By the Wayside of the Celestial Lands Liberal Religious Faith… and the occasional political musing.

A Dream of Rationality

We have a dream in America of rationality. What I mean by that is that we have imbued our country with an ideal of rational discourse being the primary form of interaction between human beings. That if we can make the right argument, it will persuade people to our (meaning Read more →

Who Matters?

One way to understand human governance is to ask the question “who matters?” More than “who has the power”, the question of “who matters?” defines the form and practice of governmental systems. Fascist and corporate oligarchy systems say that corporations matter. Feudal systems say that the nobility and professed loyalties Read more →

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On Behalf of a Grateful Nation — Sermon by Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on May 25th, 2014 As both a Unitarian Universalist Minister, and as a Reserve Military Chaplain, I have conducted over a dozen military funerals    and memorial services. They were all for veterans of WWII, of Korea, and of Vietnam… I’ve never been called upon to lead a memorial Read more →

For Equilibrium, a Blessing — John O’Donohue

For Equilibrium, a Blessing: Like the joy of the sea coming home to shore, May the relief of laughter rinse through your soul. As the wind loves to call things to dance, May your gravity by lightened by grace. Like the dignity of moonlight restoring the earth, May your thoughts Read more →

Charge to the Congregation — Installation of Rev. Bret Lortie at the Unitarian Church of Evanston

When my colleague and dear friend in the ministry, Rev. Bret Lortie, asked me if I might participate in the service to install him as the Senior Minister of the Unitarian Church of Evanston, I knew that there was only one role in such a service I could possibly fulfill.  Read more →

Francis Schaeffer

‘To make no decision in regard to the growth of authoritarian government is already a decision for it.’”

Standing Up For Mother Earth — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached February 16th, 2014 Even though this week I received Final Fellowship as a Unitarian Universalist Minister, there was a day in seminary when a professor, one of the most respected ministers in our religious movement, told me he did not think it was possible for me to ever Read more →

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On the Contract-to-Call Process

This is the second in a series of articles that I am bringing to Celestial Lands over the first few months of this New Year, exploring several aspects of the interrelation between professional ministry, congregations, and the current UUA search process.  Future articles will include an exploration of the different Read more →

“A Practice of Compassion” by Pema Chodron

WHEN WE TALK of compassion, we usually mean working with those less fortunate than ourselves. Because we have better opportunities, a good education, and good health, we should be compassionate toward those poor people who don’t have any of that. However, in working with the teachings on how to awaken Read more →

Institutional Resistance To Change — Homily by the Rev. David Pyle

Last Preached on January 19, 2014   The Rev. Dan Hotchkiss, fellow Unitarian Universalist Minister and the author of a book that has been an inspiration for one of our own congregation’s efforts at transformation, has observed the inherent paradox in the phrase “Organized Religion”. Religion is about transformation. It Read more →

Our Whole Lives “OWL” 7-9 and 10-12 Training Group

This is a comments thread for those who participated in the OWL training in Auburndale MA from January 10th through the 13th.  I will share a reflection later.  Please feel free to use this thread to share information, messages and contacts across that group.  If you did not participate in Read more →

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Hire a Contract Minister or Call a Settled Minister?

This is the first in a series of articles that I am planning to bring to Celestial Lands over the first few months of this New Year, exploring several aspects of the interrelation between professional ministry, congregations, and the current search process.  Future articles will include an exploration of the Read more →

“The Minister’s MBA: Essential Business Tools for Maximum Ministry Success” by Michael A. Zigarelli and George S. Babbes

Find this book on Amazon

Abraham Joshua Heschel

“Speech has power. Words do not fade. What starts out as a sound, ends in a deed.”

Eboo Patel

“In a world of lots of different people and prayers, of religious narratives that intersect here, diverge there, oppose elsewhere, perhaps the most important and relevant lesson we teach our religious children is this: your religion is even more relevant in this cacophonous world because it marks your concern with Read more →

Eboo Patel

“My son’s encounters with other people’s religious language and stories actually made his own faith more relevant. Religion was not just something he did for a few moments before bed and meals, or for a few hours a week at religious education lessons, it was something all around him—at school, Read more →

John Fitzgerald Kennedy

“Whatever one’s religion in private life may be, for the officeholder, nothing takes precedence over his oath to uphold the Constitution in all parts—including the First Amendment and the strict separation of Church and State.”Read 

Martin Luther King, Jr.

“One of the first things we notice about this dream is an amazing universalism. It does not say some men, it says all men. It does not say all white men, but it says all men which includes black men. It doesn’t say all Protestants, but it says all men Read more →

Max DePree

“The first job of a leader is to define reality.”

Islam: A Short History by Karen Armstrong

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Reinhold Niebuhr

“The ironic situation is distinguished from a pathetic one by the fact that the person involved bears in it some responsibility for it.

Alexis de Tocqueville

“The greatness of America lies not in being more enlightened than any other nation, but rather in her ability to repair her faults.”

Eboo Patel

“I believe every inch of America is sacred, from sea to shining sea. I believe we make it holy by who we welcome and by how we relate to each other. Call it my Muslim eyes on the American project. “We made you different nations and tribes that you may Read more →

Eboo Patel

“The realization that there is no better time to stand up for your values than when they are under attack, that bigotry concealed doesn’t go away, it only festers underground. It’s only when the poison of prejudice emerges out in the open that it can be confronted directly.”

Eboo Patel

“The great fault line in the world is not between Americans and Arabs or Muslims and Christians. It is between the moderates of all traditions and the extremists who belong only to one—the tradition of extremism.”

