Celestial Lands The Religious Crossroads of Politics, Power, and Theology

Category Archives: Ecclesiology

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 →

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 →

John W. Wimberly

“A leader is a visionary. She has a dream of what her congregation can be. He is a motivator. She can mobilize church members and staff around a vision. • A manager is a person who can transform a vision into reality. She is a master at implementation. He gets Read more →

Excerpt from “Governance and Ministry” by Dan Hotchkiss

Religion transforms people; no one touches holy ground and stays the same. Religious leaders stir the pot by pointing to the contrast between life as it is and life as it should be, and urging us to close the gap. Religious insights provide the handhold that people need to criticize Read more →

Clinton Lee Scott

“God’s laws have not been given exclusively to any church. God’s laws are the ways of living found to be good for us. Truths are derived from the experiences of men and women living, not apart from the world, but within it–in all the temptations, problems, and perplexities of the Read more →

Karen Mooney

“Authority without question is like Freedom without laws.”

James Luther Adams

“Where two or three Americans are gathered together, you may be sure a committee is being formed.”

John Shelby Spong

“The task of the church, for example, becomes less that of indoctrinating or relating people to an external divine power and more that of providing opportunities for people to touch the infinite center of all things and to grow into all that they are destined to be.”

Time Management vs. Energy Management

Through my academic, professional (non-ministry), and military careers, I have always had to pay particular attention to managing my time.  Partly this is because of my own tendencies towards wanting to do as much as possible as soon as possible (something that friends and colleagues have chided me about for Read more →

By Their Groups Shall You Know Them — Rev. David Pyle

Last preached September 23rd, 2012   Sermon        “By Their Groups Shall You Know Them”       Rev. David Pyle In the late 1960’s, when the Soviet Union was at the height of its power, Unitarian professor and theologian James Luther Adams attended a meeting of the American Philosophical Association in Boston. Read more →

In the Bonds of Peace — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached September 2nd, 2012   I love church. I think most of you all know that I love church. And more than my love of any particular church, even though I do love you all, I love the idea of church as a whole. I love church in its Read more →

The Transition of Ordination

It has now been over 2 years since I was ordained as a Unitarian Universalist Minister, and each of those years I have spent in more than full time ministry as a minister in our congregations, as well as a reserve military chaplain. Prior to that was a little over Read more →

The Center of a Liberal Faith Movement

What it means to be a Unitarian Universalist has been on my heart this last week.  Not surprisingly, considering that many UU’s are currently thinking about similar things in reaction to the recent white paper from Rev. Peter Morales titled “Congregations and Beyond”.  I know there is a lot behind Read more →

UU Military Chaplains and the Cross

Unitarian Universalists are almost always surprised when they see me wearing the Christian Cross on my Army Chaplain uniform.  Perhaps they should not be, given the Christian ancestry of our two founding denominations, but they are.  Reactions have ranged from mild curiosity to outrage to some deep pastoral need.  On Read more →

Introspection and the “Set Apart” Life of Ministry

There are times where the internal shifts necessary to be in a life of ministry in our liberal faith tradition are more obvious than others.  As Unitarian Universalist ministers, we often emphasize a radical leveling in our ministries, and many UU ministers react against the classical understanding that ministers should Read more →

Ministry is Big, so Have Faith

I want to give thanks to my colleague Christian Schmidt for being one of two inspirations for this post, through a question he posed to me in a comment on my article on our denomination’s feelings about supporting ministries.  It is a topic that I have thought about engaging many Read more →

Our Feelings on Supporting Ministries

Over the past few months, I’ve been surprised by some of the reactions from colleagues and former colleagues about my decision to accept an Assistant Minister position.  Those reactions have covered a broad range of concern and emotion… all of which was heartfelt.  I do not want this article to Read more →

General Assembly Day 2: Lions, Tigers, and Ministerial Authority, Oh My!

One of the things that always amazes me about my time at a General Assembly is how different my experience is depending on what I wear.  Now, for most people this might not be literally true, but it my case it is.  Let’s take the first and second days of Read more →

The Church and Leadership Development

One of my developing ecclesiological theories is that the church, especially the liberal church, serves among its many purposes as the laboratory for being a whole, full, and religious human being.  The liberal congregation is the container, the laboratory where we are able to learn how to engage one another Read more →

The Spiritual Practice of Leadership — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on April 3rd, 2011   On a rainy Boston afternoon in 1972, two weary men sat in a small room wondering whether to run for their church offices again. They were tired… tired of controversy, tired of difficult decisions, tired of fighting. Both of them had plenty of Read more →

Walking in Covenant — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on February 6, 2011 It seems that, when you wander around the congregations and events that comprise the practice of Unitarian Universalism today, you cannot go very far before you run into something that is being called a Covenant.  Congregations seem to have developed multiple covenants among themselves Read more →

The Spiritual Practice of Membership — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached January 23rd, 2011   I have occasionally been using the sermons I am privileged to bring to this pulpit to tell some of the stories from the earliest times of my ministry, on Galveston Island, in Texas. Being among you, I am often reminded of those days, because Read more →