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Recession’s Lessons

“Where there is no vision, there is no hope,” said George Washington Carver.  This current recession, the worst since the Great Depression, has shocked us out of the empty hope for endless free money and replaced it with the dashed hopes of missing money, lost jobs, and less happiness.  Stress signs are everywhere, from increased drug abuse and family violence to empty stores, vacant homes, and bankruptcies little and large.  Our fear circuits, worn ragged since 9-11, are roused again.  Petty crime is on the…

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Passion’s Fog

Passion can fog the mind. We can get so roused or riled we no longer think clear or heed our conscience. We can get so swept up in lust, love or anger we think of nothing else. We can get so full of zeal we barely notice or care what it does to others. I’m not against passion. We need passion to enliven us. Like Rod Stewart’s song says, “Even the president needs some passion, passion.” The mild twinges of passion we get from watching…

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Why We Need Each Other – A Meditation on Left and Right

Our America eagle can’t survive without both a right and left wing.  As is, it wars against itself, one wing battering the other, flapping around in circles.  The dangerous divide in our country between left and right – between red states and blue states, between city and rural, between educated and not, between moneyed and not – cannot grow in rancor without ruining our common condition. Nor can our Unitarian Universalist congregations be whole without honoring and including so-called left and right types of thinking. …

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Marriage, Gay Marriage and the Human Family

The most unusual wedding I ever performed was of a woman to herself.  On the shore of Lake Michigan I pronounced this lovely, creative creature One, adding, “What God hath joined together, let no one rent asunder.”  Of course, this was a spiritual ceremony, not a legal contract, though the marriage issue could be stretched to consider calling such a union a marriage.  Or should it?  Just what is a marriage, who qualifies, and who decides?   Let us consider marriage, gay marriage, and the…

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Lovely, Lonely Liberals

To be liberal means being generous, open minded, innovative, and kind.  It is the force of the new, the progressive.  It is inclusive and visionary, seeking freedom and progress for the whole of society.   It does not war against conservative forces, but uses them to stabilize a system while innovating within it.  Conservative and liberal are dynamics of nature -- structure, experimentation, and new birth.   It is a sign of how regressive an era we live in that the word liberal is used as…

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For Mary

“My Goddess Gave Birth to Your God” reads the bumper sticker.  The growing notion that God is not just and only male is well known in our UU churches and in other niches in society.  Feminism has grown with us for decades and centuries.  Gradually, it spreads around the world, bringing women status, freedoms, compensation, and rights in societies where patriarchy has ruled unquestioned for millennia.  We need the Divine Mother, not just Our Father.  But let’s also be careful to not just honor the…

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Focus on the Family

Focus on the Family, a conservative Christian group, teaches that “the foundation of society for the family is marriage of a man and a woman for life.”  “One man, one woman, one life” is deemed to be God’s plan and instruction.  This group is largely against homosexual marriage, but it also rails against no-fault divorce, pre-marital and extra-marital sex, group marriage, and other variations of their ideal scheme.  They cite decent research showing the benefits of a stable traditional family, and they warn weakening the…

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Fear, Force and Faith

Between the Lincoln Memorial and the White House is a statue of Christopher Columbus.  It is a grand image, inspiring, but perverse for the lie it perpetuates.  His horse rears.  His breastplate makes him look muscular and Roman.  He is bringing European sensibilities to the sub-human savages of the New World.  Of course, it’s all grandiose posturing, ego writ larger than life, as if that’s good.  We still celebrate Columbus with a holiday even though we know how cruel he was.  He waged invasion and…

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Destroying or Developing Democracy

It is not just the Unitarian Universalists who hold democracy as scared duty and hope; much of humanity honors mutual self rule.  We no longer believe a king or pope has the right to rule us, for the divine hierarchy isn’t top down, it’s inner out, both individualistic and communal.  This isn’t a passive putting up with bossy rulers; it is protecting, perfecting, and promoting humanity’s rising to be itself.   By democracy I don’t merely mean voting.  Voting for others to represent us is…

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Civility and Health Care

What has become of civility in our society?  Civility is inherent in civilization.  To civilize is to instruct on the arts of life, to enlighten and refine them, to bring our society out of a state of barbarism.  However, a wave of incivility has us headed back to barbarism, diverting us from any sensible dialog or progress, especially as we consider health care reform.  My concern here is not just for health care.   Our health care system is exemplified by Paul Goodman’s comment about…

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