Posts by Rev. Leland Bond-Upson

First Light Meditations

A well-regarded meditative resource has come to my attention, and I want to share it with you.  All Souls New York City is one of our most successful and prestigious churches.  It was co-led for years by Rev. Forrest Church (son of Senator Frank Church) and Rev. John Buehrens (two term President of the UUA).  They co-wrote the popular A Chosen Faith:  An introduction to Unitarian Universalism.   All Souls NYC is now led by Rev. Galen Guengerich, and this is his creation,…

Summertime

Summertime is travel time for many of us.  School is out.  The weather is fair.  Some of us have traditions of a place to go, or things to do that approach holiness:  a National Park, a particular beach, one’s 2nd home, perhaps, if we are that lucky, a bicycle trail, a pilgrimage, an annual get-together with friends and relations.  People and things and places that bring fond memories and pleasures.  Revisiting places where romance bloomed (such as ‘On the street where you live.”)  Activities or destinations that have been tested, so there’s little risk of something going wrong.  Or…

Paying Attention is a Kind of Love

Some of you may already know of Maria Popova, a philosopher and writer who is immersed in language and the arts. If I want to go deep into something combining intellect, and feeling, and artistic expression, I often look to her. Her blog is called ‘BrainPickings.” and is free (although donations are joyfully welcomed). A number of my ministerial colleagues are inspired by her work. Here is a sample: Whom We Love and Who We Are: José Ortega y Gasset…

Witnessing As a Civic Duty

On Tuesday I was walking toward my car, which, because of its shade trees, I like to park in that big lot that serves the Post Office and Hemmens Cultural Center patrons.  When halfway to the parking lot on N. Grove, I noticed two city police SUVs with their lights flashing, and a young black man talking with the Officers. I slowed down and looked closer and saw that on my side of the street there was a young-adult Black woman,…

Let Us Give Thanks

Some people are of the opinion that racist and homophobic oppressions are at an all-time high, worse than ever.  That kind of statement can, I think, be called demagoguery. Conditions of minorities, while still unequal, are very much better than when I was growing up, when the ‘n-word’ was used a lot, and nobody openly objected.  Gay men were a despised and persecuted minority. Bisexuals and gay women were little-known outside of New York and San Francisco, and Trans people…

The Sense of Crisis

I had hoped that the sense of crisis that has been so pervasive in our society for the last four years – plus the additional layer of the COVID pandemic for the last 15 months – would have dissipated more than it has. I was hoping we could move away from the subject of our rancorous politics. In fact, there has been some relief provided by the Biden Administration and return to normalcy. But there is a new, growing crisis.…

There is a Quickening at the Church

There is a quickening at the Church. Plans are being made to reopen as soon as it’s safe. (All of us have our own idea about what the requirements for safety are, but that doesn’t mean we can’t reopen when there’s a well-informed consensus.) Plans are being made. The hiring of a Religious Education Coordinator is proceeding apace. There is money in the budget for the position. I intend to offer two, possibly three Adult Education classes. To enable me to lead them,…

How do you feel about Jesus?

How do you feel about Jesus? It is difficult to separate the person from what Christianity made him into. But at heart Jesus was a liberal.  He was kind and generous–and unconventional. The Rev. Scotty McLennan of Stanford University wrote a book titled Jesus Was a Liberal: Reclaiming Christianity for All. McLennan was the model for sensible, liberal, Rev. Scott Sloan in the cartoon series Doonesbury. Some of us have felt oppressed by Jesus as presented to us by the vast host of…

Thoughts on Pandemic Progress

The nation is struggling with what to do about COVID precautions. The Center for Disease Control announced on May 13 that vaccinated persons can remove their masks in most settings. Many of us vaccinated people are happily unmasking and celebrating the beginning of a return to the normal. But many of us vaccinated people are still wearing their masks. I am one of those. The reasons for remaining masked include protecting family members who are not yet vaccinated, or cannot…

I Heard the News Today, O Boy

I didn’t think it would come this soon, but those of us who are fully vaccinated and have waited out the 14-day probation period are not required to wear masks anymore, nor observe social distancing, and we may mix and mingle without more than slight, self-created worries. That’s currently about 35% of our population and covers most of the most vulnerable, namely, those over 60 years old. I have mixed feelings about this. I’m glad to not have to wear…

Let’s Be Cheerful

It seems to me that there is new cheerfulness abroad in the land, fueled by two developments, namely the vaccination project, and the Biden administration’s ‘seizing the time.’ I am willing to give Orange 45’s Administration some credit for its Operation Warp Speed, which contributed to the success of the vaccination rollout, and which exceeded Blue 46’s promise to vaccinate 100 million of our people in his first 100 days. I liked the guy, Monced Slaoui, who was running the…

UU Conscientious Objection

From the Introduction to Used to Be UU published January 2021, by the 5th Principle Project: … Unitarian Universalism is the inheritor of values from our heritage denominations. We value self-expression, reason, logic, science, and critical thinking from the first U in our combined denomination. We value compassion and love from the second U. Mostly, we have the freedom to pursue our own path, to search or not search. It is not that UUs are rudderless, characterized as some pejoratively…