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

Tag Archives: Uu Principles

Beyond Military Borders — Homily at PSWD-UUA District Assembly 2012

I have received multiple requests for copies of the homily that I presented at the UUA Pacific Southwest District Assembly this year, and instead of continuing to email it out, I thought I would publish it here at Celestial Lands.  The task was to reflect on what “Beyond Borders” meant Read more →

What Would a UU Religious Order Look Like?

One of the first essays I ever wrote in seminary, and the first essay I ever had published, was on the need for Unitarian Universalism to develop integrated spiritual practices that can be shared and engaged by large groups of Unitarian Universalists.  In that essay, I make the case that 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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

General Assembly Day 4: Universalism, Compassion, Spiritual Practice and Salvation

My experience of the fourth day of the 2011 General Assembly in Charlotte, NC, was framed around two lectures… the Murray Street Address by the Rev. Bill Sinkford… and the Ware Lecture by Karen Armstrong.  For me, these two lectures swam in my personal pond through waters that have been 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 Purpose of Religious Communities

I always know I’m onto something when I can get a congregant to look at me cross-eyed. A few months ago I was having a conversation with a dear congregant from a corporate background about how our Fellowship here in Midland “did things”. How our committees and teams function, how 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 →

The Journey from Conservative to Liberal

I remember a day in seventh grade when I came home all excited to tell my parents that I had discovered that I was a Liberal. We had been studying the American political system in social studies class, and in our textbook was a little box that showed the typical Read more →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

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 →

Principles as Spiritual Practice – Introducing the Intent (I.2)

Over the past several days, I have been discussing this project of looking at the Seven UU Principles through the lens of spiritual practice with one of my ministerial mentors. Through those discussions and a few others, I have realized that I need to add another segment to my introduction Read more →

Principles as Spiritual Practice – Forgiving the Unforgiveable (1.3)

“I take up the way of affirming the inherent worth and dignity of every person.” For me personally, the hardest aspect of learning to live the first principle of Unitarian Universalism in my daily life has been learning to forgive… particularly learning to forgive those who seem to have done Read more →

Principles as Spiritual Practice — Your Own Inherent Worth and Dignity (1.2)

“I take up the way of affirming the inherent worth and dignity of every person.”  There are two key phrases in this principle, and the second one often gets overlooked though it is probably the more profound of the two. That phrase is “Every Person”. There have been creeds and Read more →

Principles as Spiritual Practice — Those Not Known (1.1)

“I take up the way of affirming the inherent worth and dignity of every person.” The most common interpretation of the first principle that I have come across, and indeed the one that I primarily held for a long time, involves a commitment by myself to the ideal that everyone Read more →

The Inherent Worth of Terrorists

In 1992 I saw a set of pictures of a village in Peru that had been massacred by members of the Sendero Luminoso, the “Shining Path”. It is hard for me even today to describe the brutality of those images. Hate is not too strong a word for the emotions Read more →