Tuesday, December 23, 2008

CC Memes the Universe

The Chaliceblog: Another day, another meme

I got two Memes "today", one from a facebook friends who told me to send it to 25 of my friends!
I dont even have 25 facebook friends.... so I'm taking this as a technicality out.

But then Chalice Chick memed the Universe... since Ive been bad about blogging, why not join the rest of the Universe?
(how could I not mention not having heat for 2 weeks, or joining thousands of my co-workers in having a mandatory furlough
(5 days during the next 6 months - MDs are being furloughed too, so Im not alone)

1- My favorite pastimes are reading, listening to music, nature watching, historic site visiting

2- If I weren't doing this current job, I would like to be a refrence librarian (of course it could be that I'm only hearing the good points of the job and not the bad points)

3-I am irrationaly worried about - my rational worries.

4- If I were the opposite sex - I'd be a different person with different experiences. Not so sure in what way, or how it would have effected me, but things would be different.

5-The thing I miss most about childhood - is talking daily with my brother, sisters, and parents. Enjoy it while you can folks!

6- I like to collect: way too much stuff: 1800s religious books and magazines, 1940s humor comic books, pre-war country music,
etc, etc.

7-Though I’ve never been there, I feel inexplicably homesick for - Riverdale. Reading too many Archie comics, but it's near the beach, near the mountains and wilderness, surports local buisnesses, has a burger joint with a jukebox

8 - I’ve never really liked to eat - watermeleon. I dont dislike it, I just cant eat it.

9 - When I have nightmares, they’re usually about - they're the standard anxiety dreams....

10- magazines subscibed to: gee, I get tons of magazines - Universalist Herald, UU World, Journel of UU History, Christian Century, Triangle, New York Review of Books, Archelogy, Biblicial Archelogy Review, Utne Reader, synthesis, Bluegrass Unlimited, Darlington Flag,
UCA newsletter, Progessive Christian, and that's just a start...

SR - who doenst have to tag, as the universe has already been tagged....

Friday, November 07, 2008

Rev Kalen Fristad, universalist Methodist Minister in NC this wek

Rev Kalen Fristad is a Methodist minister, who works in both Iowa preaching to Methodists, and on the road speaking to others on universalism. He's also the chairman of the Christian Universalist Association. He will be in Trinity, NC on Sunday, November 9 and at Greensboro on Sunday, November 16

He preaches the more traditional Christian Univeralism (not a "death and glory" guy)
but since actions speak louder than words:

Saturday, November 01, 2008

what's so funny about peace, love, and understanding?

What's so funny about Peace, Love, and Understanding? was a song written by Nick Lowe in the mid-late 1970s - and was on an early hit album of Elvis Costello (1978). Lowe and his cohorts in Rockpile were the last true rockers that I personaly listen to and followed, as i veered off at that time to roots music: blues, bluegrass, etc.
By 1978 the Hippie era was already gone, and punk music, and Rolling Stone and other rock magazines would made fun of the Hippie sentimentality and Hippie idealism and of course would laugh at the leading Hippie rock bands, like the It's a Beautiful Day -- thus leading up to this song. While I'm not going to try to guess Lowe's meanings back then, I do want to show this recent (2007) version, played less rock style and more as a lament than an anthem.
I often wonder what songs would make good UU Hymnal songs -I'm not sure if this would fit, it's somewhat tied to the late 1970s, and the birth of globial cynicsm, and I generallly do prefer anthems. but still 30 years later, the question does really remains "What's so Funny about Peace, Love, and Understanding"....

Friday, October 24, 2008

In the mailbox

Many years ago, a SF fan used to publish a small press magazine about his mail. and he did this on a monthly basis -- as odd as this sounds, this is probably an interesting experiment back in those days pre-email, but still an interesting snapshot of "who we are" and in that spirit, I present the few items of P.O. Mail that came in today.

One magazine: NEW YORK REVIEW OF BOOKS - NOVEMBER 6TH ISSUE -special election issue -
One License Plate - we get a new one every 4 years or so, after we pay our car tax and other fees. No envelop this year, just shrink wrapped with an address label and registration card.
one mail order catalog - Heifer International -

So what does this mail tell about me? And what does your mail tell about you?


