Showing posts from May, 2011

More on HRC Clergy Call

Today was lobbying day with the HRC Clergy Call.  We started out with a little lobby training, then each state was assigned an HRC staff person.  We all went to the press conference, and then off to the lobbying visits with our staffer. 

The press conference was at a beautiful spot with the Capitol in the background.  It was, unfortunately, extremely hot and sunny.  The press conference offered no shade, and few of us had worn hats.  Only one seemed to have brought sunscreen, but as she was a UU she offered me some.  (I'm sure she would have happily offered to any denomination, but it was a small tube, so I was grateful to get some.)  We put up umbrellas, but were told it would ruin the pictures.  Since most of the cameras were pointed at the speakers, and we were not behind the speakers but seated in front of them, I opted after a while to go back into the shade.  Clergy can be long-winded at these sorts of things, after all.

Once I was happily back in the shade, I was much more …

HRC Clergy Call 2011

Right now I'm in Washington, D.C. for the 3rd biannual HRC Clergy Call for Justice and Equality.  There were many wonderful moments today worth talking about, but I want to tell you about some recent poll's results.  HRC just commissioned a new poll to study religious responses to GLBT issues.  The amazing and wonderful results are that people of faith overwhelmingly -- yes, overwhelmingly -- are now in support of LGBT justice issues. I know this may seem hard to believe.  The media keeps showing us the voices of hate and telling us that's the faith perspective.  But the truth is it's not. 

Some specifics:

When asked "Do you favor protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations?" 70% of all people said yes, and 68% of Christians said yes.

85% of people say their faith leads them to believe in equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people.

76% of all people and 74% o…

On Amazon

Just a quick note here to say that the book is now available on Amazon.  And, no, there aren't any used copies yet!  It's cheaper to go through CreateSpace, as described in the last post, and use the coupon.  I get a larger amount, even with the coupon, than I do through Amazon, so it's to my benefit as well.  But if you're determined to use Amazon, if you follow this link, my church gets a percentage through their Amazon Associates account.  And it is a little thrill to see it available through Amazon.  It makes it just a little more real, although I've yet to see the final project in physical form -- my proof has arrived, but I'm out of town.  More on that later.

My new book & the adventures of self-publishing

My new book, An Extremist for Love & Justice, is now available!  It'll be up on Amazon in a day or two, and I'll link to it then, but it's better for me if you go through the publisher (CreateSpace, Amazon's self-publishing arm):  To encourage such, here's a coupon code for $2.00 off -- Q2MVMHDY.

I thought some readers might be curious about the self-publishing process, so I'll write a bit about it here.

Self-publishing has been an interesting process.  I've learned a lot by doing it, one of which is how many typos I make, and another of which is that it always pays to document your sources while you're writing rather than having to go back later and look them all up again.  Being consistent about MLA or Chicago style doesn't hurt, as well. I spent more time straightening out my footnotes than I could possibly imagine.  They're still not perfect, which bugs me, but eventually I just had to move on.

As for…

Five Smooth Stones

My colleague Tony Lorenzen recently wrote a blog post on James Luther Adams' "Five Smooth Stones."  As a refresher, even though I know many of you can rattle them off the top of your head, James Luther Adams was a Unitarian and UU theologian and professor at Meadville Lombard Theological School.  He wrote an essay on the five smooth stones of religious liberalism.  The "smooth stones" metaphor comes from the story of David & Goliath, wherein David used 5 smooth stones in his slingshot and killed the mighty Goliath.  JLA's Smooth Stones are:
"Religious liberalism depends on the principle that 'revelation' is continuous.""All relations between persons ought ideally to rest on mutual, free consent and not on coercion.""Religious liberalism affirms the moral obligation to direct one's effort toward the establishment of a just and loving community. It is this which makes the role of the prophet central …

Happy Birthday UUA!

The merger of the Unitarian and the Universalist denominations took place 50 years ago -- the official date was May 15, 1961.  So, of course, I started thinking about my experiences at the merger.  But, wait!  I wasn't born yet!

That's right, one of the neat things that we can celebrate is that there are generations now of people who are Unitarian Universalists from childhood on, some even with ten years or more in the ministry, who were raised in, influenced by, and in turn influenced themselves this new association that was created 50 years ago.

Many argued then that without this merger, Universalism would die.  I look around me here, and I really believe that.  At the time of merger, there were three little rural Universalist churches between ten and fifteen miles from Jackson.  My church, a small rural Universalist church, joined the new UUA, and it's still going strong.  The Universalist church in Horton, MI did not join the UUA, but eventually became Congregationalis…

On the Death of Osama bin Laden

Sunday night as I was watching television after a long day, I, like much of the nation, heard that there was going to be an upcoming announcement from President Obama.  An unplanned late-Sunday-evening announcement from the President is clearly unusual.  My immediate thought was that something horrible had happened--horrible, that is, for citizens of the United States and its military.  So it was with some joy and relief that I learned that instead of our soldiers or civilians being dead, it was Osama bin Laden.  I admit to some immediate partisan joy that this had happened under this particular president's watch.  And I shared in some joking about the timing of the president interrupting Celebrity Apprentice.  I admit to some joy at him being removed from a position of continued threat, and some relief that this was news of success for our country. 

These are my first reactions, my gut reactions.  They do not necessarily represent my best reactions or religious reactions, and t…