As might be expected, I don’t often agree with a lot of people. At least not 100%. I don’t think anyone truly agrees with someone else, just bits and pieces here and there. But when our consulting minister, Danny Reed, delivered his sermon a few weeks ago I found myself agreeing with one section of it entirely. I can honestly say, and with all due respect, that I don’t agree with Danny on everything, but on this we are marching hand in hand. He has captured very neatly and poetically, why I am a Unitarian Universalist.
For whom is my church? It’s for anybody who’s ever wept at a sunrise and felt the need to thank the universe for starlight and sea breeze. It’s for anybody who’s ever had a broken heart and felt the need to pray but wasn’t sure how. It’s for anybody who ever wanted to raise a child with a faith that invites children to find their own way to God, lovingly guided by good and able teachers. It’s for anybody who needs a little room in church, or maybe a lot of room in church. For those who need to think things through and test ideas against their own experience. My church is for those who believe that science explains creation, phenomena, and behavior alongside scripture, myth, and poetry.
My church is for the people who are unwelcome elsewhere because they think the wrong thoughts, or pray the wrong prayer, or love the wrong person. It’s for anybody who’s ever had a hard time of it. My church is for anyone who wonders about the right way to be in this complex world, those who relish being alive yet who know that we must die. My church might not be right for everybody, but it’s surely right for me, and it might be right for you.
Delivered by Reverend Danny Reed at the Unitarian Church in Charleston, 10/10/10.
Just wanted to post a few pictures from the Christmas Eve services at the Unitarian Church in Charleston. This was the early service with lots and lots of kids. There was even one dog in attendance. The later service will be a bit more formal and orderly, but the 5pm service was a lot of fun.
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From the looks if this car, we aren’t in conservative Charleston anymore! Loving it – this was from the parking lot of the retreat I went too this weekend. It was nice to actually have other cars around that spoke to similar views.
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In truth, I resisted this book for a long time. I saw reviews of Here If You Need Me by Kate Braestrup in some magazines. I also heard her interviewed online. Finally I saw a podcast of her speaking before a group. Then I walked into our local library and the book was sitting on an end display. OK already, I will read the book! In the end, I was pleasantly surprised.
Here If You Need Me is the true story of how Braestrup overcame the sudden death of her husband, took care of her kids, became a chaplain for the Maine Game Wardens, and basically put her life back together. But it is far more than that. It had to be, because I don’t normally go for warm fuzzy perseverance stories. For one thing though, Braestrup tells her story honestly but with a sense of humor. She never dissolves into self pity or the woe-is-me attitude that many would. She still asks the hard questions, but she asks them with power.
And that leads to another reason I enjoyed this book. Although she might deny it, Braestrup is a strong women. Outside events may happen to her, but she alone chooses how she handles the events and how she reacts. She refuses to be a victim and in the end actually becomes a champion for the victims. By choosing the road of becoming a Unitarian Universalist minister, as her late-husband had planned to do, she explores her faith and her strength. But by becoming a chaplain with the game and wildlife service, she puts that faith and strength to use together with her compassion. She makes a difference, pure and simple.
Here If You Need Me is not a long book and it is not a complicated book, but it is a good book. I would recommend it for anyone trying to find meaning in their life or for those who are trying to help others find that meaning. And truthfully, I would recommend it for people who are simply looking for a good read with a good story line that has some humor and human angst thrown in. And if it jumps on you from the end cap at your library, take the hint.