Thursday, October 23, 2008

Barak Obama videos you might not have seen

I live in a one-party state, so thanks to the Presidential election 8 years ago, I voted for third party Presentational candidates fours ago, and plan to do so this year as well. So I'm not praising my candidate when I post these videos. The last video does feature an Universalist (if a Primitive Baptist Universalist)

See more Ron Howard videos at Funny or Die

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Bad Days and Hard Times

Are bad days and hard times coming? or are they already here?
the pundits are talking about recession and depression - the folks who remember the last Great Depression are now mostly deceased - it's been that long. Indeed we as a society no longer remember or agree on the lessons learned from then... Is it don't have debt or don't have frivolous debt? pay down your debt or save for retirement? or is it too late for that? There are already places with long lines waiting for gasoline...
Today I spent four hours dealing with an out-of-control barely teenage child. There was sex, drugs, dysfuctional families, knives, blood, death, - and manipulation that seems to work very well. There were hospitals that didn't want to bother, and hospitals that were out of beds.
Across the parking lot is a small park, across that is a store - where the owner was murdered yesterday evening. Rumors are that he was killed for fertilizer. Now you can do more than plant roses with fertilizer, but still, killed for fertrilizer....

Our lives are filled with bad days and hard times - because bad days and hard times are part of life. None of us will live forever in perfect health and perfect joy. We can however strive for that joy, despite the bad and the hard. We can smile and sing yet. Indeed that is some of our call - to help those find the joy and to help find that anchor in life's storms . As the song (in the UU Hymnal and other sources) goes: "My life flows on in endless song above earth's lamentation. I hear the real through far off hymn that hails a new creation. Through all the tumult and the strife I hear the music ringing. It sounds and echoes in my soul. How can I keep from singing?" When your bad times hit you, look around for the singer and the music.

Friday, September 12, 2008

the Problem of UU Cultural Misappropriation.

One of the big UU bloging topics this week is cultural misappropriation, and more exactly the use of that term in the upcoming revision of the UU “Principles and Purposes”.
The idea is one of those things that sounds good on the surface, but may not be. Because where will the line be drawn and who draws it?
Let me give an example from the other week. Person A was talking about a Native American cultural item that they were using that just wasnt what it used to be.... Person B jumped in all upset about cultural misappropriation of the item and chewed the Person A out. The major problem was that the item was given to Person A by a close family member, who was Native American. Is this cultural misappropriation or not?
This issue was brought up first by Rev James Ford - who questioned if the entire UU Buddhist community might be alleged by some to be guilty of cultural misappropriation. I've been to a Passover Seder, invited by a giyoret. Am I guilty of cultural misappropriation for accepting the invitation? In the UU hymnal, we have changed wordings from the original of certain songs - aren't all of those hymns cultural misappropriation? Since many of our Congregations are not Christian, can we sing Christian hymns without it being cultural misappropiation? One worried blogger even wondered if this whole thing was an attempt to force the UUA back to its old vision of Unitarian and Universalist Christians. - because that is the UUA's heritage.
The other worry with this whole thing, is that like most of the rest of the proposed P&P, it's full of legalize and academic speak. While the whole thing might be to force UUs not to treat it as a creed, what if they do? Do we want to affirm our Anti-Cultural Misappropriation every Sunday (assuming we could still meet on Sunday that is )?
Rev Ford nicely suggest a change of wordage to what is essentially "be sensitive". This is something that I could affirm, something that sends a positive message rather than a negative message. As for the whole idea of cultural misappropriation: we can simply remember that "if you dont know what you're talking about: dont ."

Sunday, July 27, 2008

2 dead, 4 critically wounded at Knoxville UU Church

1 member and 1 visitor has died and 4 members of the Tennessee Valley UU were critically wounded this morning at 10:15 AM by a gunman with a shotgun, while children were singing songs from the musical Annie Jr. The gunman was overpowered by members of the congregation.
The member who died delibertly shielded others from the attack.

the folks in Knoxville will need whatever help we might be able to give.

update: www.wbir.com seems to have the best updates

Monday, July 07, 2008

Jesse Helms and Universalist attonement (note: G word)

It's a little known fact that I lived in NC for a few years, I also rarely mention that my dad's family lived in NC from c1702-1952 (when my parents moved to SC). NC generally gets a nod over SC for progressiveness and social justice ---- even this weekend I had someone (in NC) tell me about the stench one smells when one goes south of the line.....
.... but neither of us thought of Jesse Helms. by 1972 when Jesse was elected, he could have considered Strom Thurmond a liberal - and certainly by the time Jesse retired - Strom would have been liberal (comparison wise - Strom was always a politician and pragmatist). Jesse and the then majority of NC voters believed in him, and believed as he did.....

