As you may have noticed, I haven’t posted anything in a while…my sermons this fall have felt very specific to my congregation & less suitable for posting publicly. So I’ve decided to take a break from posting for a while and see what new energy bubbles up. All things have their lifespan and I trust that something new will emerge in good time. In the meantime, I’m contributing to sermon podcasts and the Faith Matters blog at the congregation I serve, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax. Thanks and blessings to all!
Our worship space at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax has enormous plate glass windows that look out on trees all around us. It’s a beautiful place to feel our connection to the earth. Last weekend I got to reflect on how we connect with sacred space in a culture that tells us to stay geographically mobile–not to get too attached to particular places.
Here we are in this beautiful space, so close to the natural world,
this place dear to many of us both living and dead.
I believe, and I think many of you do too, that the land,
the natural world around us,
with its creatures and its weather and its ways, is sacred:
of great worth, precious just by being.
The land right here, this place, feels sacred to me.
How can you look out these windows and walk around
and not love it?
Yet I know I’m still a newcomer to this land, this place.
It hasn’t been quite two years since I moved here.
Of course, that’s not unusual these days.
Moving around from place to place is just normal.
And that’s exactly what I want to talk about today. Continue reading
Finally caught up! Here’s this past weekend’s sermon on one of my favorite topics: neurotheology–the science of what happens in the brain during religious experiences. Enjoy.
I want to start with a question:
When it comes to religion and values and ethics,
I know each of you here has formed some kind of beliefs, right?
Beliefs about how the world works and what life is all about.
There are lots of different beliefs here,
some held for many years, some maybe still tentative and new,
but everyone has their beliefs.
So here’s the question:
How did you come to hold those beliefs?
Or put it more broadly:
How do we know what to believe?
One of the great juicy questions of philosophy and theology.
How do we know what to believe?
Reason, certainly. What we learn from science. That’s a biggie.
There are some other big ones:
Scripture: sacred writings. I don’t mean only the Bible—
spiritual writings from many different cultures.
Also tradition: what earlier generations have believed,
the way things have been in the past.
And then there’s experience, direct experience. Continue reading
Here comes another catch-up sermon post–this one from Father’s Day weekend back in June, based on two texts I love: the “You are that” section of the ancient Chandogya Upanishad (VI:13) and Ric Masten’s poem “Pebbles and Crumbs”, and also the wonderful Japanese proverb Ichi-go ichi-e (“one meeting, one chance”).
Have you noticed the blueberries are getting ripe just down the hill?
It’s true—we have blueberry bushes along the path from the traffic circle
to the office building. The blueberries get ripe every year about this time
and they are so sweet!
I almost didn’t tell you
because now you all might just go eat them all up after we’re done here!
Do save one or two for me, will you?
They’re so sweet.
And sweeter still because you know they’re not going to last.
They’re here right now and you just have to enjoy them right now,
or it’ll all be a banquet for the crows.
Ichi-go ichi-e: one meeting, one chance. Continue reading
Hello dear friends! I’m catching up on sermon posts after a busy couple of months…this is a homily I gave for an all-ages service at my congregation in May.
Not all people see the same way.
My dad, for example, is color-blind.
He has a hard time telling green from red.
He also likes to wear bright colors, which makes for some fantastic outfits.
My favorite image of my dad is him wearing his hunter green jacket,
lemon yellow polo shirt,
and…wait for it…purple plaid patchwork pants! Truly awesome.
Now, I’m not color-blind, but I don’t have depth perception,
which means when I go to a 3-D movie,
I don’t see the stuff leaping out at me. It just looks flat.
Not a huge big deal in my life, though.
I will say the cause of my not having depth perception
is something I feel a little embarrassed about. Continue reading
Transformation is this month’s theme at UUCF. Thanks for reading. And for all those folks affected by yesterday’s events at the Boston Marathon–our hearts are with you.
Such a beautiful word.
It sounds like hope, possibility,
the promise that we don’t have to stay the way we are now.
We don’t have to be stuck.
We can change.
We can be different.
Such a beautiful promise. We need it.
But then there’s the kind of transformation we don’t choose
and we maybe don’t like very much.
I was 26 the day I discovered that I too was subject to aging. Continue reading
Here’s a short piece I shared this past weekend in honor of Women’s History Month about Olympia Brown, one of my heroes. Enjoy!
Stand by this faith. Work for it and sacrifice for it.
Do not demand immediate results
but rejoice that you are strong enough to work for a great true principle
without counting the costs.
Words spoken by a lifelong Universalist who loved her faith
and believed in the great message that all people are precious.
A Universalist who loved her faith so much
that she was willing to fight obstacle after obstacle
to become an ordained minister—
the first woman in the United States
to be fully ordained by a denomination, in fact.
A minister and a tireless worker for the right of women to vote
for over fifty years.
This was Olympia Brown.
She spoke these words in 1920,
just one year after women had finally won the right to vote.
She was 85 years old. Continue reading