Sam’s Sermons 2001

On the Beginning and Ending of Life, December 9, 2001
Ever since President Bush made his pronouncement about stem cell research, your minister has been itching to preach on the topic. Even though it’s December, we don’t have to spend the whole month wallowing in sentimentality. Come for a sober look at the arguments surrounding this controversial topic.
A Rational Faith November 18th, 2001
One of the distinguishing marks of Unitarian Universalism is the use of the mind in the realm of religion. We believe that reason is a critical component of one’s religious and spiritual development. The use of reason however does not undermine our need for faith. We will celebrate our once a year corn muffin (baked by your minister) and cider thanksgiving celebration as part of this service.
Public Ministry November 11th, 2001
In the realm of Christian Theology lurks the faith vs. works debate. Are Christians saved by their faith in Jesus or because they lived their faith doing good works? Unitarian Universalism has a different set of questions. The inner and the outer meet in public ministry. Can we have a meaningful faith without good works? Can good works have value without coming from a meaningful faith commitment?
Ahistorical Wicca October 28, 2001
I’ve been watching the evolution of Wicca for the last twenty years as it tries to connect itself to a pre-Christian woman centered religious tradition of which little is known. Some creativity has been applied to that history to shape it to suit modern sensibilities. A mythology is being created out of little more than speculation in some cases. Can Wicca evolve into a real religion without relying on these distortions?
Zen and the Art of Recovery, October 7, 2001
Addiction is a scourge on the human spirit. Tremendous suffering is caused by alcohol, substance abuse, and gambling. The most effective treatments involve reliance on a higher power which can create barriers to recovery for those who are not believers. Buddhism offers another path to recovery
A Place Where Everyone Knows Your Name September 30, 2001
Our congregation will be embarking on a new program this fall called small group ministry. In a world of accelerating change, fragmented families and mobility to find satisfying work, human relationships suffer. Many today feel isolated and alone. Small group ministry promises to help us find greater intimacy in our congregation.
The Practice of Letting Go September 23, 2001
This Sunday lands in the middle of the Jewish High Holy Days. After the New Years Celebration on Rosh Hashanah, follows a time of atonement where Jews seek forgiveness from those they have harmed and offer forgiveness to those they have harmed. How do we forgive others and ourselves?
On Becoming a Human Race Activist, September 16, 2001
Rev. Dr. James Forbes, minister of the Riverside Church in New York City, gave an electrifying Ware Lecture at UUA General Assembly in June. He challenged us to become “human race activists.” So just what is a human race activist and how do we become one? NOTE: This service was adapted to the September 11th attack.
Cosmic Mariner: Destination Unknown, May 20, 2001
These are the words written on the Tombstone of Conrad Aiken. They wonderfully capture so much of what it means to be a traveler through time on planet Earth. Before our Annual Meeting, let step back from the issues and gaze in awe at the Big Picture we’re framed in.
Failure is Impossible May 13, 2001
This was the motto of Susan B. Anthony, the foremother of Feminists everywhere. Women may not have gotten the right to vote without her single-minded dedication to an irrevocable belief that women could not advance without it. Come forinspiration on what it takes to make a difference in the world.
Jesus: Spiritual Humanist April 15, 2001
The original Humanist was Jesus of Nazareth. The values Jesus professed are ones most Humanists would affirm. And Jesus was more than the words he professed. If you would have met him, you would have probably said, “He has something I want.” This service will have a special intergenerational component in honor of Easter.
Let My People Go! April 8, 2001
The themes of Passover are timeless. The path to freedom be it a people or a person is never easy. It is more comfortable to live with oppression than to challenge it. This morning we will lift up the Jewish feast of Passover and its universal connections to the human spirit.
Crime and Punishment March 18, 2001
With apologies to Dostoyevsky for poaching his book title, Rev. Trumbore will look at the state of criminal justice and our prison system. Does the punishment fit the crime? Is there a better way to deal with people who break the law? What happens when they get out? This sermon was bought by Ann Brandon at last year’s service auction.
Eudaimonia March 4, 2001
Aristotle used this word to describe the good life. The Greek word translates poorly as happiness and well-being. Thomas Jefferson was probably thinking of eudaimonia when he put the words “pursuit of happiness” in the Declaration of Independence. Just what kind of happiness were the Greeks interested in and is it what many people are looking for today?
It Takes a Congregation February 4, 2001
The often repeated expression, it takes a village to raise a child, is the springboard for the idea that it takes a congregation to accompany us through all our years. When we are young we need religious education teachers and inspirational examples. When we are middle aged we need a social network and encouragement to look inside and grow. When we are older, we need a helping hand and an ear to pass on our wisdom.
Welcoming, Exciting and Growing, January 21, 2001
Responding and Sustaining January 28, 2001
This is a two part sermon series which is an investigation of our congregational identity. Who are we, what meanings hold us together, what do we do, and what do we promise each other. I have poetically recast our mission statement as the Chalice Lighting we do each Sunday. This Chalice Lighting is rich with meaning that may not be obvious without analysis.
The Challenges of Interfaith Partnership, January 7, 2001
The Social Responsibilities Council and the Board have committed our congregation to join the faith based community organizing group ARISE. There is much good that can come from this partnership but there are also challenges for us as we join with people who do not share our approach to religion. To succeed together we must set boundaries but also live our message of tolerance.