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Tag Archives: Unitarian Universalism

Commonalities in Liberal Faith

This summer I had the privledge to preach a four part summer sermon series at the Unitarian Church of Evanston, IL, that has explored what some of the ties between us as Unitarian Universalists may be.  I specifically sought to name some things that are rarely said, and to make Read more →

Customized Military ID Tags

I was reading through the stories on Military.com this evening, and came across a story on the young soldier, now facing a court martial, who leaked classified information to Wikileaks.com. The story made me sad in so many ways… sad that this young man felt he had to do this, 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 →

Opening Day: GA 2010 Day 1

Reflections on the First Day of General Assembly 2010: Seeing colleagues and friends, and the most Freudian Chalice Lighting of All Time! 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 →

Arizona GA Boycott: Why Phoenix and Not Ft. Lauderdale?

What is the difference between moving the UUA General Assembly away from Arizona, and why the UUA General Assembly 2008 was not moved away from Ft. Lauderdale, FL? 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 →

A New Deism for a New World

It is an interesting experience for me to intentionally write an article about Deism, a bit of a “return to my roots” you might say. For the last several years I have not primarily identified as a Deist, although my understanding of God has always been a Deistic one. Deism 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 →

Unitarian Universalism as a Postmodern Religious Faith

There are many different “models” we use to try to describe and understand this living, growing religious faith we call Unitarian Universalism. The most common one is to describe us as a “non-creedal” faith, saying that we are a church that sets no creed or dogma for membership. While that Read more →

Returning Home, Warriorship, and the Society for Creative Anachronism

The morning after I came home from serving as a Peacekeeper in Bosnia, a friend knocked on my door at some early hour. I wanted to sleep in, but he had another plan. There was something we absolutely had to go do, something he had become involved in that he 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 →

Clara’s Universalism in Her Own Hand.

For some obvious reasons, Clara Barton is one of my more inspiring religious ancestors.  One of my more important deep religious moments happened while I was reading a biography of her.  Her committment and dedication to taking care of soldiers is an inspiration to me.  Today I visited (for coffee Read more →

Deepening in the Principles workshop

Last Night (February 18th) I faciliated an evening workshop at the UU Society of Geneva, IL about deepening our understanding of the Unitarian Universalist 7 principles by looking at them through the lens of another traditions ethical guidence.  As I said that night, I think this could be done with 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 →

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 →

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 →

It’s More Complicated than White

This past week, I have been taking a January Intensive course (a semester’s worth of lectures and class time crammed into one week) taught by the Rev. Mark Morrison-Reed. He has a new book out, In Between, but his most well known work is Black Pioneers in a White Denomination. Read more →

Realizations from Sesshin

Now that I have been home from my first Zen Sesshin for about a week, I feel I am able to write about the experience. I have tried to stay out of my discursive mind as much as possible this week, although that is challenging when you have final academic Read more →

Building a Just Peace

Below is an excerpt of and collection of resources for the speech on Building a Just Peace that I presented at People’s Church Chicago on November 22, 2008.  I am thankful for all the wonderful engagement and questions, and look forward to continuing the conversations with those who were there, Read more →

Ministry and the Moral Implications of Combat

As I was researching for a speech I am giving this weekend, I came across this short essay I wrote on my theology of war and of military ministry when I was at the Chaplain School.  It is an attempt not only to define where I stand on the moral implications of 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 →

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 →

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 →

Unitarian Universalist Peace Ministry Network

The Congregational Study Action Issue Core Team on Peacemaking has unveiled a new website, designed to provide communication and connection for Unitarian Universalists as we move forward in our work to create a more peaceful world. The website (http://uupeacemakers.org/) founds the Unitarian Universalist Peace Ministry Network, and I encourage all 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 →

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 →

Standing with our Tennessee Valley Sisters and Brothers

It is with great sympathy and a heavy heart that I write in support, solidarity, and sympathy with the members, ministers and friends of the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in my home town of Knoxville Tennessee. TVUUC was the first UU congregation where I attended worship in our faith. Read more →

The Arrest of Radovan Karadžić

In 1996, when I arrived as a Peacekeeper and an intelligence analyst in Bosnia, there was a mission at the top of our list… find Radovan Karadžić. My team and I knew he was most likely in Serbia, probably Belgrade… where we had no jurisdiction and where the U.S. Government Read more →

Why This GA Will Be Different

This year will be the first year in the last three that I will be able to attend the Unitarian Universalist General Assembly, held this year in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Last year I was at the U.S. Army Chaplain School, and the year before that I was in the midst Read more →

Stop, Sit, Listen.

Though I have hinted at it several times, I have not specifically mentioned on this blog the current turbulence occurring at my seminary, the Meadville Lombard Theological School. I have not done so for several reasons, not the least of which being that I love my school. I chose to Read more →

Not Misusing Intoxicants

A year ago, inspired not only by my Zen practice but also by wanting to better understand a friend, I made the commitment not to use alcohol for one year. Now, alcohol has never been a large part of my life, but I have enjoyed both a professional and personal Read more →

Unitarian Universalism and Military Chaplaincy

A few years ago, at a Unitarian Universalist Houston Network event, a young woman challenged in a loud and public way how I could dare call myself a Unitarian Universalist, and be willing to serve in the military. I was not actually in the military at the time; I had 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 →

Principles as Spiritual Practice – Why Inherent? (1.4)

“I take up the way of affirming the inherent worth and dignity of every person.” I mentioned in an earlier article in this series that, for years I added my own little caveat to the first principle… that I believed everyone was born with the same inherent worth and dignity, Read more →