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    • Bret Myers
    • The Rev. Bret Myers is the designated interim pastor of First Congregational UCC of Waterloo, Iowa since August 1, 2020. He has served in various ministry positions since 1985, was ordained in the United Methodist Church, and later also received standing in the United Church of Christ.

      As an undergraduate, he double majored in philosophy and religion with a minor in behavioral sciences at the University of Indianapolis. In seminary, he double majored in social ethics and pastoral psychology and counseling, learning under heralded figures at Boston University School of Theology and Harvard Divinity School such as Nobel Peace Prize Laureate, Elie Wiesel, Peter Berger, Walter Muelder, Ralph Potter, Harrell Beck, and others. His doctoral work at the University of Wisconsin was through the philosophy department where he concentrated in ethics with an emphasis in bioethics. His outside minor was in South Asian Studies where he increased his interest in Mahayana Buddhism and Sufism within Islam.

      Bret enjoys preaching and teaching from a progressive and pluralistic perspective, having eclectically found truth from many religious and philosophical sources. He sees an important part of his ministry as challenging people to creatively think outside their conceptual frameworks, and to help people extend their compassion to all creation. He loves facilitating spiritual growth in small groups and in counseling individuals, couples, and families. The most important aspect of what he sees he does is to nurture the character development and virtues of those who seek to join in spiritual journey together—seeking, learning, understanding, and caring in the midst of joys and sorrows, doubts and insights, and every other condition of our mutual earthly existence.

      Bret has served churches of all sizes, doing so in urban, suburban, and rural environs and seeks to create churches that are: committed to peace and justice, welcoming and loving of persons, and seeking to increase their spiritual understanding of other religions and cultures.

      Bret has led workshops on non-violence, environmental ethics and religious stewardship, attitudinal and spirit-based communications, envisioning and covenanting, and a variety of other programs that have sought to create healthier and more loving and peaceful relationships in the church, in work places, and in society.

      Other than pastoral ministry, Bret has served as lecturer of philosophy, campus minister, hospice chaplain, TV interviewer & reporter of religious news, environmental educator, and a host of other positions that have served to inform and extend his ministry.

      Bret is an avid outdoorsman and environmentalist. He loves sports and outdoor adventures of all sorts and has traveled widely. He loves to write, both poetry and prose, and also enjoys photography. He especially enjoys the performing and visual arts, and events that promote cross-cultural understanding.

Jesus’ Encounter with a Literalist

Scripture Lesson: John 3.1-21

Nicodemus may not have been the first or last literalist that Jesus encountered, but he is one whom most of us would least imagine to be one. He was “a leader of the Jews,” which meant he was well-educated and versed in the scriptures. He would have been very familiar with the nuance of words, and the various meanings that religious words might have. So it seems odd that he would not have known what Jesus was talking about when Jesus spoke with multivalent words.

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On Those Who Attempt to Justify Their Political Non-Involvement as Spiritual Enlightenment and a Manifestation of Grace

Grace is less to be identified with being unaffected by all that is going on around us, and more with being moved by the Spirit to work for peace and justice for all out of loving others as we love ourselves.

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Pastoral Thoughts on Decades of the Abotion Debate

At least from my perspective as a pastor, I think the abortion issue is one of the more complex moral problems of our age. It pits the rights of the mother against those of the child, such that if one takes one side over the other, one is perceived as compassionless by the other side.

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Prayer of Confession

O God who suffers at our spiritual and ethical failings, and rejoices at the turning to virtue of our hearts and spirits: We confess that we have gone astray by our thoughts, words, and deeds. We have been irresponsible by what we have done, as well as what we have left undone.

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Easter Encouragement for the Journey

Remember that resurrection is more than mere resuscitation! It is life transformed!
It is faith in possibilities, when others are convinced of inevitability.

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On The Insidiousness of Racism, Sexism, Religious Bigotry, and Homophobia in American Culture

But when we ignore the fact that we are advantaged while others are disadvantaged, then as innocuous as it may seem we are part of the problem. Indeed, because our own prejudice and discrimination are so invisible to, and insidious within, us we are actually the biggest part of the problem. The overt racists will hopefully be dealt with by the law, but we law-abiding citizens who feel entitled to our advantaged social status while remaining ignorant or disinterested in the disadvantaged status of others can remain easily oblivious and thus conscience free.

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“Prayer for Abundant Living”

O God of empty tombs and resurrection living:
Make us mindful of the pervasiveness of hope, 
the determination of faith, 
and the persistence of love.  

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The Integrity of Nonviolence

Nonviolence needs to be the means as well as the end to which we advocate and bear witness.

