Archive | January 2014

Pete Seeger

Oh, Pete

You’ve died in your bed

But your songs they still play

In my head and my heart

No lullabies these

They say wake-up and rise

We will march to the beat

Of your troubadour’s heart

Walking the pathway of peace.

Your hammer we’ll use

Until justice has come

Your bell we will ring

Until freedom is real

And your song about love

We will sing it for you.

 

 

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Rainbow Tears

What does it take to kill a dream?

Can they make a rainbow cry?

I’m old enough to remember

That day when Martin was killed

And Meredith’s brave

March against Fear

Was ended by sniper fire.

Harvey was shot while he sat at his desk

Matthew was tied to a fence.

But their dreams go on

In the lives we live

Hate can make

A rainbow weep

But the sun still shines

Within our hearts

Hope can part the fearful clouds

Dreams flying free at last

The power of love will win.

 

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Remember Love

I read this blog post by Myke Johnson this morning.  I needed it.  It was a good reminder.

“A young lesbian woman carried another poster that said, “Your signs are mean but we love you anyway.” No matter what happens next, such love releases an inner power that is indestructible. I think that is part of what Dr. King was talking about. It was visceral and immediate. By tapping the power of love through non-violent action, he felt first hand a new way of being in the world. He fully experienced his own dignity and the dignity of his people. After that, what else could matter? He had been to the mountaintop.”

Sometimes hurt, pain, and especially anger can get in the way of love.  Yesterday was a difficult one for me.  An article was published in our local newspaper about my decision to leave my ministry here in Utah and return to California.  One of my reasons for leaving is the lack of marriage equality in Utah.  Read it (here)  The article was fair , and I have a long and very good relationship with the reporter.

The headline read:

“Activist Ogden gay rights minister fed up with Utah, moves to California,” which set up a certain tone that I do not think accurately reflects my feelings about leaving.  I would have been happier if the words “fed up” were not included.  Tired maybe, sad definitely, but there is much about Utah that I love.  My leaving is about going to a place I will be happier, not escaping a place I hate.   I am not leaving in disgust, I am going home.  I also understand that being able to move is a privilege that is not available to everyone.  Many people have family here that they do not or cannot leave.  Most of our family is in California.   We have no relatives who live in Utah.  Other people stay here because of their jobs.  Ministry however, by its very nature, is a profession where periodic geographic mobility is the norm.   I promised the church I would stay five years, and I will have been here seven by the time I leave.  While some ministers stay longer than that, seven years is by no reasonable measurement a short-term ministry.  I know that I am very lucky to have the option of moving.

There was a video of the interview that was posted by the article, but most people didn’t seem to watch it.  Or maybe they did.  Virtually all of the people who actually know me, who had met me face to face and in person, expressed simple sadness that I was leaving.  They also understood that I was not disparaging the all Mormons by criticizing the actions of its hierarchy. Many faithful LDS people have the same opinions about those actions as I do.

It was people who don’t know me who felt compelled to call me a quitter, to say they were glad I was going, or to make disparaging comments about my weight.   I shouldn’t have been surprised, but I admit that it was painful.  Many of comments were just mean and almost all were anonymous as well.  I’d like to say to them, “Your words are mean, but I love you anyway.”  I, too, have been to the mountaintop.  I know that the Divine Spirit loves us all, just the way we are.  Would that we all could understand that, and treat each other accordingly, to treat everyone with dignity and respect, especially when we disagree.  I hope that my time and work here has served to bring that day just a little bit closer.  If that is at all true, I am well satisfied.

 

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Change

Change can come

Like pennies from heaven

Raining down in shiny surprise

Collect the good luck

And be grateful

Sometimes it can seem

As if a giant boulder falls

Smack in the middle

Of our cherished path

Do we go around or over?

Turn back or try another road?

Just keep moving

That’s the trick

Don’t dig a hole

Don’t bury your dreams

Before your time is up.

Change happens

Even our bones

Will change to dust

Then dust to earth

Forming a warm cradle

For new seeds.

Leaving Utah

I told my church this week that I would be leaving them and leaving Utah at the end of this coming June.  It wasn’t an easy decision to make, but it is a good one for me and for my family.  Although it might take awhile for them to realize it, I think it will also be good for the church that I will have served for seven years.

