Sermons

Desire from All Sides

by Rev. Jim Foti

Throughout our lives, we humans are instructed to manage, ignore, and stifle our desires. At the same time, equally loud messages tell us to listen to, follow, and fulfill our desires. As E.B. White would say, “This makes it hard to plan the day.” Desire can be dangerous, powerful, life-giving — what are loving, thinking people to do? Where might we turn?

Rev. Jim Foti serves as the Assistant Minister at the First Unitarian Society of Minneapolis, where his portfolio includes pastoral care and adult learning. Jim received his master of divinity degree in 2013 from Meadville Lombard Theological School, a UU seminary in Chicago, and was ordained in 2015. Jim is a Milwaukee-area native and earned his undergraduate degree from UW-Madison. Before going into ministry, he had a 20-year career as a newspaper journalist. Jim lives in Minneapolis with his partner of 10 years, Ralph.

Sandpaper People

by Rev. Leah Hart-Landsberg

Some people just seem to rub us raw, maybe for an obvious reason or perhaps due to no discernible cause. What’s the best way to handle those to whom we seem to have instinctive resistance? Do we simply grit our teeth and try to survive them or is engagement possible? We might even find that difficult folks, sometimes known as sandpaper people, can be meaningful spiritual teachers.

Resistance to Reality: On Not Being Able to Control Change

by Rev. Mark Belletini

The Greek philosopher Heraklitus suggested that change is really the only permanent thing our lives and in reality as a whole. Other teachers, including Gautama Buddha and Jesus of Galilee, also proclaimed this as a central message. Grief, moves, losses, and aging have made change central to my life, so I want to unpack what this has meant for me.

Two Dreams

By Rev. Dr. Wayne Arnason

When Dr. King talked about having a Dream, it was all about people being judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. In the most compelling book about racism to be published during this year since the “Black Lives Matter” movement began, “Between The World And Me” Ta-Nehisi Coates talks about The Dream in a very different way, as the dream of white supremacy that surrounds and shapes our culture. Can we wake up from both dreams?

Resistance Training

by Rev. Kathleen Rolenz

It’s the new year and many of us have made – or possibly already broken – our vows to change our lives in some new direction. We’re told that “resistance training” is the best way to build muscle by ironically, breaking them down first! This sermon will explore the challenge presented by the January theme of “Resistance,” to growth, to spiritual depth and to forces seemingly beyond our control that threaten to challenge the values we hold dear.

The Joys of Compulsory Giving

by Rev. Dr. Wayne Arnason

There are many expectations we have to deal with at the holiday season, but for me the most difficult ones are the expectation to give gifts, and the expectation of those we love that gifts will be given. Isn’t the gift that is freely given the most meaningful? What does the season of compulsory giving have to teach us about our expectations regarding generosity?

Near the Earth

by Rev. Leah Hart-Landsberg

Oh no. Christmas is approaching. The season some call “Giftmas” can be a stressful time of expectations gone wild, with pressure to find deep meaning amid the commercialization. Yet our Unitarian ancestors have a surprising amount of wisdom to impart about this dilemma. Not only did they popularize Christmas as a religious holiday in this country, they also infused it with a Humanist sensibility that serves us well today.

The Hungriest Game

by Rev. Kathleen Rolenz

The young adult novels The Hunger Games depicted a dystopian future where entire nations are starving and children are forced to compete to the death for the right to eat. Escalating inequality is forcing many in our nation – and world – to go without their daily bread. How can we put a stop to this deadly, hungriest game of have and have nots?

Standing in Line

by Rev. Dr. Wayne Arnason Most of us know where we came from geneologically, but our lineage of blood is not the only lineage in which we stand. How do we understand and honor all the ways that we stand in lines, lines of ancestors, teachers, and predecessors that make us who we are. Standing…

Kindred

by Rev. Leah Hart-Landsberg

We probably won’t ever time travel to a past era, but we each have secret stories and private histories that seem easiest to leave buried. Do they have to be confronted? What is to be gained if we do? Last spring, Leah invited anyone who was interested to join her in reading Kindred by Octavia Butler. Now, during our month of learning and worship about ancestry, the time is ripe to consider what we might learn from this tale of a contemporary black woman who, by the magic of science fiction, is transported to the world of her antebellum Southern ancestors through no desire of her own and at great personal cost. Whether you read the novel or not, join us as we consider the advantages and pitfalls of confronting our own past, present and future.