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Maturity, Lately

One of the good things about growing older is that you have ample time to adjust to growing older.  When I look in the mirror, I see a face I’ve grown accustomed to.  Unlike friends who haven’t seen me for three or four decades, I don’t have to have to suddenly see the older me.   I’ve grown accustomed to my face My breathing out and breathing in I’ve grown accustomed to the way my hair won’t rightly lay It won’t lie down I will…

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A Heart of Wisdom

At memorial services I sometimes refer to Psalm 90:   For all our days pass away, our years come to an end, like a sigh.  The years of our life are threescore and ten, or even by reason of strength fourscore; yet they are soon gone and we fly away… So teach us to number our days that we might get a heart of wisdom.   Long though our lives might be, they will end.  We will die, but will we have lived well?  Will…

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Have a Heart to Help your Head

Robert Fulgum was delighted that a student brought an actual human brain to show and tell.  The students got to hold the three pound organ in their hands.  “I have one of those things between my ears,” he said, reminding them that not only does it serve to monitor and adjust all the functions of the body, from breathing to moods, it holds much more:   [It] contains all the limericks I know, a recipe for how to cook a turkey, the remembered smell of…

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Emerson, on his 200th

On May 25th of this year we could celebrate the 200th birthday of a quintessential American: Ralph Waldo Emerson.  Emerson exemplified American individualism as the holy duty of being human.  He was the ultimate Protestant, preaching we should be ourselves as daringly, caringly and authentically as we can – that is God’s infinite creativity made manifest and satisfied.   “Man is timid and apologetic; he dares not say, “I think,” “I am,” but quotes some saint or sage,” said Emerson.  I don’t mind the irony. …

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Doctor’s Advice

The essence of liberal religion lives in you as you.  There is no separation between body and soul.  You are embodied soul.  The worldly and the worthy are not different things or places.  Your unique incarnation inherits inherent freedom and responsibility.  Who you are and how you live in your spirit, body, community, world, and cosmos is yours to live as you choose.  So it is for each and all of us.  This is the common existential condition we attempt to understand and care for…

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From Despair to Delight

Wild Geese           You do not have to be good.           You do not have to walk on your knees           for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.           You only have to let the soft animal of your body           love what it loves.           Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.           Meanwhile the world goes on.           Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain           are moving across the landscapes,           over the prairies and the deep trees,           the mountains and the rivers.…

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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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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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All Hallowed

Happy New Year!  I know the new year started recently during the Jewish high holy days, and earlier than that at the end of February when the Chinese started theirs, and earlier than that on January 1st.  It turns out the year can start almost any time and I don’t mind it starting over and over.  As harvest season ends for us in the Northern Hemisphere, Halloween makes as good of a time to end and start the years as any other.   Halloween turns…

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The Infinite Ocean

I have a small scar on my hip, a little reminder: “You can’t toy with the ocean.”  I was body surfing in Laguna Beach, riding the big waves in, using my chest as if a surfboard.  I had a wonderful day.  What fun!  I wanted it to go on.  The waves seemed to be changing, as if to say, “Go in,” but I was greedy for one more ride.  I got that ride and then some.  A huge wave sped me towards shore, but it…

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