My reasons for leaving are many.  I miss my friends and family in California.  I also want to live in a state where my marriage is not only legal, but where our rights as a family are respected not only by the laws of the state and nation, but also by most of the elected officials, and by the vast majority of the citizens.  Even if court cases eventually bring marriage quality to Utah, it is still going to be a hostile environment for years to come.  I am just tired of it.  Having had a taste of real equality in California, to stay here would feel to me like choosing to remain in chains.

I am also tired of the increasingly bad air, the crazy gun laws, the lack of sex education in the schools, the suicide rates, the meth and prescription drug addiction, the teen pregnancies, the domestic violence, the crooked politicians, the rampant child abuse, and the callousness of a governor who refuses to expand medicaid.  People are dying and he and most of the legislature just don’t seem to care.  Frankly, things only seem to get worse every time the Utah legislature actually passes any laws.  California has some of these same problems of course, but the state government there tries to work on them in ways that make at least some sense to me.  They wouldn’t raise the speed limit to 80 miles per hour without at least considering the environmental impact.

Then there is the weather.  Spring and fall are the only seasons that I really enjoy here.   Summers are too hot and dry, and winters are too cold and too polluted.

It is hard to minister to a church and to the wider community unless you love them and are also happy to be with them where they live.  I deeply love the members of the church.  I also love much of the wider community and am thrilled that environmental activism is increasing in the state.  I am proud of Utah’s GLBT community and awesome organizations like CORC, OUTreach Ogden, Equality Utah, Peaceful Uprising, Utah Mom’s for Clean Air, and the ACLU.  Organizations like Mormons for Equality and Ordain Women also bring hope for change.  I wish I could take all these good folks to California with me.   Then the only thing I would continue to miss about Utah is the glow of the setting sun on the mountains.  That is true beauty, it really is.  The Pacific Ocean also has its charms, however.

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Ogden is an awesome congregation.  They deserve a minister who will truly be happy in Utah.  I was happy here for a long time, but things have changed.  Maybe I am just getting older.  The congregation is very easy to love, so whoever follows me will certainly love them as well.

I am so proud of the work we have done together.  The Unitarian Universalist Church of Ogden has made a positive difference in so many people’s lives.  We have helped change the wider community as well.  The work of the church will go on without me; of that I have no doubt.  The people and the good work they do will always be in my heart.  Namaste.

Click (here) for the sermon where I told these good people that I would be leaving them.

Have a Dream

Video of sermon (here)

Call to worship (here)

Sermon text:

Quoting MLK: “From every mountainside, let freedom ring. When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

Ah, the dream of freedom.  The Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. had a lot of dreams. He spoke of one of them in his most famous speech given during the march on Washington so many years ago.  That dream was about racial equality.  He was, however, a man of many other dreams, some that came to him in his sleep but many more that came to him from his work with people.

The selection Kaya recited was about peace. It upset people when he started speaking against the war in Viet Nam. “Why can’t he just stick to civil rights?” they said.   King also spoke about economic inequality which got even more people upset.

Talking about the Poor People’s Campaign, he said,

“We are coming to demand that the government address itself to the problem of poverty. We read one day,

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.” But if a man doesn’t have a job or an income, he has neither life nor liberty nor the possibility for the pursuit of happiness.”

King would have loved the occupy movement and he would be appalled at the ever increasing income inequality that we have not only here in America, but in the world.

Martin Luther King had dreams.  He was an inspirational leader; there is no doubt about that.  He was also a minister and like all ministers, much of his inspiration came from his congregation.  He also happened to have a really big congregation, one that included just about everyone in this country.  He preached love not hate and reached out to his enemies as well as to his friends.

Sometimes his congregation pushed him to do things he was reluctant to do.

One  example was in Birmingham.   This is a story told by Kate Rhode.  Things were not going well there.  People were afraid of the sheriff who was named Bull Conner. He was scary. King was having a hard time recruiting people who were willing to protest.  One night, he asked, “Who will demonstrate with me tomorrow in a brave attempt to end segregation? Who will risk going to jail for the cause?”

No one answered his call and he tried again, “The struggle will be long,” he said.

“We must stand up for our rights as human beings. Who will demonstrate with me, and if necessary, be ready to go to jail for it?”

There was a pause, and then a whole group of people stood up. Someone gasped. All the people who stood up were children.

(Children and youth please stand if you are willing to work for justice)

The adults told them to sit down but they didn’t.

Martin Luther King thanked the children and told them he appreciated the offer but that he couldn’t ask them to go to jail. They still wouldn’t sit down. They wanted to help.

