One of the lessons my children are teaching me is that we first have to meet one another exactly where we are (in child’s play this could be understood as parallel play or copy cat) before we can actually play together. Meeting each other where we are is one of the skills taught in seminary. It is a great pastoral skill. How else is “play” a resource for our relationships with one another? Rev. Cassandra will be using the book “Improv Wisdom” by Patricia Madson to deepen our exploration on play.
Our Jewish and Christian heritage teaches us that labor fulfills God’s work of creation and thus is an act of dignity. Our second principle calls us to create just, equitable and compassionate human relations. Our UU faith calls us to concern ourselves with the plight of the working class. Come help us celebrate Labor Day by recommitting ourselves to worker’s rights.
While Unitarian Universalists are confident that this life that we are living, this world we are in, is filled with the holy, and is ripe with opportunity for healing and wholeness, we also don’t claim to know what happens to us after we die. What is the nature of the human person, what some might call the soul? Where do “we” come from? Where are we going? Join us as we talk about UU beliefs of the afterlife, reincarnation and past lives.
At birth we have no concept of our worth. Based on our experiences with our parents, peers, school, etc. we develop a self concept. As we become adults, that tends to remain incomplete, and reparenting ourselves can prove to be worthwhile. High Street member Dr. Roby Kerr will share some of his wisdom about our own self-reparenting.
On the one hand wonder is about curiosity. “wonder how…” On the other hand wonder is about awe. “I was filled with wonder when…” Both kinds of wonder rest in the truth that we don’t know everything yet. We don’t know and so we are curious. We are filled with awe because of the immensity of what we don’t know. Today we explore the second kind of wonder, the wonder that we have felt when we have had an encounter with mystery, and we wonder (curiously) how we might better prepare ourselves for more such encounters.
When the going gets rough we often react judgmentally more than respond compassionately. When we feel threatened it makes sense that we would want to label something as good versus bad, right versus wrong, to distance ourselves through the use of judgment rather than stay in the muddy middle. But, when we “return to wonder,” as Quaker author and teacher Parker Palmer says, we cease judging and begin wondering. “I wonder how this person came to have that belief.” “I wonder what my emotional reaction is teaching me about myself?” And when we start turning towards wonder in our words we realize how we can turn towards wonder in our relationships, how to stay in that muddy middle, and ultimately, how to love.
We begin our exploration of “wonder” with the kind of wonder that comes from witnessing beauty. Beauty draws us out of ourselves, it can remind us that in the midst of despair, there is something left in this world to live for. Beauty is more than what can be seen by the eye. As Plato said, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” Beauty is compassion and forgiveness. Come hear how beauty—our witnessing to it and out creation of it—is the foundation of our faith.
General Assembly (GA) is the Annual Meeting of the a Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations. Our President, the Rev. Susan Frederick Gray, speaks, we sing, dance, discuss and vote on important issues together. What are some of the important issues facing our denomination? Come hear some of the “gems of GA” as experienced by your minister!
From April to May I volunteered at Casa del Refujiado, a converted warehouse in El Paso that took in refugees seeking asylum. There was a lot to learn about refugees, Nuns, the Border Patrol, and humanity, as the numbers became overwhelming. I posted some notes on my experiences and I will try to tie it all together and make it relevant.
This past fall I taught my first Inside-Out class, composed of 13 Mercer students and 13 women incarcerated at Pulaski State Prison. The theme of the class was “Building Community.” I will be reflecting on this experience, the issue of mass incarceration, and the meaning of the chorus we sing at the end our Services “for all of US imprisoned, Circle for Release.”