I am a parish minister currently serving the Eliot Church of Natick MA. Eliot Church is a Community Church affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association and the United Church of Christ. Any statements made and postions held in "Unity," however, are solely mine(of course, they may be used with appropriate atribution). Therefore if you disagree, please do not blame the church!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Hey-Ho and Up She Rises...

I have a small addiction and I do not know how I got it. When I am not reading cookbooks, stuff-for-work, and news items, I have been known to read novels about the English Navy in the Napoleonic War. I don't sail. I am not a soldier. However, I love these things as much as pistachio nuts. As with pistachios, you can't eat just one.

So, in the interest of helping others with their summer reading, here are my recommended authors in the category of "ripping yarns":

CS Forester: This guy is the granddaddy, the big cheese. All others are compared to him. Countless works in this surprisingly large genre sport on the back some testimonial to them being "better than Forester". Of course, it means as much as fantasy novels being described as "tolkienesque". Which is to say, almost nothing. What he does well is characters. Our hero, Horatio Hornblower, is one strange guy but you like him, dear reader, you really do. The supporting characters are interesting as well but, as they are observed primarily through the lense of Horatio, one gets the sense their lives may be a bit different if they were telling the story.

Patrick O'Brian: OK, this guy is pretty good, too. I mentioned him a couple of days ago in reference to his ability to take various dialects and place them convincingly on the page. His novels are ones that you hear as much as read. Of course, his main characters, "Lucky Jack" Aubrey and Dr. Stephen Maturin are little bundles of strangeness, too...

You read these guys for the people and the words. They piece a story together well. They frolic in the English language, taking an mere adventure story and creating a work of art. For this reason, I suggest that preachers, in particular, get themselves a copy of Master and Commander (the book, not the movie) by O' Brian and start cracking. It is good practice to spend time with some good (and more entertaining that Moltmann!) words. If we did it more often, maybe folks would find our sermons to be less dull...

One thing that should be noted is that the main plots in all these books have a great deal in common with each other. There are lot's of ships "closing for action". "Midshipman Butterball" is always getting killed by a cannonball, grape shot, wood splinters or the sword of that dastardly privateer. It is sad, but just remember that he will be resurrected under another name for the next big fight. The same goes for all the "Able Seamen" who fall out of the rigging. Also, you can expect one important secondary character to "pass on" per book. I encountered a few truly surpriseing plot twists and truly tragic death scenes. However, almost all of them were written by Forester...

Finally, there is Alexander Kent (Not his real name) when you cannot get anything else. His books are exciting in the naval-battle kind of way, but I have to tell you, I have read 16 of his Bolitho novels (yes, 16) and I still don't really identify with anyone except the midshipmen-who-are-about-to-die (he telegraphs this well, by the way, by pretty much slapping a post-it note on their backs when they first appear).

Ah..well... we are talking about summer reading and his work is good for a nice day at the beach...

I think I will go a buy another...

Monday, June 27, 2005

National Geographic

Do not walk, run--Are you running?....Run Faster!--to your local book and magazine franchise and pick up a copy of the July issue of National Geographic. It is fabulous!

Start with the cover story on stem cell research. Then go to the heartbeaking piece on Chechnya. In all honesty, I have had to read it in small chunks in order to maintain my faith in humanity. What human beings do to others never ceases to amaze...

Finally, take a tour of the world of China's legendary Admiral Zheng He who took six epic voyages between 1405 and 1433 thourgh and around the indian ocean. Of particular interest may be the fact that his motivation was trade rather than conquest! Maybe there is room for humanity after all.

National Geographic...it's for more than your kids' collages...

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Happy Days

Jamie Oliver is a very happy man. Why wouldn't he be? He is fabulously rich. He is young and he cooks food for a living. I read his cookbook, "Happy Days" last night. Yes, I read a cookbook, cover to cover. There are some nice pictures in it of yummy food and atractive young English people having a good time.

