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

Tag Archives: Hope

Is This Really Where We Are? — A Psalm of Lament

Oh Lord, Is this really where we are?  A man once said, “I believe, but help my unbelief”. I’m not sure I ever understood, until I myself had to cry out to you, Is this really where we are, oh Lord. Are we really as far from the Kingdom of Read more →

To Write or Not to Write… A Systemic Theology Book

One of the aspects of a Clinical Pastoral Education Residency that was most valuable to me was spending a year with ministers from other religious traditions, being required to have deep discussions about theology, about pastoral care, and about our life experiences.  It not only helped me to broaden my 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 →

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 →

Soldiers and War Memorials

This Sunday, I preached a “sermon-in-dialog” with Roy Wedge, a member of the UU Fellowship of Midland, a Vietnam era Air Force Veteran, and a singer/songwriter.  Below is the final section of that sermon, written and preached by myself, telling the story of the last time I visited the National 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 →

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 →

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 →

Faith is Hard… and Liberal Religion Needs Some

One of the earliest articles I wrote here at Celestial Lands is one where I seek to define, for myself, the meaning of faith (that faith is not belief, it is “sacred trust”). I sometimes think we Unitarian Universalists and others of Liberal Religion have a harder time coping with 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 →

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 →

Tragedy at Ft. Hood

I have intentionally not written anything about the recent mass shooting at Ft. Hood, committed by an Army Psychiatrist, because I did not want to jump to any conclusions. We still do not know enough to draw any conclusions save one… soldiers saved other soldier’s lives that day. I am Read more →

On the Origin and Nature of Evil

It is surprising to me when someone one asks me whether or not I believe in evil. I can see how someone can begin to learn about my theology and come to that question, but it surprises me every time. It is surprising to me because I know exactly how Read more →

The Problem with being Lambs

Recently in an email someone said to me that they were still a “lamb of God”, even though they were working through some issues in their faith. As Jacob once did, they have been “wrestling with God”. I remember the metaphor “be ye lambs of God”. I remember those words Read more →

Dare to Dream

There are many hopes that I have for Liberal Faith, and for Unitarian Universalism specifically, but the greatest of these is that we dare to dream. Not necessarily as individuals, for I have met dreamers aplenty in our congregations. No, my hope is that we learn to dream, to vision 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 →

Rejectionist Theology

If I had to describe my own faith journey over the last fifteen years in one sentence, it might be that I moved from understanding my faith only in terms of what I was against, to building a faith based upon what I am for. For years, whenever someone would Read more →

Now I’m Really Concerned

It might come as a surprise to some of you now, or who know me now, but for years I was an avid listener and dare I say fan of right wing talk radio. In my office and workshop I nearly forced my crew to listen to Rush, G Gordon, Read more →

Galveston Island and Home Church Photos

  Many of you know that I am a member of and was a student minister at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Galveston Island, where Hurricane Ike is currently making landfall. Last weekend, I visited Galveston and my home church, on my way to Ft. Sam Houston in San Antonio. Read more →

Hurricane Rita and Cowboy Church

  In September of 2005, my wife and I were evacuating from our Island home on Galveston Island, Texas, ahead of Hurricane Rita. It was a frightening set of days, in which we were in the midst of the nightmare of all traffic jams, in which we traveled only 100 Read more →

A Seachange in our Faith

Rev. Kit Ketcham, a UU Minister, fellow blogger, and in some ways a kindred spirit has recently observed on her blog how UU’s and UU Congregations seem to have trouble reaching out to military personnel. Her article apparently was inspired in part by conversations she has had with fellow ministers Read more →

Hope, Courage, Compassion, Love, Faith.

I know that there is currently a lot of anxiety among those who hold our liberal faith, to realize that we can be the target of a hate crime… but that is not what has moved me in this tragedy. What has moved me in this tragedy has been the Read more →

Back to the Well of Faith

I have an institution in my life in which I must have faith, but it is sometimes hard to hold on to. We all have such organizations in our lives, be they schools, churches, community action groups, and even our families. Those of you who know me personally can probably Read more →

Defining Religious Language: Crucifixion and Resurrection

Of all of the religious language that I have worked over the past few years to define for myself, these two words and concepts have by far been the hardest. I think there are three reasons for that. First, they are probably the two most sensitive words in the Christian Read more →