Posts by Rev. Leland Bond-Upson

John Lennon, Influencer

I invite you to tune in to this Sunday’s Service, which focuses on Lennon’s 10-year post-Beatles career. Having long tired of Beatlemania, he lit out on his own with Yoko. He issued two amazing records in his first two post-Beatles years, 1970 and 1971: John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band and Imagine. The first was a serious statement of freedom from pop music, and an embrace of his new wife, and of being able to freely sing about his interior states. It’s…

Personally, Emotionally, I am Sorrowful

The Church’s leadership and I have negotiated an agreement that saves having to take monies from the scant remaining reserves to pay out my contract for a ministry that too many of you have found unsatisfactory. So, this is a sad ending, but under the circumstances, one that feels fair to all. Personally, emotionally, I am sorrowful, but OK, thank you, and I wish you the best. I depart at the end of October, and my final time with you…

Neglected Aspects of Starr King’s Life and Work

In 2006, Unitarian minister Thomas Starr King’s statue in the U.S. Capitol’s Statuary Hall was removed by vote of the California legislature and the approval of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and replaced by a statue of Ronald Reagan. Each State gets two statues. California’s other honoree was and still is Father Junipero Serra a builder of missions in Spanish California. There has been a movement in California to banish Father Serra too, on account of his enslavement and mistreatment of native…

Summer is Over, Autumn has Announced Itself

The first arrival for me came Tuesday, when I emerged from my car, and was hit at mid-day with a gust of breeze that had a cool leading edge. The breezes have had warm or hot edges til now. The coolness was lovely and refreshing and it sent me off on a search for how to express the coming arrival poetically.  There are lots of springtime poems. One of my favorites for that season is G.M. Hopkins’ What is so…

Joy and Woe are Woven Fine, Clothing for the Soul Divine — Wm. Blake

Last Sunday we experienced the entwining of joy and woe, in real time, simultaneously, as we rejoiced in congregating outdoors for the Sunday Service, on the lawn and under the trees on the west side of the Barn. We haven’t been together, in person, since Music Sunday, March 8, 2020.  By my count that’s seventy-eight virtual Services mounted between then and now. The Executive Team, the Worship Committee, and especially Music Director and show-runner Chelsea Musson have done a fine…

The Greatest

One our favorite documentarians, Ken Burns, has made Muhammad Ali, a four-part series (2 hours each segment) to be broadcast on PBS beginning nine days from now, Sunday, September 19th. Burns began work on the film the year Ali died, 2016. It is described as being comprehensive, because all previous treatments were focused on single events, or short spans of his life. Commentators are saying it is ‘mind-blowing.’ Muhammad Ali became a hero of mine while he was still Cassius…

Two Fall Offerings at UUCE

Would you like to watch movies together and talk about them afterward? I have hundreds of them in my video collection, and access to almost everything else via streaming. If you are interested, let me know, and let’s talk. I have some ideas about what you will likely find interesting (see below) and am very much open to your nominations. Bulworth, 1998 Here’s one example of a movie that has a lot going for it: Bulworth, 1998, starring Warren Beatty…

Let’s Help the Women and Girls of Afghanistan

Let’s try to save the women and girls (and everyone) from Sharia law. And let’s begin with Afghanistan. I think it’s time we in the supposedly non-misogynist countries put pressure on the openly misogynist countries, to reduce the burden of discrimination the women of Afghanistan and of all Islamic countries and communities experience.  Can’t we press those countries and communities more than we do now? It’s so ugly and backward. This would not be an attack on Islam per se but…

Meditation In the Time of Pestilence

Here’s a meditation in the time of pestilence that I hope you enjoy. — Leland We Used to Have So Much to Say by Dorka Hegedus I am sorry to tell you this, but I have decided that one lifetime is not enough. Time is not magical or kind; Time is waiting. It lurks and loiters in the shade of a fig tree (the one I planted in a pot on my porch against your good advice). And just when…

Thoughts on Parents and the Parented

On the occasion of my High School graduation, when I was 17, my minister gave me a copy of Kahlil Gibran’s The Prophet. Already knowing I would be taking psychology courses at university, and that I was interested in figuring everything out, everything that still puzzled me, such as why my father was so angry much of the time, I found in The Prophet, a passage that my minister had earlier quoted from the pulpit. Your children are not your children.They…

Let’s Have Enough of Everything Essential for Everyone

There’s talk in Congress and in business of shortening the work week from five days to four. Apparently, this is made both possible and necessary by automation, and robotics, and artificial intelligence (AI). As machines replace more and more jobs, the wealth the new system produces must fund whole new methods for supporting human life. We cannot just let the billionaires keep it all, can we? A shorter work week is a start in this direction. It seems that the…

Wordplay is Good Fun and Good for You

Here is another nifty online service, Wordsmith.org. This newsletter is the brainchild of Anu Garg, a (subcontinent) Indian, who has been awarded U.S. citizenship. Part of the Wordsmith array is the A Word A Day. If you like words and learning, or want to build your vocab, this site is for you. Here is a recent email, dealing with words that mean nothing at all close to its component word parts. Misericord has nothing to do with misers, or misery…