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.”
When we work in the community and look with intention, we can find many gifts, such as the gift of diversity; finding “the inherent worth and dignity” of each person.
Rev. Eric Mayle is the Minister of Community Justice for Centenary United Methodist Church and the Executive Director of Centenary Community Ministries, Inc. (CCMI), the nonprofit started by the church in 2009. CCMI has several ministries including transitional housing for men in recovery from drugs and alcohol, financial assistance for people for people in need, bicycling ministry and a community garden, among others.
“A person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language,” writes Dale Carnegie. Genesis goes on and on with all the names God gives the creatures of the earth. On the one hand names are super important, a symbol of our “inherent worth and dignity,” as our first principle says. On the other hand, a name is just a name and what is truly important is the character that lives underneath the name. Join us as we look at the theology of naming and why it matters today.
Most people see themselves as good people. Moral people. We believe in our “good” identity even when we do things that are less than “good,” things that are worthy of critique from others. Author Dolly Chugh offers an alternative to the ‘good” versus “bad,” “moral” versus “immoral” mindset: Good-ish. Believing in the “good-ishness” of people we step outside of the seductive but scientifically inaccurate notion that people are either and always a good or bad person. In the good-ish mindset moral perfection is less the goal than having a more clear-eyed understanding of oneself and trying to be better. Join us as we celebrate the liberation that can come when we know ourselves, not as either saints or sinners, but as lovable-even-as-we-are-imperfect, growing, good-ish people.