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Homosexuality in the Human Community

I stand before you today with a mixture of trepidation and daring. Like often, I think we can consider touchy and complex issues with broad-minded thinking and good-hearted caring. I’ve no particular authority or expertise other than tending to think for myself and speak out loud in a setting of the “free and responsible search for truth and meaning.” So I dare, though I am uneasy; I trust we can handle it together. The topic is easy for some, unsettling for others. Homosexuality is a…

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Better than Guns

Better than Guns "Speaking is difficult, but I need to say something important. . . Violence is a big problem. Too many children are dying. Too many children. We must do something. It will be hard, but the time is now. You must act. Be bold, be courageous, Americans are counting on you. Thank you."  Gabby Gifford I do not mock Gabby here; I join her in desperate vulnerability. We’re all vulnerable.  We’re vulnerable to a whole host of problems before and beyond  guns –…

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Alternatives to the War on Drugs (2002)

Thirty years ago as a young student minister in Michigan I preached against our government’s persecution and prohibition of drugs. In the back of the room the local police and prosecutors sat, glowering. In the front, in the pulpit, I rolled what appeared to be a joint. However, because marijuana was illegal, I had to use imaginary marijuana, relying only on the placebo effect for our shared spiritual experience. I toked it up, held my breath, and passed it around as a communion. Most people…

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Perihelion Promise

It seems paradoxical that here on Perihelion Day, when we’re the closest to the sun, we’re so cold.  If we’re three million miles closer now than we are on July 4th, Aphelion Day, why aren’t we hotter now and colder then?  It depends more on the angle of relationship than the distance.  Our northern hemisphere gets a glancing-off short day of sunlight that also has to penetrate more atmosphere at that shallow angle.  So, while we’re closer than ever, we’re coldest because of our angel…

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From Passive Tolerance to Dynamic Mutuality

The issue I wish to address today involves the inevitable tensions that can grow between the good souls of a church or fellowship.  My concern is twofold: how do we maintain and improve a dynamic, satisfying fellowship for all of us, and how do we model the dynamic mutuality possible in a pluralistic democracy?  These issues go to the heart of our congregational and societal relations.   I’m glad I don’t have any particular complaint or crisis in mind.  This really has to do with…

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The Widow’s Mite and the Widow’s Might

I’m not one to prove a point by quoting scripture, as if it puts the wisdom in us, but the Widow’s Mite story says so much about the reality of our country’s economic relations I just have to use it. Luke 21 tells of Jesus observing the collection bowl at the temple. A rich Pharisee makes a big show of putting in a relatively large amount. A widow meekly puts in a mere mite. “See,” Jesus says to his followers, “she gave more, for she…

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Selfish, Selfless, and Self-Fulfilled

“Egotists,” I joke, “are those more interested in their selves than me.” We all have egos.  We all see and work the world from the unique locus we know as “I.”  We each have our particular body, genetic disposition, situation, and story.  While I admire the quest to be egoless, I doubt it happens.  Even saints can get caught in their very spiritual ego.  And you know what’s harder than being a saint – living with one. We all know people with egos so big…

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Rescuing America and Christianity from Conservatives

I’m wearing this impractical but elegant ceremonial robe to illustrate the longer and larger tradition of friendliness in American sectarian relations. Baptist deacon Norman Bennet liked what we did at the Red Hill Universalist Church in rural southeast North Carolina, a liberal Christian congregation going back some 150 years. Norm liked me so much he bought my graduation robe. He gave me it and a 12 gauge shotgun, which I also still have. Norman valued our liberal religious ways because they provide needed balance to…

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Religiously Political

Announcements for November 2  “Religiously Political” with Rev. Brad Carrier (See also accompanying newsletter entry "Religiously Political prep" in Editorials) We inherit the responsibility and opportunity to tend to our own government.  We should vote, but that is the minimum we can do.  Citizens can more importantly speak their truth in community discourse.  Authenticity and honesty are the fruit, flower and seed of democracy.  Let’s remember our founder’s intent and evaluate our political directions according to our religious values and aspirations. Sermon We’re so inundated…

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Religious Values in our Election (2004)

Whether we’re conservative or liberal it’s ours to tell what values we hold, no matter what we’re told. Christianity, the Renaissance, the Enlightenment, and our own beloved rights-based democracy in America - all increasingly entrusted us with our free will. We sovereign citizens should know, share and vote our own free conscience, not what someone tells us. Lately, we’re told certain religious values in the election prevailed and should prevail. We’re told that decent people in the heartland, feeling culturally ignored, voted against their pockets…

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