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

Category Archives: Evangelism

Give Them Not Hell — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on December 30th, 2012 Reading        excerpt from “Bring them Hope, Not Hell” by Carl G. Seaburg This reading is from the essay “Give them Hope, Not Hell” by Rev. Carl G. Seaburg, in the book, “Salted with Fire: Unitarian Universalist Strategies for Sharing Faith and Growing Congregations”.  “Although Read more →

Born Again… and Again! — Sermon by Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on November 18th, 2012   Meditative Reading So the hymn comes to a close with an unsteady amen, and the organist gestures the choir to sit down. Fresh from breakfast with his wife and children and a quick run through of the Sunday papers, the preacher climbs the Read more →

Our Responsibility to those Beyond Our Walls

Break not that circle of enabling love, Where people grow, forgiven and forgiving, Break not that circle, make it wider still, Till it includes, embraces all the living. –Hymn 323, Singing the Living Tradition Recently, the conversation has begun again about what makes a Unitarian Universalist.  Are you only a Read more →

Tilling the Fields of a Missionary Faith — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached December 4th, 2011 Unitarian Universalist Minister John C. Morgan has written about a day when, after a sermon, a member of his congregation confronted him as he left the pulpit, with a flushed face and angry eyes… “Do not ever use that word here,” she said. “What word?” Read more →

Is the Constitutionality of Military Chaplaincy in Danger?

This week, I received an email from an organization I track, known as the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.  It is an organization that advocates both legally and in the media, for the protection of the Free Exercise of Religion in the military, often with more passion than restraint. Yet, over Read more →

Tofu Causes Dementia!

I don’t like tofu. I’ve tried to eat it and it actually makes me gag. When I was dating, I suffered through several tofu laden meals for a particular liberal-leaning young woman I was attempting to woo… until I realized that if it worked out I would have to eat Read more →

Should Military Chaplains Meet Civilian Chaplaincy Certification Requirements?

Most times I take a position on an issue when I write an article for Celestial Lands. This time, I am torn. I know the reasons that I chose to complete at least the base educational requirements for becoming a Board Certified Chaplain by the Association of Professional Chaplains (APC) Read more →

The Commoditization of Religion

The recent media attention that Fox News personality Brit Hume drew for himself by suggesting that Tiger Woods find his way out of his current marital and image problems by converting from Buddhism to Christianity, because Christianity offers a “better” (perhaps easier) form of forgiveness, has gotten me thinking about Read more →

About the UU Worship Service at the Great Lakes Naval Station

As I was completing a paper on an experiment in worship education that was conducted in the UU Worship Service at the Navy Basic Training at Great Lakes, I realized it contained my most extensive analysis of the experience of that worship service over the last 3 years.  Now that Read more →

Evangelicals are Praying for Me!

I can rest easier in this world knowing that each and every night, and perhaps even in the morning, there are Evangelicals associated with Liberty University praying for me. Why? Because I am a Liberal. I am not only a liberal, I am a flaming, NPR loving, socialized medicine supporting, Read more →

Why We Should Engage With Conservative Christians

Recently, I have had a wonderful conversation through blog postings with an old friend of mine who is a conservative Christian minister. Now, if you read that conversation, it might not seem so wonderful to you, but it has been to me. Over the last three years as a military Read more →

“Army Wives” Find Unitarian Universalism

I am not afraid to admit that one of the television shows I watch regularly with my wife is Lifetime Channel’s “Army Wives”.  I pretend it is “research” for this future Army Chaplain.  My wife does get annoyed at my regular corrections of their uniforms and their doctrine (but they Read more →

My Reticence to Support UU Congregational Outreach to Veterans

Every few weeks I get an email or a call from someone in leadership of one of our Unitarian Universalist congregations asking how they can set up an outreach program to military veterans, servicemembers, and families. For a long while, I would send them the information I have on the Read more →

THE QUESTION (Part 5)

Go to Part 1  Why it is important to “plant a seed”, and how I learned to let go of the results. When I speak of “planting a seed”, I speak from personal experience, for many years ago a seed of Unitarian Universalism was planted in me. It rested on Read more →

THE QUESTION (Part 4)

 Go to Part 1 Opening the answer to the Inquisitive Question “So, can you tell me a little about Unitarian Universalism?” and drawing more questions. This may come as a shock to those brave and committed souls who read the long blog articles at Celestial Lands, but the two keys Read more →

THE QUESTION (Part 3)

 Go to Part 1 The inquisitive “can you tell me a little about your faith?” and Questioning the Questioner. This version of THE QUESTION “Just what is Unitarian Universalism?” is my favorite. It often comes from someone genuinely interested who is trying to understand. It is not an invitation to Read more →

THE QUESTION (Part 2)

Go to Part 1  Understanding the difference between representing your beliefs and representing Unitarian Universalism. One of the first challenges I faced in learning how to respond well to THE QUESTION “Just what is Unitarian Universalism” (asked most often by my more conservative Christian colleagues) was learning to separate with Read more →

THE QUESTION (Part 1)

Just What is Unitarian Universalism, Anyway? One of the great benefits of spending several weeks (or even months) taking a course with my military chaplain and chaplain candidate colleagues (and now chaplain assistant colleagues too) is that I get asked “THE QUESTION” over and over. When I was at the Read more →

Can a Relational Faith be Online?

For the first time in the almost four years that I have been actively preaching in Unitarian Universalist Churches, I presented a sermon at a church that podcasts its services… so there is now an audio of that sermon online. I have listened to the podcasted and streamed sermons of Read more →

Our Congregational Foundation — The Fields Well Planted

I did not intend to be writing a second blog series at the same time as I am working on developing a personal spiritual practice based in the 7 principles, but that seems to be what is happening. The blog discussion about congregationalism that has included Philocrites, Making Chutney, UU Read more →

What Does It Take to Make a Unitarian Universalist?

This past summer I did something pretty radical for a Unitarian Universalist seminary student… I performed a communion service adapted from a Universalist service from the late 1800’s. It was at the U.S. Army Chaplain School, so my “congregation” consisted of Baptist, Methodist, Evangelical ministers and Catholic Priests. After the Read more →

A Missionary Faith

Last night, I attended a gathering of Micah’s Porch, a Unitarian Universalist missionary outreach in the Wicker Park neighborhood of Chicago. It was perhaps not what most people would conceive of as being mission… and I’m sure that there are more than a few people who might have an adverse Read more →

Becoming Better Christians

Rev. Cynthia Cain, in her blog Isten Aldjon, Y’all, has posted the story of evangelical Methodist college students coming to the worship services of her UU congregation in Kentucky and accosting members and visitors about why they were attending a UU church. Sadly, I am not surprised by the story. Read more →