We Unitarian Universalists can be uncomfortable with traditional religious terminology. We often have difficulty, sometimes even resist, integrating language central to those traditions into our own belief system and spiritual practice. “Oh,” we say, shaking our heads, “that language come with so much baggage!” One … read more.
Speaker: Jerry Lazzaro
How often do we find that our expectations of ourselves and others haven’t been met? How many times do we wonder if we’re just expecting too much? Then, again, just how little should we expect, and how much disappointment can we, or should we, be willing and able to accept? Question like these have been asked and answered in interesting, provocative, sometimes rather discomforting ways, at least since the time of the Greek philosopher Zeno of Citium (circa 336-265 BCE), the father of classic Stoic belief and practice and the forefather of contemporary psycho-social therapies such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT). Let’s take a bird’s-eye view as well as an up-close-and-personal look at ways we develop expectations and handle disappointment when expectations (inevitably) aren’t met, and how doing so can be a sustaining spiritual practice.
Love it or hate it, most of us have to, or had to, work for a living. Work and work experiences occupy, sometimes preoccupy, much of our time and energy, help define who we are, and greatly influence our sense of personal worth and fulfillment. On this Labor Day weekend, three of our members—one just starting out in the workforce, one mid-career, and one retired—will share their views of the work they’re doing and/or have done and the role work plays in their life and in their personal and spiritual development.
We live, literally and figuratively, in an excessively “noisy” world. Scientific research, as well as anecdotal evidence, documents the toll all the noise exacts on our bodies and spirits and underscores the urgent need to dial down the clatter and chatter. Spiritual and religious texts, … read more.
In a piece commemorating Father’s Day decades ago, the late syndicated columnist and renowned humorist Erma Bombeck wrote, “Fathers used to be a lot like a kitchen clock. They had a familiar face, were always in the same spot, kept pretty good time, and were never missed or appreciated until the day they stopped ticking.” Obviously, the roles, identities and traits of fathers have changed much over the past six decades and continue to evolve. Father’s Day 2019 affords an opportunity to reflect on what our own fathers have meant to us. Several of us will share memories of our fathers and what we learned from them, for better or worse, about the experience of fathering in these changing, and often confusing, times.
Rev. Kathleen Rolenz once said, “Throughout history, we have moved to the rhythms of mystery and wonder, prophecy, wisdom, teachings from ancient and modern sources, and nature herself.” Those “rhythms” are evident in Singing the Living Tradition and Singing the Journey, the two hymnals from which we draw much of the music used in our worship services. In honor of National Poetry Month, let’s celebrate famous poets throughout the ages whose words of wonder, prophecy, and wisdom call to us in melody and rhythm from the pages of our hymnals. Let’s also seek insight into the spiritual lives of these poets and their sources of inspiration. Lots to think and wonder about, and lots of music, await!
The rise to prominence of Unitarianism and Universalism in the 19th Century is associated with a lengthy roster of distinguished men. Often overlooked is the role women played in the development and dissemination of the new approach to religion and spirituality that challenged established dogma and laid the foundation of our liberal religious faith. So, let’s take some time to highlight the words and deeds of an A-team of 19th Century UU women such as Margaret Fuller, Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, Harriet Martineau, Louisa May Alcott, and Julia Ward Howe who helped shape our liberal religious faith and influenced its trajectory.
In seeking personal growth and fulfillment, we’re often pulled in opposite directions. American culture is riddled with narratives plugging individualism, unworthiness and scarcity, narratives that urge us to push ourselves to the limit, to “Look out for Numero Uno,” “Grab the golden ring,” “Be all that you can be!” On the other hand, for the sake of our sanity—and our souls—our faith tradition encourages to let go of self, walk humbly, and be grateful for and content with what we have and, most importantly, with who we are. How much is “enough,” not just in terms of material possessions but also in terms of who and what we are? When, if ever, can we comfortably assert that we are, that we have, that we have done “enough?”
Labor Day, created by the American labor movement in the late nineteenth-century and declared a federal holiday in 1894, was intended to be an annual national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country. Today, when income inequality is worsening, and organized labor is on the defensive on many fronts, perhaps we should consider how and why these two phenomena are related. We might also consider how to interpret our UU affirmation of the inherent worth and dignity of every person in this context.
The final lines of John Keats’ “Ode on a Grecian Urn” (“Beauty is Truth, Truth Beauty ─ that is all/Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know”) are among the most quotable in English literature. They could be dismissed as just a rhetorical flourish – a resonant example of an ageold literary device known as antimetabole. However, in biographical and historical context, the lines masterfully embody ideas regarding aesthetics, science, metaphysics and that inspired our Unitarian Universalist liberal religious faith. They also express a variety of spiritual experience not reliant on belief in a transcendent God.