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Showing posts from December, 2008

Rick Warren/Obama Inaguration

People are up in arms about Obama's choice for Rick Warren of Purpose Driven Life fame being picked to give the invocation at the inaguration. Seems Rick Warren has made some anti-gay statements. See his remarks for yourself on the controversial Proposition 8 revoking same-sex marriage in California:



I'm disappointed in Obama's choice. Let me say that first. But I'm not surprised. Obama has never come out in favor of same-sex marriage. Obama wants to cozy up to evangelicals still. Obama is still fighting rumors that he's not Christian. Really, given the options of who the famous evangelical pastors are, he probably picked the best of the bunch, and he has some history with Rick Warren. He picked a liberal, pro-same-sex marriage pastor for the benediction, and that will be the final word. One could argue that this is balanced, and that the country is really divided on the issue of same-sex marriage, and to use to pro-lgbt pastors would be too unbalanced for …

Singing Christmas Carols in Church

A popular Christmas carol parody by Christopher Gist Raible goes like this:

Gods rest ye, Unitarians, let nothing you dismay;
Remember there's no evidence there was a Christmas Day;
When Christ was born is just not known, no matter what they say,
O, Tidings of reason and fact, reason and fact,
Glad tidings of reason and fact.It's in good humor and it points to something very real about how we approach Christmas as a religion. For example, our UU hymnal changes a lot of words to Christmas carols. One example is "Joy to the World," which, in our hymnal, reads:Joy to the world!
The word is come:
let earth with praises ring.A far cry from: Joy to the world!
The Lord is come:
let earth receive her King.There are strong reasons for this change, obviously. Unitarians don't believe that Jesus was the Lord or King. That's point one. The second point is that our hymnal did away with a lot of heirarchical language in reference to God. We don't use the whole monarchy metaphor…

If you haven't seen this...

You absolutely must. Funniest video ever.

Prop 8: The Musical

Many of you have already seen it, I'm sure. But I got behind while celebrating "Chalica." Sorry I couldn't embed it, but it was coming out too large to be seen in the blogger format, so I'll have to conquer that one another day.

7 Principles in 7 Days: Part Seven

In honor of the somewhat newly created, and not yet fully embraced, holiday "Chalica," I'm doing a series of posts on the Seven Principles this week. This is my post for Sunday.

Day Seven: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Today's donation goes to the World Wildlife Fund, in honor of my brother-in-law, Cseh Peter.

It's been an interesting week, focusing on the principles. I've enjoyed it, the opportunity to spend a piece of each day reflecting on my faith and how to practice it. It was harder than I expected, too, to think about and write about each principle, and think about how to honor it best.

In the end, I think it's changed my relationship with Christmas and the rest of these December holidays, too. Finally I have taken my gift-giving and connected it to what I believe, in a way that is relevant for me, in this society, rather than honoring Jesus, a long-ago teacher. Although I believe he is still important …

7 Principles in 7 Days: Part Six

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In honor of the somewhat newly created, and not yet fully embraced, holiday "Chalica," I'm doing a series of posts on the Seven Principles this week. This is my post for Saturday.

Day Six: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.

This is one of the largest principles, with arms to cover the whole world. Peace is, after all, the ultimate goal. All the other things--justice, liberty, truth, equity, compassion, inherent worth and dignity, respect for the interdependent web, the democratic process--all these other elements of our principles are steps to peace or results of it. If we can have peace, I think we can have the whole lot of them. It's inconcievable that we might achieve true peace without justice, for example.

How do we get there? My thoughts turn first to Maya Angelou, whose poem "Amazing Peace" I have used at Christmas Eve for the last few years:


Maya Angelou recites her Christmas poem

A brief excerpt:

We, Angels and Mortals,…

7 Principles in 7 Days: Part Five

In honor of the somewhat newly created, and not yet fully embraced, holiday "Chalica," I'm doing a series of posts on the Seven Principles this week. This is my post for Friday.

Day Five: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.

This year being such an exciting election year, I feel like I've already reflected and written extensively on the democratic process. That being the case, let me point you to some other great words on democracy and this past election that inspired me.

Jim Wallis - "My Personal 'Faith Priorities' for This Election"

Forrest Church - "Religion and the Body Politic"

Where we struggle with democracy is when the vote goes against what we wanted, of course, and the results of a vote can easily go against one of our other principles. However, we must remain true to the idea of democracy, even when we disagree with the results of it.

I'm not going to wri…

7 Principles in 7 Days: Part Four

In honor of the created holiday "Chalica," I'm doing a series of posts on the Seven Principles this week. This is my late night post for Thursday.

Day Four: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning.

Tonight we had our community forum/outreach committee meeting. This is the principle we hold before us on the committee the most as we plan our forums. It's also a principle near and dear to my heart. Right now, in particular, I'm trying to instill this principle in others through teaching at the community college.

I was raised with education as a primary value. I come from a long line of educators, with two parents with education degrees, and three out of four grandparents who worked in education. In my family, my husband and I both teach college, as well as my father. My mother and one sister work for the University of Michigan, and one brother-in-law for Michigan State University. My other sister teaches in Detroit public schools, and my other brothe…

7 Principles in 7 Days: Part Three

In honor of the created holiday "Chalica," I'm doing a series of posts on the Seven Principles this week. This is my post for Wednesday, although since it's after midnight it is actually Thursday. Late board meeting--what can I say?

Day Three: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations.

One of the things that I love about our faith is that it doesn't stand still. We're always open to new revelation, always moving forward.

One of the most tragic and moving events of this year for Unitarian Universalists was the shooting at the Tennessee Valley UU Church in Knoxville. One of the things we saw in the aftermath of the event was the third principle in action. The church community responded with grace, dignity, and compassion. And churches all across the community there responded to them. And churches all across the nation responded.

At our church, one member said to me after our vigil how important it was that we had li…

7 Principles in 7 Days: Part Two

In honor of the created holiday "Chalica," I'm doing a series of posts on the Seven Principles this week.

Day Two: Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations.

Yesterday I wrote about LBGT issues, and so I won't repeat that today, although there are a lot of justice and equity issues there. However, the agency I'm donating to today is the Human Rights Commission. This donation is in honor of my mother, who has been a consistent advocate for LGBT rights for many years, in church, educational, and workplace settings, and who is an inspiration to me.

But to talk some more about justice, equity, and compassion....

This has been a year when we've talked a lot about equity at our church, particularly about the lack of equity caused by racism. And racism has been a subject in the news a lot this year, too. Obama's winning the presidency is, admittedly, a huge triumph, and a large step towards equity in our society. People are talking about Obama as a "po…

7 Principles in 7 Days: Part One

Someone on Facebook posted a link to a created holiday, "Chalica," and I decided to give it a go. In honor of "Chalica" in which we light a chalice and honor our principles for seven days in December, I'm going to try to write about what each principle means to me each day this week.

Day One: The inherent worth and dignity of every person

The suggestions for honoring this principle included writing a letter of apology or inviting someone to dinner that you disagreed with. That would take more preparation than I've given this, so I thought about the groups of people who have been most devalued in our society: religious minorities, particularly Muslims and Atheists, both of whom are reviled by many but in very different ways; gays and lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender people; homeless people; imprisoned people; people with mental disabilities; people with psychological disorders; people with physical disabilities; and many, many more who find themselves o…