Smile for Two

Check this out. I found it on a Greek site. (At least the text looked Greek to me–you know how the saying goes…)

There were several other adaptations on the typical smiley face there as well.

UPDATE: The link I had posted to the original image has gone awry. If you search Google Images for “Smile” you can still find it buried under many other happy faces.

A Good Book

I’ve dived into Richard E. Rubenstein’s When Jesus Became God: The Struggle to Define Christianity during the Last Days of Rome, and have really been enjoying it. It’s written by a Jewish professor of Conflict Resolution and Public Affairs, so it paints a very broad picture of the history of the Arian controversy. The biggest thing I’ve learned from this book about the Council of Nicea and surrounding personalities and events is that it’s a lot more complicated than you may have heard. You may have known, like I had, that the Council of Nicea (325) was when the Church declared Arianism, (the belief that Jesus was not fully divine,) heretical and wrote the Nicean Creed; well, yes, but… It’s a fascinating, intriguing, entertaining story. (We get to reenact it next weekend, and I’ve got the part of Arius!)

Every Life Has Value

I was listening to one of the pop radio stations in town the other day, and one of their zany blurbs came on between songs that had some loony voice saying, “Remember, you can be replaced.” I commented to my kids in the back seat that that goes against our first UU principle. (We had been going over the UUA Principles at meal time.) It’s been weighing on me ever since.

A few months ago, as I was sharing lunch in the dining hall, I was telling some of the other students gathered at the table what UU’s believe. When I said that we believe that every life has worth and dignity, another student reached across the table to give me a high-five, saying “Now there’s a good Protestant belief for you!” I’m not quite sure if he was being sarcastic or not, but I really like this principle.

Holding human life in high esteem goes against not only depraved theology, but degrading materialism as well. Most UU’s who know the basics of our history can tell you that we reject the doctrine of original sin, but it’s a little more subtle to reject the notion that everybody is expendable. This materialistic culture of producers and consumers that we live in has that notion at its foundation. Everyone is replaceable and only the strong survive—no, we reject that as well. We believe that every life is inherently priceless and dignified. No person can truly be replaced and we all survive because we take care of each other. This is our faith.


You’ll note I’ve added another link under the side section “More” called simply “Links”. This will take you to a page where you can find links to other sites which I’ve found useful or which mean something to me. I thought it would be helpful to have a link to my home congregation and seminary, for those who might be interested. Accorningly, the title of my blogroll has changed to “Other Blogs” and links which belong on the Links page have been moved there.

UU Pentecost

Chutney at asks, “Do UU’s do liturgy?” In response, I’ve just posted a UU Pentecost service I did for a class on worship and music. It includes the sermon I wrote much later, but I did the whole shebang at my home congregation just this past June. It includes a call to worship, collect, and benediction–all of which I had to write myself. And when I learned what a ‘collect’ is I said to myself, “so that’s what Grandma’s been using to bless meals ever since I was a kid!” I wonder if she knows the name of the form…

Anyway, I’ve also written hymns, but I’m sorely out of practice. I thoroughly enjoy creating multi-sensory and participatory, uplifting worship experiences. I’m all about poetry and metaphor, although my sermons may not reflect that so much. I hope my blog does…

Rev. Mark Belletini, the chairperson for the committee that produced our current hymnal, is still writing hymns. In fact, he wrote one for the ordination of Jim Bosveld, introduced just a few weeks ago.

Also, have you seen Boy in the Bands? He seems to be more high church, and has some archived posts on liturgy.

I think what we may be suffering from is a lack of good UU liturgists who also blog…

New Document

In just a little bit I’ll have my most recent sermon posted in the Documents section. “What I Learned During My Years with the Hare Krishnas.” Check it out.

Seeing Things as They Are Produces Natural High

Greg Stone describes the perfection of creation in Natural High: Exactly as they are. I’ve heard that expressed by Native Americans as something like, “There is nothing unnatural or spernatural in the world. If it exists, it must be natural.” This is the spirit of the affirmation that all things are connected in an interdependent web of life. This is the meaning behind “Mitakuye Oyasin”. I believe it is also the translation of Tao.

The Eastern concept of Maya, or illusion, is simply missing this point, or acting apart from this realization. That is the original sin: seeing ourselves as separate from each other, from creation, from God. Greg has my kudos.


I was downright outraged this afternoon when I heard NPR’s report of the Bill Pryor nomination by the US Senate’s Judiciary Committee. How dare Republican’s use a candidate’s religion to intimidate Democrats? It is clear that the power-hungry in Washington will stop at nothing to get what they want. No bigotry is beneath them.

To say the Democrats are opposed to Pryor because of his Catholic faith is like calling me a white supremacist because I’m white. (That also reminds me of the comparison that saying everyone who tries marijuana will end up addicted to harder narcotics is like saying every child who rides a bike will grow up to join a biker gang—but that’s another soapbox.) Let’s look at the facts: the nominee has criticized prior rulings of the Supreme Court, yet also said he would do everything in his power to uphold those same laws. An op/ed piece in The New York Times criticized the Democrats and accused them of blocking Pryor based on his religious affiliation even though one of the Democrats on the committee is a Catholic.