Author: Graham Bell

▶️ Our Religious Imagination

One of the struggles of our human condition is our frequent inability to view the world from another person’s perspective. This seems to be a problem religiously, politically, and culturally – creating significant divisions amongst us. Our Unitarian Universalist religious tradition places great emphasis on the use of reason to interpret our lived experience to derive spiritual meaning and ethical guidelines. This worship service will explore how engaging our imagination can enrich our spiritual life by gaining a wider perspective beyond our own experience.

▶️ Loving From the Insight Out

What makes you shine? And how does the light you possess brighten the world around you? Those are hard questions for Puritan minded folks who were taught not to pay any mind to the light within. But, often, they don’t prove much easier for UUs who, on the one hand eschew archaic religious ways of thinking; but on the other still have trouble and ‘hide their light under a bushel.’ Still, if we believe our first principle, none of us are an exception. Or a mistake. In this service we will explore Marianne Williamson’s oft cited concern: ‘it is our light – not our darkness – that most frightens us.’

▶️ Inconceivable!!!

In the 1987 movie, ‘The Princess Bride’ the character of Vizzini (played wonderfully by Wallace Shawn) keeps watching his evil plans be thwarted by the heroics of protagonists, Westly and Buttercup. ‘Inconceivable!’ he cries. This is a service where we try to imagine a world without the inventions, the heroes and she-roes and the various influences, movements and events that saved the day and bent the moral arc of the universe toward justice.

▶️ Our Zeroth Ministry

While Mission Peak has a minister, we have a shared ministry; but what does that mean? Eric Dittmar wants to reflect on the word “ministry,” and suggest that we have a ministry that comes—not first amongst our congregational priorities—but before we set goals for our shared ministry.

▶️ Temptation

We all remember the 7 Deadly Sins (now what was that last one?) that are considered temptations. But there are parts of our inner being that can lead us astray often without our knowledge. They become habits that are part of a natural order as considered by our inner being. Can we unlearn the habits of a lifetime and see when we are taking an easy path that leads away from the right relation?

▶️ Love Hero

Cornell West once said that “Justice is what Love looks like in public.” Each year, MPUUC celebrates a ‘Love Hero’ – a person or group who exercises the kind of ‘public love’ that resembles and inspires justice. This year, our Love Hero is Sergio Jaime Lopez who has successfully navigated our broken immigration system to attain asylum status and is now working on the 12-18 month process of bringing his family to the U.S. from Nicaragua.

▶️ The Myths and Realities of True Love

Falling in love is the euphoric moment when we discover someone with the unique combination of what you’ve always wanted and needed: attention, acceptance, appeciation, affection, allowance – what David Richo calls ‘the 5 A’s of Love’. And, somehow, you muster the courage to go all in. You find – or borrow – enough to lower the powerful shield of our ego, and rejoice and make promises that bind you in that reunion with connection. But there are downsides as well. As he meanders through his 4th year as a married man, this is Rev. Greg’s chance to talk about the promises and pitfalls of True Love.

▶️ Finding Your True Self

In this book, Immortal Diamond: The Search for Our True Self, Father Richard Rohr likens the true self to a diamond buried deep within us, formed under the intense pressure of our lives, that must be searched for, uncovered, and separated from all the debris of ego that surrounds it. In a sense, the true self must, like Jesus, be resurrected. That process is not resuscitation, but transformation. What would your true self look like if it was excavated? Let’s explore a few ideas about revealing true ourselves.

▶️ The Good Ancestor

We live in the age where we’re subject to the tyranny of the ‘now.’ Driven by Facebook, tweeting, 24/7 news, and the ‘buy-now’ button. But the obsession with the immediate has further decimated our abilities for long-term planning. And the truth is resolving the problems we currently face – from climate change to pandemic response – are long-term conversations. Drawing from Roman Krznaric’s brilliant book, we will explore six ways we can become time rebels and learn to think long.