I tried one of the recipes and it was tasty. It also involved frying breadcrumbs in olive oil. Olive oil gets very hot, by the way, and breadcrumbs get sticky. The combination of these can create a substance not unlike burning pitch in your mouth if you do not let it cool. All I can say is, I hope I am able to preach on Sunday...

In addition to the yummy food and the cool pictures, there is some actual text. Jamie appears to have attempted to replicate the sound of his cockney accent on the written page! For those of you who enjoy the diverse expression of the english language, this is a plus. He's not quite Patrick O'Brian, but Patrick doesn't have as many cookbooks.

Jamie Oliver used to have a show on the Food Network. The network, itself, used to be quite a bit more interesting than it is now. It now features a few cooking shows (like that great food warhorse, Emeril Lagasse) but mostly it is infomercials disguised as actual television programs. They are now dedicated to answering questions like, "What do second-tier celebrities eat?" Or, "let's see how Nabisco makes their fabulous snack food"! They don't quite put it that way. They are slightly more subtle with their product placement but I kid you not. A channel about cooking has programs pitching pre-packaged food! Thanks guys...really.

You may be asking what this has to do with religion. Well...eating is a big part of life and one that we are constantly trying to connect to how we live and who we are. Is McDonald's who we are, or should we treat our bodies to something better? From Unity you can easily link to Cornerstone Farm, and to a discussion on Boy in the Bands about vegetarianism Check them out and think about your food!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

My Summer Blog Plans

Well, the year is wrapping up and I need a plan. One thing that I do a lot of in the summer is read. Much of what I read is for work but not all of it. Basically, I have a list of articles and books, some of which will be good and others will be complete garbage. I will try to keep you up on that as well as any inspiration that occurs while riding my bike or relaxing at the pond. More than that, I do not know...

My first installment in the summer reading series is The God We Never Knew By Marcus Borg. I bought this while in Maryland in May and promptly used it for a sermon. Borg, in addition to having a great and memorable name, is a student of the Bible and a member of the Jesus Seminar. Yes, sometimes the seminar is downright flakey. However, Borg has some interesting thoughts about how we image God and how we might want to in the future.

He is at his best when explaining the theology of such luminaries as Tillich. I, at least, often find the language used by professional theologians and academics to be somewhat taxing. It is nice to have someone to translate. Also, he made me think about how I and others concieve the Divine. Not a bad thing at all. Check out the section on Panenthiesm (which is almost as fun to say as "Marcus Borg"). In Chapter Three he also gives us two different models of God. It is worth reading even if you find it hard to imagine that there are only two ways to skin a cat.

So, that is all for now, rather cold and rainy here at the parsonage...

Monday, June 20, 2005

Slow Day

PeaceBang, I just noticed, is taking a Blog Sabbatical. Good for her! The medium is excellent for some things but does, at times, make one weary. I, too have been trying to figure out what to do. Particularly with the summer coming and, therefore, some time off from work. Most likely, however, I will continue to post at my usual stately pace. Best of luck to PB!

When you cast your eyes upon the Blog Links, you will find a new one! This is the UU Enforcer who has an excellent review of the new Hymnal Supplement form the UUA. There is a lot of good irreverent stuff to look at over there...

Finally, I would just like to say that I hope all of you had a good Father's Day, whether you are fathers or not! I spent the morning at church (preaching, of course!) and then I travelled the short distance to the Natick Common where I served Pizza for the annual Rotary Father's Day Fun Ride (that's with bikes). From there I returned to the parsonage to spend the evening with wife, children, sister and parents where the sounds of jazz drifted over from the Bacon Free Library lawn to mingle with the Little League All-Star game being played next to our house. It was quite a lovely scene...

Oh Yes! Please note the permanent link to the Natick Rotary as well...

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Who's Your Theologian?

So I took this survey to discover which theologian I most resembled. Hmmmm...not very scientific! But, hey! If you have a few moments you might just want to check it out yourselves. There is a discussion over at Boy in the Bands (linked below) about people's results. It fun, its easy and gosh darnit, you might just learn something...

