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Month: December 2010

What We Talk About When We Talk About God

What We Talk About When We Talk About God

delivered at the Unitarian Church of Los Alamos, 12 December 2010

(With apologies to Raymond Carver for the title.)

This sermon owes much to the work of sociologists Paul Froese and Christopher Bader, two of the primary researchers behind the Baylor Survey of Religion and their book, America’s Four Gods: What We Say about God–and What That Says about Us.

The notion of being stuck in the “apple system” comes from a brief comment by James Martin, SJ, in his book The Jesuit Guide to (Almost) Everything: A Spirituality for Real Life (one of my favorite books this year).

What Community Requires

delivered at the Unitarian Church of Los Alamos, 5 December 2010

What Community Requires

I feel my powers of title-fu failed me on this one, but I’ll take that if the message is strong. Here in Los Alamos, we’re facing a crisis in charitable giving. The National Laboratory has altered its annual giving drive in such a way that more and more money is leaving not just our community but also the state of New Mexico. Our local United Way, which has administered the funds to local agencies in the past, is expecting a fifth (or less) of what they’ve received for local use in the past. Self Help, Inc. — our congregation’s longest-lived outreach partner — is just one agency that is looking at severely reduced funding for the coming year, which means severely reduced assistance to some of our people who are most in need.

While I advocate for local giving in the sermon, I would also ask anyone reading to consider a charitable gift to Self Help this season. Thank you.


Self-publishing has been a steep learning curve. The result of the delay, however, has been a coherent book that looks great. I need to give a lot of thanks to my wife, Jess, for contributing her talents to what’s going to be a very polished final product.

Final files are headed to CreateSpace this week. After the proof copy has been approved, the book will be available on Amazon most likely within the next two weeks, and available to bookstores and libraries not long after.

After the new year, I’ll be working on the Kindle edition.