Sunday Talks / Random Musings

Am I Doing This Right?

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with John DiLeo

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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That I might know my mind

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with Nina Khouri

That I might know my mind
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Nina Khouri © 7 August 2022

Todays talk draws on:-
https://buddhismnow.com/2011/04/20/compose-your-minds-by-ajahn-sumedho/

Links

Welcome:- includes an adapted excerpt from Come Whoever You Are” By Marilyn Falkowski

Opening Words:- Be Here, in This Moment” By Chip Roush

Opening Song:-Spirit of Life” STLT#123, Words and music by Carolyn McDade
Performed by the choir of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northfield, Minnesota, USA.

Chalice Lighting:- draws on Every Endeavor Begins With a First Step” By Charles F Flagg

Song:- “I’ve got peace like a river” Arranged Henry O. Milsby
Performed by Psycho-Chor der Uni Jena, Germany
Final Song:-Chelsea Morning” by Joni Mitchell
Live at Carnegie Hall; New York, NY 2/1/69

Closing Words:- Being Present” By Elena Westbrook


I am the first: and the last

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with Derek Handley

I am the first: and the last
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Derek Handley © 31 July 2022


Meditation / Conversation starter:

  • What opposites or paradoxes are you dealing with in your life?
  • How are you coping within that allness of all things?
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The idiot flight of butterflies

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with Rev. Clay Nelson

The idiot flight of butterflies
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Clay Nelson © 24 July 2022

Think back two and half years ago to the day before you heard of Coronavirus breaking out in Wuhan, China. Whatever that was like for you, that was normal. For me, I was a newlywed. I had not even learned what that new normal meant for me yet. I certainly hadn’t anticipated that we would spend most of two and a half years sheltering in place, just the two of us with Waldo for company, discovering what our normal was. So when I hear someone longing for life to return to normal, I’m not sure what their normal is. Perhaps, I should focus on knowing the future instead. Irony, apparently, is my forte.

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Unconstrained Imagination

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with Rev. Clay Nelson

Unconstrained Imagination

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Clay Nelson © 17 July 2022

I would like to give you a peek behind the curtain to see one of the blessings, or possibly curses, of being in my line of work. If you have been doing it as long as I have, it is nearly impossible not to see the world continuously through theological lenses. It is not a conscious decision anymore. It is just my reality and as involuntary as breathing. Nothing I’m doing is exempt from theological reflection. It doesn’t matter if it is reading my Facebook feed, bingeing on Netflix, hearing music in many genres, holding Rachel’s hand, playing peek-a-boo with a grandchild, eating a Macca burger, playing fetch with Waldo, or walking on the beach after a storm. You get my gist. Bloody everything reverberates with theological discernment for me. Everything. It can be exhausting as it feeds my imagination to overflowing.

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Christian karakia: do you think they are appropriate for state schools?

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with David Hines
Worship Leader:- Nina Khouri
Song Leader:- Sally Mabelle

Christian karakia: do you think they are appropriate for state schools?
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Follow this shortcut to the bottom of the page for the various readings, videos, etc. shared in the service.

David Hines © 3 July 2022

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Introduction

Usually when I preach in church it’s because I’ve done some homework on a subject and think it might be useful to other people. Today I’m in the opposite situation. I’ve done a survey on Christian karakia. But the problem is more complicated than I realised, so I would appreciate your input before I come to a firm conclusion. As a second step, I would like to take your conclusions to other groups, such as atheists, Jews and Muslims, and then to the government.

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It’s written in the stars

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with Rev. Clay Nelson

It’s written in the stars

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Clay Nelson © 26 June 2022

Welcome this morning to history. This is the first public celebration of an indigenous peoples’ holiday in the world. Matariki, sometimes referred to as the Maori New Year, has become a celebration for all New Zealanders. It centres on a cluster of stars that in the west were known as The Pleiades or Seven Sisters. They are 410 light years away and are part of the constellation Taurus.

The Maori named them after the brightest of nine stars called Matariki, the mother of the other eight. Each star is honoured for a specific thing.

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Climate Change: Issues and Challenges

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with members of the Auckland UU Climate Team – Brenda Bendall, Shirin Caldwell, Jonathan Mason

Climate Change: Issues and Challenges
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Shirin Caldwell, Brenda Bendall, Jonathon Mason © 19 June 2022

From Shirin Caldwell:-

Why we are doing this service.

In November 2021 Clay delivered a service called ‘COP26 Blah, blah, blah‘. He began by saying: Greta Thunberg has been teaching us how to speak truth to power. She has resisted being a token voice used by governments lacking political will and by global companies seeking to monetise efforts to stop killing the planet while doing their best to protect their financial interests in extracting carbon.

  • Clay’s particular musing prompted 3 of us from the Climate Action Team and the Peace and Social Justice Group to think about our individual responsibilities regarding the Climate Crisis.
  • We acknowledge that our congregation is knowledgeable about, and care deeply about Climate Change, and that many of us, if not all, will have already begun making positive changes to reduce our carbon emissions.
  • We are aware that Climate Change is one of the big factors in today’s Mental Health issues, along with Covid and the war in Ukraine. Do contact Clay if you feel a need to talk.
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Keeping your balance in an unbalanced world

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with Rev. Clay Nelson

Keeping your balance in an unbalanced world
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Clay Nelson © 12 June 2022

A quick perusal of the internet tells me I should wait for one of the equinoxes, when day and night are equal, to muse on balance and absolutely not when the winter solstice is approaching, but where is the fun in that? When reality is in balance in perfect alignment with my life, where is the challenge? My experience says that when I really need to know how to keep my balance is when my world is dark, nameless, unknown, and infinite. It is my spiritual practice to find light in darkness, name the nameless, accept the unknown, and welcome the infinite.

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Forgive us our debts

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with Rev. Clay Nelson

Forgive us our debts
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Clay Nelson © 5 June 2022

Forty years ago, this past week, my seminary released me into the world to begin my ordained ministry. In all those years, an Annual General Meeting has never provoked me to preach a musing on one of the discussions held.

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