Sep 16, 2018 Service about Christian Peace Keepers
Today we discussed the work of the Christian PeaceMaker Teams who help defend the poor and dispossessed in Columbia. In 2017 about 300 human rights activists were murdered around the world. Of those, 121 were killed in Columbia.
The news in the U.S. does not keep us up to date on the horrible situations in many central and south American countries. In Columbia last year, the 30 year guerilla war between the government and the FARC was declared to be over. But now the big oil companies and palm oil companies are trying to intimidate the poor people in isolated communities into leaving and giving up their rights to the land they live on. If they abandon it, then the oil companies can claim it to be theirs.
The PeaceKeeper teams help the poor rural people in Columbia. Sometimes they help just by being present. With an American on sight as witness, the oil companies will not murder the peasants. Without an outside witness, however, the oil companies can kill people and tell the government that they were armed agitators advocating communism and they had to be killed.
One of the Peacekeepers came to talk to us today. It was interesting and yet terrible to know. There are other groups doing similar work. Witness for peace can be found here. Peace Brigades can be found here. We generally have pretty interesting discussions, so please come join us some Sunday. We seek a spiritual refuge in our Sunday morning gatherings... and we are interested in our world community's arc toward justice. We consider many things... even theology sometimes. Come listen when you want to, and stay away if the Sunday service doesnt appeal to you. But give us a try.
We are living 'neath the great big dipper
We are washed by the very same rain
We are swimming in this stream together
Some in power, and some in pain
We can worship this ground we walk on
Cherishing the beings that we live beside
Loving spirits will live forever
We're all swimming to the other side.
Sep 9, 2018, Service about the ACLU
Today we had a service by local representative of the ACLU. The first thing to remember about the ACLU is that they consider their client to ultimately be the constitution of the U.S. More often than not, it is the first amendment that is threatened. hat is important to remember because sometimes they go to court on behalf of people protesting the KKK, and sometimes they go to court on behalf of the KKK. Generally the unifying element between the two decisions is to defend the right of free speech.
The Federal government has 19,000 lawyers and 11,000 work for the justice department. The ACLU has 300 lawyers. When the government decides that some people get their liberties and some people do not, then it is the task of the ACLU to help level the playing field.
The ACLU Mission is to educate, advocate and littegate. They allocate their money in that order as well.
We had a long discussion about Gerrymandering an what Ohio has done to counter the process of gerrymandering. Today, even though Ohio is split just about 50-50 in political registrations, the R party has 75% of the members of Congress from Ohio.
Hope you can come join in our discussion. We have a wide range of discussions on Sundays. If you've visited in the past, then please come back and join us for another interesting discussion. If you've never visited, then please come try it out. We don't bite.
Sep 2, 2018 Service about Water
In our little congregation, we try to spend one Sunday each year devoted to thinking about water. This was the Sunday. We light the chalice in the spirit of union. Nothing is in more harmony with union than water.
"Water unites us. All water is one water, shape-shifting as it goes on and on in its unending cycle. The stream we gather by unites us with all the waters of the world, for all of life depends on water.
That's why this common, everyday element on which our very lives depend is sacred.
In our thankfulness for water, let us remember to honor, cherish, and care for it — for our own lives, for all life touched by water, and for those who come after us."
The Rev Mel Hoover and Rose Edington
Many of us brought a little bit of water with us to pour into the cauldron and unite with the other water. In the spirit of community we speak about how water has changed our lives. Children swimming in pools, water from the Hudson river, water from the creek in Reynoldsburg, and water from a rain barrel were all contributed to the common pool. One of our members brought water from a spring near his home, but he added to it a few drops of the water that he had collected from St Bridget's well on his recent trip to Ireland.
It seems fitting that we should do this. No, it isn't as if we ascribe any magic to blessings made with sacred water any longer. Nevertheless, sometimes we should take time to notice that other people in other places can not depend on the availability of clean water. Not only undeveloped places, but places in America too... notably Flint Michigan, but there are other places as well. Its a blessing to have abundant clean water whether you believe that God makes it rain or whether you believe that it comes from the waste treatment plant.
Come join us, we can provide you with interesting things to talk about once a week. Some of us come intermittently, and some every week. If you have visited before, you are welcome to come back and see us, even if it is only once a year. Every discussion it its own.
Aug 26, 2018 Service about Heroes
Today Madeline held a service about heroes we have for our own lives. We all contributed to the discussion by describing our experience with heroism. Interestingly, many of us had people who were great influences on our lives, and we describe these people our own personal heroes. An uncle who's model behavior was an inspiration to one of us. An aunt who lived through terrible hardship and tragedy, yet still kept her grace and optimism was an inspiration of another of us. A father who migrated to America as a young man was an inspiration. This young immigrant lived through the great depression, WWII and was never able return to his European homeland, yet passed on the values of hard work in the face of adversity in his new country without any support from family.
One member named her personal hero to be John Lofton, who spoke to us once at a Sunday service. John had no use of his legs, and only partial use of his arms. Yet, he earned a degree, had a job at which he excelled, and owned his own house.
Andy said he had met some genuine heroes of the battlefields of Korea when he was in the Marines. They struck him as ordinary people, and they claimed to be nothing more than that. Such is common among heroes, I think. "A hero is an ordinary individual who finds the strength to persevere and endure in spite of overwhelming obstacles" - Christopher Reeve, actor. By that measure, all the individuals we had been talking about were courageous but most had never been put in a position to endure battlefield obstacles.
We also discussed famous heroes and their flaws. Sports heroes, and legends of music are often looked upon as heroes, often with significant flaws. But really, they come from all walks of life. Often, someone who has the perseverance to become the best, will not have a pleasant personality. Some people who have done heroic things are people that no one particularly wants as a friend. Will Rogers noted that "being a hero is about the shortest-lived profession on earth." He had obviously met some of those heroes with personality flaws. The "Me Too" movement has shown that a lot of accomplished people have very significant flaws.
Ultimately, we have no answers. But, as Unitarian Universalists, we are encouraged to keep seeking, keep discussing, and keep growing in our understanding. We have no creed in this church, just a continuing search for meaning (see the 7 UU principles). Come join us at 11:00 on Sunday and add your voice. We like to hear new voices.