Fire and water, ancient opposites

Fire and water, ancient opposites Sun and ocean, the cradle of life Dancing flame and dancing river— We invoke them together today As we kindle our chalice flame. — Laura Horton-Ludwig

This church is dedicated to the proposition

LDR: This church is dedicated to the proposition that beneath all our diversity, Cong: Behind all our differences, LDR: There is a unity which makes us one and binds us forever together Cong: In spite of time, and death and the space between the stars.” — David Baumbaugh

All we ask is light enough for the path ahead

Leader: All we ask is light enough for the path ahead. Congregation: Light enough for the task at hand. Leader: We give in return our gratitude for life and all its gifts. All: We warm ourselves by the fire of friendship and our common commitment to the common good. — Read more →

We are part of the great circle of humanity

Leader: We are part of the great circle of humanity gathered around the fire, the hearth, the altar. All: We gather anew this day to celebrate our common heritage and to recall in gratitude all that has given us birth. –Joy Atkinson, adapted

In the mystery of life about us there is light

In the mystery of life about us there is light. It gives us a place to be, to grow, to rejoice together. It opens the pathways to love. In this place of friendship there is freedom. Let the light we kindle go before us, Strong in hope, wide in good Read more →

In this small flame dwell

In this small flame dwell: the beacon light of lanterns guiding travelers home; the warmth of hearth fires tended through the generations; the transforming energy of furnaces and the power and life of our sun. May these blessings — warmth and light and life-giving energy — be kindled in each Read more →

O flaming chalice, symbol of a free faith

O flaming chalice, symbol of a free faith, Burn with the holy oil of helpfulness and service. Spread warmth and light and hope; Warm hearts grown cold with indifference; Light dark places with justice; rekindle hope in despair. May we bring fuel for thy fire of love. May the oil Read more →

This flame glows as light glows in the darkness

This flame glows as light glows in the darkness; This flame burns as fire burns all that is dross; This flame dances as growing things dance upon the green earth; This flame flickers as life flickers for a precious while in each of us; This flame is warm as the Read more →

Out of love for the human community

Out of love for the human community we light this flame. Its light is a symbol of the triumph of truth over superstition and fear. It is for learning and understanding. We light it with hope to make this a better world. — Hammond Unitarian Church

To face the world’s darkness

To face the world’s darkness — a chalice of light. To face the world’s coldness — a chalice of warmth. To face the world’s terrors — a chalice of courage. To face the world’s turmoil — a chalice of peace. May its glow fill our spirits, our hearts, and our Read more →

We gather around this flame that symbolizes

We gather around this flame that symbolizes: the truth we know and the truth we seek, the community we share and the community we aspire to, the learning that enables us and the mystery that encompasses. Here we speak the languages of memory and hope. Here we are welcomed, our Read more →

We light this chalice as a symbol of the creativity

We light this chalice as a symbol of the creativity of our liberal faith: The creativity to explore new avenues of religious insight; The creativity to develop a caring community; The creativity to envision a world of peace and freedom. — Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Harrisonburg Virginia

We light this chalice to remind ourselves of that flame

We light this chalice to remind ourselves of that flame which burns in each of our hearts; Remembering that when flame meets flame, match meets candle, the two become one, belonging to each other. Many flames join together to form the warmth of community, of congregation, of city, of nation. Read more →

We gather this hour as people of faith

We gather this hour as people of faith, with joys and sorrows, gifts and needs. We light this beacon of hope, sign of our quest for truth and meaning, in celebration of the life we share together. — Rev. Christine Robinson

In the mystery of life about us there is light

In the mystery of life about us there is light. It gives us a place to be, to grow, to rejoice together. It opens the pathways to love. In this place of friendship there is freedom. Let the light we kindle go before us, Strong in hope, wide in good Read more →

Blessed is the fire that burns deep in the soul

Blessed is the fire that burns deep in the soul. It is the flame of the human spirit touched into being by the mystery of life. It is the fire of reason; the fire of compassion; the fire of community; the fire of justice; the fire of faith. It is Read more →

Deep calls unto deep

Deep calls unto deep, joy calls unto joy, light calls unto light. Let the kindling of this flame rekindle in us the inner light of love, of peace, of hope. And “as one flame lights another, nor grows the less,” we pledge ourselves to be bearers of the light, wherever Read more →

There is a core of light

There is a core of light that underlies the little darknesses of our days. This bright flame reminds us of the potential of our lives, and the dawning potential of humanity. We gather in community to remember this core of light, and to count it sacred: within each of us, Read more →

May the flame here lit Be to us a symbol of the torch

May the flame here lit Be to us a symbol of the torch That is passed from hand to hand, and life to life – Of caring and concern and the passion of involvement Which have marked the men and women of our liberal faith For many generations. — Rev. Read more →

Flaming chalice, burning bright

Flaming chalice, burning bright, Now you share with us your light. May we always learn to share With all people everywhere. –Eva M. Ceskava, Adapted

We are not alone

We are not alone. We are this flame, ancient as the stars, new as the vulnerable spark. We are not alone. We are this chalice, rimmed by the spiral dance of searching. We are not alone. We are the light soaring, the shadow deepening, the dance between them. We are Read more →

In the flame from this chalice We find the light of faith

In the flame from this chalice We find the light of faith, The glow of hope, And the warmth of service. May we ever grow in faith, hope, and service As we kindle our own lights from its spark. — Rev. Wayne Arnason

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