Author: Graham Bell

▶️ What Women Really Want

The pathway to present day world power has been built from the labor and dreams of women. But unlike most dynasties that work hard to build their kingdom and legacy, the world reveals shockingly few signs of the spoils of victory. During Women’s History Month, we will explore the slow and painful march of women to finally gain what they have always wanted.

▶️ Five Dollars is Five Dollars

Whether we realize it or not, we have all been taught many messages about money. And whether we know it or not, many of those messages have been reinforced in important ways. So, it would behoove us to get around to asking ourselves the question of whether these reinforced teachings actually have anything to do with our fundamental core values. In this award winning sermon, I highlight an epiphany that came to me early in life and how I have been trying to live up to it ever since.

▶️ Is Pluto a Planet? The Blessings and Perils of Labeling

We generally feel that labeling and categorization of people is bad, but I have learned that sometimes it is valuable. In a recent sermon Joshua Schwartz explained that the autism label helped in self understanding, and after that service, in break-out room discussion, participants noted how accepting and receiving labels of lesbian and of dyslexic had relieved perplexity and stress. Nevertheless, labeling can also be very damaging, with racial labeling coming immediately to mind.
In this message I will take the question of whether the astronomical object Pluto should be labelled a planet or a dwarf planet, and explore both the blessings and the perils of labeling, and develop some tentative criteria for useful versus damaging labeling. I will apply some of these criteria to labeling of people, and will include some of my own pet peeves of misleading terminology.
In widening the circle of knowledge of how to use labeling as a blessing, we can widen the circle of our understanding of others, and widen the circle of loving community.

▶️ What If I Only Had 30 Days to Love?

30 Days of Love is our Side With Love campaign’s annual celebration that runs approximately from Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January through Valentine’s Day in February. It is taken as an opportunity to collectively nurture our spirits, deepen our understanding, and take action on our values for collective liberation. The celebration this year concluded with Side With Love Sunday. This is a worship service featuring stirring music, deep-hearted reflection, and moving testimonies from a range of UU leaders including President, Susan Frederick Gray.

▶️ What Does a Fremont For Everyone Look Like?

Every idea that offers hope to the hurting, requires courage. It takes courage to think out of the box – courage to go beyond the problem and all the reasons it got to be this way… courage to see those in pain… courage to get proximate, accept them and understand how to connect those needs to promises of it being different. Our Recipient for this year’s Courageous Love Hero award is Fremont for Everyone. We will have a conversation with them to understand more about how courage can make a difference right where we live.

▶️ How the Dye is Caste

A number of things aren’t routinely taught in U.S. or World History. A number of interesting truths aren’t recorded for posterity for the simple reason they don’t cast those in power in the best light. One such telling bit of recent world history is how when those in the Third Reich were looking around for models on which to base their ‘Arian Super Race’ model they turned to a surprising source: the United States. In this sermon, we will explore a good deal we didn’t know about hierarchy and subjugation which may wind up being our unintended legacy.

▶️ The Secret Behind Real (and Not-So-Secret) Superpowers

Power is such an interesting thing. We all want it. We all need it. And, if we’re honest, most of us prefer to keep what limited power we do wield something of a secret. In this service, we’ll explore, ‘Dragon Psychology 101,’ hoarding and how power has been typically used throughout history. As well as how it is needed today.

▶️ Why an 8th Principle?

For as long as the U.S. has existed, two things have been true: (1) Unitarians have exerted a religious influence; and (2) black persons have been enslaved and exploited. There has not been a time where Unitarians have been silent on the issue. Racism has always been a good idea, but not a core purpose and principle. As we approach our 200 year anniversary in this country, are we ready to name ending systemic racism as a core principle?

▶️ The Path Toward Building Beloved Community

In this service commemorating the liberational work of Dr. Martin Luther King, we will explore the vision of Beloved Community – originally espoused by James Royce in the 1930s but which became the cornerstone of the non-violent civil rights movement of the 50s and 60s. Unitarian Universalists responded to King’s call to go to Selma and we invited him to preach for our denomination the following year. But our time with King has only served to emphasize the question of whether – and how – to make his ‘Dream’ come true in our lifetime.

▶️ A God Who Laughs

Becoming an adult is serious business. So serious, in fact, that many of us lose our sense of humor – or, exchange it for something we think will be more useful – along the way. Has this been the case for you? Did you, one day, set aside your mirth, your Imagination or whimsy, only to come back and find it missing? How about playfulness? Are you operating from less than you were originally given? And where will you discover and coax back such essential tools now that you recognize their value?” After the service we will explore the history – and the future – of our children and youth programming.