Marriage Equality

Our president, Barack Obama said, “I applaud the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. This was discrimination enshrined in law. It treated loving, committed gay and lesbian couples as a separate and lesser class of people. ”

Unitarian Universalists across the land have been working vailiantly for marriage equality. We should engage in this faith based issue more seriously. Standing on the side of love calls us to be in open dialogue with the citizens of Kansas so that equality can become available to all. We are called to give heft and momentum to our principles by working to eradicate injustice in all its manifestations. May we offer our inclusive vision to all and be a bold model of love!

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Letter To All

The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to earth. All things are connected like the blood that unites one family. Man does not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the strand, he does to himself. —Chief Seattle, 1854

 

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“Immortality for Skeptics”

One of our great Unitarian Universalist leaders, Rev. Jack Mendelsohn, recently died at the age of 94. I’d like to share a bit of his writing on the subject of “Immortality for Skeptics” in his seminal work, Being Liberal in an Illiberal Age: Why I Am a Unitarian Universalist.

When we reason together about the truths and mysteries of life, there is one all-powerful reality: The humanity of which we are individual expressions is a product of the sense and nonsense of our forebears. We are the living immortality of those who came before us. In like manner, those who come after us will be the harvest of the wisdom and folly we ourselves are sowing. To let this reality permeate and drench our consciousness is to introduce ourselves to the grand conception of immortality which makes yearnings for some form of personal afterlife seem less consequential. So long as there is an ongoing stream of humanity I have life. This is my certain immortality. I am a renewed and renewing link in the chain of humanity. My memory and particularity are personal, transitory, finite; my substance is boundless and infinite. The immortality in which I believe affirms first and foremost my unity with humankind. My unity with humankind gives meaning to my desire to practice reverence for life. It is pride in being and pride in belonging to all being.

 While this may have been published in the 1960’s, the book has current revelance and is worth reading. He was a man who worked for social justice across its spectrum of issues. He served his faith with an engaged heart and keen mind. May we be inspired by his dedication.

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What is your religion?

“My religion is kindness . . . The important thing is to have a good heart in daily life. This is the principle of life.” —H.H. the Dali Lama

Having a good heart in daily life is good practice and can help create gaps between everything else on that list of things to do. A space just to feel good, to be good, to know one’s innate goodness on a lovely summer’s day.

Michael

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Deepening UU

New members and those considering membership are invited to join Rev Michael Nelson for
DEEPENING YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF UNITARIAN UNIVERSALISM. Please join us to learn more about Unitarian Universalism, and our progressive community and faith. The group will meet on Sunday, APRIL 22 and 29, following morning services.

Please register for classes with Susan Turner, 537-2349 or office@uufm.net.

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Making decisions for the end of your life

Rev Michael Nelson facilitates MAKING DECISIONS FOR THE END OF YOUR LIFE. We will explore how we can choose to face the end of life in relative comfort and in harmony with our values, and consider what choices we have to control the end of our life. The class will meet on Monday, APRIL 16 and 23, and MAY 7 and 14, from 1 to 2:30 pm. Limited to seven participants.

Please register for classes with Susan Turner, 537-2349 or office@uufm.net.

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Young Adults Group

A Young Adults Group is forming at UUFM, to bring young adults together and simply have fun. We plan to gather socially and the activity and location will change. At the first gathering, we’ll work out the details with a pizza party at Matt and Jen Campbell’s house on Saturday, APRIL 7, at 6 pm. Email or to RSVP or to learn more.

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Can We Change The Conversation?

In the March issue of the Kansas Electric Cooperatives magazine, while it devotes much of this issue to birding in our state, (a very good thing) to my surprise has an article addressing the problem of the negative conversations that occur about important political and cultural issues in our state and country. Tim Steffensmeier, an Associate Professor of Communication at K-State, believes that a more disciplined effort needs to be made to hear all voices, positive conversations change the world for the better and that hierarchies in communities need to grant authority to its citizens. This sounds like it came straight out of our Unitarian Universalist principles . Wow!

And then in the “Cook’s Library” a monthly column, Patsy Terrell writes about the need for people to tell the story of who they are with their whole heart. She observes that there are not many places in the world which encourage the authentic sharing that create real connections between people. Instead the consumerist, isolationist habits of our TV addicted culture promote hair extensions, face lifts, sports fixation, instead of real conversation.

Patsy laments the loss of the many ways we once had to connect with one another like community dances, barn raisings, coffee klatches, bringing a casserole to an ill friend…UUFM should send her some photos of the swing dance class, filled with rollicking dance  and community spirit, all the people helping to build more useable space for religious education, the numerous times in the week when UUFM friends gather for coffee or share something of real value with a Fellowship friend or member who ails…

Sometimes you find inspiration in the places you least expect. Lesson: Keep our eyes open!

Michael

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Pathology and Opportunity

“Crime  is a routine behavior; it’s a thing people do when they get used to doing it…” Zimring, 1/30/12 New Yorker

“Curbing crime does not depend on reversing social pathologies or alleviating social grievances; it depends on erecting small, annoying barriers to entry.” Adam Gopnik

Crime is not curtailed by punishment nor by being nice. Wow! The percentage of people put in jail has tripled in 20 years. No other country in the world gets close to locking up as many of its citizens as we do in America.

“The scale and brutality of our prisons are the moral scandal of American life.” Adam Gopnik

70,000 prisoners are raped every year. African-Americans are imprisoned 7 times more than white Americans. Has slavery ended? NO!

What is the responsibility of a progressive faith community with such troubling cultural and ethical issues?

Let me know what you think. Is there a way we can help solve this anguished puzzle? How do we stand on the side of love in this hell realm? Really respect the inherent worth and dignity of every person?

 

 

 

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Lack Of Humanity

How I See It……………..by Dorothy Wells

I have been researching my family history for several years and have had success on the Internet genealogy sites. Left
with old pictures and obituaries by my mother and the names of the states my ancestors lived in, I began to piece together the lives of my family. I have always been curious about that period in our country’s history when my people
were enslaved. Having done extensive reading and watching documentaries on the subject I feel that I have a better understanding of the events of that time but my feelings are conflicted.

I understand the economics of the free labor that slavery provided and in a way I even understand the mindset of the antebellum south especially the wealthy, to hold on to that lifestyle. What I have never been able to grasp is the lack of
humanity. I can’t fathom how a man could sell his own children sired by a slave woman or how his wife could blame that same slave for her husband’s misdeeds when she knew full well that the slave had no voice in her life. I don’t understand how families could so callously have been separated, parent sold off from children or children from their home to a place foreign to them where they knew no one.

Slavery has existed since the beginning of time and has affected many groups at one time or another. yet that period in the history of our country is very personal to me. I try to imagine what life was like for my ancestors. I know from the census records that many children died, some families loosing one a year for several years. In my own family twin girls were born in 1879 and lived to be two months and four months old ,the only girls born to the mother.

I believe that slavery took a terrible toll on African-American families ,the affects still being felt all these centuries later. Women were often forced to be head of the household leaving no masculine role model. The history of my people in this country has been dramatic. We have made strides ahead but not without sacrifices. I am proud to be an American but just as proud of the strength and endurance of those who came before me.

(This essay comes from one of Charley Kempthorne’s “Life Story Instute” workshop in Junction City and was a part of the UUFM service on January 15th)

 

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