Pride Month in Auckland has always been celebrated in this community. As your minister I have always invited members of the LGBTQ community to speak to you, for as someone who self-identifies as a male-gendered heterosexual I have not felt it was my place to speak about an experience that wasn’t mine. Beside it has gotten so much more complicated than it was for someone who began puberty in the fifties. Then there were only straights, gays and lesbians and the last two were spoken of in mostly dark, derogatory terms. It is hard to keep up in a world where our understanding of gender and sexual orientation has become more fluid and self-determined, adding ever more letters to the list of those who makes up the Rainbow Community.
No separate audio this week due to poor quality audio recording, watching the video with subtitles – hit the Subtitles/Closed Captions’ button once you’ve started the video – should improve intelligibility.
I find it ironic that many Unitarians struggle with celebrating Christmas. They love to regale us with tales about how the church took a lot of pagan traditions and repurposed them. Which is true. They scoff at Virgin births, moving stars, the birth of Saviours of the World, divine babies in human form, and challenge any of it as history. And of course, they are right — none of this historically happened. They find Christmas fit only for children and gag at how it has been sentimentalised. And once again they are right. The delight and wonder in a child’s eyes on Christmas morning is worth all the hassle of making it magical for them. Only through their eyes is the wonder available to us who are world-worn and weary. And yes, the sentimentalising of Christmas makes it easy to miss its offer of another way of seeing life and of living our lives.
Sometimes when I publish the title of a future sermon, I wish I’d spend more time thinking it through first and not when I’m trying to write it. This is definitely one of those occasions. The more I thought about simplicity, the more I realised living simply isn’t simple. It may not be possible or always that desirable.
I went blindly down this path because of my attachment to the song we just sang, Tis a gift to be simple. It was one of my mother’s favourites and I chose it for her funeral service. She thought of herself as simple, but that should have been a red flag. In truth, she was a very complex person. Like her, simplicity may be a gift but if viewed at face value we will not fully appreciate it until we unwrap it.
As a frogophile, a lover of frogs, ecologically, biologically, evolutionarily, artistically, theologically and gastronomically I can empathise with Kermit that it is not easy being green. Frogs are incredibly diverse, for as Kermit surely knows, they aren’t even always green. Some live in ponds, and others in deserts. Some live in trees and fly and some live at the bottom of Lake Titicaca, one of the world’s deepest lakes. The Lake Titicaca frog has gills so they never come up for air. Most are born from eggs but then there is the fanged frog in Indonesia that gives birth to live tadpoles. And this only scratches the surface of their diversity. So philosophically, what is a frog? How does a frog know it is a frog? It can’t trust the stereotype of being a wet, slimy, bug-eater that croaks on its lily pad throne dreaming of being an enchanted prince after being kissed by a lovely princess. Certainly, there is more to it than that? Continue reading What defines a Unitarian?→