I am what survives me

with Rev. Clay Nelson

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Opening words are ‘When I die’ by American poet and feminist May Sarton

Closing words are from The Book of Joy | Dalai Lama & Desmond Tutu

Clay Nelson © 10 November 2019

I once had a rabbi friend who summarised life for me: “We spend the first half of our life accumulating stuff and the second half getting rid of it.” Well, one of the benefits of immigrating to a new country in my mid-fifties was getting rid of a lot of stuff well ahead of schedule. However, there were a few things I couldn’t let go of yet. One was a blown glass frog that is a work of art and the other is a large Wedgewood serving plate. While they are both beautiful and valuable, that is not why they now reside in New Zealand. They belonged to sisters. The plate was treasured by my maternal grandmother Flora Mae (AKA Granny) and the frog by my great aunt Velma Amanda (AKA Auntie).

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Hello, Privilege. It’s me, John

with John DiLeo

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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Here be dragons

with Rev. Clay Nelson

Here be dragons
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Clay Nelson © 27 October 2019

I’ve made no secret of my fascination with dragons. I’ve read a number of stories featuring dragons to the children at “Time for all ages.” A film depicting these flying fireballs armoured with scales is certain to entice me to watch. If you were to browse my extensive audiobook library at least one out of three are about the protagonists engaging with dragons. As you will see, these turn out to be theology textbooks. So, it was only a matter of time before I gave a sermon on them. That time is today. What captured my imagination, the required first step in writing any sermon, was encountering the phrase “Here be dragons.” It is associated with ancient maps, but before exploring why I realised I needed to learn more about them than the little I had gleaned from one of my favourite dragon movies, How to train your dragon.

Dragon tales are known in many cultures, from the Americas to Europe, and from India to China.

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The Gospel of Doubt

with Rev. Clay Nelson

The Gospel of Doubt
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Clay Nelson © 13 October 2019

In a sermon preached to the Oxford Unitarian congregation, the Anglican bishop of Oxford, John Pritchard, opens by quoting the writer Julian Barnes, “I don’t believe in God but I miss him.” Barnes goes on to say: “God is dead and without him human beings can get up off their knees and assume their full height; and yet this height turns out to be quite dwarfish. Religion used to offer consolation for the travails of life, and reward at the end of it for the faithful. But above and beyond these treats, it gave human life a sense of context, and therefore seriousness… But was it true? No. Then why miss it? Because it was a supreme fiction, and it is normal to feel bereft on closing a great novel.”

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