Here is what I got:

You scored as Jürgen Moltmann.

The problem of evil is central to your thought, and only a crucified God can show that God is not indifferent to human suffering. Christian discipleship means identifying with suffering but also anticipating the new creation of all things that God will bring about.

Jürgen Moltmann 73%
Friedrich Schleiermacher 73%
John Calvin 73%
Paul Tillich 60%
Anselm 60%
Augustine 27%
Martin Luther 20%
Charles Finney 20%
Karl Barth 20%
Jonathan Edwards 13%

Friday, June 10, 2005

Theorbo Playing

You will note a new permanent link entitled "My Favorite Theorbo Player"...

Many of my friends talk about their college years as if they were a stunning, sepia-tinted combination of Paper Chase, La Boheme, and Animal House. I am told they were intensely studious people who spent time being introspective and artistic while also participating in a now fondly remembered four-year party. Sure, the experience has probably improved with time and distance, but that is usually how the story goes.

However, when I was an undergraduate I had the dubious honor of attending four colleges in slightly less than four years. The reasons were economic, not academic, so stop snickering! Therefore, I seem to have fewer college memories like those of my peers and more of those in the line of relentless credit accumulation and transfer applications. Only once was I truly involved in the heady brew that the earlier works imply and the Animal House portion was primarily a vicarious one, provided by my neighbors, the University of Maine Hockey Team.

For my Junior year I lived in an apartment in Old Town, Maine with, at various times, two musicians and a writer. One of the musicians, Seth Warner was also a microbiologist of some fame who, legend has it, has a microbe named after him. Chris wrote novels. Kevin began a one-man quest to re-define the bass guitar. I was the boring one.

Anyway, Seth now lives in Falmouth, Maine and teaches 16th through 19th Century instrumental music. The theorbo is the instrument with the coolest name, but he also plays the lute, among other things. On June 16th at 2:00 pm, he is having a concert at First and Second Church in Boston (for non-Boston people, that is one church, not two). Why don't we go check him out? It is a Thursday. I can think of no better thing to do, actually...

One final note, Seth won't be playing the theorbo at the show, but the Vihuela!

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Religious Illiterates

As a minister (and, therefore, something of a walking billboard for religion) I am often surprised by the general ignorance about things spiritual. Just when I think I have heard it all, something else occurs. There are the small things, like the general amazement that I am married, have children, am a Democrat, homebrew beer as a hobby, and, of course, believe in science and support gay marriage. Then there are larger issues in deeper discussions that also are cause for some concern.

The fact is, many, if not most, Americans are religious illiterates. I am not just saying that they are ignorant merely of things Christian and I am certainly not talking about the minutiae of denominational differences in things like communion-theology. Many of us do not know the difference between a Hindu and a Jew or a Christian and a Buddhist.

Why should we care? Well, ignorance creates bad religion. Without information people can (and do) latch on to any old thing, no matter how wrong or dangerous it might be. Bad religion, if accepted and practiced, can (and has) cause great and irreparable harm to individuals, groups and entire nations. Bad religion when it is accepted as all religion and then rejected (a very popular and position, I might add) has also caused great and irreparable harm. Rejecting religion wholesale means a reduction in tolerance and understanding of difference. More locally, people who make assumptions about others based on their religion run the risk of loosing natural allies and potential friends. I could go on but I cannot. The list is too long and I have other work to do.

However, here are some links that have gotten me thinking.

The first is at Dunner's the article that Dunner's references is here.

Finally, if you are local to MetroWest, grab your copy of the Opinion section of last Sunday's paper. Local Columnist Julie Berry begins her article by saying "If you think your church rejects evolution, you are probably wrong". Later her column reads, "Surprisingly, acceptance of evolution does not follow denominational lines. Catholics, Protestants, Muslims, Jews, Mormons, Buddhists and adherents to all major world religions can embrace evolution". In the article she quotes and references evangelical Christians (including the director of the Human Genome Project) who do not fit the usual stereotype of people of their faith. Also, she quotes two Mormon professors at Brigham Young University who oppose "Intelligent Design", support evolution and are not in trouble with the (Mormon) University! She even quotes John Paul II saying "There is no conflict between evolution and the doctrine of the faith regarding man and his vocation".

