Showing posts with label Chalicefire. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Chalicefire. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Would you rather be right or be happy?

There is a time for initiative and a time for rest. There is a time to act and a time to wait. There is a time to lead and a time to follow. There is a time to cooperate and go along, and a time to take a stand and resist.

Making decisions about how to act, when to act, how much to act are based on perception, empathy, judgement, and resources. Overall, good functioning requires awareness of self and others, and alignment between one's own will and the dictates of the external situation. This sensitivity and consciousness is exquisite, creative, and very satisfying.

There will be those who deceive you, attack you, betray you, sometimes while saying nice things and making promises of truth, faithfulness, and love. Stay focused nonetheless on what is important. Stay true to yourself, and be kind to others no matter how they treat you because it is with yourself that you must live for eternity.

Mark 13: 5- 13
5Jesus said to them: "Watch out that no one deceives you. 6Many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am he,' and will deceive many. 7When you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 8Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places, and famines. These are the beginning of birth pains.

9"You must be on your guard. You will be handed over to the local councils and flogged in the synagogues. On account of me you will stand before governors and kings as witnesses to them. 10And the gospel must first be preached to all nations. 11Whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.

12"Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 13All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.

Bill Moyers video commentary on Rev. Jermiah Wright. Video lasts about 6 1/2 minutes.

Editor's note:

This article first appeared on the Chalicefire blog on 05/06/08. In reviewing it, I am reminded of how people are afraid of love. Jesus demonstrated love and they killed him as they did Martin Luther King, Jr., Gandhi, Bobby Kennedy, Malcom X. As it says in A Course In Miracles, "Would you rather be right or happy?" Most of us, sadly, would rather be right. Our egos demand it.

Saturday, April 27, 2019

The importance of good preaching in Unitarian Universalism

I continue to think about churches as organizations and as I reflect I wonder what Unitarian Universalism has going for it?

Having been raised as a Roman Catholic, I am very aware and have experienced church as liturgical and sacramental. The rituals, the ceremonies, the music, the pomp and circumstance, the architecture, the holy objects in the form of the crucifix and statues and candles are very important. Also the celebration of the seven sacraments: baptism, Holy Communion, Reconciliation (confession), Confirmation, Marriage, Holy Orders, and Last Rites all occur at important transition points in the human life cycle.

In the Protestant movement, the Catholic adoration of statues etc. was seen as blasphemous and idolatrous. The Bible became central and Jews, Muslims, and Protestants are known as The People Of The Book because they all seem to worship and hold holy their written word, their holy books.

Unitarian Univeralism does not have a liturgy, sacraments, and outside of the flaming chalice any holy and sacred objects. Nor does it have a holy book. What Unitarian Universalism has are its 7 Principles/Values, its preaching, and its fellowship. It seems to me that the important element of Unitarian Universalist practice is its preaching and fellowship. The cornerstone of UU worship and communal life are the sermons, the weekly messages that should inform, inspire, challenge, and above all else encourage religious practice to facilitate spiritual growth in congregants and in the world.

The source of knowledge, skills, and values to inform the message comes from multiple sites, traditions, origins, and it is a very wise minister who knows what the congregation needs to hear, needs to be touched by, needs to be inspired with. How do ministers gather this knowledge, this insight, this wisdom?

It comes from relationship. Relationship first and foremost with oneself. Next, in comes from relationship with the people the minister aspires to serve. Third, it comes from a knowledge of and relationship with the wider world. A good minister can read the signs of the times, views the world through a compassionate and prophetic lens. A good minister is not afraid to call a spade a spade, to take the bull by the horns, to put words to the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful. Waffling and playing it safe leads to ambiguity, frustration, and gossip among the people. Taking a clear stand and position is the sine qua non of good leadership.

Unitarian Universalism has a weak religious structure. It has no liturgy; it has no book; it has no hierarchy; it has a very democratic consensus driven model of governance which makes it hard for leadership to emerge and manifest. Therefore, Unitarian Univeralism is doomed to mediocrity unless it can facilitate the development of powerful preachers. There are a few around. Thank God for the Internet because their sermons are available for downloading.

It is interesting to observe that the UU churches with good preachers are the largest in the country and seem to be growing. Those with lackluster preaching are either just maintaining or in decline.

The future of Unitarian Univeralism depends on many things and yet as far as the weekly life of the church is concerned, it depends greatly on the quality of good preaching.

This article, written by David G. Markham,  first appeared on the Chalicefire blog on 04/22/08 and is reprinted here with permission. For a video explanation about the re-publishing of these articles, click here.
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