That night, Dr. King talked with a close group of friends about the events of the day. “What are we going to do?” he asked. “The only volunteers we got were children. We can’t have a protest with children!” Everyone nodded, except Jim Bevel. “Wait a minute,” said Jim. “If they want to do it, I say bring on the children.”

“But they are too young!” the others said. Then Jim asked, “Are they too young to go to segregated schools?”

“No.”

“Then they are not too young to want their freedom.”

That night, they decided that any child old enough to join a church was old enough to march.

The children heard about the decision and told their friends. When the time came for the march, a thousand children, teenagers, and college students gathered.

The sheriff arrested them and put them in jail. The next day even more kids showed up—some of their parents and relatives too, and even more the next day and the next day. Soon lots of adults joined in. Finally, a thousand children were locked up together in a “children’s jail.” And there was no more room for anyone else.

Sheriff Connor had done awful things to try and get protesters to turn back. He had turned big police dogs loose and allowed them to bite people. He had turned on fire hoses that were so strong the force of the water could strip the bark off of trees. He had ordered the firefighters to point the hoses at the children and push them down the street. People all over the country and all over the world saw the pictures of the dogs, the fire hoses, and the children, and they were furious.

The white people of Birmingham began to worry. All over the world people were saying bad things about their city. Even worse, everyone was afraid to go downtown to shop because of the dogs and hoses. So they decided they had to change things. A short time later, the black people and white people of Birmingham made a pact to desegregate the city and let everyone go to the same places.

Today when people tell this story, many talk about Martin Luther King, Jr. We should also remember the thousands of brave children and teenagers whose courage helped to defeat Bull Connor and end segregation in Birmingham and the rest of the United States.(The Children’s Crusade by Kate Rhode, in What if Nobody Forgave? and Other Stories, edited by Colleen McDonald (Boston: Skinner House, 2003).

Martin Luther King did not do it alone.

A minister never does anything alone.

Those of you, who are members of this congregation and also on our church email list, got a message from me last Thursday night.

In that message I said that I have decided that I will be leaving Utah and moving back to my home in California at the end of this coming June. It wasn’t an easy decision for me to make, but it is the right one for my family and for myself.  By the end of June, I will have served as your minister for seven years. They have clearly been some of the best years of my life, and it will be very hard in so many ways to leave you.

So why am I leaving?  There are a lot of reasons, some fairly obvious and others less so.  When you first called me, I promised you five years and it has been seven.  I will be 64 in February and it is time to slow down and think about retirement.

Also, as almost all of you know, Anne and I got married last July in California, even though we delayed our wedding until we could celebrate it on our anniversary.  That made a huge difference to me.

I had never expected to be able to legally marry the love of my life, but when the Supreme Court ruled against DOMA last June it suddenly became real.  We could be married by both God and by our country, at least in some states.  In fact that was how the minister who conducted our ceremony pronounced us married, “By God and by Country.”  It was really hard coming back to Utah and no longer having our relationship recognized.  We’d had a taste of freedom and equality.

You know what I mean; everyone here also got a taste for 18 days in late December and early January.

It was then I began thinking seriously about leaving at the end of June.  We also miss our kids and the good friends we have in California.  It won’t surprise you that I also miss the weather and the much better air quality.

All those reasons are important, but there is another one, that at least makes it easier for me to leave.  UUCO is doing great!  You have strong lay leadership that knows how to do church.  After the end of year appeal results, we are in at least decent shape financially.  You are an awesome church and I know you will continue to do wonderful and amazing things.

And you know what else?  I am no Martin Luther King.  You will easily find someone who will lead you just as well if not better.  Remember, that a congregation creates the ministry and mission of the church.  The minister is simply a guide who tries to keep everything on track.

Next Sunday, your board president, Doris Lang, will talk with you about what happens next.  Basically, you will hire an interim minister who will serve you for a year while you search for a more permanent settled minister.  It is a well-established process within our denomination and it will go very smoothly.

Some of you have asked me what I will be doing after I leave.  I won’t look for another settled ministry.  I will see if I can find an interim position for a year or two, or possibly something part-time.  If nothing else, I will write and do guest preaching, and there will no doubt be some type of social justice work that I will feel the need to do.

OK.  Now you know that I will be leaving at the end of June.  But it is still January, and we have quite a number of months, almost 6, a half of a year, until we have to actually say goodbye.  Let’s just keep doing what we have been doing.  I know I will treasure the rest of our time together.  I hope we use it both wisely and well.

I will end with another King quote:

“And I submit that nothing will be done until people of goodwill put their bodies and their souls in motion. And it will be the kind of soul force brought into being as a result of this confrontation that I believe will make the difference.”

