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

Category Archives: Turnings

M. Scott Peck

“The truth is that our finest moments are most likely to occur when we are feeling deeply uncomfortable, unhappy, or unfulfilled. For it is only in such moments, propelled by our discomfort, that we are likely to step out of our ruts and start searching for different ways or truer Read more →

Oneness in Transformation — Sermon by the Rev. David Pyle

Last preached on July 21, 2013   Next month, while on vacation from the church, I will be serving the “2-weeks per year” that I owe to the United States Army as a Reserve military chaplain. Luckily this year I will not be going out to the field for those 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 →

Without Change, Something Sleeps Inside Us… Ministry in the Transitions

My life has been one of change.  Change both within and without.  That reality affects my preaching, it affects how I build relationships, it affects how I look at the universe.  As I have been reflecting on this past year, I have been struck by how much change was within Read more →

The Real Meaning of the Thanksgiving Story

On this day, Thanksgiving Day, I think we are remembering the wrong message.   I think our society has taken the wrong meaning from the mythologized story of starving pilgrims, a coming hard winter, and Native Americans who shared.  We give thanks to God, or to some sense of the Universe Read more →

How Can You “Come Home” When You Are Homeless? — 2011 Veteran’s Day Reflection

When I reflect on the few years after “coming home” from Bosnia, the years before some friends and a veteran counselor helped me to “get my head back on straight”, I realize that I had more than my share of luck.  I was lucky to be in a university that Read more →

My Seminary Graduation Gift: A Year with Honor Harrington

I was determined to give myself a gift at the end of 5 years of seminary, church internship, military chaplain basic training, hospital internship and hospice residency… and I did not know what I wanted.  Could I be craving a vacation on a beach in the Caribbean?  Well, always… but Read more →

A Tribute to the Rev. Barbara Pescan

The following were my words at the Tribute and Celebration of the ministry of Rev. Barbara Pescan, at the Unitarian Church of Evanston, on June 4th, 2011… I remember a day at General Assembly in Ft. Lauderdale in 2008.  A few weeks after Barbara had sprinkled some pixie dust on Read more →

Osama bin Laden and Unrealistic Hopes

These last few days, I have been on a trip to attend a U.S. Army Chaplains training conference in Scottsdale, Arizona.  I have been in hotels, airports, and restaurants in my military uniform, sometimes with other Army Chaplains, but often on my own.  For these several days, I have had Read more →

Is Libya a “Growing-Up Moment” for the United States?

For all our power in the world, the United States is still a very young nation. Unlike the modern states in Europe, in Asia, and in the Middle East, we do not stand upon thousands of years of history in the location where our nation is. Because of our youth Read more →

Happy Birthday Dad…

This is a repost of an article from each of the last two years. This is a hard time of year for me. I guess we all have these times of the year, where the past experiences of our lives fill up the time we spend living today… times in Read more →

Dawn Breaks on “Offer Day”

It is an interesting part of being an Interim Minister, that you come to love a congregation, that you have ministered among them, that you have hopes and dreams for them, that you are an intimate part of a religious community… and you know that you are only there to Read more →

What Turned a Conservative into a Liberal?

I regularly have conversations with conservatives, both political and religious conservatives. Sometimes that is through my work as an Army Chaplain, sometimes through my work as a liberal minister in a fairly conservative town, and sometimes it is through people from my past who seek me out to ask me Read more →

Joy and Sorrow are Woven Fine

There is something about the way congregations come together, to support one another, to grieve with one another, to celebrate with one another, to laugh with one another… often all at the same time… that amazes me. Something in the way a disparate group of people, brought together by belief, Read more →

We Give Thanks, For this Blessed Day

As is customary on Thanksgiving morning, I woke up thinking of all the things that I give thanks for. All the things in my life that I am grateful for… and I thought I would share a few of them. I give thanks for my wife, and for the fact Read more →

Decline, Denial, and an 8K Ruck March

This weekend was a military drill / Battle Assembly for me, and it taught me something… that I’m not as young as I once was. Nor am I as young as I would like to be. Nor am I as young as I like to think I am. I was Read more →

Leaving Chicago

As we left Chicago on Friday for the last time as “Chicagoans”, I saw the tension in my wife’s shoulders begin to drain away, tension that has been there for four years. From the smile on her face, I’m pretty sure she felt that tension draining away herself. It was Read more →

Bridging Day becomes Car Repair Day becomes Baby Day: General Assembly 2010 Day 3

Day 3 of General Assembly for me went all off kilter, but became a time of relationship building, maintining, and creating. Read more →

Service of the Living Tradition Day: GA 2010 Day 2

Day 2 of General Assembly has always been in my mind “Service of the Living Tradition Day”… and this year it was my Service of the Living Tradition. Oh, and I took communion as well… Read more →

Moving out of Liminality, and Into New Ministries

As I move out of my space of liminality and into the ministries I will carry in the coming year, the expeirence of intentional creative not-knowing has been incredible. Read more →

The Liminal Space of Intentional Not-Knowing

The last month has been a liminal space for me, as I have intentionally stayed in a space of not-knowing when it comes to what the next few years will bring. Perhaps there is a key to understanding our faith tradition in such liminality. Read more →

Ordained, and Thank You…

My thank you to everyone who participated in and helped to make my ordination by the Unitarian Church of Evanston, IL such a wonderful event… if a long one… Read more →

Long Robes and Titles – Reflection Upon my Upcoming Ordination

What does it mean when someone calls a minister “Reverend”? Is it an honorific, or is it perhaps something else. Not an academic question for me anymore… Read more →

