My fall 2009 Sabbatical was meaningful for a number of reasons. Those of you who checked out my travel blog have learned of how meaningful and inspiring my trip to Ecuador and Peru was. The month of November provided me with a different kind of meaningful opportunity, the chance to reflect on my ministry. One area (among many) where I reflected was on how I arrive at topics for sermons. I decided I wanted to tighten up the focus of my preaching. To that end, I came up with a list of the three most important types of messages that I feel I can convey on Sunday mornings. I came up with what I will call the Three C’s:
The First C: To Connect us on a common journey
As Unitarian Universalists we value diversity. We are and will forever be a congregation of people with different beliefs, different interests, different individual spiritual practices, and different opinions. But, when we come together on Sunday morning or at another time we come together as a people and as a congregation to share our lives with one another and “to walk together” as the old covenant puts it. The first C, “Connect,” has to do with lifting up aspects of the common journey we share.
The Second C: To Commit to a distinctly UU way of life
Does being a Unitarian Universalist change the way you live your life? It is a question that I have, for years, posed to our Coming of Age youth. Now I pose it to the wider SMUUCh community. Several years ago one UU congregation printed up their version of “What Would Jesus Do?” bracelets, and distributed bracelets that asked, “WWUUD?” What does it mean to live a UU way of life? How do we put legs on our faith?
The Third C: To Challenge parts of our culture and society that diminish life
Rev. Michael Schuler has commented that we are a life-giving faith in a death-focused culture. In the culture and society in which we exist we find wonderful art, stories of courage, and things worthy of our enjoyment. We also find habits, practices, and attitudes that are harmful to many, that diminish us as full human beings, and that detract from the life we might live. As Unitarian Universalists we are not beholden to our culture. Instead, we are called to challenge, resist, and transform aspects of our culture that are harmful to us and to the planet on which we live.
Over the coming year I will focus my preaching on elaborating on each of these major themes. Let us Connect on the journey. Let us Commit to a distinctly UU way of life. Let us Challenge our culture when it fails us.