Coffee and Poetry – a Valentine’s Reflection

Frida Kahlo wrote the ultimate lovers’ poem that concludes with this assurance, “You deserve a lover who takes away the lies and brings you hope, coffee, and poetry.” In this age when couples typically no longer stay married out of economic necessity or for mere survival, what is it that keeps people together. Even more, what inspires a couple who are already past child bearing years or even career concerns, to sacrifice independence and freedom in order to share a common life? I think that it is meaning we seek even more than a mere surcease of loneliness. What we really want is not just someone with whom to share our morning coffee but also someone who will read poetry to us. Is that too much to ask, or do we, as Kahlo suggests, what we deserve?

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Locavore Gospel

Sermon by Rev. Elizabeth Durant

A Locavore is a person whose diet consists only or principally of locally grown or produced food.

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Why Can’t We All Just Get Along?

The poem, Desiderata, enjoyed a great deal of popularity in the 20th century but its counsel to “speak your truth” both calmly and without surrender, while still being willing to listen to the thoughts of even the simple and uninformed, is excellent advice for our internet age where social media can sometimes lead even saints down a path of mudslinging and name calling. Let’s think about how we can be helpful in public discourse to both share ideas and heal our partisan divide.
 

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The MYSTERY Is LOVE

The embodiment of LOVE is achieved when we who are made of LOVE, recognize ourselves in the other, because LOVE is not something that we do, LOVE is who we are. LOVE bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things, LOVE never ends. Now we see in a mirror dimly, but then we will see face to face. When we recognize ourselves in the other, we are the embodiment of LOVE. Now we know only in part, then we will know fully, even as we have been fully known. When we recognize ourselves in the other, faith, hope, and LOVE abide, these three; and the greatest of these is LOVE.

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Freedom Through Defiance

During the Indian Wars, most Americans believed that killing Indians was patriotic, heroic, and some even felt it was Divinely ordained. But, at the Massacre at Sand Creek, two officers ordered their men not to participate. Captain Soule and Lt. Cramer refused to be silent about the murder of 150 men, women, and children, and their reports sparked a Congressional investigation that ended in removing their commanding officer, Col. John Chivington (a former pastor), from service and began to change the way our country viewed the Indian Wars. Sadly, soldiers who wake up to the illegal and immoral nature of our wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are not being sympathetically heard by Congress, through the essay written by Kevin Tillman, the brother of slain serviceman, Pat Tillman, tells an unvarnished truth rarely seen in the media.

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The Things We Do For Jesus! – a sermon on the Baptism of Jesus

There’s a definition of what it means to be a priest that has always daunted me. A priest it has been said is “a keeper of the mysteries; a keeper of the sacred mysteries of our faith. People often confuse the idea of mystery with the idea of secret. But I can assure you that as a keeper of the mysteries of the faith it is neither my job nor any other priest’s job to keep the mysteries of our faith a secret.

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“Becoming Magi” (Epiphany Sunday Sermon Video)

“The greatest Epiphany is the discovery of the LIght within ourselves.” Watch as Rev. Salvatore Sapienza, pastor of Douglas Congregational United Church of Christ, explains the symbolic meaning of the journey of the Magi.

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After the Patriarchy Falls

In Terry Crews book on Manhood, he talks about targeting high profile sexual predators in order to end patriarchy is like trying to cut a tree down by cutting the leaves. Toxic masculinity is a part of our culture and we need to lay the axe to the trunk of that tree, rooting out the male privilege that has been the source of victimization of women for centuries. Perhaps the current backward trend in our nation is the retreat that will force us to find the activation energy necessary to bring about the fall of the patriarchy.

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America’s Original Sin

President George Washington owned about 120 slaves who worked on his plantation in Virginia but when he moved to Philadelphia to serve as president, he took a few household slaves with him. One of them, Oney Judge, escaped. She spent the rest of her life as a fugitive avoiding being captured by George Washington’s representatives who were under orders to return Oney to slavery. It turns out that George really could tell a lie, as he tried to publicly advocate for liberty and freedom while personally profiting from slave labor even when people all around him were working to bring slavery to an end. America’s original sin deserves reflection today because it still casts a shadow over our nation’s ethical thinking.

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Going Where We’ve Never Been

The turning of the calendar is meaningless in many ways. What really matters is how much of the past dominates our minds. Entering a new year can be powerful if we first set aside our resentments and pain of past disappointments and hurts. Moving into the future can be a time to discover new worlds, new friendships, new love.

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Rabbi Sharon Brous – IKAR Rosh Hashanah Sermon

BUILDING A NEW AMERICA – These are trying times, but we must not let exhaustion or cynicism dull our senses. Our history has taught us: either you work to dismantle oppressive systems, or your inaction becomes the mortar that sustains them. Together we must build America anew: fierce, fair, and full of promise, equipped to hold us in all our diversity, complexity and beauty.

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If Darwin Prayed: Prayers for Evolutionary Mystics

These are new prayers for a new age. They spark the spiritual imagination back to life and reorient us to a mystical unity with the universe, Spirit, and all of creation.

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Sermons for Christmas Eve

Click on these links for some of the sermons I have preached on Christmas Eve

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The Story of Jesus’ Birth is a Subversive Parable

This sermon, is a distillation of the work of Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan in their excellent book “The First Christmas”

I am indebted to Peter Rollins for his approach to the Christmas story.

Some have said that the birth of Jesus is the most amazing birth story ever told. Jesus birth narrative heralded the arrival of a child who was praised as the Son of God, the Saviour of the World who was said to be the personification of peace on earth; God incarnate; fully divine and fully human. Not everyone agrees that this is the most amazing birth story ever told. Indeed, the story of Jesus birth can’t even claim to be unique. Some claim that Jesus’ birth story is just one of a long line of birth stories. Jesus’ birth story, some claim, is only considered to be unique because it’s our story; our story that we tell over and over at the expense of other birth stories from other communities that are just as great.

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Escaping the Fowler’s Snare

The Psalms are replete with urgent pleadings to be saved from enemies and critics. This ancient repetition of anxiety and panic inspired this modern reflection about anxiety disorders and panic attacks in our society which so often lead to addictive use of prescription medications. PTSD is real but many anxiety disorders are rooted in exaggerated fear of a mean society that is too quick to judge and to gossip. We don’t have to rent space in our skulls to the insincere.

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Prepare the Way For Our God! Become the Prophet Crying FOR the Wilderness!

A sermon preached on the Second Sunday of Advent when John the Baptist Cries

Reading over sermons I have preached about John the Baptist crying in the wilderness, I came across this “cry for the wilderness” that I preached six years ago. Sadly, the wilderness has an even greater need today for prophets who are willing to cry out on its behalf! I offer my plaintiff cry here to inspire my colleagues as they prepare to prepare the way on this coming Sunday.

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Christmas for the spiritual but not religious

Christmas has become about more than Jesus. It’s about the lifting of the human spirit. It’s about kindness and compassion and the glory of being alive!

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Evensong Sermon

‘Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.’

This is one of my favorite passages in the Christian Scriptures. Imagine someone coming to you, with soft-voiced compassion and saying, “I will give you rest for your soul.” Wouldn’t you want to learn more? Yes, yes, please… and how can you do that?

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