Sam’s Sermons 2010

Attachment to Disbelief,  PDF MP3 December 12, 2010
Losing their belief in Santa Claus is the first faith crisis for many children. For them, this was just the first slide down that slippery slope of unbelief as childish beliefs crumbled under scientific scrutiny. The expression “once burned, twice shy” may describe the stance of many Unitarian Universalists with regard to their resistance to believe. Yet, attachment to disbelief isn’t a satisfying answer either.
Peacemaking,  PDF December 5, 2010
A great deal of effort has gone into the Unitarian Universalist Statement of Conscience on Peacemaking that passed at our General Assembly this  past June. So what does it say about how to make peace? What are the values it upholds? And how can we put it into practice in our congregation? How can we keep the peace in our own families as the December holidays that celebrate peace approach?
Our Haudenosaunee Heritage, November 21, 2010
As we prepare to give thanks during our Thanksgiving dinners, let us also give thanks for our Haudenosaunee (or Iroquois) Heritage. Even if we don’t have one drop of Native American blood, aspects of our society and life here have been shaped by the Haudenosaunee. This is also the Sunday Rev. Trumbore bakes his renown organic corn muffins (including gluten-free ones) for our tradition of a corn muffin communion to celebrate our heritage and harvest.
Countering Despair Over the Planet’s FuturePDF Novmber 14, 2010
Many who advocate and work for world community with peace and justice for all struggle to keep despair at bay. The challenges facing our future are daunting and progress is easily reversed. What others celebrate as a sign of the second coming, most of us believe can and should be ameliorated. How do we keep our spirits up when the world seems to be turning into hell?
The Divided SelfPDF October 24, 2010
Inner personal disharmony lurks at a deeper level than the challenges of finding unity in a congregation that celebrates diversity. Freud insightfully labeled this disharmony, the eternal struggle between the id and the superego, moderated by the ego. Society, our workplace, our family and friends all make demands on us. Our values and commitments also make demands on us. How do we find wholeness while struggling with our own inner diversity?
Can a New England Rooted Tradition Have Universal Appeal? PDF October 17, 2010
Unitarian Universalist Association President Peter Morales, the first Latino serving in this office, is sensitive to the Eurocentric Protestant, New England bias found in our tradition. Any congregation located in a place that doesn’t follow our weather patterns here, like Florida and California, notices this. Beyond the geographic bias, are there other biases in our religious tradition that are unwelcoming to non-New Englanders who share our values and commitments? If so, do we want to do anything about it?
One Congregation, Many Paths  PDF October 3, 2010
As we consider the challenges of philosophical and theological diversity in our non-creed based congregation, it can be useful to hear about how other Unitarian Universalist congregations navigate these waters. Some of our sister congregations are doing some very innovative things that we might consider doing here.
Barriers to Authentic Community PDF September, 26 2010
How does one build authentic community? The heritage and traditions handed forward provide the base. Wise and compassionate leadership offer the inspiration and create the boundaries. Commitment and generosity provide the materials and support. In the process, so many things can go wrong. And the source of many of those problems start with “me.” What interferes with the process of building authentic community? And what can “I” do about it?
Hunger for Authentic Community PDF September, 19 2010
When many of our members are asked about the greatest source of satisfaction from participation in our congregation, they point to a sense of community. When we experience it here, it feeds an inner hunger, whetting our appetite for more. Creating and sustaining an authentic warm and loving community is very challenging. What are we doing right? What can we build on and expand to open the door wider?
Deeds NOT Creeds  PDF May 16, 2010
As this is the day of our Annual Meeting, let us return to the core values of our congregation. The statement that “you can believe anything you want and be a Unitarian Universalist” is false. Wide as our range of beliefs are, our core values narrow the beliefs that are acceptable within our walls.
One of our highest values is our commitment to action.
This is Madness! PDFApril 11, 2010
Madness comes in many flavors. Some kinds of madness are manifestations of serious mental illness resulting from defects in how the brain functions. There are other kinds of madness, however, that are the result of human behavior. Michel Foucault, sees madness as social construction rather than a concrete reality. That madness can be a valuable social critique that can reveal our self deceptions and the flaws in our social institutions.
Jesus Is for Losers PDF March 28, 2010
Some may miss the double meaning here so let me be clear. Too often contemporary Unitarian Universalists may take this statement one way that casts aspersions on Christians. For the purposes of this service, the title will point to Jesus’ ministry to the poor and the dispossessed. I doubt Jesus would have been very comfortable in a beautiful cathedral or associating with rich and powerful Christians. Jesus’ message sounds quite different in the ears and on the tongues of society’s losers.
John Calvin – Another Look PDF March 7, 2010
Both Unitarianism and Universalism owe their existence to the negative reaction to the Puritans who followed the theology articulated by John Calvin. But did the Puritans fully appreciate and embrace all of John Calvin’s thinking? The celebration of Calvin’s 500th birthday this year provides an opportunity to look again at this influential shaper of the Protestant Christian faith. Was he really as bad as we’ve made him out to be?
Lenten Dharma PDF February 21, 2010
What if the Buddha and Jesus met. Would they recognize each other and honor each other? Would they agree or disagree discussing the major ideas and practices of the traditions created to propagate their insights and ideas? Could the dialogue between Buddhism and Christianity be fruitful for us to better appreciate, learn from and follow these great teachers?
The Path to Love PDF February 14, 2010
The problem with relationships today is the burden of salvation has been put on them. People want to be fulfilled through their partner. Relationships have become a secular stand-in for what religion does best. In reality, another person cannot love us perfectly. The love we develop with our partner is not an end point but rather a jumping off point to a greater, more expansive kind of love.
Psychology of Happiness PDF February 7, 2010
Psychologists often focus on the pathologies of the mind. Much of the work of psychology and psychologists deals with mental problems and how to address them effectively. New research has taken a different tack, studying healthy minds and what factors encourage good mental health. Dr. Barbara Fredrickson is one such researcher who studies the psychology of happiness.
Plug In, Turn On,and Get Fired Up! PDF January 31, 2010
During the research process for our new Strategic Plan, our members and friends said “community” was one the things they valued here most. Why is that? What is it about sitting in a Sunday service with people you care about, or going to a productive committee meeting, or a potluck at someone’s house that people enjoy so much? Be sure to come for this abbreviated service and discover all the different ways to experience community here during our “Getting Connected” fair after the service.
Come as You Are … But Don’t Stay That Way PDF January 3, 2010
This title came from a quote from an evangelical minister serving a large New England Christian church. The church has a reputation for being open and welcoming in ways similar to our congregations. When asked for the difference between their approach to religion and Unitarian Universalism, he responded, in either an evangelical or a UU congregation, “you can come as you are,” but in an evangelical congregation “you don’t stay that way.” Is this true … for you?