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Showing posts from October, 2012

On Doing Time

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This year the UUA's Common Read book is Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow. In it, she chronicles how the prison system has replaced Jim Crow laws as a system of racism and segregation.  It goes far beyond the more widely understood fact that there are differences in sentencing laws to the question of why we have a "war on drugs" to begin with.

For those interested in reading more about the prison system and the problems with it, there are several additional books I could recommend, but I also wanted to recommend a blog of a fellow I know, On Doing Time.  This isn't a slick or professional blog on the subject.  What it is is a first-hand account by a former member of my congregation about his experiences in prison and his thoughts and musings about it after the fact.  In 1999, as a young adult, R.W. VanSumeren, in a period of desperation, robbed a gas station at gunpoint and then a bank.  And he was convicted and served time for armed robbery.  That's what…

The Work of Ministry

"What do you do the rest of the week?" I was recently asked.  I don't mind the question.  Indeed, I welcome it.  It's a frequent frustration among ministers that, regardless of how hard we work, the perception exists that we really only work on Sunday morning.  I've heard this perception myself from members, visitors, and even staff during my years of ministry.  This perception can exist when we've really had an easy time of it, or on the week when we spent all of Friday and Saturday by a bedside and then got up to give the sermon on Sunday morning.  In fact, often the weeks people think are the hardest for me are actually the easiest, and vice-versa.  For example, I find as it approaches Christmas, my job gets easier.  Nobody wants to schedule extra meetings during this time, and some meetings get cancelled.  While Christmas programs are big productions, a lot of it can be the same from year to year, which requires less research and creativity out of me.  Th…