Sunday Talks

Christmas: A Subversive Holiday

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Christmas: A Subversive Holiday

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.

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Clay Nelson © 16 December 2018

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.

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Three things I didn’t realise about global warming

with David Hines

Three things I didn’t realise about Global Warming
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Intro

There are three things I didn’t realise about global warming, and they were all presented at the Sea of Faith  Conference in Upper Hutt in October. The speaker was an engineer,  Geoff Henderson, and I think that’s what gave it such a different angle.

He said there was a lot of optimism round the world in early 90s that the need to phase out fossil fuels would be picked up globally. That came to a head in the Kyoto protocol in 1997 – an international agreement to cut down on the emission of gases that lead to global warming. But unfortunately, he said, there has been little progress since then.

And he said there were three reasons for this, of which the first was most striking to me… I had wondered why global warming could be such a problem, when it was all about things like the world getting half a degree warmer.

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Keep it simple

with Rev. Clay Nelson

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Keep it simple
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Opening Words are excerpts from The Evolution of Simplicity” by David Brooks in the New York Times 3/11/15.

The meditation is “Hopping over the surface of life by Doug Kraft.

Closing Words / Karakia Whakamutunga are “Go Forth in Simplicity” by Samuel A Trumbore.

Clay Nelson © 2nd December 2018

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.

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What defines a Unitarian?

with Rev. Clay Nelson

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Opening Words are Part as Parcel By Mark L. Belletini.

Clay Nelson © 25th November 2018

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?

When hope is hard to find

with Rev. Clay Nelson

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Clay used a recording of Maya Angelou reading her poem ‘Still I rise’ for opening words today, you can hear that below.

Clay Nelson © 18th November 2018

Sometimes a sermon topic comes along like an interruption while I am going blithely about my life. This one came during my most recent session with my supervisor, who I check in with every couple of months to reflect on my spiritual and emotional state.

The question of hope came up after her asking my view of having an afterlife. I answered I wasn’t expecting one. Continue reading When hope is hard to find