a few cartoons

I well understand those who would cry for vengeance and hellfire for such a sinner - and such an unrepentent sinner - I note that the President of the United States said that
'Jesse Helms was a kind, decent, and humble man and a passionate defender of what he called "the Miracle of America." So it is fitting that this great patriot left us on the Fourth of July. He was once asked if he had any ambitions beyond the United States Senate. He replied: "The only thing I am running for is the Kingdom of Heaven." Today, Jesse Helms has finished the race, and we pray he finds comfort in the arms of the loving God he strove to serve throughout his life. "

How could anyone who ever met Jesse call him humble? seriously?

As a sometime Ultra-Universalist (those who believe in "death and glory") I think he may indeed be in the arms of the loving God, and if so, God is indeed comforting Jesse -- because Jesse is having to deal with the enormity of the wrong and sin that he has done and has fostered through the land. I have no idea how much suffering one would want to do for atonement. Some might argue eternity would not be enough. But I have no doubt that when Jesse saw God', he did indeed suffer at the enlightenment of his wrongdoing....
I would almost have sympathy......
I do hope that we of this world will now suffer less...

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Someone is wrong on the internet.....

Like many of us, the temptation is to help those poor wrong souls who write all those things on the internet. It's doubly important when those poor misguided souls are UUs! Horrors that we don't help them see their folly..... why they might be embarrassed by their comments when they become as smart as us....
I say sometimes the best way to stay UU is to never talk to another UU - that way you will only be offended by what you hear in the pulpit....
this is of course exaggeration for comic effect, but only slight exaggeration..
while all groups and organizations have their conflicts, they usually can agree on the foundations of the group. UUs can't do that, as we cant agree on a core....
What brings this up to day are the usual shouting matches on a couple of UU mailing lists, with the usual response by some that they will just pick their ball up and go home. A blog response by someone very upset who wants the UUs to do something (I cant really tell what - other than we dont need to criticize what they like) -
I am resisting the UU tradition and jumping in a discussing / arguing back.... by looking at the b below cartoon - a new classic --
One does have to pick and chose what is important, not just spend one's life throwing water on someone who is trying to do the same to you....
Another reason to be thinking this way is all the UU websites Ive looked at this week because of the UU discussion that the spouse and myself had over which UU congregation to visit this weekend - we will be driving near 6 congregations having services (which is pretty good for the south) - the two sermon topics I liked best are congregations that we've already visited (the spouse thinks we need to spread our greatness around to all UUs) - of the remaining 4, one service is very local oriented, one has a speaker who specializes in spirituality of wealth building and two are on paleontology! Hard to chose -
So we suspect that we will be wealthier when we come back home ---
(in all honesty, that is the speakers specialty, not what they will be speaking on).
So, how many wrong statements are in today's UU-ing? You need to write in and correct me - after all we can't have anybody wrong on the internet, can we?

ADDED LATER: The current issue (July 15th 2008) of THE CHRISTIAN CENTURY has a short editorial on "Family Squabbles" or denominational squabbles. "Sometimes we think of denominations as families"; to which the late Jack Stotts, theologian and seminary president - pointed out that the families in the Bible tended to be dysfunctional. So all as it ever was!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

"After You Die" quiz

After you die...
Guardian Angel

After death, you will exist as a guardian angel in order to protect your still-living loved ones. You might even inspire a classic Christmas movie.

Take this quiz at QuizGalaxy.com

I got the quiz from Ms. Kitty's blog (only because I read it prior to James' Monkey Mind blog).
I just wonder what kind of mood or whatever I was in when I took this quiz... A Guardian Angel?
Maybe that is actually meant to be a type of hell? Other folks get to rest in the cool cool ground, or strum those harps - but I get to hang around earth till all my loved ones have died?
I get more responsibilities even after death?? and they say G*d doesn't have a sense of humor....

Monday, May 12, 2008

FAQ on Unitarian Universalist Seminaries

For some reasons I'm getting a fair number of hits by folks (or by one persistent folk)
looking for info on Unitarian Universalist Seminaries.
Ok, I admit to have a masters degree, but it wasnt from a seminary

you want

and while not an UU seminary, I believe Harvard now has an UU chair.
many UU seminarians go to non-UU seminaries.
You may want to check this out - lots of helpful info aboput what to do.
including a list of acceptable non-UU schools for UU ministers.