This is just one issue but, I think, we all need to educate ourselves about our own faith and that of others. This is a small world. We cannot afford to neither know nor care.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Stand By This Faith

Folks at Eliot Church already know of my affection for all things Olympia Brown. There is a discussion going on about her much quoted demand that we "stand by this faith". This is a very popular worship reading (both responsively and not) in UU circles and one that tries to bring us to the very best and most demanding aspects of our lives as people of faith. That is, it is not the Ames Covenant or the Ten Commandments, but she is telling us to pay attention to the core and to respond to the (often difficult) call from God and teaching of Jesus.

You can find it discussed first at Phil's Little Blog on the Prairie with a response from (and resposese to) Philocrites. Check it out! They are part of a constant and commendable search for identity and meaning in the UUA.

Also, I have added a link to the United Church News, the online version of...er... the United Church News!

Friday, June 03, 2005

Dave Miller's Charge

Well, here it is!

Sorry about the wait. When I preach I often write addtional text in pen on typed copy. I was looking for the "pupit sheets" that would have that on them. Alas! They are lost so I give you now the draft before the final draft!

Charge for David Miller
Rev. Adam Tierney-Eliot

Now, I know when I took on this assignment,
I said that I would use as my text the passage from Timothy
I am grateful to Jesus Christ who has strengthened me, having judged me faithful and appointed me to serve.
And, of course I will
But there is also another text coming
So first I charge you
To be grateful for what you have been given
And to find strength in your faith
We, here, know something of that faith
One that has sustained you through the hard times
And has given you joy

I remember well our trip to Worcester
To the UU Christian Fellowship Annual Convention
And how you impressed our fellow attendees
With depth of your commitment
I also, along with others in this room
Remember your sermons
And your unflappable nature
Even in times when others were most definitely “flapped”

It just goes to show that the faith that sustains you
Helps you to sustain the rest of us as well
Dave, continue to find and express that faith
For you truly have been appointed to serve

Now, I know you do not plan to enter the parish right now
So today we ordained you
As an evangelist to the wide world
It may seem strange, at first
To think of our Church as being evangelical
But, as I have said before, we have a message, too
And your call to the community ministry
Is every bit as important
As that of the pastor of the largest church
Your very living is your ministry
Remember to speak and remember also to listen to the truth
When and where you find it

But, there is something else that every minister
Needs to be aware of
As they go about their duties
This brings me to my other text
From the novel HMS Surprise by Patrick O’Brian
The author of Master and Commander: Far Side of the World
About life in the English Navy during the Napoleonic War
Maybe you’ve seen it Dave?
Anyone else?
I am not charging you to read the book
But I am charging you not to be
Like the minister in this story:
The moment the Reverend Mr. White said,
“The sixth verse of Psalm 75 promotion cometh neither from the east nor from the west, nor from the south,” the flagging devotion of the midshipmen to leeward and of the lieutenants to windward revived, sprang to vivid life. They sat forward in attitudes of tense expectancy;

Yet when it appeared that promotion cameth not from the north either, as the sharper midshipmen had supposed, but rather from a course of conduct that Mr. White proposed to describe under ten main heads, they slowly sank back; and when even promotion was found to be not of this present world, they abandoned him altogether in favor of reflections upon their dinner, plum duff simmering under the equatorial sun.