The Unitarian Universalist Church of Ogden knows about that kind of soul force.  You know about the power of love.  You know about dreams.  Keep dreaming and make those dreams real.

Amen and Namaste.

Dreams – Yours, Mine and Martin’s

Some dreams come slipping to us

From somewhere else

Just as we drift

Alone in that quiet space

Right before waking

Fantasies of longing

Memories mixed in

Weird rhythms of our minds

It is hard to know

What they mean.

Other dreams are created

From the hard days of our lives

The walls we long to scale

The wrongs we’d like to right

Visions of justice and freedom

Bringing hope to our hearts

Even as tears stream from our eyes

Martin had a dream

I have a dream

You have a dream

We can work with love

To make them real

Gender Diversity in Utah – Hah!

It is kind of hard not to fall on the floor laughing when you read Utah’s latest arguments against marriage equality.  (See NY times article.) Utah is promoting gender diversity?  Since when?  Are there suddenly going to be more women in state government?  How about in the LDS priesthood?  No, that would impact on the patriarchy.  They just want gender diversity in marriage and nowhere else where it might actually make a difference.

I think diversity is in general a good thing.  At my church we try to include both men and women in positions of leadership.  We also try to include people of differing sexual orientations and ages .  It is always good to have input from singles and couples, parents and non-parents, people who are abled bodied and people living with a variety of disabilities, immigrants and the native born, the financially comfortable and the struggling.  Bouncing ideas off of people with different life experiences usually leads to better, more thoughtful decisions on an institutional level.  I wish Utah would begin doing that, but I am not holding my breath.

No, they just want to mandate “gender diversity” in the very personal institution of marriage and the family.  They also seem to think that one’s gender defines everything about them, that men always parent one way and women a completely different way.   Don’t they know any families where the woman works and the man stays home with the kids?  Hmm.  Maybe not.  They should talk to some of those folks too.

Do they also really think all same gender couples have identical parenting styles?  My wife and I both identify as female, but if you asked our now adult children if our parenting styles were exactly the same, they would laugh at you.  (Click here to read our daughter’s toast at our recent wedding.)

There have been a number of reputable studies of children raised in same gender households (Click here for a report of a recent one).  While it is not scientific, our three children are all outstanding young adults.  We are very proud of them.  They are well educated, employed, and trying to help make our world a better place.  I am more than a little tired of a state that clearly does not really value children, despite its pretensions of being family-friendly, disparaging my family and my kids.  (Read my post on Utah’s “Gold Standard”)

For the Utah Attorney General to maintain that Utah believes in gender diversity is just a lie if it isn’t a joke.  Maybe if they did, we wouldn’t be having this discussions at all.  Institutions that do have real gender diversity tend to be much more accepting of LGBT people.  (see my post on the ordination of women and GLBT acceptance.)

Utah is a state dominated by a very patriarchal church.  By gender diversity they can only mean that they want to maintain rigid sex roles where the men “bring home the bacon” and the women stay home barefoot and pregnant, obeying  their husbands in all things.  That is the ideal family to them I guess.  They should then be just as concerned about the heterosexual marriages that try and function as equal partnerships.  Maybe that will be their next step.  Be afraid.  Be very afraid if they win.

It would be funny if it weren’t so heartbreaking.

 

 

 

 

The Gospel Truth?

Video of the sermon (click here)

Reading:

The Gospel According to Mary Magdalene Chapter 9

When Mary had said this, she fell silent, since it was to this point that the Savior had spoken with her.

But Andrew answered and said to the brethren, Say what you wish to say about what she has said. I at least do not believe that the Savior said this. For certainly these teachings are strange ideas.

Peter answered and spoke concerning these same things. He questioned them about the Savior: Did He really speak privately with a woman and not openly to us? Are we to turn about and all listen to her? Did He prefer her to us?

Then Mary wept and said to Peter, My brother Peter, what do you think? Do you think that I have thought this up myself in my heart, or that I am lying about the Savior?

Levi answered and said to Peter, Peter you have always been hot tempered. Now I see you contending against the woman like the adversaries.

But if the Savior made her worthy, who are you indeed to reject her? Surely the Savior knows her very well.

That is why He loved her more than us. Rather let us be ashamed and put on the perfect Man, and separate as He commanded us and preach the gospel, not laying down any other rule or other law beyond what the Savior said.

And when they heard this they began to go forth to proclaim and to preach.