The Torch May Pass From Me

Why I may not be becoming an Army Chaplain anytime soon, and thanks to all of the friends and collegues who have sent us support over the last week or so. Read more →

Service of Ordination at the Unitarian Church of Evanston Illinois

I am honored to announce that, on Sunday June 6th at 4pm, the Unitarian Church of Evanston, IL will Ordain me, David Pyle, as a Unitarian Universalist Minister. Visit the link below to RSVP. Fomal invitations will be mailed by the congregation soon to ministers, family, and colleagues. https://www.rsvpmenow.com/rsvpbeta/?id=20919 Yours in Faith,  David

My Essay on “Why I Want to be an Army Chaplain”

I am currently putting together my packet to accession as a U.S. Army Chaplain, and part of that packet is a 1-page essay titled “Why I want to be a U.S. Army Chaplain”.  Now, the regular denziens of the Celestial Lands can probably guess that what has been difficult has been getting it Read more →

Happy Birthday Dad

This is a repost of an article from the last 2 years. This is a hard time of year for me. I guess we all have these times of the year, where the past experiences of our lives fill up the time we spend living today… times in which what we live Read more →

In Each Ending there is a Beginning

We have closed another year here at Celestial Lands, and I want to thank all of those who read and send me comments, both in public through the blog and in private through my email. I keep this website because it is important to me… it is a place for Read more →

A Call of Christmas Peace

It was Christmas, so I called home. That may not sound like much, but after the day I had just had, it was everything in the world to me. I had woken up that morning in my bunkbed made of plywood and 2×4’s, in a bombed out hotel room in Read more →

On Trial…

There are probably very few people in the United States who are interested at all in the trial of Radovan Karazdic, former President of the Republica Serpska, and the leader of the Bosnian Serbs during the Bosnian war of the mid-90’s. For myself, it has been a long emotional journey, Read more →

Photos of American Samoa

My wife and I were looking at the photos and video in the media of the devastation in American Samoa, following the tsunami.  My wife lived in American Samoa in a tent for months at a time, on archaeological digs.  Just as I did after hurricane Ike hit our former Read more →

You Want to Join the Military? But We’re UU’s!!!

Over the last several years, I have had the privilege to be with several Unitarian Universalist families as they struggled through the complex emotions that arise around a loved one deciding to join the military. Recently, some ministers have even referred such families to me, and I thought it would Read more →

Theology in Science Fiction

Since I was 9 years old, Science Fiction has played an amazingly important role in my life. I am secure enough in my identity that I do not mind admitting my personal geekdom. In truth, I credit a decent amount of who I have become to my encounter with science fiction Read more →

Why I Don’t Carry or Handle Firearms Anymore

Among the topics that I have written about over the past two years, I doubt any of them have been more sensitive or personal to me than this one, and I come at it with more than a little trepidation. It is possible that some (including those on the Ministerial Read more →

Happy Birthday Dad…

This is a repost of an article from last year.  This is a hard time of year for me. I guess we all have these times of the year, where the past experiences of our lives fill up the time we spend living today… times in which what we live is Read more →

Can a Deist find a Home in Unitarian Universalism?

From time to time someone asks me about the relationship between Deism and Unitarian Universalism. For many years I was considered something of a “leader” (as much as Deists have leaders) in several attempts to organize Deists around the world… from the United Deist Church to the Deist Alliance. For Read more →

The Vanquished

The field does not look the same as it did this morning. This morning, it was peaceful and orderly, with waiving grasses across small rolling hills. The sun came up from the east across the orderly lines, in glittering gold and ovals of wood. The horses were restive, bursting with Read more →

I Survived January

January Intensives are over… and I’m both happy and sad. I am happy that I have survived, I am sad that some of my favorite people in the world are headed home to parts across North America. January is a special time at Meadville Lombard, but it is also a Read more →

A Year in the Celestial Lands

A year ago today I debuted a new design for the Celestial Lands website, one that allowed me to add to the long standing online journal/archive that has served me well over the years something I did not know if I would actually use… a blog. It is hard to Read more →

The Iron Law of Human Self-Interest

In 1994 I was injured in a training accident in the U.S. Army. I fell out of a helicopter simulator during fast-rope training and broke my tailbone. For a little over a week I was bedridden, unable to sit and in deep pain when I walked. One of my fellow Read more →

Quiet for Sesshin…

Celestial Lands will go quiet for the next week, as I am leaving this afternoon for a week-long Sesshin at the Empty Sound Zen Temple in Oak Park, IL.  This is my wife’s Christmas present to me, and I have been looking forward to it for some time.  A week Read more →

The Journey Up Diamond Head

I would like to tell you all a story about my father. I’m not certain why I feel compelled to write this story, but I woke up having dreamed about it.    My Dad was my hero as a child. He was a career Sergeant in the Army, and later Read more →

Thanksgiving and Grief

My thanksgiving present to all of you is this video… but read the article first, the video will then make more sense. Giraffe Stuck In Quicksand | Funny Jokes at JibJab It has been an amazing few years, since I began the path toward the Unitarian Universalist Ministry. It has Read more →

The Abuse and Misuse of Emotions

This week, I have been wrestling with how to talk about something that has been instrumental in my recent ministerial formation, while still “agreeing in love”. It is hard for a seminarian to say something that might be construed as critical of colleagues, even if, as one minister friend told Read more →

Titles and Clown Noses

During a ceremony today at the Zen Temple I attend, my teacher became a Roshi, receiving the final “seal of approval” from his own teacher. As the ceremony was beginning, with his students sitting seriously with just a little bit of awe (at least I was), he reached into the Read more →

Post Navigation