Dave Chapman is a speaker, trainer, free-lance writer, and an adjunct professor at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Rutgers University. No stranger to Unitarian Universalism or to TPUUF, he’s an active member of the First Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Hunterdon County, New Jersey, and this month we’ll welcome him back to our pulpit for the eighth time. Dave will examine some of the breakthrough research on the challenges of living in our modern world, the impact on our spiritual lives, and our ability to live joyfully and productively.
Speaker: Rev. David Chapman
Remember the children’s riddle, “What has a thumb and four fingers but is not alive?” Answer: “A glove, of course!” This goes to the heart of Dave’s sermon. What is a woman or a man or a child without a soul? An empty shell, of course, a sort of glove that encompasses emptiness. But if you don’t believe in a life after death, what constitutes a soul? Dave suggests it is our ability to feel empathy and compassion when we see others suffer that gives us our spirit and our soul. How do we develop compassion and empathy? How do we encourage it in ourselves and in others? How do we risk losing these two vital traits of our humanity? Dave offers some ideas for us to consider as we think about these questions.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was jailed on April 12, 1963 for his leadership of non-violent civil disobedience against racism in Birmingham, Alabama. A group of eight white Alabama clergymen published an article titled “A Call for Unity,” critical of Dr. King and his nonviolent methods. King responded with an open letter written from his jail cell, pointing out that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” Dave Chapman will discuss the importance of Dr. King’s letter and how it informs his understanding of the responsibilities of spiritual leaders in social and political matters in the United States.
From time-to-time in history, an individual or a comparatively small group of people exercise an enormous influence on the history of the world. These historical “moments” can even impact the way we think and the way we perceive our lives and our relationship with the universe. The early Hebrews, according to Thomas Cahill, are one of these groups and, in offering us a different human relationship with God, have had a transformative and permanent impact on all of humanity. In his sermon, Dave will discuss concepts outlined in Cahill’s book, their impact on our ancestors, their impact on ourselves, and their role in the development of present-day Unitarian Universalism.
What does it mean to be a member of a Unitarian Universalist family? Careful who you ask, because you’ll likely get more than one answer from members of the same family. Although our family values may differ, Dave believes they are absolutely wonderful and help us all to live richer, more rewarding lives that contribute greatly to the health of the community. He will share his thoughts on the value we can all find in having values, especially family values, we understand, stand by, and are willing to share with others