Speaker: Rev. Larry Peers

The Selma Awakening and Unitarian Universalists

My friend and colleague, Mark Morrison-Reed, is a prominent scholar of African-American Unitarian Universalist history. In his book, The Selma Awakening: How the Civil Rights Movement Tested and Changed Unitarian Universalism, Morrison-Reed explores our civil rights activism in Selma, Alabama, in 1965. He feels that this period was a turning point for Unitarian Universalists. “In answering Martin Luther King Jr.’s call to action,” he believes, “they shifted from passing earnest resolutions about racial justice to putting their lives on the line for the cause.” History, in my opinion, is not just a review of the past. When done with an open mind and heart, it places our steps on a trajectory where the past, present, and future compel us forward in some new, determined, and resilient ways. 

The Soul Resilience of Howard Thurman

Howard Thurman was the religious guide for many key figures in the Civil Rights movement and for contemporary spiritually-oriented social activists. His grandmother was enslaved for 20 years, and he considers her one of his most significant teachers because of her resilience and practical wisdom. … read more.

The Holistic Spirituality of Martin Luther King, Jr.

From the time of the Hebrew prophets, there have always been voices that challenge us to return to our highest calling and to find a path toward greater personal and social integrity. Martin Luther King, Jr. practiced a “holistic spirituality” in which he took interpersonal, and sociopolitical aspects of his faith seriously. In this service, we will honor the continuing legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr., and why his call and holistic approach still echo within and among us. Following the service, A Soul Matters Circle on this month’s theme of “Integrity” will be facilitated from 12:00-12:45 p.m. by Rev. Peers. Gather with your beverage in the front of the sanctuary All are welcome.

My High Resolve

New Year’s resolutions have a “bad rap.” We joke that whenever we “make a resolution,” we soon break it. The consequence can be that we give up on making any resolution so as not to delude or disappoint ourselves. Whatever our actual experiences are around making or keeping resolutions, we now have more understanding from social science and spiritual sources on how people change and what practices support our commitments to improve or to change. Howard Thurman, who has been called “one of the greatest spiritual resources of this nation,” offers this prayerful insight: “Keep fresh before me the moments of my High Resolve, that in fair weather or in foul, in good times or in tempests, in the days when the darkness and the foe are nameless or familiar, I may not forget that to which my life is committed.”

Let the Mystery Be

If we crave certainty and control, then mystery can be discomforting. The writer Anne Lamott expresses the push and pull of mystery in our life. On the one hand, she offers that: “When we are stunned to a place beyond words, when an aspect of … read more.

Awe Shucks

We tend to imagine that awe is only related to the extraordinary within human experience. Yet, awe is perhaps the most ordinary of human experiences. In many of our religious celebrations this month and this time of year, we remember and evoke awe through story, song, candles and festivity. Scientists studying awe tell us that awe may be the most necessary factor in ensuring our survival as a species. Indeed, Wendell Berry, the American novelist, poet, essayist, environmental activist, cultural critic, and farmer, encourages us to “…abandon arrogance and stand in awe. We must recover the sense of the majesty of creation, and the ability to be worshipful in its presence. For I do not doubt that it is only on the condition of humility and reverence before the world that our species will be able to remain in it”
Where do you “get your awe?” How do experiences of awe change you?

Cocooning and Connecting

Each of us negotiates our own needs for “cocooning” and “connecting.” Spiritual traditions have encouraged the practices of solitude and of connection with one another. Cocooning, according to futurist Faith Popcorn is our desire to shelter ourselves from the harsh realities of the world. It can take extreme and not-so-extreme forms. Our home can become the center of our self-contained and controlled reality as well as a place of comfort. Sociologists have named the growing phenomenon toward self-sufficiency and shying away from joining or belonging as “bowling alone.” Connecting may also be a deep longing in us. John O’Donohue wrote that “To be human is to belong. Belonging is a circle that embraces everything; if we reject it, we damage our nature.” To develop personally and spiritually we need to discover our own relationship to both solitude and belonging.