Sunday Talks

Reflections on Earth Day

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with Rev. Clay Nelson

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As we gather together this morning is by Bets Wienecke.

Opening words are from The Miraculous Pitcher by Barbara Rohde.

Rev. Clay Nelson © 15th April 2018

Something was off when I woke up in my dorm room in late January 1969. I realised I couldn’t hear the ocean, which was only 75 metres from my bedroom at the University of California at Santa Barbara. The sea was silent. I and other early risers went to the cliffs overlooking the normally pristine coastline. The ocean waves were weighed down by oil and tar, unable to crash on the beach. Continue reading Reflections on Earth Day

A Doubtful Faith

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with Rev. Clay Nelson

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To this house we come bringing our boldest dreams is by Lawrence McGinty.

Opening words are from Faith Without Certainty: Liberal Theology in the 21st Century by Paul Rasor.

Rev. Clay Nelson © 8th April 2018

I fear I’m a creature of habit. Most mainline Christian churches have a three-year lectionary that they, for the most part, share. A lectionary sets readings from both the Hebrew scriptures and Christian writings to be read on particular Sundays over the course of the year. After three years, if you have gone to church every Sunday, like every good Christian does, you have heard most of the Bible. There is one notable exception. It is on the Sunday after Easter. Continue reading A Doubtful Faith

April Fools Arise!

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with Rev. Clay Nelson

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Rev. Clay Nelson © 1st April 2018

In one of my last Easter Day sermons at St Matthew’s I opened with how difficult I found preaching on the Day of Resurrection in a Christian context:

Look out! Here comes the preacher walking the Easter sermon tightrope!

Can he balance the life-giving message of joy and hope that the ancient story of resurrection suggests, with the progressive theology and openness St Matthew’s embodies?

Can he make it across safely to the other side without falling into either the dreaded, dogmatic pit of spirit killing, rigid orthodoxy, or the confusing fog of bland generalities that can mean just about anything?

We’ll know in about 12 minutes.

If I thought Easter sermons would be any easier in a Unitarian context, I was a fool. Continue reading April Fools Arise!

Ode to Joy

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with Rev. Clay Nelson

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Welcome into this circle of community is by Andrew Pakula

Rev. Clay Nelson © 25th March 2018

An occupational hazard of a minister’s vocation is needing to find the grace to be present to others in the midst of their sadness and grief; despair and disappointment. No one calls the minister to ask for a visit when, as Robert Browning wrote, “God is in his heaven, all’s right with the world.” Now I’m not complaining. There is no more sacred trust bestowed than to be invited into someone’s life when they are feeling most vulnerable, most fragile: most mortal. Continue reading Ode to Joy

We make the road by walking

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with Rev. Clay Nelson

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Invitation to join the journey is by Lyn Cox

”The Path” is from My Grandfather’s Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge and Belonging by Rachel Naomi Remen (Thorndike Press, 2001)

Sacred Ground Chalice Lighting By Chrystal Hogan

Rev. Clay Nelson © 18th March 2018

Once upon a time I was working in a mental hospital doing my clinical training to become a minister. Part of that training required leading a worship service once a week for the patients in my ward. This ward held seriously ill schizophrenics, which meant they were mentally ill, not stupid. They had an uncanny knack of knowing if they were being fed BS. Continue reading We make the road by walking