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Month: April 2016

Midweek Message 4/28/16 — “Barriers”

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This is one of my favorite moments in Mexico a few weeks back. Here’s Lynn, our most fluent Spanish speaker, making a new friend. She’s a juggler by hobby, and brought balls and clubs along on our mission trip in hopes of some cultural exchange. The gentleman juggling with her was the brother of one the folks we were building a new house for. He made his living juggling on the beaches in the tourist area. Before the day I took this picture, he’d never juggled with a partner. Despite Lynn’s fluency, she didn’t have a juggling vocabulary in Spanish. And yet, somehow with the language and the skills they did have in common, the two of them were passing clubs together like they’d been doing this act forever. As you can see, he started to get pretty tricky (later in the week, he’d give us a demo of juggling fire on a unicycle — while my camera was packed away, of course).

This bridging of seemingly insurmountable barriers is just one of the many reasons that I’m thrilled our youth get to take part in these building trips, and why I’m excited to go with them when I get the chance.

This Sunday at 10:30, the youth and adults who participated in this year’s Mexico Mission trip present reflections on their experiences. This is a multi-generational service, and all ages are welcome to remain in the sanctuary. See you in church!

Midweek Message — 4/21/16 “Evangelism?”

Go out into the highways and byways of America, your new country. Give the people, blanketed with a decaying and crumbling Calvinism, something of your new vision. You may possess only a small light but uncover it, let it shine, use it in order to bring more light and understanding to the hearts and minds of men [and women]. Give them, not hell, but hope and courage. Do not push them deeper into their theological despair, but preach the kindness and everlasting love of God.
~John Murray

“If you were accused of being a Unitarian Universalist, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” It’s an old chestnut of a question (and not original to us — Christians have been asking the same question of themselves for decades), but it makes an excellent point. For years, I’ve described our faith tradition to newcomer classes as the church that asks not “What should we believe?” but “How should we live?” To bring a 25¢ seminary word into the discussion, our tradition values orthopraxy (right action) over orthodoxy (right belief). We are, rightly, a religion of doers. The question I’ve posed this year is this: What shall we do together as a community of faith?

This Sunday at 10:30, “Get Out!” — the Unitarian Universalist imperative to live our religion into being outside the sanctuary doors. [And stick around for a yummy lunch and the annual meeting after the service.]

Midweek Message 4/7/16 — “Hope”

I am fundamentally an optimist. Whether that comes from nature or nurture, I cannot say. Part of being optimistic is keeping one’s head pointed toward the sun, one’s feet moving forward. There were many dark moments when my faith in humanity was sorely tested, but I would not and could not give myself up to despair. That way lays defeat and death.
― Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom: Autobiography of Nelson Mandela

We are a beacon of hope.
― from the vision statement of the Unitarian Church of Los Alamos

But aren’t we living in hopeless times?

Isn’t naive to talk about hope?

How could we possibly live up to our vision when times feel so hopeless? Where do we even begin?

This Sunday at 10:30, “A Unitarian Universalist’s Guide to Surviving the Zombie Apocalypse.”