This week it was reported that one of Donald Trump’s surrogates, his first campaign manager, told Fox News that President-elect Trump had saved Christmas from Obama. Apparently he had won the war on Christmas, declaring it is now safe to say “Merry Christmas” again. In a world of fake news stories where pizza joints can be shot up because of outrageous lies generated by fake news sites, it isn’t surprising President Obama was plagued by such stories. One in particular was that being a “Muslim,” he never said, “Merry Christmas” or called a Christmas tree a “Christmas tree,” in spite of hours of videotape recording him doing just that. Continue reading How Unitarians Saved Christmas→
Being grounded doesn’t always have the best connotation, especially if you are a teenager being restricted after misbehaviour, but in religious terms it captures the spiritual revolution that is transforming religion. Last week, in discussing the evolution of Unitarianism, I touched on this revolution when I said many of today’s Unitarians are rejecting Kant’s “religion within the bounds of reason alone” as lacking any mystical or spiritual dimension. They are embracing what has been described as “ecstatic naturalism.” They seek an experience that is beyond the capacity of words to describe, except perhaps in poetry and music. Continue reading Being Grounded→
At last year’s Service Auction Jonathan Mason bought the right to choose a sermon topic. He wanted a sermon on beauty, and fortunately not a beautiful sermon, although the former is not without its challenges.
Though “beauty” has been defined frequently and variously, it is also famous as a word that should not be defined, and perhaps, cannot be. Continue reading What Is Beauty?→
Every year, countless people choose to leave work, skip school, and possibly come together to form a group to celebrate… The people come in all shapes and sizes, and nationality or religion need not be an issue. What do they celebrate? It doesn’t matter.
July proves it. If we are American, we celebrate the Fourth of July. If French, Bastille Day, but there are plenty of other celebrations for everyone else, Continue reading New Member Sunday→
Even if you have been attending worship here only for a short time you know about the Seven Principles that guide Unitarians in our efforts to live life in an ethical, compassionate and just manner. The banner that lists them is hard to miss in our sanctuary. But even life-long Unitarians are often not aware of the six sources that inform our living faith tradition. They are like wells from which we draw the waters of wisdom and spirituality that give life to our tradition. They include our direct experience of mystery, wisdom from world religions, our Jewish and Christian heritage, reason and science, Earth-centred traditions, and the one that inspires my thoughts on higher education today: “Words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love.” Continue reading The Rise and Fall of Higher Education→
To answer the question, “Can a Unitarian go to heaven?” I asked Google. I got some interesting responses, all “No!”
No, Unitarians don’t like gated communities.
No, everyone in heaven is in agreement. Thinking it was hell Unitarians wouldn’t go in.
No, a dead Unitarian is all dressed up, but with no place to go.
No, on the road to the after-life there is a fork in the road. The left path has a sign “To Heaven” and the right has a sign “To a Discussion about Heaven.” Without pausing, the Unitarians always turns right.
And my personal favourite:
No, old Unitarians choose not to go to heaven; instead they try to die on the second Thursday of the month because that’s when the recycling goes out.
Recently Rachel and I were at a wedding breakfast as compensation for my officiating at the wedding. This wasn’t a particularly new experience. I have pronounced at least 500 couples to be husband and wife or wife and wife or husband and husband. The reception is not the most comfortable part of a wedding for me as an introvert. Most of the time the only people I know are the bride and groom and they are a little busy on such occasions to spend time chatting with me. Such occasions are even more challenging for Rachel, also an introvert, who usually only knows me, but ever the supportive partner, she goes so I have someone to talk to. Continue reading Creeds and Deeds: Mixing Religion and Politics→
The title of this sermon comes with a story told by the Revd Dr Stephanie Mayi:
“It all began in January of 1637 when Anne Hutchinson went on trial in Boston for her role in creating theological discord within the fledgling Massachusetts colony. Since arriving in the new born Boston a few years earlier, Hutchinson had been holding meetings, leading discussions, and in many other ways expressing her own religious viewpoints—including her opinions about the various clergy in Boston and surrounding towns.Continue reading “You have Stept Out of Your Place” – Challenging Patriarchy→
Did you know God is real and is a domineering white-trash bastard in a wife-beater T-shirt and ratty bathrobe who never gets off his computer? You already know about his son, but did you know about his daughter Ea? Neither did we until Rachel and I on a whim attended The Brand New Testament at the Auckland International Film Festival. This film by Belgian director Jaco van Dormael was made for Unitarians who like their Bible stories with a thick coat of satire. Continue reading A “Brand New” Testament: What if Jesus got a Do-over?→
When I was about 13, my father and I were walking home together. We would have made quite a sight. Because of his polio he walked rather slowly with a pronounced gimp. To keep his pace I unconsciously would walk along side him with the same gait. I can’t remember what prompted his comment, but he said to me, “Clay, I don’t think you should ever become a dentist.” Surprised by this seeming non sequitur, I asked why. “Because you are extremely empathetic.” Having no clue, I asked what that meant. Continue reading The Empathy Paradox→