Songs that ought to be in the UU Hymnal

Many of the songs in the UUA hymnal are hard to sing by folks singing in the pews; so my first thought for hymnal is "can almost anyone sing it?" - then of course, I like anthem type songs.
and yes, most of these below are folks songs....

these songs ought to be in the UUA hymnal

"Turn Turn Turn" Hard to believe that we dont have this song by UU member Pete Seeger in our hymnal. this could be easily sung by all UUs....

"Lean on Me" this old -1972- standard by Bill Withers would fit most of our humanistic congregations- this or the Carole King "you've got a friend'

'Wasn't that a time" this old Lee Hayes song - Hayes knew his anthems and what got folks singing (he was a Methodist minister if memory serves me right) - this would fit the social justice crowd, wouldnt it? Or maybe his (and seeger's) "If I had a Hammer", maybe a bit cliche for folks of my generation (no idea if the younger folks would know it or not)

we like spirituals (and note some of these might be in the hymnal) - how about "Rock-a my Soul", "sinner man", "standing in the need of prayer", "walk in Jerusalem" "were you there?"
most of these have words that even those of us who read ahead would still be able to sing....
-- (note that I feel the words soul, sinner, prayer, Jerusalem and crucifixion are neutral -
I would possibly be wrong = rock-a-my-spirit, bad human, standing in the need of goodvibes,
"Give me Oil in my Lamp"

no doubt I'll think of some more later on -
please feel free to add your own (on your blog or mine) songs that ought to be in the UU Hymnal

(and yes, I know copyright laws and payment issues would keep some of these out, but
"turn turn turn", really?)

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Vacation in MA

Ok, we went to the Universalist Convocation in North Oxford MA, and we vacationed there and back - a few thoughts about the trip there and back.....

we had lots of discussions about flying vs driving vs train riding. My partner doesnt feel they can do any stop overs due to inner ear problems, and the direct flights - were either early in the AM or late in the PM. We opted for the flight early in the AM, which meant staying overnight near the airport - I spent way too many hours at work that morning (was supposed to leave at 1 PM, left at 6!) -- bought a new GPS unit, but hadnt had time to learn it too well (if using it once to drive 1 mile is using it at all).
Got to the airport at 6 AM, no problem with our flight. I havent flown in 12 years, so havent experienced the new security measures. Two hour flight versus two day car or train trip, made it much more convent. The waiting at the airport and at the car rental place (we got a trainee who took forever and kept trying to upgrade us, despite our having prepaid). The rental car asessary device (or whatever they call the former cigarette lighter) wasnt working, which meant that we couldnt use the GPS! - and we got bamboozled by bad signage in Boston) -
I had dropped an email to the Gloucester UU church (that John Murray preached at) - had hoped to see the interior - but they closed early that day - (we'll be nice and say they didnt get my email - and not that it was a direct result of my threatened visit). We did have some delicious halibut in a local restaurant. We then took headed to Worcester and our hotel in Auburn. I had some not-so-nice things to say about MA drivers, but I've been corrected by MA drivers to say that what we experienced were Eastern MA drivers. My apologizes to central and western MA drivers, who did seem to be much nicer.
Thursday, we went to Walden Pond - Put a rock on the cairn on the site of the cabin, and I bought a back issue of the Journal of the Thoreau Society, and the partner got a sweatshirt and gifts for the staff at her job. I discovered that the bean field that Thoreau worked at, was white bush beans - perfect for Boston baked beans? Then on to the battlefield at Lexington and Concord. Yes, I stood at the spot where Paul Revere was captured. I admit to being impressed by all the Unitarian Universalist churches - there seemed to be one in almost every town.... living in an area where there is one for every 70 miles, this is impressive. looked at the various graves - the Alcotts, Emerson, Thoreau, etc at the Sleeepy Hollow cemetery in Concord. We had a nice meal at the WAYSIDE INN (in Sudberry?). This is where the setting of TALES OF THE WAYSIDE INN is, so the poem "the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" is told here (by the Innkeeper). It is also where the Universalist Fraters meet annually. Ate Indian Pudding.
Friday, we went up to see the waterfalls in North Central MA, Royalston and Doane - close enough to New Hampshire, we drove up there to say we did. Friday was also the start of the Universalist convocation - held at the grounds of the Barton Center for Diabetic Education. This was a former Universalist Woman's Association and UUWF property. The UUWF sold it about ten - fifteeen years ago.
i'll forgo comments on the convocation itself for a later post.
Sunday after the convocation was over, we and the Rev Barry Whittmore went to the historic site at Lowell (where the UU connection was the Universalist semi-connected "Lowell Offering" magazine of "Mill Girl writings"), and then up to Lawrence - where they have no easily seen historic markers - but we knew some anyway. Bread and Roses. The GPS was working, after being charged on the laptop, making finding things easier.
Monday we took the train to Boston (avoiding the Eastern MA drivers) - ate Boston Baked Beans, and toured the UUA building. Met friends there, in the building! Did a walking tour, saw the Charles Street Meeting House (now businesses), Saw the outside of King's Chapel (it's closed on Monday in May), and various other historic sites.
Tuesday, took the scenic drive through the rural area of Connecticut in their "last green valley". lots of farms. The General Greene historic site in Rhode Island was closed, so we went to the highest point in RI and signed the logbook instead.
Wednesday, drove early to Logan Airport - the gas station where we were to fill up the rental car was blocked off by construction, but the GPS found us another with no problem. Returning the rental car itself was easy too. So we got to the airport way early. the flight back was very bumpy - just glad it wasnt that bad on the way north - or i would have been anxious about the return flight.
now all i have to do is catch up on my sleep.....

