Category Archives: spiritually intentional

Cart before the horse

I can’t remember the last time I posted anything UU (unitarian universalist) related. Maybe a year or so ago when I wrote something titled my UU church must change?  I don’t know but I feel compelled as our national conference, known to UUs as General Assembly or GA, is underway in Phoenix.

So GA started yesterday and with Twitter, Facebook and blogging platforms being used in official and unofficial capacities, it’s almost as if I’m there. Almost.

One of the biggest problems I’ve had with UUism since I attended my first service 10 years ago has been the fact there is always some cause du jour and for the most part, those causes usually feeds the caricature that the Everyday Joe has of left-leaning, liberal-minded people.

  • Please help the eight toed children of Burma have free-trade coffee!
  • We must be the voice of the disenfranchised in equatorial Guinea who don’t have access to clean sinks and toilets!
  • Save the three-legged, blue-spotted ninny muggins of Gila Island!
  • What would a world with dignity and a fair wage for food chain workers look like?!??!!!

Believe it or not… that last one is a real cause the UUA is pushing at General Assembly this year. Some of the other causes I’ve seen are something about ethical eating and voicing the unfairness of server wages. I wish I knew who to talk to about trying to raise awareness about pushing for laws that raise the wage of waiters and waitresses because the UUA is going to embarrass itself if it goes full tilt on this. By law, food servers make at least minimum wage. It is federal law. Just because a food server is making $2.13 an hour… you know what, I’m not gonna get into it. But I work for a payroll company. I do it every single day. They are NOT being short changed. No pun intended. : )

Back to the social justice thing though… I mean, history is replete with examples of religious people taking up the banner of justice and heading to the front lines to make a wrong a right. Often times that is how change happens. But the UUA and my church I believe have it wrong.

It seems as though they are moving further and further in the direction of social activism as the means toward spiritual fulfillment when it should be the other way around. It’s the cart before the horse.

I delivered a sermon at  my congregation on Easter that touched on the point. I acknowledged it being a holy day for Christians and that although it is their holiday, we can learn from this narrative. I ended by emphasizing the idea that it is from spiritual transformation and the UU Good News of universal salvation that we are moved beyond the walls of our church and into the larger community to do good works. NOT the other way around.

It is apparent that the trendy missional theology bandwagon has its horse trailing the back end and many UUs are hopping on board, including my own congregation.  I am afraid there is only a nail or two left before the coffin is sealed for me and I am no longer willing to call any UU church my sangha.

just call me Rev.

So my dad, in his sarcastic way he says things, proclaims to a co-worker that I am a minister and that I had been asked by my brother to marry him and his fiance (now wife).

About 10 years ago I signed up online to become an ordained minister.  Crazy, huh. You know kinda like in that episode of Friends where Joey is going to officiate the wedding of Monica and Chandler because he was ordained online.

Anyway, so my co-worker Irma then says, “you’re a minister?
“so what are the requirements.”
“Not much.  You just kinda sign up.”
“That’s it?”
“Yep. It’s kinda like becoming a journalist. Just grab a pen and a notebook and boom… you’re  a journalist.”
“So they don’t do like a background check?”
“Well, no.”
“Man, that’s scary.”
“Well yeah, I mean… anyone could be a minister.  Anyone could just sign up like you know like a child molester or a rapist or you know someone… someone who isn’t right.”
“isn’t right.”
“yeah, you know like anyone who does bad things.”
“Hm. Yeah I guess so.  Kinda makes you wonder who ‘they’re” just letting go out be a minister.”

I’d hate to think that child molesters (several priests), guys who just aren’t right (David Koresh) and just anyone (Ted Haggard) could be a minister. That would be terrible.

Amen to what the Preacher Man said

My UU congregation has gone through a few ministers in its 15 year history.  I can think of four right off the top of my head but I think there has been seven including our current minister.

We share him with another congregation in San Antonio because we only had enough money to hire him part time.  Rough gig for the preacher man as he drives the three hours from San Antone to us once a month… sometimes twice. Don’t tell his boss though cuz he’s only supposed to come over once.  He likes us.

Anyway, apparently my powers of sway and persuasion Continue reading

a UU, Deist and Jew?… in Texas

No… it’s not the beginning of a joke about three guys going into a bar with one leading a donkey to a barstool.  : )

Last Sunday at my UU church our interim minister was preaching about Rosh Hashanah and teaching us about this important holy day of the Jewish faith. Judaism is part of his spiritual practice and it seemed like the first time that I’d seen him get really animated and passionate in the five or six times he’s preached on Sunday. (he’s a part time minister to our church and so only preaches once a month)

It was really cool to see him so… so… I don’t know, like I said, passionate. He even sang chants in Hebrew. very cool.

But the highlight of Sunday service for me was Continue reading