When We Disagreed

photo of a snapped branch

by Jay Kiskel, Worship Associate Delivered at Northwest Unitarian Universalist Congregation on October 30, 2016 With whom do we covenant? To whom do we extend our promise to honor the strength found in our diversity, to embrace the full measure of our common humanity, to communicate in kindness? I would like us to ponder the answers to those questions as I share […]

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You’ve Got a Friend

May today and every day be the day that we’re grateful for the good friends we have, and the friends we’ve known. And may we always anticipate the ones we’ve yet to meet. More than any prayer or song, may it be our friends that connect us to the deepest part of ourselves and to that mystery that we may know as the spirit of Life.

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A Promise to Be Kind

No act of kindness no matter how small is ever wasted. Aesop

I have a strong feeling that Karen Armstrong is right – that kindness is the way to heal what divides us and build a global community in which all peoples can live together with mutual respect. As people of faith, my hope is that all of us here can be part of the solution . . . and that we will not fail what is perhaps the test of our time.

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We Who Defy Hate

Photo from jfr.org

Not all of us can do what Waitstill and Martha Sharp did to help others in need, which included turning their lives upside down and creating a brand new set of life priorities based on their most cherished values. However, in thinking about their story and the current refugee crisis that has exploded across Europe, Turkey and the Middle East, I’m nevertheless faced with the question of “What can I do?” “What does my faith compel me to do?”

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Our UU Saints

From as far back as almost five hundred years ago to as recently as this century, our faith has had in its midst women and men whose very ways of being in the world have changed the world. These people – our UU saints – model our highest ideals such as compassion, courage, and perseverance. Their lives invite us to consider how we might also help make the world a better place.

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9/11 Stories and Lessons

photo from 911memorial.org

As we go from here, may we recognize that this anniversary of 9/11 offers us the opportunity for more healing and for further assessment. May we remember and grieve the loss of our fellows. May we share our “I remember when” stories and reflect on how we and our world has changed these last 15 years. And, may we look for specific steps we can take to build partnerships and understanding, end bigotry and hate, and become the peacemakers we seek.

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You, Me and We

Mural in Memphis. "This is You," in curly script. "This is WE," below, much bolder and larger.

Seeking to understand the Other – capital “O” or lower-case “o” – without judging or attempts to persuade, is perhaps the most vital thing we can do when we seem to be stuck in a You and Me or You vs. Me place. It requires humility to enter into a conversation with no other objective than to understand another’s point of view. To do so suggests that we’ve made an important shift in priorities. It means we’ve put our connection to and relationship with another person ahead of winning an argument or getting someone else to see our side of things.

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Cherish Water, Cherish Life

water drops on a bright green leaf

Clean, fresh water is not in abundance – less than 3 percent of our planet’s water is freshwater. And, most of that is inaccessible, still locked in frozen icecaps and glaciers. So, let’s not, in the words of Barbara Kingsolver, be too slow to give up on the myth of Earth’s infinite generosity. Let’s see where we might use less of this precious resource and where we might partner with others to advocate for its protection.

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I’m Saved . . . Right?

black and white sketch of hosea ballou

Delivered Sunday, July 31, 2016 by Worship Associate Jay Kiskel Poor Jack. That’s not his real name, but names don’t really matter in this instance. I only invite you to join me in the sense of despair I felt for Jack back in the 1960’s. I met Jack in the ninth grade after eight years at St. Philomena’s Catholic School. Jack […]

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