Sam’s Sermons 1999-2000

Unplugging the Christmas Machine December 3, 2000
Every year Christmas seems to get more unmanageable. The festival of light and love becomes a chore of shopping, cooking, cleaning, rushing around and gaining weight. We can choose to do things differently, perhaps for only $100.
Techno-Theology November 12, 2000
For many people today, technology has become a religion. It seems as though for every problem or concern there is a technological fix. Are we wise to put so much faith in technology to save us or are we worshipping a false god?
Our Most Important Civic Ritual, November 5, 2000
Your vote matters! It matters not just because it is needed to select our political leaders. Voting is one of the most important rituals of citizenship. There can even be religious, perhaps even mystical satisfaction standing in the voting booth!
Eco-Theology October 29, 2000
Unitarian Universalists have long looked to nature as a source of meaning and inspiration. The refulgent beauty of New England inspired the rapture of the first Unitarian Transcendentalists. Many today are finding meaning in Earth Centered Spirituality. This will be one of a two part series on contemporary ways of thinking about the divine.
Flossing Your Teeth October 8, 2000
These are the days of Atonement, the Days of Awe as Yom Kippur approaches. It is a time to reflect on the ways we have fallen short of our highest good. And how about the good of our teeth? Just why do so many of us ignore the threat of bone loss and gingivitis?
Religion, Philosophy and God, September 17,2000
Religion and Philosophy intertwine when one approaches the topic of God in the Western religious tradition. Judaism, Christianity and Islam have all been deeply influenced by Greek thought. Yet the relationship has tension to it. The God of the book is different than the God of Plato and Aristotle. The struggle continues today even in liberally religious circles.
What If We Are Unconditionally Loved? June 11, 2000
Lynn Ashley shared this question with me that one her seminary professors encouraged his students to ask again and again, almost like a spiritual practice. How would life be different if we looked at love as an unlimited resource freely offered to us? As we end our church year, let us ask this theologically rich question and bring it down to earth looking for implications in our daily lives.
UU Character Education June 4, 2000
Character development has been a cornerstone of Unitarianism and Universalism. We believe we can grow in virtue, ethics and morality through intentionally developing these qualities. Now we see this idea taking shape under the name “Character Education” in our schools. Let us look today at Character Education and how it might fit with our lifespan religious education programming.
Take off or Die Off? May 21, 2000
The recent gas supply crisis has brought our attention back to the big dark secret of our economic boom. It is almost entirely paid for with cheap imported oil. What happens when production peaks as the global supply starts to diminish? Will we take off or die off?
The Light of Love Never Goes Out, April 23rd, 2000
We celebrate Easter story as a victory of the Spirit of Life. Our focus will be the lived experience of rebirth as expressed in poetry and song. If the forces of nature cooperate, we will have a lovely warm day to revel in the glory of spring after a bone chilling winter. This will be an intergenerational service for children and adults alike.
Journey to Jerusalem April 9, 2000
Why did Jesus need to go to Jerusalem and stir up trouble? He had premonitions that he’d need no round trip passage. Why wasn’t he a little more pragmatic make alternate plans? What compelled him to speak truth to power and make the ultimate sacrifice?
Theodore Parker: The Man, March 12, 2000
Theodore Parker: The Preacher March 19, 2000
This will be a two part sermon on the life, thought and action. While we revere his memory today, he was an outcast among Unitarian Clergy in his time for his outspoken abolitionist views. We all have heard of the famous Transcendentalists Emerson, Whitman and Thoreau. We also should know their contemporary Parker because many of his ideas are alive in our congregation. The first sermon will be primarily biographical and the second will be focussed on his thinking.
Unconditional Love February 13, 2000
Unconditional love is what we all want from our relationship partners, friends and family. We are attracted into relationship by this promise. And then many of us grow up and become jaded when the promise isn’t fulfilled. Is unconditional love a romantic fiction or is it a worthy ideal we can cultivate and approach?
Bitter Sweet Silence February 6, 2000
Meditation cultivates a great appreciation for the joys of being still and silent. Inner calm brings great peace and happiness. And there are times when keeping silence perpetuates suffering in society. Becoming anti-racist, for example, means speaking out rather than keeping a complicit silence. Knowing the difference between when to speak and when to keep silent is a fruitful area of exploration for all of us.
Responsible Consumption as a Moral Imperative, January 30, 2000
This is a study action issue passed by the UUA General Assembly last June: “Irresponsible consumption endangers our future as it wastes raw materials and precious resources, depriving people in other countries as well as our won future generations. Can UUs and their congregations influence people to become more responsible in our consuption of resources?”
Reevaluating Anti-Racism, January 16, 2000
Unitarian Universalist theologian Thandeka presented a paper at last year’s General Assembly challenging the UUA Jubilee Working Group’s ideas on how to do anti-racism work effectively. By examining her ideas, and the Working Group’s responses to her ideas, some new light has been shed on dismantling racism that may help move us a step forward in creating a greater climate of diversity in our congregations and the world at large
Reconciling Science and Religion January 9, 2000
There is much talk today about reconciling the rift between science and religion. We’ve certainly seen many a battle this past century within our Association’s walls between the scientifically oriented humanists and the spiritually oriented theists. Philosopher Ken Wilber believes the rift can be crossed in a way that doesn’t violate science or religion’s dignity.

