Showing posts from 2010

Five Pauls

Preached at St. Paul Unitarian-Universalist Church in Palmer, Mass. on 12/28/14 It might surprise you that this is not the first St. Paul’s Unitarian-Universalist church I’ve spoken at. If you got on the Mass Turnpike, aka Interstate 90 and took into New York State where it turns into the Thruway and went some 170 miles in total, you would come to a town called Little Falls, New York. There in that town of about 5,000 people, there is a church called St. Paul’s Universalist. It too is a UU church with its beginnings in Univeralism that when merged maintained the St. Paul’s name. And a quick FYI, Chicago's first UU church was St. Paul's Universalist which is now part of the University of Chicago. Now, for some UU’s, the notion of a UU church with St. Paul in its title sounds paradoxical, an oxymoron. For UU, a liberal denomination which renowned UU minister and author Forrest Church deemed “more than Christian” – keeping the namesake of the man deemed responsible for

Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, How I Wonder...

A Sermon by Don Erickson Delivered at First Congregational Church, Bennington, VT August 12, 2009 Patsy Cline’s song, Through the Eyes of a Child, comes to mind: “If [we] could see the world Through the eyes of a child What a wonderful world this would be There'd be no trouble and no strife Just a big happy life With a bluebird in every tree.” It seems sometimes that in our hectic, frenzied world, a child’s essential simplicity, a child’s continual creations of a brand new world, could make all the difference. Mark 10 says, “unless you receive the kingdom of God like a child you will not enter it.” It’s safe to say that the 11 year old me would not have had to think about this verse so hard. But it seems ever since arriving at adulthood, I’ve been contemplating this scripture. It’s been only in the past couple years that I’ve made real headway. With the help from Corey and my life as a father, I am beginning to understand more clearly what Jesus was saying. What does it mean to re

Philosophy of Community

My work constantly shows me what is essential to the spiritual life. As people face their own frailty, the essence of the good news they most need and want to internalize is that they are not alone, that even when humanly alone, God, in whatever language you put "it," is with them and will not let them go. My role as a minister is to remind them of God’s presence in their midst and of the peace and comfort that comes with that presence. I do this by being present myself with them. In being present together, Jesus’ presence is made manifest. “Whenever two or three are gathered…” Can a church replicate the transformative intimacy of pastoral care? Absolutely. How? By being going back to a more relational, intimate level, replicating the beloved community-building of the earliest church. I am like many of my and the coming generations that find in traditional God-language an innate distance and disconnect when it is imminence and connection we most need and desire. What if we t