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Prioritizing Our Values With Regard To Violence In Our Society

What is more violent than war? We are a country that is not only in perpetual war, but have successfully subverted opposition to war by diverting our attention to other things and brandishing anyone who objects to our violence-based methods and agendas as unpatriotic. Moreover, we have aggrandized militarism by countless monuments and memorials to war.

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“The Story of Creation: Shedding Some Light”

Ever wonder how everything came into being? Ever wonder why? Was it merely a random chance occurrence, or was it something done with a purpose? And how does your answer to such questions determine how you look at the world and life? People have considered such questions for all of recorded history, and perhaps as long as there have been people.

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The Spirituality of Nonviolence

There are two truths about practicing nonviolence that even many proponents of nonviolence often do not understand: 1) that while we may hope for world solutions by using the methods of nonviolence, the basis for being nonviolent has to be spiritually derived if such solutions are to be achieved; 2) the beauty of nonviolence lies not in its success rate in changing one’s enemies or achieving world solutions, but rather in granting purpose, meaning, and integrity to the lives of those who practice it.

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TO BLOSSOM

To blossom is no easy task
As if one waits for the sun to bask

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Litany of Confusion and Wonder

  Darkness envelops our world and our lives. Shadows enshroud our spirits. We come to pay homage to one who tried to bring light to the darkness, whose brilliant compassion and loving-kindness left no shadows on those …

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The Resurrection of Mary Magdalene

  Mary Magdalene was the first person, male or female, to witness the empty tomb…the first to see angels who reported the resurrection…the first to hear the voice of, and see, the risen Christ…and the first to …

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Good Friday Unison Prayer

O God, who grace feels abundant in our sunshine, but far removed in our shadows: We have come today to bear witness to Jesus’ suffering and death upon a cross. We are appalled at the injustice and inhumanity — not only of his last day, but of days in our lives when we hear about greed, corruption, discrimination, hatred, violence, and death.

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Would Jesus Have an Immigration Policy?

Instead, we should be providing sanctuary for these refugees and immigrants who are fleeing persecution. Whether in our nation, churches, or our homes, we are to show loving-kindness, respect, and care for the well-being of all of our siblings. Isn’t this what we would want others to do for us if the circumstances were reversed? Honestly, isn’t this what Jesus would have us do?

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The Determination Prayer

Reinhold Niebuhr’s brother, H. Richard, argued for faithfulness to the example of Jesus’s nonviolence, while Reinhold believed this was naive and unrealistic in an imperfect world. H. Richard was the purist to the Christian faith, believing that following the Golden Rule, no matter the consequences, is what Jesus and God called us to do — the success of the mission being in God’s hands rather than our own. Reinhold, however, looked at the more practical side of things, substituting his or the world’s idea of what was possible and changing his ethics accordingly. H. Richard thus trusted more in the providential moral arc of history as M.L. King, Jr. , would call it rather than a realist’s version of what humans believe is attainable given their corrupt nature. In essence, H. Richard focused on the power of God’s grace to transform our spirits and the world for the better, while Reinhold accepted a more cynical view of our ability to be radically changed as a specie.

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An Epiphany Prayer

O God of Light and Life:
We are thankful that you illuminate our dark places

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A Progressive Prayer of Christ

O God, our Divine Parent, may your presence be ever revered. May your peace and justice dwell among us. May your love and compassion live within and between us. Nourish us daily with the necessities of life; sustenance for our bodies, and inspiration for our spirits.

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Caring Enough

When we care enough to listen to others, not so much as to give them advice, but to understand them…not so much to solve their problems but to be their confidante…not so much to inspire them but to be there for them, we become to them a trustworthy friend.

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The Cold Wind’s Pride

Let not my spirit ever be a cold wind;
For whatever my power, your love I’ll not win.

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Centering Our Souls in Advent

We are called to have faith and to prepare for the coming of Christ in our world.
But we too often imagine a babe in a manger than a true commitment to repenting of our lifestyles of wanting and having more than enough.

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Centering Our Souls for Discipleship

In the midst of the distractions in our lives, we come to listen, to think, and to feel.
We come to learn so that we may teach. We come to pray so that we may act.
Jesus said that he was born to testify to the truth.

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Resuscitation or Resurrection?

If you look into a chrysalis, what you discover is an empty tomb. The caterpillar is gone; not resuscitated, but resurrected. Now lives a butterfly.

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Easter Virtue

Yes, we all will one day die; but not even death can bury the love and peace we have shared. Our acts of kindness, strivings for justice, and practices of compassion are the eternal verities that give our life meaning and purpose, and will put our death in the context of a life that cannot be denied.

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Easter Litany

Astonished, with the pain of Good Friday lingering in our consciousness, we awake to a new day of hopes and miracles.

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Easter Unison Prayer of Dedication

We are an Easter people! We believe that faith can move mountains, and that caterpillars can be transformed into butterflies.

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