John spoke to us on cherishing our doubts in order to avoid enslavement of the mind.  We are vulnerable to being enslaved by how we let ourselves be defined.  If we allow ourselves to be defined as consumers, then we are only happy when we are acquiring things.  Share croppers who allowed themselves to be tied to the land were enslaved to the land.

On the other hand, blacks who got off the farm through athletics or the arts and entertainment were vulnerable to loosing their way through the lack of definition.  As they began to refuse to value education, they lost track of opportunities to nourish the mind and spirit.  They came from a land where they were enslaved by others through  laws that forbade education, and then enslaved themselves by turning away from it.

The poor are compelled to be obedient.  Religion can be misused to be a tool to keep poor people enslaved in a world where they think they must give up their current needs in exchange for a reward in another life.  The most dangerous enslavement is the enslavement of the mind and spirit.  Jesus’ core message is not a creed to be recited in exchange for uniform salvation.  It is that love in diversity is how people can get along together.

In announcements:  Next Sunday there will be a meeting on developments in the clean air act that concern us all here in central Ohio.  A poets and writers guild is meeting on North High street in Columbus.  Check out  There is a new bakery coming to Reynoldsburg which features gluten free products.

In Joys and Concerns:  we lit a candle for Ms. Dotson, a teacher in Logan, OH.  Stan is going to be interviewed by the Dispatch this week for an article on church-going atheists (this is something we highly encourage at UUCE.)  There was a general agreement among the members of the congregation that we have so many acknowledgments of the small gifts of kindness that we do for one another that we can’t keep up a specific list of thank-yous this week on the subject.  John reminds us that February is Black History Month.