June 18 2017 Service about Fathers
Our congregation spoke about our experience with fathers and fatherhood today. We start with a child's version of the 7 UU Principles:
7th Principle: We believe in caring for our planet Earth, the home we share with all living things.
Andy related a story about growing up with immigrant parents. His parents came to America from Ireland in the 1920's. They were poor and uneducated in ways of schooling. They would be surprised, he thinks, that their grandson teaches at the University. He told us that his great grandfather's butcher shop still exists back in Ireland and he has been there to meet his cousins. The modern world has put the little butcher shop out of business. His cousin also owns the house that their great grandparents lived in. Except that the cousin lives in a better house and they rent out the old one. They rent it to a Chinese guy who came open a restaurant in the town. Globalization is everywhere,
We get a sense of duty and responsibility from our fathers. A sense of honor often pervades fathers.
A dry sense of humor seems help a father be a father.
Also it is very important that everyone know that step father is a father too.
Poem: "Father," by Ted Kooser, from Delights and Shadows. © Copper Canyon Press.
May 19, 1999
Today you would be ninety-seven
if you had lived, and we would all be
miserable, you and your children,
driving from clinic to clinic,
an ancient, fearful hypochondriac
and his fretful son and daughter,
asking directions, trying to read
the complicated, fading map of cures.
But with your dignity intact
you have been gone for twenty years,
and I am glad for all of us, although
I miss you every day--the heartbeat
under your necktie, the hand cupped
on the back of my neck, Old Spice
in the air, your voice delighted with stories.
On this day each year you loved to relate
that at the moment of your birth
your mother glanced out the window
and saw lilacs in bloom. Well, today
lilacs are blooming in side yards
all over Iowa, still welcoming you.
June 11, 2017 Service about Traditionalism v.s. Empowering Girls
At this Unitarian Universalist Congregation, we take turns presenting the Sunday Service. Not having a consistent preacher has its advantages and its disadvantages. We get a lot of variety and that too has its advantages and disadvantages. Today, the service was provided by me. You can judge for yourself whether this was an advantage or...
Today Rick spoke about justice, equality, and compassion in human relations in the form of discussing critical thinking and how that applies to traditional thinking and Traditional Thinking's natural offspring: Traditions. It came up in the context of a Catholic Archdioceses deciding to bad the Girl Scouts in favor of a new entrant in the girl troupe sweepstakes: American Heritage Girls. The comparison between the values inculcated by the two organizations is both banal and startling at the same time. This is because both groups teach all the vary traditional citizenship virtues pretty much equally, the Girl Scouts now push "go-getter", "innovator", "risk-taker" and "leader" (this is now G.I.R.L.)while American Heritage Girls are pushing respectability, loyalty and helpfulness.
My point is that while there is nothing wrong with pushing traditions and traditional values, it has the additional consequence that it keeps existing power structures in place and makes it difficult for people who are without influence to obtain influence in the future. In the case of girls, it makes sense for the Catholic hierarchy to avoid teaching girls to be "go-getters", "innovators", "risk-takers" and "leaders." But if you want the next generation to be a generation of critical thinkers, then you have to let some of this tradition go by the wayside.
If this sounds like the sort of conversations you would like to have with people, then come join us next Sunday, 11 AM. We won't disappoint. (Ok, we might disappoint on any given week because our free-thinking congregation has its advantages and disadvantages, so you better give us two visits before you give up.)
April 21 and 28 Service about Jobs
Andy spoke to us on these two successive weeks about the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all... and in this case, he was talking specifically about Jobs. Jobs in America is a tricky subject to address. This is especially true after the recent election of Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States.
Andy's analysis, in short, is that the economy is that jobs (read occupations) come and go. The loss of manufacturing jobs is not due to the jobs moving to other countries according to Andy's analysis. The jobs are being lost to technology, and technological change. Technology causes job loss in places like the auto industry where the process of making the car doesn't change, but much of the work of bolting things on is now done by machine instead of by human hands. Technological change causes job losses by changing the the economy in such a way that some things just aren't needed anymore. The classic example is "buggy whips" but it applies today to industries such as coal mining. We just do not need as much coal to fuel the economy as we once did.
Service jobs have taken up some of the manpower of the nation but manufacturing jobs require lots of employment to support the manufacturing and service sector jobs require fewer support jobs. Moreover, now service jobs are under threat of being replaced by technology too. Many people are employed today as drivers. As driverless vehicles takeover, those jobs will go away too. Over-the-road truck drivers have a highly developed skill set in making that big truck go where you want it to go (especially wnen driving backwards into a loading dock.) What will happen when those jobs are automated? Nobody knows.
We are concerned.
If you are concerned, please join us on a Sunday morning as we can all commiserate together. We have seven principles in Unitarian Universalism, and everything after that is a conversation.
May 14, 2017 service about Mother's Day
Today Madeline spoke to us about the origins of Mother's day and the Mothers for Peace movement. We have heard about the movement that Anna Jarvis started in West Virginia to bring Mother's Day to the attention of the Nation. But, Madeline also explained how that effort was preceded by Julia Ward Howe's pacifism movement and her Association for the Advancement of Women. Her Appeal to Womenhood throughout the World was written in 1870 in exasperation over the carnage of the recently completed American Civil War and the beginning of the Franco-Prussian War in Europe. In 1872 Howe asked for the celebration of a "Mother's Day for Peace" on 2 June of every year, but she was unsuccessful.
The appeal is included in the Unitarian Universalist hymnal Singing the Living Tradition. because, that's just how we roll in the Unitarian Universalist world.
Today is also the day we observe Mother's Standing for Peace.
Come joins us. Every Sunday is something different, but we are here building a supportive community that eases isolation and opens our hearts to others. Come be the next person we open our hearts to.
(Yes, I know I ended that sentence with a preposition. Winston Churchill of all people defended the practice. He mocked the people who frown on the practice in his famous quote on the subject)