Mar 11, 2016 Service about Forgiveness
Today, Madeline lead us in a discussion about forgiveness. What is forgiveness? "Psychologists generally define forgiveness as a conscious, deliberate decision to release feelings of resentment or vengeance toward a person or group who has harmed you, regardless of whether they actually deserve your forgiveness. ...Forgiveness does not mean forgetting, nor does it mean condoning or excusing offenses" It is also at the heart of religion, because religion is about both humanity's relationship with the divine and humanity's relationship to itself. Nothing says more about humanity's relationship to itself than its ability to forgive.
The discussion was wide ranging and touched on individual's ability to forgive one another, and society's ability to forgive the individual, and even a society's ability to forgive other societies (witness America's ability to deal with Christian-Muslim relations. We discussed the outlook of Asian religions on the topic of forgiveness. And we briefly entertained the concept of mercy and its relationship to forgiveness.
We are going to explore this topic in future Sundays. Come in and visit. We'd love to hear what you have to say. Sundays... at 11AM unless we start late. We are only human after all. If you arrive on time, and we start late, please forgive the inconvenience.
March 4, 2018 Service about labor in the Restaurant industry in America
Americans eat in restaurants more often than any other society yet most of us don't know the people who prepare and serve the food there. And, also in America, we are taught the custom of tipping, but the problem is that it isn't a tip per se, it is that person's salary that we are paying. There is a separate minimum wage for tip earning people and it is 2.13 per hour. Most restaurant workers are paid the minimum wage. If the customer doesn't pay the 15 to 2-% tip, that waiter is working for free. Actually it is even worse than that because the waiter is expected to pay the bartender and table runners whether you pay your tip or not. If the patron walks out without paying their bill at all, the restaurant manager holds the waiter responsible for it... often times the manager will require the waiter to pay the scofflaws bill (although it is technically illegal to hold a third party responsible for someone else's debt, it is done all the time.)
For the same reason, waiters must tolerate verbal abuse and sexual battery from customers. If a waiter does not tolerate the intolerable, then the waiter knows he/she will not get paid.
Furthermore, this is an industry where the employees are largely not given paid sick days. Restaurant workers are among the lowest paid people in the American economy. This means that the person who prepares or serves your food is incentivized to come to work sick.
According to Saru Jayarman (who wrote the book Behind the Kitchen Door) we can't really have sustainably sourced food without also creating sustainably sourced wages for restaurant workers. Check out this message from the Unitarian Universalist Society of America.
Come join us next week. Every week is a presentation on something different, but each one will be based on our seven principles. Oh, and we generally also have a discussion afterward, but we serve coffee, juice and snacks with that.
Feb 25, 2018 Service about Japan's Wind Telephone
Today, Rick and Andy combined to present a service ) about how some people in Japan who had lost loved ones in the 2011 tsunami were making a pilgrimage (of sorts) to a phone booth on a hill in the town of Otsuchi in order to ‘speak with’ their deceased relatives. The so-called ‘wind phone’ (kaze no denwa) is comprised of a simple disconnected rotary phone which is located in a white phone booth that overlooks the Pacific ocean. The phone is owned by a 70 year old gardener named Itaru Sasaki who had installed the phone in his garden prior to the disaster in order to give him a private space to help him cope with the loss of his cousin. However after the devastation of the tsunami, news about the phone gradually spread and eventually it became a well known site for people to talk to their deceased loved ones. It has already had 10,000 visitors. Many of these people have experienced the loss of their loved ones without having anyplace to find their remains. In addition, the catastrophe was unexpected, so there was no time to prepare for death.
Then Andy took over and explained some of the basic beliefs of the Shinto religion. In Shintoism, every living thing has a spirit. Deceased people also retain their spirit for a time before they move on to the next world. They help look over the living and see them taken care of, but the spirits cannot move on to a more permanent rest until all is settled. One of the things we see happening in the documentary of the wind telephone is that reassurance.
Feb 11, 2018 Service about the mission of our church
Today we met again to craft our purpose statement. We're sorry you missed it because we had coffee and cupcakes afterward (and some healthy choices too let it be said.)
Here is what we decided you needed to know about us: Welcome to a loving fellowship of free thinkers respecting ideas, exploring spirituality, and nurturing our community, the earth and all beings.
One More Step
One more step,
We will take one more step,
Till there is peace for us and everyone,
We’ll take one more step.
One more word,
We will say one more word,
Till every word is heard by everyone,
We’ll say one more word.
One more prayer,
We will say one more prayer,
Till every prayer is shared by everyone,
We’ll say one more prayer.