Music Video: Macklemore Same Love (Click here)

Sermon text:

No more crying on Sundays is how that music video we just saw ends.

Sorry, but I can’t promise that.  Tears are good, and in times of grief or disappointment letting them flow can be very healing. We cry when are hearts are touched, and Sunday worship should touch our hearts.  It is the same reason people cry at weddings.  I cried at my own wedding celebration a little over a week ago, and I suspect there were not many dry eyes among the 120 or so people who witnessed our vows.

But people also cry in churches because their church is hurting them, telling them that they are somehow less than worthy, less than whole.   They are told that God doesn’t love them just as they are if they are gay.  They may also be told that they are less than worthy if they happen to be female. It is in the Bible after all.

This morning’s sermon title is “The Gospel Truth?” Did you notice the question mark? I gave a version of this sermon a number of years ago, but I think it might be especially useful again just now.  It might help some of you dialogue with or resist anyone who might be beating you about the head and wounding your heart with their literal interpretations of scripture.

The word Gospel comes from the Greek word, euangélion, and means quite literally “good news.”

It did not mean absolute fact, something that can’t be questioned, although the word has taken on that meaning in our language today.  In ancient Greece when a city-state was at war, and soldiers were far away engaged in combat, the people at home worried, just as we do today when our sons and daughters are at risk in foreign lands.  After a battle, a runner raced back home, hopefully to bring the word of victory, to spread the gospel, the good news.  That is the earliest evidence we have of how the word gospel was used.

When the early Christians were writing in Greek, they used the same term with the same meaning because they believed that the message of Jesus, the message of a loving God, of hope for the poor and oppressed, was very good news indeed.

Now we all want good news to be true.  There is nothing so upsetting as to think something wonderful has happened and to find out there was disaster instead.  We found out this last week how quickly things can move from joy to despair.  I really did not think the Supreme Court would put our marriages on hold.  But then again, I am still amazed that Shelby’s decision was implemented for even a few days.

You know that feeling when you have struggled to park in the last tiny spot on a crowded street or parking lot, and then while walking away, you discover a small no parking sign?  We want good news to be true.  We want to park our cars, our lives, someplace good, and not have to move them again.  We don’t want to be required to read the fine print.

So it is with the Bible.  If you read the fine print, if you study it, you find that while it may still be good news, and it certainly contains much wisdom, what it says is not literal fact.  My Old Testament professor in seminary, a delightfully droll Franciscan priest, was fond of saying that the Bible is not history and it is not science, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t true.

The Bible, he said, is a collection of the stories of a people and their struggles to be in right relationship with the divine, with God.  It is full of metaphor and full of inconsistencies.  It wasn’t written down all at one time; and God didn’t dictate it.

Biblical scholars, using modern methods, have determined that the bible is in fact a collection of stories, many of which were originally oral traditions, and most of which were edited and changed over time.

The word Bible actually means library and comes from the name of the town Býblos, a Phoenician port where papyrus was prepared.  And there is not just one Bible, a fact that many Biblical literalists don’t know.  The Hebrew Scriptures are a collection of 24 books in three divisions:  the law (or Torah), the prophets, and the writings.  The Protestant Old Testament contains all the same books, but arranges them differently in order to make a theological point.  The Roman Catholic Old Testament is larger than the protestant version; containing 15 additional books also known as the apocrypha, which means literally “hidden away”.  The Greek Orthodox Church includes even more, and the Ethiopian Church yet again more.

So when someone tells you that they follow what is in the Bible, it would not be at all unreasonable to ask, “Which one?”

The official version of the bible and the books included in it is often referred to as the canon.

Most of the books have also been edited.  Some are clearly combinations of different earlier versions.  The Torah, what Christians call the Pentateuch, is composed of the first 5 books of the Hebrew Scripture:  Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.  Scholars have determined that there were originally as many as five separate and distinct written versions of the material in the Torah that were combined at a later time.  They are referred to as the J, D, E, and P versions; P is for priestly and the style is rather dry and formulaic.  The D source is found mainly in Deuteronomy.

J and E refer to two different Hebrew names for God.  Scholars are still arguing about which source came first and the actual number of different sources, but they are in full agreement that the Torah was not written by Moses.

Have you ever wondered why there are two versions of the creation story in Genesis?  Genesis one describes creation as happening in seven days and God creating both man and woman in his image at the same time.  It is in Genesis 2 that God takes a rib from Adam to create Eve.