Sermons for 1999

The Gift That Keeps on Giving, December 19, 1999
With the commercial exploitation of the December holiday and New Year season, the joy of giving gets lost in the flood of merchandise. As we take a rest from shopping fatigue, let’s reflect together on the kind of generosity that inspires more giving. The kind of generosity that transforms lives.
Millennial Madness December 5, 1999
So much madness about the changing of the date. Jesus said, no one will know the hour of my coming. No one certainly includes some of the crackpots predicting the end of the world. And yet, scientists and environmentalists are predicting an awful catastrophe coming in the next century. Overpopulation. Ecocide. Global Warming. Ozone depletion. Nuclear Proliferation. Global plagues. Perhaps we should be listening to the apocalyptic doomsayers, and hearing a different message.
Pilgrim Pride November 21, 1999
For all my excursions into Oriental and Asian religion and philosophy, I have a strong sense of affinity with our Pilgrim heritage. Back in the early 1600’s, a little ragtag band of religious dissenters left England to seek a place to freely practice their beliefs. Important parts of our congregational identity came with them on their journey to America. While we have grown beyond the narrowness of their thinking, it affirms some of our core values to be thankful for this part of our religious heritage.
Vision of a New Millennium November 17, 1999
The Power of Positive Process,October 24, 1999
Group Process can accomplish amazing things. The foundation of a democratic organization such as our Society is the belief that people talking with each other publicly leads to good decisions and actions. if we were rational creatures this would be easy. We are not. Strong feelings can gum up the works. Skillful group leadership and communication techniques with effective follow through, on the other hand, can move mountains. Come hear how this is done.
Agnostic Spirituality October 10, 1999
A longing for something more than what secular life provides brings people in our doors. For those of us who reject the traditional conception of God or are alienated in our search by New Age language, exploring that something more may become frustrating. There are ways to approach spiritual seeking that are agnostic and hold the promise of satisfying the seeker’s longing without a leap of faith.
On Being Social AND Religious, October 3, 1999
This sermon will be a response to a controversy stirred up last year by Rev. Loehr. One of the great assets of this congregation is its strong social programming. That programming supports a warm feeling of community, yet there are also unfulfilled desires for greater religious content. This will be a vision of how to bring them together.
Why I’m Here,September 26, 1999
We weren’t looking for each other. We met because a matchmaker in Boston thought we might be compatible. After a week of getting to know each other in January, a congregational vote and my acceptance of your call, we decided to begin our ministerial partnership in August. During my candidating week, I didn’t speak from the pulpit about why I decided to accept your call to serve as your minister. This morning I’d like to speak about my vision of what we can DO and BE together.
Lone Wolves and the Lambs of God September 19, 1999
Yom Kippur begins this evening bringing the Jewish Days of Awe to an end. The Jewish New Year is being celebrated this year under the shadow of the shootings at the Jewish community center in California. As we approach the new millenium, the forces of hate have found a new expression through Internet web sites which encourages lone individuals to terrorism. Will the wolves and lambs ever be able to lie down together?