The point, Dave, is this
People have their own concerns and their own troubles
They get sick, they get married, they have babies
They go to funerals and,
Eventually need to be memorialized, themselves
They are concerned, like the midshipmen on the Surprise
They are very much concerned with
Promotion in the present world
And while there may be more to life than that
All people need to be met where they are

I know that this is, in many ways obvious
Particularly at weddings and funerals
And at Morse and Riverbend nursing homes
Where you have done your work

But Dave Miller, you are interested in the world and in God
These are the strengths that make you
A sure-fire success as a clergyman
And as you develop in your ministry
Sometimes what you need to hear
May not be what they need

That exciting idea that you are itching to share
That you feel is just the thing
May be, to everyone else
Like Rev. White’s “ten main heads”

So, meet the world where it is
And save the rest for your colleagues
People like Michael Boardman, Maddie and myself
Are there for you and would love to hear
What’s on your mind

Ok, so, you need to listen and to act in the lives of others
In constructive and healing ways
Well…Some of these people
Live in your house
God does not call anyone to ignore those they love
And your family needs to be you first concern

There are many in the clergy who
Will boast of how hard they work
And how often they are away from home
Thinking that their sacrifice
Makes them more effective, more holy
Certainly there is plenty of sacrifice in the ministry
And when emergencies appear
In the lives of those we care for
We are often called to go help

But…but there is no reason
To sacrifice your family to your ministry
Or to burn yourself out
That helps no one
Learn to say “no” as Rev. Peirce told me to do a year ago

Take care of yourself, Dave
Admire the scenery, read a good book
And go out to dinner from time to time
You’re the only you you’ve got
Taking time for yourself
And for Tiz
Will only help your ministry

Finally, I wish you luck
Take those obvious gifts you have received
And do the work of the ministry
I, (we!), will all be praying for you

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Art of Happiness 2.5 Mk2

Actually, I will start with Sunday's sermon...

Yeah, this "Art of Happiness" series just gets more confusing. This is really the second version of the second sermon. Those of you who attended "What You Think" at Eliot Church not too long ago can get a copy by emailing me. This integrates many of those ideas and adds some things as well. I am posting this version because I got more requests for it and, since it was not preached in Medford, the requesters cannot necessarily get back in touch with me...

Again, the Dedication was lovely. Congratulations to Ruth and to her parents, grandparents, family, friends, etc! We had a great time, believe me...

Oh, yes, it is "2.5" because I did an "emergency" service at Eliot Church when a guest preacher had a family tragedy and could not make it. Stranded as I was in Maryland without my usual preaching library, I fell back on what I was reading. One of those books was "Getting More Out of Life" by Waldemar Argow, the book that this series is based on. Also, I was reading "The God We Never Knew" (or something like that) by Marcus Borg. Borg's book might make a good review if I ever have the chance to post it...

Anyway, my sermon notes:

Text: Proverbs 8:11-21
Also, John Sturdy can be found on line, James Austin in that "Everyday Spirituality" book edited by Scott Alexander, and W. Argow in the work mentioned above. Finn can be found on line and in numerous anthologies of Irish folk stories.

The Birth of Wisdom
Adam Tierney-Eliot
UU Church of Medford, MA
May 29, 2005

In the book of Proverbs we read:
I, wisdom, live with prudence, I attain knowledge and discretion…I have good advice, I have insight, I have strength

In Holliston, not too far from where I live in Natick
Near Memorial Day
A group of volunteers
Place signs on every telephone pole along route 16
Each with the single name, age, and rank
Of someone in the US, or British armed forces
Who has died in the war in Iraq or Afganistan

A local Postal Worker, Bobby Blair made the signs
Which, in 2003 numbered 147
Now the names of the dead number in the thousands
And The project has branched off onto side streets
For almost 33 total miles
Encompassing parts of six different towns

When combined with the many civilian deaths
Those of the Iraqi people
And the sacrifices of many others
In wars throughout history,
One cannot help but hope
Regardless of where we choose to lay blame for this
Or any other war or crisis
We cannot help but hope
For the Birth of Wisdom

By [wisdom] rulers rule and nobles, all who govern rightly

So, where does it come from?
(Not just that wisdom
Which we expect presidents and kings to possess
But that we all need
To live lives that are fulfilling
And plan for the future of our children)

How do we give birth to Wisdom this day and every day?
That is a question for the ages
One that each of us struggles with
And one that drives us to church on Memorial Day weekend