From the story of the flood to the tales of Abraham and Sarah, from the parting of the Red Seas to the listing of the Ten Commandments, there are both repetitions and differences in what the Bible says.  So if someone tells you they believe what the Bible says, after they tell you which version, you might want to ask, which part of that version?

You also might want to ask them, if they say the Bible is the literal truth, so then do they think men really have one less rib than women.  Did anyone else ever try to count their ribs and those of an opposite gender friend or sibling?  I did.  It was very confusing.   It also wasn’t particularly easy and I don’t remember even getting a firm number.  Pull out an anatomy textbook later, or ask your doctor if you still aren’t sure.  We aren’t going to engage in rib counting this morning here in church, but if you want, you can do that later, in the privacy of your own homes.

The New Testament Bible was created in a similar fashion.  It is a collection of stories and letters about Jesus and the early Church, some of which are repeated and inconsistent with each other.

Most scholars agree that some of the letters attributed to Paul were written earlier than any of the actual Gospels.  They agree that Mark was the first gospel written; at least of the ones included in the canon, and that the authors of Matthew and Luke had access to Mark when they wrote their versions of the life of Jesus.

Many believe that they also had copies of another text, possibly older than Mark, which contained various sayings of Jesus.  That document is referred to as “Q”.

There was much controversy in the early church over what writings should be included.  There was a lot of very diverse material floating around for the first four centuries, as well as different oral traditions.   People argued about what should be included and what should be left out.  Even as late as the protestant reformation Martin Luther argued that the book of James should not be included in the canon.

Some writings were lost for more than a thousand years, but scholars were aware of their existence because of historical records that made reference to them.  Many of these texts were found in modern times.  You may have heard of the Gospel of Thomas, The Gospel of Judas, and the Gospel of Mary Magdalene, which Catherin read a portion of earlier.  Often referred to as the Gnostic Gospels, more than 52 ancient Christian writings were discovered in 1945 in Egypt.

These writings that are still being studied by scholars, give us a lot of clues about the diversity of Christian belief in the earliest years.

So, when someone tells you women should be silent in church because it says that in the Bible maybe you might want to quote from the Gospel of Mary where Levi calls Peter hot headed because he does not want to believe what Mary is saying.

You might also ask them why Paul felt the need to tell women they should be quiet.  Most likely they were speaking up and he wanted to silence them.

The Gospel Truth really is a question mark.  I haven’t even gone into the whole issue of translations, but it is pretty clear that Jesus didn’t speak King James English.  He didn’t even speak Greek.  Anyone who speaks more than one language well knows that literal translations often result in distorted meanings.

Once while in a fairly impish mood, talking to someone who said that the Bible clearly condemns homosexuals, I quoted from the King James Version, Luke 17:34.  The verse reads, literally:

“I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left.”

Now, when you interpret that verse literally it is pretty clear that at least half of the gay people go to heaven, isn’t it?

I don’t actually suggest that you leave here today and go out and start arguments with biblical literalists.  But if it interests you, do some reading about biblical scholarship.   If you want some recommendations, let me know.  There are a lot of very good books out there, some very academic and some easier to read and digest.

But what I most want to leave you with today are some questions.  What is your holy text, and what good news does it contain?  Do you find it in scripture; Jewish, Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist or perhaps another tradition?  Do you find it in poetry, in nature, in connections with other people?

Each of us must find our own truth.  We find it in our own lives and in the lives of others that we come to know.  We find it in the world around us.  It is helpful to read, to study, and to learn what others believe to be true.  But in the end, we must each make our own peace with the meaning of our own life, and our own peace with whatever we mean when we say the word God. There is some gospel, some good news, however, even if there is not just one “gospel truth.”  We don’t have to do any of this alone.  There are other souls around engaged in similar journeys.  Maybe we can learn from one another.  Maybe we can stop using sacred texts like the Bible to justify our own bias and bigotry.  Maybe love will finally find a way to vanquish hate.

Amen and Blessed Be.  Can we have a hallelujah too?

Sunday twitter feed 1/12/14 #uuogden

  1. Literal reading of Luke clearly states that at least half of all gay people are going to heaven. #uuogden pic.twitter.com/auT9go3gD4

  2. The gospel truth really does end on a “?” #uuogden

  3. The Bible is a collection of stories of a people relating their struggles to stay in right relation with the Divine. #uuogden

  4. Today’s reading is from the Gospel if Mary Magdeline. Wow! #uuogden

  5. People are gathering. Nic Maughn at the piano. Waiting to hear the Gospel Truth #uuogden