rev. Clay Nelson

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Rev. clay Nelson © 12 March 2017

Our recent experience with providing the Indian students with sanctuary has been a rich source of reflection for me since we said our farewells to them. And I know I’m not alone in that as I listen to conversations at morning tea. And not just for us, if comments of colleagues from other faith groups are any indication. Even the head of Auckland’s office of Immigration called this week to ask if we could have a coffee to unpack the experience. Continue reading Unitarians Seeking Sanctuary