Proverbs has one answer
But there are others
For example, there is the story of Finn McCool
(Have you heard of him?)
I am sure that Hank has talked about him before
The ancient Irish King, giant, and hero
Who studied with the even more ancient Druid Finegas
Finn’s power, we are told,
Came from a magic salmon
Which, if eaten, would grant the diner
All the knowledge of the universe

Now, Finegas actually caught the fish
But then he gave it to his student,
Finn, to prepare for dinner
With the admonition not to eat it himself

However, Finn, apparently, was not a very good cook
And sitting at the fire, started poking
The hot fish with his thumb,
So…popping his now burning thumb into his mouth
It was Finn, and not Finegas, who tasted the fish
And gained its reward

Knowledge of the Universe is what Finn achieved
And what more of a definition do we need?
Wisdom is about understanding who we are
And our place in that great web of existence

Tradition has told us that the salmon
Was called the salmon of knowledge
But we are really not talking so much
About the knowledge of facts
No, instead, the knowledge he received made him wise
Intelligence, factual knowledge, the storage of information
These are good things
But wisdom is more than that

One popular description of the difference states that
Intelligence is what tells you it is raining
And wisdom is what tells you to get out of the rain
You need both, they are dependent on each other
But they are different

This story has something else to tell us, too
From Finn and the fish
We learn that wisdom
Does not necessarily reside where we might think
It may exist in the salmon or the student
As much as in the great master

The wise can surprise us with their identity
The problems of the world have shown
That kings and rulers aren’t always wise
And the wise aren’t always kings

Wisdom requires balance between
The various ways of knowing and feeling
And it requires mindfulness/openness
Which is harder than it sounds
We need openness as much as facts
Jesus said whoever welcomes a prophet will receive a prophet’s reward
That is, whoever is willing to listen to the truth
Will find it

To be open to the prophets, wherever they come from
We have to look toward our own interior lives/our thoughts
And make room
We need to prepare a place in ourselves

Waldemar Argow writes:
More people poison themselves by what they think than by what they drink. Vastly more people find happiness and contentment by what they hold in their minds than by what they hold in their bank accounts.

Argow tells us that We are What we Think
And this idea has some less than pleasant implications
After all, most of us spend a great deal of time
Thinking about nothing in particular
Or about things that are less than helpful

In his reading today
He compared what we think to what we eat
Sometimes what we like isn’t all that good for us
After all, we’re not eating magic salmon all the time!
There is junk food
And junk food of the brain
That sticks with us even after we turn off the TV
Or tear ourselves from the tabloids and the supermarket counter

Sometimes, just like when we overeat
We can over think/Over analyze
And even if we do not
There are thoughts that discourage us
That oppress our free spirit
Even as there are thoughts and ideas
That inspire us toward
Greater understanding, wisdom and happiness

Those discouraging, negative thoughts or voices
Keep us from realizing our potential
They come from many places
The words of well meaning parents and teachers
The perceived lessons of past failures
Even resistance to the very modern pressure to succeed
All of these experiences and more
Contribute to that little voice deep down inside
That tells us that we have fallen short and always will
That we are not good enough

Now, it is a good thing to know
When we could do better
A certain detached self-criticism is necessary
For us to recognize our limitations
And to learn how to get the job done
Whatever it may be and to do it well
Wisdom says in Proverbs
I love those who love me and those who seek me diligently find me
This diligence requires us to sacrifice
And to face the less than pleasant parts of ourselves

But, having said that
There are times when the negative voices
Take over; they try to control our self-image
To listen to them then
Is not very wise

John Sturdy, a Lay Franciscan from Ireland
Who suffers from depression
Writes that People who are depressed typically think in a biased negative way. They have negative views of themselves (“I’m no good”), the world (Life has no meaning), and the future (I will always feel this way).

