All posts by John DiLeo

Whose holiday is it, anyway?

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Whose holiday is it, anyway?
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John DiLeo © 30th October 2022

When I signed up to lead today’s service, I figured it would be easy to come up with things to say. I mean, after all, there’s no shortage of writings and opinions around the Church’s appropriation and subjugation of non-Christian customs and occasions.

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Why Do Birthdays?

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Why Do Birthdays?
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John DiLeo © 2nd October 2022

As I’ve mentioned a few times in the past, the themes and musings present in the services I lead tend to reflect things that are on my mind at the moment. In this case, it happens to be birthdays. Mine is this coming Tuesday. It also happens to be one of those “milestone” birthdays – I’ll be turning 55.

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Because We Can!

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Because We Can!
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Follow this shortcut to the bottom of the page for the various readings, videos, etc. shared in the service.

Today’s talk was a reading of The Answer I Wish I’d Given” By Erika A. Hewitt


Meditation / Conversation starter:

These questions can be answered either individually; or as a Unitarian Community; or as a wider society:-

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Am I Doing This Right?

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Am I Doing This Right?
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John DiLeo © 14 August 2022

I grew up in a rural part of Connecticut, in the northeastern United States. My home town, Plainfield, was small, the population was almost entirely white Europeans, and – as far as those in authority in my life were concerned – everybody was cisgendered and straight.

As was the social norm of the time, when someone we knew was gender non-conforming, we were all expected to act as though that fact didn’t exist. Our parents referred to their gay and lesbian relatives and acquaintances as ‘eccentric,’ and to their life partners as ‘roommates.’

We were indoctrinated to the “fact” that being cisgendered and straight was the one true “lifestyle choice,” in much the same way we were indoctrinated to believe our mainstream Christian sect was the one true religion.

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Freedom from what, exactly?

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Freedom from what, exactly?
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Follow this shortcut to the bottom of the page for the various readings, videos, etc. shared in the service.

John DiLeo © 30 January 2022

For much of my life, my conscious perspective on ‘freedom’ was always in terms of “freedom to.” As a child enjoying nearly every privilege one could – an able-bodied White, Christian, cis, hetero male of European descent, born to a reasonably stable two-parent household, and living in a quiet, small, lily-white town in rural Connecticut – “freedom from” wasn’t something I ever thought about.

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The ills of fearing “the ills of socialism”

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John DiLeo © 2 January 2022

Since I mentioned it at the beginning of our time together, let me start my musings with a bit more background on my hospital stay. As I mentioned when I last led our service, in October, I’ve found myself during this lockdown eating less well, gaining back weight I’d thought I was long rid of, and becoming more and more sedentary. My workdays have gotten really long, resulting in my spending as much as 15 hours a day sitting in this very chair.

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Livin’ La Vida Lockdown

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Livin’ La Vida Lockdown
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Follow this shortcut to the bottom of the page for the various readings, videos, etc. shared in the service.

John DiLeo © 17th October 2021.

Well, it finally happened. On the 17th of August, New Zealand joined the rest of the world in dealing with an outbreak of the Delta COVID variant in the community. Our government’s “short, sharp” response announced that afternoon turned out not to be all that short…and, recently, has lost a great deal of its sharpness, as well.

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On Being a UU Sceptic

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On Being a UU Sceptic
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Follow this shortcut to the bottom of the page for the various readings, videos, etc. shared in the service.

John DiLeo © 17 January 2021

Today, I’m going to spend some time talking mostly about myself. These musings put me in mind of the Talking Heads song lyric: “And I think to myself / well…how did I get here?” Today, as I stand before you, I’m comfortable calling myself a UU Sceptic. Even just a couple of years ago, that wasn’t the case…

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How do we want the world to see us as a community?

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How do we want the world to see us as a community?
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Follow this shortcut to the bottom of the page for the various readings, videos, etc. shared in the service.

John DiLeo © 27 December 2020

My musings today are, not surprisingly, about us.

Nina Khouri led our service a few weeks ago, mentioning that she, Derek Handley, and I have embarked on an inquiry regarding the “Future Church.” We have been asked to reflect on the current state of our community, and ponder the possibilities for what it could be in the future. It occurred to us – pretty much immediately – that this isn’t something we can go off and do on behalf of everyone else. Instead, we need to lead a guided introspection by the entire congregation.

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Hello, Privilege. It’s me, John

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Hello, Privilege. It’s Me, John
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Opening words are ‘Wake Up!’ By Christian Schmidt.

Chalice Lighting ‘On Inherent Worth and Dignity’ By Steve Stock

John DiLeo © 3 November 2019

A few weeks ago, I found Chelsea Handler’s latest documentary, “Hello privilege. It’s me Chelsea,” on Netflix, and watched it. While it’s by no means a cinematic masterpiece, “Hello Privilege” contains a number of truths that are challenging to hear.
In introducing the project, Handler had this to say:

” I was white, and I was pretty, and I had a big mouth. And for some reason, that was rewarded in Hollywood. I just never really questioned anything, because I thought I deserved everything. I’m clearly the beneficiary of white privilege, and I want to know what my personal responsibility is, moving forward in the world that we live in today…where race is concerned. I want to know how to be a better white person to people of color…”

This is something I want to know, too.

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