Showing posts from August, 2010

Mosque at Ground Zero, Part 2

In my last post, I argued that it is arguably a mosque that is being proposed by Park 51 to be built on Park Ave near "Ground Zero," although it is not only or even primarily a mosque.  It is not, I argued, at "Ground Zero"--the real site of this community center (potentially including a mosque) is outside of the area most Americans would consider to be "Ground Zero."  And, finally, the Cordoba Initiative should definitely have the right to build there. 

However, I always argue that just because someone has the right to do something doesn't mean it's the right thing for them to do.  So yes, the Cordoba Initiative should have the right to build a mosque anywhere that it's not in violation of local zoning--any place any other house of worship could be built.  But it is the right thing for them to do, or is it, as many have been arguing, insensitive?  After all, even the president, after saying they had the right to build it, came back and said,…

"Mosque" at "Ground Zero"

I've been in ministry nine years this August.  This means I started my ministry in August 2001, and was about a month in when the attacks of September 11, 2001 happened.  Like many people, I remember what I was doing and where I was when I heard the news--a member of the congregation called me.  Immediately, my question was about how to minister to my congregation and community in this situation.  I've talked with other clergy who began their ministries when I did, and they have a similar response--our ministries were shaped immediately, and perhaps permanently, by September 11th.  Immediately, September 11th, 2001 became about our religious response, both pastoral and prophetic.  The first response was about the pastoral--a vigil held at the church for a congregation worried about friends and loved ones and the possibility of future attacks on the city we were in, home of major oil companies and the George Bush Airport. I remember the next event in my schedule, I think the ve…

Sunday of the Living Dead

There have been several requests that I post a copy of this week's sermon, a sermon subject purchased at this year's auction: Zombies.

Universalist Unitarian Church of East Liberty Clarklake, MI August 15, 2010
Ringing of the Bell
Welcome and Announcements
Ringing of the Bell

Prelude: “Ase’s Death” from Peer Gynt ~ GRIEG

Opening Words: "Let Us Worship (with our eyes and ears and fingertips" ~ Kenneth Patton, #437 Singing the Living Tradition

Unison Chalice Lighting:

The torch still burns, and because it does,
There remains for all of us a chance
to light up the tomorrows and brighten the future.
…this is the challenge that makes life worthwhile.
~ Robert Kennedy, from We Light This Chalice, Rev. David A. Johnson

Hymn #1: “May Nothing Evil Cross This Door”

Story for All Ages: Selections from Shel Silverstein's A Light In The Attic
and Where The Sidewalk Ends

Singing the Children and Teachers to Classes

Joys and Sorrows

Silent Meditation or Prayer

Hymn #2…

Getting Arrested & Effective Civil Disobedience

After reading the blog posts highlighted on "The Interdependent Web" and some of their comments, I've been thinking about whether or not I think getting arrested while doing public protest is always, sometimes, or never helpful/effective, and whether or not this particular instance of UUs getting arrested in Arizona was meaningful and helpful or not.  Obviously, an extreme being very seldom the right answer, I'm going to go with "sometimes" here, but then the second question needs further addressing.

Lest you think that as a radical lefty UU, I am always lock-step with the "party line," let me give an instance of what I think was not the most helpful or effective use of being locked up for the cause.  While I support Jay Carmona personally, and I support the cause of ENDA strongly enough that I've gone to Washington D.C. to lobby on that issue, something I've only done on this one occasion, the sit-in in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's o…


When a bunch of UUs recently got arrested while protesting in Arizona (see Standing on the Side of Love or the UUA for more details), I immediately posted on the Facebook pages of those I know, "I'm proud of you."  Meanwhile, over at The Chaliceblog, "Chalicechick" was asking, "I get that people get arrested protesting with differing levels of justification for it. What I don't get is why we're all so proud of ourselves about it. It seems meaningless at best."

It's a good question.  Pride is a mixed bag.  We have pride in things that we feel good about in ourselves or others, things that were hard to achieve, obstacles that were overcome.  And yet we also hear that pride is deadly sin, and pride goeth before a fall. 

I've wondered about other people's misplaced "pride" in different things, and I've seen others wondering at pride I or friends of mine have had over different issues.  For example:  I'm not "…