All posts by Clay Nelson

Discomfort is our teacher

with Rev. Clay Nelson

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Clay Nelson © 16 February 2020

For as long as I have been giving sermons I’ve been guided by the maxim that it is the preacher’s job “to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.”

I always thought it came from some saint of the distant past; turns out that it was by Finley Peter Dunne, an Irish humourist who wrote a column for a Chicago newspaper. In 1901 he had this to say about newspapers, not preachers, although they seem to have a number of commonalities:

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Water Communion

with Rev. Clay Nelson

Water Communion
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Opening Words are Fault Line by Robert Walsh

Rev. Clay Nelson © 2020

This morning we carry love and hope and courageous faith, and seek to renew our covenantal commitments. We remind ourselves of the home we share, a home that we come back to, whether after a long or short absence, a home we welcome all to make their own: a home of love and hope and faith—come, let us gather together within.

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A Subversive Christmas Redux

with Rev. Clay Nelson

A Subversive Christmas Redux
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Clay Nelson © 15 December 2019

People sometimes wonder why Unitarians celebrate Christmas. Even some Unitarians do. It’s quite understandable considering our scepticism about Virgin births, moving stars, the birth of Saviours of the World, divine babies in human form, and whether or not any of it is history. I, however, wonder why Christians celebrate Christmas (and of course they didn’t for the first few centuries after the birth of Jesus). Christians have struggled with Christmas ever since the Emperor Constantine declared December 25th to be the day of Jesus’ birth. Well, somebody had to decide. The Gospels certainly didn’t tell us when the blessed event happened. Since then how to celebrate it or whether or not to celebrate it at all has consumed untold hours of theological debate.

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“O Karma, Dharma, pudding & pie”

with Rev. Clay Nelson

“O Karma, Dharma, pudding & pie”
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Opening Words are A poem by Philip Appleman, “O Karma, Dharma, pudding & pie

Clay Nelson © 8 December 2019

Today we welcome you, Gerard, Tess and John, as our newest members. We are delighted, but it is only fair to warn you that challenges lie ahead for all those who sign the membership book. One of the biggest is explaining what the heck a Unitarian Universalist is.

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