This negative attitude that Sturdy talks about
Can be extremely destructive
For some, depression is a condition
That they must struggle against their whole lives
For others it is temporary
Brought about by a loss, boredom
Or no one thing in particular
We all struggle with negative thoughts from time to time

We all struggle and our attempts to escape this affliction
Can drive us to consume other ideas
That we may think will help
But are really just as dangerous as
The ones we are trying to escape
One of the most obvious examples is the pornography
Now rampant in our society

And there are others that don’t at first seem so evil
Many who are feeling depressed or confused
Will bury themselves in their work
To avoid confronting the problem
Thereby strengthening the hand of negative thoughts
Giving them the power to drive our actions
And, also, it is quite possible to have too much religion
Yes, too much religion (you heard it here first)

People want to believe in something and we will
It may be Christianity, it may not
And it may be healthy, or it may not
It could be, instead of a system
That allows us to celebrate life
And answer questions we haven’t thought of yet
It could be a particular political or scientific, or religious view
Designed to promote either our sense of superiority
Or inferiority, to move us out of our human place

These are the oppressive thoughts
They make us give up our freedom
And our natural inclination toward adventure
They make us, instead, follow
Only the well worn tracks of those in control

The Hymn Writer Elizabeth Bennett
Described the perfect mental and emotional state
Of free religion in one of her songs:
My thoughts are as free as wind over the ocean and no one can see their form or their motion. No hunter can find them no trap ever bind them my lips may be still but I think what I will

Now, as Unitarian Universalists
Most of us spend a good deal of time
Celebrating our call to act in the world
As religious liberals we often claim that
What is important is not what we believe
But what we do
OK, but, of course, one influences the other
Requiring that, as we go about our business
We be wise
And, as I said earlier,
Part of the exercise of wisdom is mindfulness

James Austin, a member of the Arlington Street Church
Explains mindfulness
Through the example of carrying a very full cup of tea
We have to keep our minds on that cup
So that we do not do anything to spill it

To truly be what we think
(And have that be a good thing)
We need to be like that as often as possible
And not just in little ways
Like watching the sunrise and washing dishes
But in our relationships
In the way we talk to strangers
So we are aware of our situation,
Able to monitor ourselves
Listening all the time to the conversations
Inside our heads as various urges thoughts and ideas
Battle for our attention
When we consider all that is really going on
Often we will discover that what we are ashamed of
Isn’t necessarily irreparable
And what we are proud of isn’t entirely our own doing

When we seek after wisdom, we need to be mindful
Of where we are and who we are
And to welcome the prophets
The obvious ones as well as the less so
The very old and the very young
The very young like Ruth Keziah Scott Peirce

The apostle Paul once said
That the foolishness of God is wiser that the wisdom of humanity
Now you can define God however you wish
But the purpose of our mindfulness
Is to seek out that foolishness
That brings understanding

To ensure our own happiness
And that of future generations
We must be good carriers of tea
And keep the door open

So we can all pray, with Reinhold Neibuhr:

God, give us the grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, courage to change the things which should be changed and the wisdom to distinguish one from the other

Bad Blogger!

Well, I have been pretty quiet as of late and I need to do something about that. Margaret Nelson, my mother-in law and Unity fan has reminded me that I promised some text and haven't yet delivered. I'm sorry!

Today I will post my charge to Dave Miller. Tomorrow I will post the second (sort of) sermon in the "Art of Happiness" Series. It is "sort of" the second because I will post the version I gave on Memorial Day at Ruth Peirce's Dedication Service in Medford. Incidentally, pictures of that glorious event can be found here.

Speaking of glorious, it is the anniversary of The Glorious First of June! This being an epic sea battle of the Napoleonic Wars.

Also, if you haven't read the Socinian lately, you should. He has interesting things to say about the stem cell debate.

Finally, on the same day (the very same day) that Dave Miller was ordained, my good buddy from seminary days, the now Reverend Dave Scheunemann was also! Congrats to Dave! He a UU who does spiritual direction work, among other things, and lives in the great state of Washington. At the risk of sounding very New England, you should look him up if you are out that way! Congrats Dave!