Monday, April 28, 2008

The recent UU Blog discussions.....

Ok folks, the recent UU Blog discussions are about the ex-Independent Affiliates and the de-funding of the National UU Youth programs.

Jess's Journal does a nice post on her initial feelings about the National UU Youth Program.
this sums up my own feelings so well, that I dont even have to. As I stated there, I almost wish she will turn her post around and explain why the National Cons are good for both individuals and the UU as a group. Because that's what I really would like to hear - yes, I'm a do gooder and I like to think organizations that I belong to, do good.
But all missionary work (and that's what the National UU Youth Program is) has to convince the donors that it's doing the job it was intended to. Or at least, trying hard to do the job it was intended to. And if the program is worth doing, and has lots of support, why aren't people doing fund raising right now? Saying - "if the National UUA doesnt fund it, then we will, because it is worth saving and worth doing". Why isn't this being done?

I'm a member of some of the former independent affiliates. This year, like last year, I paid my dues and looked at and bought books and nicknacks from them. If these former affiliates send a fund-raising letter to me, I would toss in a (small) check, because the work they do is important to me. Would I like it, if the UUA would restore the privileges to my favorite IAs that membership had for them? Sure. I like the UUA to fund them as well, and let me win the lottery so I dont have to work anymore, while you're at it. But each dollar spent on something means you dont have a dollar for something else. So when I support the UUHS, this means that I have to do without something else-no eating out, no good wine, no Rocky and Bullwinkle DVDs.
I personally feel that the Board was too sweeping when they removed virtually all the IAs. I know they were expecting some of them to unite in common ground, but that hasnt happened. On the other hand, the sky hasnt fallen on the ex-IAs either. Most or all still exist - even a full year after the cut. And i admit that I supported some cuts - but I know I couldnt say where to draw the line....
I dont have much vested in these issues. Or do I? I'm at least putting a little money where my loud mouth is. If these issues mean something to you, I hope you will do the same.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Charity Begins

As mentioned below, I now have more money. and part of what I was going to do with to save - (I have just a decade before retirement!) and increase my charitable contributions. I had planned to just increase the charities I contribute to now: various Unitarian Universalist, Universalist, and Environmental groups. But I decided to start with a semi-charity Kiva. Kiva is a group that provides loans to loan groups in countries that loan to poor folks who need loans for their business.
the loaner and the loanee make money. Kiva and you (the contributor) don't - although if you are lucky you get your money back. So you can loan it to someone else.
Interest rates can be high (but my credit cards were higher than the one Im loaning to), so not a perfect plan - but seems reasonably fair. Apparently a lot cheaper than the usual loans - and a lot cheaper than the payday loans people here in the USA.
see my link to the right, or go to www.kiva.org
make sure you read their FAQs -

