My life has been so rich and full that too often I push aside this writing opportunity. Months ago I resorted to a simple spreadsheet to keep track of projects and deadlines, people and promises. Perhaps I should have a similar spreadsheet or an even more visible reminder of personal interests.
With a newsletter deadline coming up next week, I need to focus on Summer Worship. The summer theme is Power and Justice: Out in the World. We’ll have a Hogwarts Camp for children and youth and I was thinking of Harry Potter and his friends’ quest for justice!
My intention is to recognize that while we may not agree on specific problems and solutions, we can learn something about how relationships with those who have very different views, opinions, and passions. It’s a spiritual challenge for all of us.
June 2, I’ll launch the series with a look at personal power: Authentic Power. What can one person do? What difference will it make?
June 9, the Rev. Christina Branum-Martin, who moved last year to Decatur, Georgia, will preach on The Arc of the Universe. How can we relate to the stranger beyond the current political environment? How can a bystander become part of the solution? Christina’s older daughter is an activist against bullying in her school. How do we increase awareness of bullying and what do we do? In the afternoon we’ll dedicate Christina’s baby with a special Blessing Service.
June 16, the Rev. Dr. Leonora Montgomery, on The Unique Power of Men. She is making a point to interview men in multiple generations to get a better sense of their understanding of power or frustration over lack of same.
June 23, the Rev. Bob Tucker on Justice from Jail. It has been 50 years since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote his famous letter from the Birmingham Jail. Bob will address King’s understanding of justice and his movement to bring that to fruition.
June 30, the Rev. Bob Tucker will return for a sermon he calls “I Am a Man,” to speak on King as a full, rich human being. King was a deeply spiritual man, well grounded in his prayer life. He was passionate about economic justice and an end to war as well as racial justice. The complex nature of King as a person has been lost over the years, distilled into a clip from his “I Have a Dream” speech.
In July I’ll launch a mini-series of 3 sermons on independence and immigration (not yet set in stone):
July 7: Independence for Everyone? Many of our ancestors came here undocumented; today they would be denied entry. Who do we have yet to serve? Why don’t “they” just come here legally?
July 14: A Day in Court, based on experiences and observations of retired judge Susan Yarbrough and her new book (I’d better call her to make sure she’ll be in town on the 14th!) Bench-Pressed: A Judge Recounts the Many Blessings and Heavy Lessons of Hearing Immigration Asylum Cases
July 21: America’s Second Kitchen, with a focus on restaurant workers who cook and serve our food. Even with tips, a minimum wage of $2.13 that has not risen in a decade leaves millions in poverty. Some unscrupulous employers cheat workers out of the tip pool, too. Who are the people behind the scenes of our happy practice of dining out?
For July 28, Aug. 4, and Aug. 11 , I’m contemplating a 3-week series on local justice issues. One good possibility is our own Healthy Parenting project with our African-American neighbors. We provide tutoring for school aged children, tutoring for single moms who are in college, and nurturing childcare for those moms while the tutoring and workshops are in session.
I wonder what other Houston-area issues I should address? Maybe I’ll also revisit the entire summer and look at local work in the areas of racism, immigration, and/or bullying. Actually, I’d like to keep those 3 weeks relatively open for the moment. The suggestion box is now open in the Comment section. ♥ Help me out, won’t you?
Incidentally, Daniel O’Connell will be back in the pulpit Aug. 18 and 26 with a two-part survey of Unitarian Universalism, especially geared to church shoppers.