Social Justice

Beyond Categorical Thinking

Will the new minister hear me? Will my concerns and needs be met? Will the minister understand what I’m living with? How will the community respond to our minister? In answering these questions, a picture of the “ideal minister” (categorized by age, gender identity, nationality, physical or cognitive ability, race, sexual orientation, etc.) comes to mind. With this picture in place, it can be easy to unintentionally exclude ministers who fall into certain categories. At times, as we get caught...

Fair Is Not Always Equal – August 16, 2020

Before I begin my homily, I invite you to participate in an art activity. Today’s story,It’s Okay to be Different, is appealing for many reasons, one of which is Todd Parr’s bold and accessible art style. The beauty of the illustrations lie in their simplicity.  The differences of the characters are presented simply and boldly to be celebrated.  For this activity, if you were to add a page to the story about yourself, what would it say? What would the illustration look like? Why? I invite you...

Why Bother? – July 12, 2020

Our opening words today are a paraphrase and extension of words from a speech by John Fitzgerald Kennedy: Some look at things as they are, and ask “Why? Others see things as they could be, and ask “Why not?” Still others take just one look/see, and say “Why bother?” When I was approached about doing a summer service, my partner and I had recently started volunteering with a local Sanctuary Church. I'd like to share a few thoughts from that experience: In the orientation, we were asked not to...

“The Language of the Unheard” – A Homily for Pentecost

We find ourselves once again at the threshold of a new month. Tomorrow is the first day of June, which means the beginning of Pride Month. When we met for our staff meeting on Tuesday, we thought we might focus this morning on Pride and on this congregation’s commitment to being welcoming and inclusive of LGBTQ+ persons. That afternoon, I started watching the documentary “How to Survive a Plague.” It sounded timely given our current state. It recounts the story of AIDS activists in the 1980’s...

Flower Communion Sunday – June 21, 2020

What an exquisite bouquet of people you are! I am touched and moved, even today, even in this time of physical distancing – or perhaps especially because of it – by this ritual and by Rev. Capek’s original message to his people…the simple message that each person is as beautiful and wonderful as a flower in bloom. Each one of us possesses an inherent worth, an inherent goodness, and an inherent beauty that neither time nor our distance from one another can diminish. That was Rev. Capek’s...

“Your Life is Precious”

I don’t know who needs to hear this this week, but your life is precious…more precious than any stock holdings…more precious than anyone’s retirement account…more precious than the economy itself. You are fearfully and wonderfully made according to the Psalms. That is what the Christian faith of my childhood taught me. Today there’s an old pseudo-religion masquerading as “Christianity” which tells us that the almighty dollar is more important than life itself. But that is a lie. Of course,...

In the Interim – June 2020

As I write, peaceful protests in defense of black lives continue to grow in cities and towns in all 50 states. I think this is good news. And I pray for those who continue to put their bodies on the line for justice. Violence committed against protesters by police, egregious and unnecessary, is being recorded and reported. I think this is good news. And I pray for the victims of that violence. I pray that those who perpetrate it will be held accountable for it. And I pray that their hardened...

Mother’s Day Homily – May 10, 2020

I want to start by wishing a happy Mothers’ Day to you, who are mothers. For those mothers who are home with your children right now, and for those who long to be with their mothers, or their children, but cannot be, this time of pandemic presents new challenges. And I want you to know that I see you, and that you are in my heart. I also want to acknowledge the complexity of Mothers’ Day for some of us, even without a global pandemic. For there is a unique complexity that accompanies our...

Easter Homily, April 12, 2020

There’s honey in the rock for all God’s children. Feed every child of God. What a perfect song for us to sing after the story that we heard about Jesus and the disciples feeding the 5000, sometimes known as the story of the loaves and fishes. It did not seem to the disciples like it would be possible, any more possible than finding honey in a rock, but somehow there was enough to feed them all. The first song we sang together, Lean on Me, may seem like an odd choice for Easter Sunday. But...

“Reflections on White Rage, White Grief, and White Fragility” by Rev. Wendy L. Bell – January 19, 2020

A Reflection on White Rage We began this morning with the dream. And yet we hardly need reminding, that the ideal which we seek lies in stark contrast to the reality in which we live. Have we made progress in this country in terms of race? Yes, but it has not been straight forward. Every inch of progress has been met with a countervailing counterforce. The end of the civil war and the eradication of slavery was met with the Black Codes in Mississippi and nine other former confederate states,...

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