The UUA Soul Matters topic and theme of worship for the month of June relates to beauty; the written material in the curriculum is rich and inspiring. It starts with asking: “What does it mean to be a people of beauty?”
UU minister Sean Parker Dennison writes, “The ability to see beauty is the beginning of our moral sensibility. What we believe is beautiful we will not wantonly destroy.” With this we are reminded that beauty does more than soothe and heal. It demands. It calls. It creates commitment. It doesn’t just say “Love and appreciate me.” It says “Protect me! Fight for me!” It steps out in front of us and points to a precious world that needs our help. It paints a picture of new ways of living and declares, “Follow me there!” It’s not just the thing that nurtures our activist efforts. It is the reason we take to the streets. (p.1)
Last Sunday at church, I sat beside a woman who looked familiar, but I did not know her name. After the service, we sat and talked, and she introduced herself and said she had been coming to UUCM off and on for many years, but that today was the first time she had attended a service in our new building. Continue reading →
The theme for May is “curiosity” – a strong desire to know or learn something. When I read this definition, I thought I could see an immediate connection between curiosity and open-mindedness. I had to see whether others found a similar connection.
The website, SelfGrowth.com’s, contributor Rikky Maas observes,
When you’re curious about something, you keep an open mind. Being curious is a state of wonder, in which you look for answers about the unknown. Asking questions about things is the direct opposite of judging things. Imagine how much kinder the world would be if everybody went ‘Ah what’s this? How does that work? What can this do?’ instead of ‘I like this, I don’t like that, that’s stupid’.
When you’re curious, you’re okay with not knowing. You embrace a certain insecurity, and it takes strength to do so. It’s much easier to hide behind fact, opinion or thought, whether false or true. You have to be okay with being vulnerable. It takes tremendous courage to show yourself unknowing. It takes courage to have no belief to hold on to. Continue reading →
The theme this month is Wholeness. As I was assigned to ponder wholeness, I got stuck. What is it to be whole? What is it to have holes? What does it mean to be whole? I know I do not have any unneeded holes or I’d be leaking, so I must be whole.
One of the biggest things I appreciate about being part of our congregation is that it is a place where we can ask questions. It is expected that as individuals, we do not have all the answers. Collectively, we are much stronger, smarter, and able to see more possibilities while forming our own point of views.
As you may know, I spend a lot of my chosen church time with the youth. I knew I needed their help to answer my questions about wholeness. So I asked Star and Devon about what is it be whole and of course, their answers were quite insightful. Continue reading →
A journey (Oxford English Dictionary) is an act of going from one place to another or of traveling for a specified distance or period of time, a march, a ride, a drive, etc., or a combination of these; an excursion or expedition, especially to some distance. Figuratively: referring to the passage through life.
With this figurative sense of journey, UU’s are welcomed into our congregation. Membership does not require belief in some authority’s articles of faith. Membership is extended with an invitation to share the story of your personal spiritual journey. We wonder about how we have come to this time/space; what values have drawn you here; how are you realizing your highest and best. Continue reading →
I am one of those rare Unitarian Universalists who grew up in a UU church. One of the most vivid memories I have is going through the Our Whole Lives program. The first gathering was a day of trust building so we would be comfortable talking with each other about uncomfortable subjects. While one person climbed up to a platform about six feet off the ground, the rest of us all stood across from each other with arms bent at the elbow and palms up to make a zipper pattern. Collectively, we would catch the person as they fell backwards from the platform. A perfect way to show how we can support each other and trust that everyone will keep you safe….until you drop the first person….Luckily, she was uninjured, and we got the hang of it as we each went in turn. Like many things in life, earning, giving, and receiving trust is a learning process.
Our relationships to and within UUCM are often described in terms of covenant where promises are made between individuals, between the board and congregation, and between various groups within the community. Trust underlies promises. We make a promise, and the person or group we make it to trust that we will keep it. Inevitably, a promise will be broken, and that will damage or break the bond of trust. Often, it is possible to rebuild trust. Life is a process and we all make mistakes, break promises, and learn from that experience. Sometimes, the harm is too great, and the covenant is broken.
I’m writing this coming out of a day-long leadership retreat in which we discussed the strengths and weaknesses of our UUCM community. Continue reading →
What does it mean to be a people of possibility?
Possibility is the topic for January 2019 from the UUA Soul Matters curriculum, and the theme of our worship this month at UUCM.
The background material from this month’s topic suggests that possibility is one of the most basic founding aspects of our religion: “Historically, when others saw depravity and sin at the core of human identity, we saw potential. When many were preaching that this world was fallen, and we should look instead to the hope of an afterlife, we found ourselves falling in love with the possibility of heaven on earth.”
But what about us personally? Trusting in possibility may not be as easy for each of us on an individual level. Trusting in possibility challenges us to risk disappointment or even failure. It involves being willing to endure some level of hurt, especially because our current world can be so painful and challenging. Continue reading →
“The opposite of knowledge…isn’t always ignorance. It can be wonder. Or mystery. Possibility. And in my life, I’ve found it’s the things I don’t know that have lifted me up and pushed me forwards, much more than the things I do know.” — Pico Iyer
I found Pico’s description of wonder and mystery to be insightful as I thought about the UUCM mission: In a spirit of wonder and with courageous love, we connect, grow, and act.
I was also struck by the connection to the work of the Sacred Solidarity Network (SSN) in which UUCM is participating. SSN is a cohort of congregations meeting for an ongoing cycle of action and learning. By engaging in a planned curriculum, groups come away with a customizable racial justice toolkit. Rev. Terri Burnor is a member of the SSN coordinating team.
One of SSN’s plans is to encourage us to realize that there is not just one right way. “We need to try new things and assess how they work- moving from isolation to a network….” Continue reading →