Friday, April 25, 2008

just a short note about my now being debt free

I have been grumpy about UU stuff on other's blogs, but not here. This is because I'm saving the nice stuff for my own blog. You can call me Mr. Knucklehead elsewhere, but here I am Mr. Sunshine.
and what is it that has made me Mr. Sunshine? ah, those of you reading the title above know the answer: I am debt free!
after being in debt for 12 years! (actually longer if you include student loans - so we'll say 22 years!), I am debt free. For the past 8 years, I have been putting aside 1/3 of my income to reduce debt load. and finally I am here ! Just in time to go on vacation !
Sometime in the early Summer, I will have to see what to do with the "extra" dough, but as of now - I see 1/3 (of the 1/3) going to help a family member reduce her debt; 1/3 going to savings, and 1/3 going to charities - it is about time to start tithing again isnt it?

(oh and folks, have a better plan for graduate school and divorce living, OK?)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Are We Congregationalists or Episcopalians? (1923 version)

I found this a very interesting take on 2008 UUA as well as the 1923 UCA.....

Rev Stanley Manning was the director of the Universalist Church's Young Person's department back in 1923 , and among other things, he wrote a weekly coloumn for the weekly denominational paper, THE UNIVERSALIST HERALD. In a column in early June, he wrote that the depression in Georgia was forcing Universalist ministers to move north, as the local churches couldn't afford to pay them a living wage. He suggested that they do something about this.

++++++++++++++++++June 23, 1923
The article published two weeks ago on this page and entitled "S.O.S" has let to some rather interesting "Comebacks."
Some have said, "That's the thing; we must help." Others have said, "This is something for the General convention to undertake." Still others, and the great majority, have said nothing.
The Director of Young People's Work has no desire to press this matter except to bring to the attention of the Church the fact that here is a problem whih our brothers and sisters in the South can not solve without our, at least temporary, help.

These "Comebacks" are illustrative of two different types of mind among us. The congregational mind utilizes a denominational organization only for doing those larger taks which are beyond the possibilities of a local church. It feels perfectly free to undertake any sort of enterprise on its own responsibility, without consulting "the men higher up."
The episcopalian (or presbyterian) mind awaits the initiative of the larger organization, and then undertakes to perform the task assigned.
There are advantages in each, but success depends upon a different set of qualifications in either case.
If we are congregationalists (psychologically) we must have the daring to initiate and carry through projects that challenge us to larger tasks than we have ever undertaken heretofore. It was in the hope that some of our churches might do this to the extent of adding to their salaried workers a missionary pastor and send him to a Southern circuit, that the S.O.S. call was sent out.
The fact of the matter is that our church polity is a combination of these two: it is neither ultra-congregational, in which the local parish can do as it may please, regardless of all the rest, nor is it wholly episcopalian or presbyterian, in which the governing individuals or organizations are absolute. But if we take this fact as an excuse for "passing the buck" when an opoportunity opens or a call for help comes, so that the General Convention officials say "Our hands are tied: we can not appropriate money which the churches do not give;" and the churches say, "this is what we have a General Convention for; it is the convention's affair, and not ours" - well, long ago someone had something to say about those who were asked, "Why halt ye so long between two opinions?" We must make up our minds to be a mighty army and move like one both in our ordinary work and likewise when an emergency arises, or we muct be ready to meet cases of urgent need by special and if necessary extra-legal methods, moved by the universalism of our faith and not by what our next-door neighbors do or fail to do.
My own personal preference is for the former method; I would rather be a buck private in this army, to go or come or stay, to give or to withhold, as my commanding office might order; and I should like him to have the reserve of power necessary to meet emergencies, as does the President of the United States, for instance - only I should want the right, under proper restrictions, to prevent ill-considered or hasty action, to return this C.O. to the ranks and elevate some one else to that position.
But whether we are congregationalists or episcopalians or presbyterians, let us be univesalists, and go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.


Thursday, March 27, 2008

North Oxford and Worchester Ma sightseeing suggestions?

In about a month, I will be heading off to the Universalist Convocation in North Oxford, Ma.
(still not too late to join us there - see http://nmuc.org/Convo/ ).

However, I will be there a few days before and after the Convocation and am looking for things to do in central Ma (or somewhere else reachable from the North Oxford area). Since I will be busy from Friday evening to Sunday afternoon, Sunday Church visiting wont be one of the things - except for an evening service.....

any suggestions? (and yes, i am thinking of some of the typical UU tourist sites - but feel free to suggest them anyway).


Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Week

On Palm Sunday I gave a sermon about Easter week, stopping with the story of the arrest of Jesus- with emphasis on the redemption of Peter. Peter, as many of you recall, denied Jesus three times that evening. Our small congregation also had communion, service taken mainly from the old Red Hymnal.

I wanted to go to Church today, Easter Sunday, so we drove 100 miles up to Newberry leaving a big carbon footprint at Clayton Memorial, Lynch's Woods, and various business on the way home. We also talked religion on the long drive back. The sermon and service was excellent, very inspiring - well worth the trip to me. I just wish I could go every Sunday (hey, at least at 200 miles round trip, I have a perfectly reasonable excuse). There was communion there as well, it was Easter Sunday after all. The fellowship was also nice.

I went out and mowed the lawn on Saturday -
a perfect chore for a day between a day of sorrow and and a day of joy.
- and a good sermon point for some year in the future - what do we do on the Saturday in-between?

But today is the day of joy - the time to the do the Snoopy happy dance -
- I personally feel that the Easter story is part of the bookends to the important messages in between the covers; but never mind that today, because it's time for celebrating - I can see the dove carrying the twig in it's beak - the eternal hope, the greater hope, the knowledge that there will be a new and glorious day someday. Something to give us hope. That's part of the joy of Easter ......

Happy Easter everybody!

Saturday, March 08, 2008

who am I?

as I try to bring life back to a smidgen of normalcy, its therefore time to blog!
and what better place to start than by asking:

who am I?
is probably the fundamental question that we ask ourselves, the deep soul searching question for meaning and truth. Thanks to the internet, we can save a lot of time and energy and just take a quiz to find out where we stand!

Ok, I'm half joking - because using the non-Fox Belief-o-Matic, I see that I believe in the belo.
In all the years Ive taken this test, I've never scored below 95% in the UU category - Liberal Quakers and Reform Judaism are always in the top 20 percentile. Usually Neo Pagan is way down the list (wonder what i said this time), and Reform Judaism and Mahayana is sometimes in and sometimes out. Mainline Christianity is sometimes in, but out this week.

Unitarian Universalism 100%
Liberal Quakers 88%
Reform Judaism 83%
Neo Pagan 81%
Mahayana Buddhism 80%

We end up with two questions from this.
If I am usually 98-100% pure Unitarian Universalist,
can we therefore use me to help define what UU actually is??
and what do these 5-6 religious views have in common? Because by looking at the commonality, then I have good grounding at discovering what I believe; which may tell me who I am....

the old joke that it's the young folks who search for meaning in their lives, because the old folks are too busy trying to survive their lives has some element of truth. My search has no desperation, no angst, no pain - part of that may be because that I managed to deal with the pain, angst, etc many years ago, or it maybe that my life has been blessed, etc. It may even be that I'm kidding myself and that I will be dealing with an existentialist crisis at any moment - indeed thinking about it, that might be quite possible ... If I do, that will just be another piece in the question of who am I?...

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

1935 Washington Avowl

As readers of my other blog might have guessed, I've been way too busy to blog coherently. So let me put the Washington Universalist Avowal down below: and how would you modernize it?

The Washington Declaration of 1935

The bond of fellowship in this Convention shall be a common purpose to do the will of God as Jesus revealed it and to co-operate in establishing the kingdom for which he lived and died.

To that end, we avow our faith in God as Eternal and All-conquering Love, in the spiritual leadership of Jesus, in the supreme worth of every human personality, in the authority of truth known or to be known, and in the power of men of good-will and sacrificial spirit to overcome evil and progressively stablish the Kingdom of God.

Neither this nor any other statement shall be imposed as a creedal test, provided that the faith thus indicated be professed.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

opression (warning: snarky)

I just read that a "process observer" watches over the UUA board and board committee meetings to make sure (among other things) that the meeting is anti-oppressive.
Wow, having somebody watching you at all times to make sure Iyoudont make a slip isn't oppressive?

- well ok, this is possibly a minor form of oppression.
And yes, I know that if everyone on the board joyfully and gratefully agrees to being monitored, then it can't be oppression.
And there may be a good reason for the Board not to trust itself to behave. No, no -Seriously!
But it sure does make for a good opportunity to be snarky, doesn't it?.

