Minister’s Message

Each week our minister publishes a message for the UUCE community, sharing his thoughts on topics relevant to the congregation, its ministries, and current events.

Baby photos and more defiance of the UUA and UUMA.

Presenting my granddaughter Aurora means ‘the dawn;’ Amalthea means ‘tender goddess.’  She nursed baby Zeus (the future king of the gods) and protected him from his murderous father Kronos.  Emma is a Bond family name going back to at least the mid-19th Century.   As Norskis, the Stenehjem family branch of the Bonds emigrated to North Dakota, and many are still there.  This little cherub looks like she is preparing to take wing. And now for something completely different I want…

More on UUA Authoritarianism-Creep

There’s a new entry in the controversy about the UUA and its illiberality regarding the growing resistance its imposition of a kind of ‘groupthink’ in our anti-racism attitude and work.  A few days after my sermon last Sunday about the UUA’s dogmatic attitude and punitive actions toward dissent, a book titled Used to be UU, came out, authored by Frank Casper and Jay Kiskel, both from the Atlanta area. (So much ferment in Georgia these days!) The following is from a…

Big Brother Should Not Be Allowed to Watch You

I propose the formation of a cabinet-level Department of Privacy. There are all manner of intrusive and even perilous electronics impinging on our lives, and it’s getting worse. Elon Musk’s Tesla 3 cars are being investigated for the cameras that are already installed in the rearview mirrors, and which will soon be turned on–focused on the driver and passengers!  Facebook and the others assure us that they are only gathering unidentifiable market research (and targeting of ads). The auto insurance companies are giving…

Here Comes the Sun

It was a year ago this week that the United States joined the countries that were restricting ordinary human socializing on account of COVID-19. I had been visiting in Hawaii for a couple weeks and was preparing to return to Elgin when I heard that Gov. Newsome of California was ordering everyone in the Bay Area to quarantine. Then I heard that Gov. Pritzker was considering something like that, and suddenly realized there wasn’t much point in going back to…

It was 56 Years Ago Today

Fifty-six years ago this week, the Rev. James Reeb was clubbed by a Klansman on a street in Selma, Alabama. My future friend, Rev. Clark Olsen was walking on one side of Jim, and Rev. Orloff Miller was walking in the middle, with Reeb on the outside, curbside. They had finished dinner at an integrated café, were returning to the church where Dr. King would soon be speaking. Three men came out of a bar across the street and approached…

Is Dr. Seuss is a Victim of ‘Cancel Culture’?

Dr. Seuss is a victim of ‘cancel culture,’ say a lot of people in the past three days since the announcement that after a year of study, six of Seuss’ books will not be reprinted due to portrayals that are ‘hurtful and wrong.’ The six books are And to Think That I Saw it on Mulberry Street, McElligot’s Pool, If I Ran the Zoo, On Beyond Zebra, Scrambled Eggs Super!, and The Cat’s Quizzer. I happen to own the first three,…

I Read the News Today, Oh Boy

About the BLM accomplishments. Last week the sermon spoke to the BLM (Black Lives Matter) record of non-violence, and its self-discipline. We spoke of BLM-led demonstration following the George Floyd murder ranged somewhere from 15 million participants, to 26 million. That’s a big range, produced by large polling differences: The Pew poll reported an estimated 16 million NORC reported an estimated 18 million Civis Analytics reported an estimated 23 million Kaiser Family Foundation reported an estimated 26 million Even if…

Warmup for the Next Round of a 21-day Challenge for Racial Justice

Our Service this coming Sunday will address the BLM (Black Lives Matter) movement, and BLUU (Black Lives UU), and Antifa (the loosely organized anti-fascist assemblage).  This is the first of 3 or 4 services that will address racial justice, and U.S. history.  February is Black History Month, and I hope many of you are taking advantage of it. I personally have fallen behind in this area.  I have only watched the first segment of the excellent The Black Church, hosted by Harvard professor…

Saturday’s Council of Chairs Meeting Update

The monthly Worship Theme service we use here at UUCE has the theme of POWER for February. For comparison, the UUA reports that the monthly theme from Soul Matters, Touchstones, All Souls (Tulsa), and Faith Rocket/Church of the Larger Fellowship) are: Belovéd Community, Mercy, Love, and Risk, respectively. I am glad to be reminded of this, because sometimes I cannot fold in a Theme, and am grateful for alternatives. Not that I rely on any of them for subject matter, nor do…

Worship Team Update

The Worship Team met Wednesday, and the news from that meeting is that we are scheduling two mini-series of Services between now and June. One series will be dedicated to racial justice and injustice, and not only for Black Folk. We will have one a month for at least 3 months. Likewise, we will have a series on the cluster of subjects that deal with gender and sexuality. We will likewise have one a month on these subjects and other related ones, including abortion,…

Woman of Power and Standing

Maya Soetoro-Ng, Barack Obama’s half-sister, works with my wife Deborah on education and justice projects in Hawaii, and sent her this video today: “The Women Are Coming“ The first part of this video is a sequence of the images of the world’s current female heads of state, followed by 28 images of U.S. women of power and standing, ending with the young poet Amanda Gorman.   You may have some names you would like to add. Mila suggested Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer,…

The Tide Has Turned

I said something like what follows at the close of last night’s Board meeting, and people seemed to like it, so I will share it with you. If we are feeling tired and worn out and a bit discouraged, this is understandable, this is normal, and we shouldn’t beat ourselves up for feeling a bit down. Even though most of us are feeling somewhat relieved by the recent elections, I and many people I know are still kinda glum. Having our…