▶️ When Angels Meet Giants May 10, 2022
Baseball is full of heroes. The amazing catch. The game-changing home run. The play no one can never forget. And, of course, baseball is a game spotlighting the specific player who performs these unforgettable feats of grandeur. We all want such players on our team. Indeed, some say the game today is actually the game behind the game, played in the front office. It’s about how teams lure heroes to play for them. But what if championships weren’t really about signing giants of the game? But fielding the team that plays together with heart?
▶️ The Presence of a Protector, the Promise of Peace May 8, 2022
Unitarian Julia Ward Howe was one of the first people who conceived of a Mother’s Day. But she did not envision what we currently have today – a Mother’s Day celebrated as a sentimental and gift-giving day honoring mothers. Ward, was a 19th century social reformer (and author of the “Battle Hymn of the Republic,”) who was distressed over ‘sons killing the sons of other mothers’ and called on women’s groups to promote a universal peace. The holiday has strayed from its origins more than 140 years ago. In this service, we will explore the complicated messiness in a mother’s hope for peace for her children.
▶️ Peace Be With You – Reflections on Islam and Ramadan May 1, 2022
Eid al-Fitr begins tonight - the religious holiday marking the end of the fast of Ramadan. Ramadan is a month of fasting and of prayer, reflection and community, and is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. It is the commemoration of Muhammad’s first revelation of the Quran. Many of us have little experience with fasting, but member Graham Bell often tries a modified fast during Ramadan. His teacher, Bawa Muhaiyaddeen, a Tamil-speaking Sufi mystic from Sri Lanka, considered fasting an opportunity to take on our inner “demons” or “bad qualities” (such as pride, greed, anger, and impatience) and to surrender instead to that which is greater than the self, to reflect on unity, and to find compassion for others. For many Muslims Ramadan is a time of putting others first and making donations to charity. Our service today will be lead by Allysson McDonald and Graham Bell as he reflects on what he has learned from his experiences of fasting for Ramadan,and about the meanings of some Arabic words that provide insight into the true meaning of Islam. Salaam alaikum!
▶️ The Interdependent Web of Life of Which We’re a Part April 24, 2022
Almost everyone will tell you that they care about the earth. They care about the relationship they have helped to co-create with the other 8.7 million species that co-habitate with us on planet earth. But what does it really mean to responsibly live up to our end of the interdependent bargain? This service celebrates our relationship – and our promise – to the millions of other plants, animals, flora and fauna that make up our creative co-existence.
▶️ The Easter Exam April 18, 2022
What is Easter? Beneath all the fancy clothes, the music and pagentry… Beyond the history, theology, and confusing stories of eggs, empty tombs, bunnies and brunches… what would we find that gives us real hope? What’s there that would tell us whether we’re on the right track for transformation in our lives and for the larger world around us? This is a service where we will explore what the Easter exam is asking, It’s not about passing organized religion’s test. It’s about living up to the real hope we are part of providing.
▶️ Preparing to Encounter Divinity April 10, 2022
Judaism, Christianity and Islam all have sacred periods of intentional preparation during this time. There are stories and rituals. Prayer and fasting. Each of these faith traditions knows that encountering a sacred, transformative time is not happenstance. It depends as much on practicing ways that tell us how to show up as much as relying on God to show up for us. In this service, we will explore ways that teach us how to be ready for the sacred when it comes.
▶️ Wrong God April 3, 2022
Father Greg Boyle is a Jesuit priest and the founder of Homeboy Industries, the world’s largest gang intervention, rehabilitation and re-entry program in the world. He’s worked with over 10,000 human beings each year for the last three decades. Most of them, he says, have come to the startling revelation that, when faced with neglect, abuse, judgment and condemnation, the urge to belong to something resembling any kind of love is undeniable. Gangs substitute for the love they need. But when they begin to recognize that toughness is not a replacement for love, they realize they were lured into believing in ‘the wrong god.’ The stories we will explore are from Fr. Boyles book, “The Whole Language – The Power of Extravagant Tenderness”.
▶️ Glimpsing the Sacred March 22, 2022
What does our faith teach us about a theology of creating Beloved Community? What sustains us as we labor and endeavor to create it? In this service, we’ll explore Beloved Community and the sacred glimpses we have in the here and now of the world we dream to create together. In the end, this theology could be one such way of renewing faith and our commitments to one another and our shared world.
▶️ The Color of Law March 20, 2022
The conversation around ‘reparations’ has been a hotly contested and highly polarizing conversation in American Social Policy for over 175 years. In Reparative Justice, we rely on agreed upon evidence to determine whenever someone has been ‘wronged’ and then attempt to discern what action could be taken by the perpetrator and what benefit could be received by the survivor such that a common reconciliation might be possible. In this service, we will look at 150 years of racial discrimination under U.S. law and where that leaves us in terms of reparations.
▶️ What Women Really Want March 13, 2022
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 March 6, 2022
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 February 27, 2022
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? February 20, 2022
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? February 13, 2022
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 February 6, 2022
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.