Monday, January 21, 2008

UNMC Declaration of Faith.

I see that the Universalist National Memorial Church, UU has finally adopted their new
Declaration of Faith - which has been under discussion for the past year.
While it's not something I would write or state as my favorite, I personally think I could live with it. Of course this brings up the question of what declaration would I write.


In faith and freedom, we are called
to bring hope and healing to the world,
so that all may rejoice in God’s grace.

I believe in
the universal love of God,
the spiritual authority and
leadership of Jesus Christ,
the trustworthiness of the Bible
as a source of divine revelation,
the need for repentance
and forgiveness of sin,
and the final harmony
of all souls with God.

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Misc and more misc

A couple of days ago, my spouse asked me when I was going to add RSS to my blogs, and I told her that they've always had rss. She looked surprised and told me she would had them to her RSS reader (I think she uses bloglines - i just use the Google reader).
so this means that I now have a new fulltime reader, of course this means that everything I saw could be used against me, right?
- so watch me quickly delete old blog posts :-)

It's been rough this winter, so I havent had much desire to think about great posts for UU-ing. It's easier when i come home to just read a bit of email and do some reading.....

and I just know that you want to know what I've been reading? right?

VOGUES IN VILLAINY: Crime and Retribution in Ante-Bellum south Carolina (1959).
One of those books that just showed up in the house. This is somewhere between scholarly and popular history. Not dry enough for scholarly, and not lurid enough for current popularity. I didnt see any well known SC Universalist or Unitarian names. It does have another suggestion that the neighborhoods where the U and U churches were in Charleston, were less than savory. The book also tells us how much better that SC has gotten in fairness and crime in 100 years.

"the Shack" (c) 2007 William P. Young
an interesting book designed for (i guess) the more liberal
Evangelicals -where "God is presented as a loving and large black woman named
'Papa', Jesus as a laid back and friendly Middle Eastern man, and the Holy Spirit as a calm and cool Asian woman"
it almost made the trinity sensible (to me that is!), and it does explain why
evangelicals evengalize all the time even at the drop of a hat, (as if we didnt already know).
the book itself is about the murder of a small child , and
her depressed father going to the shack where she was murdered and
meeting the Trinity. With a plot like that, it would be easy to slip,
but I think it mostly succeeds. You might check the reviews on Amazon, to see if this would be your type of reading. I think it's a good view at this type of viewpoint.

I've read a stack of Jack Chick comics and tracts, and while this is also a good view of this type of viewpoint, it's a bit harder wading. Or is that too mild? Yes, I guess it is. You can go read a Chick tract on his website, if you havent had the experience.
For a while I was trying to figure out the range of some of the conspiracy theories: Mormon and Mason and Catholic and Muslim and Satanists and who else working together? However I figured it out fairly quickly. Everyone who disagrees with the author is engaged in a conspiracy to damn souls. It's a tough world we live in.

I always wanted a copy of the old socialist newspaper, APPEAL TO REASON, so I was delighted to pick up a copy for the price of a modern magazine - an issue from 1912, where the Appeal was almost up to 1/2 million weekly subscribers. this issue was an Teddy Roosevelt issue (not sure when Includes a space on the cover where the US post office refused to let them run a particular article on TR. Im still reading this, so not sure if this is pre-Bullmoose or not.

Lastly, I was reading one of my old posts on my history blog, where I comment about spam comments. At that time I mentioned that I would generally remove commercial spam, and that is when I put all comments to be moderated. I said I thought I wouldnt have to moderate more than that. Yes, I was young(er) and naive back then. For the record: since this blog is my house, I have the responsibility to keep it in what I think is reasonable shape. If you want to libel someone else, use your own blog, not mine. Thomas Jefferson is alleged to have said that "Freedom of the Press is owning one". Since almost anyone can do their own blog, I see no reason to let mine be hijacked by someone else.

I've gotten some Will Rogers films recently. You know, nice guy that he is, he never met a man he didnt like. It's been awhile since Ive seen one of his films (like decades), but I do have some old Will Rogers for President material that I enjoyed reading. I suspect that a good book of his old columns would be fun (maybe they would need to be annotated, but it would be fun." I see that the actual quote was about Trotsky and Rogers said about him "I bet you if I had met him and had a chat with him, I would have found him a very interesting and human fellow, for I never yet met a man that I didn't like." I can believe that, almost anyone can act likable.