It Is What It Is

by Rev. Dr. Wayne Arnason

There’s a politician I know who uses this line a lot, especially when he’s advocating an unpopular program, like a new tax increase. Most of us would prefer to live our lives unencumbered by limitations imposed by government, money, or time. Political conservatives call that “freedom.” This week let’s explore how “liberation” is different from “freedom” when it consists of accepting the limits of things as they are.

A Generous Universe?

Rev. Don Southworth

Is the universe a place of generosity or scarcity? How about our own lives? As we celebrate the blast off of the 2016-17 Fellowship stewardship drive we will reflect on generosity, abundance and how we can create a universe and a Fellowship of our dreams.

The Rev. Don Southworth is the founding Executive Director of the Unitarian Universalist Ministers Association. Prior to this role, he spent ten years in parish ministry in San Francisco, Atlanta and Durham after a twenty-year career in corporate America. He has led workshops on stewardship and congregational growth around the world and returns to the Fox Valley for his fourth visit. He is a California native and it is only because of his fondness and love for the Fellowship that he ventures into the frigid tundra of the north!

The Missing Peace

by Rev. Dr. Wayne Arnason

On the cultural holiday when loving relationships are celebrated, single people can feel left out. Whether you are partnered or single, all of us will ultimately lose those we love the most, so it makes a difference now how we think and feel about what our most intimate loving relationships really mean in our lives. Are they the “missing piece” that completes us, or are we “missing peace” by expecting that won’t can’t be whole within ourselves?

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.