Category Archives: spirituality

healing after the ice storm


magnolia_leafSo mid week last week the temps had fallen into the mid-20s or so and with a mist of rain in the air during the night, ice formed on pretty much everything outside. Here are some pics from my backyard. My magnolia tree shouldn’t look like this in March.

On the drive to work that morning, I noticed a lot of tree branches had snapped and fallen during the night. Not sure if they were already dead branches or if the weight of the ice caused them to break or both but there was a trail of pretty big branches that started with a neighbor’s house a couple of houses down and just kept going almost all the way to work 15 miles away. It was strange. Some of those branches were pretty big and yet they snapped because of the heaviness.

magnolia_branchesSo all this happened on Tuesday and on Saturday I was finally able to help my neighbor out by cutting the really big tree limb that had fallen in her yard.

After cutting it, we talked for a while Continue reading

Clean livin’ son. Clean livin’


The link below is to an interesting vid on the front page of NBC News.com from a couple of weeks ago. Is there a fight ramping up over the death penalty again?
http://www.nbcnews.com/feature/debunker/crime-deterrent-debunking-death-penalty-myths-n40571

Also making its way around the interwebs, is a letter by convicted killer Ray L Jasper who is scheduled to take in his last breath on March 19 of this year.

I’ll probably ruffle the feathers of a few of my left-leaning friends with this post and surprise those who know me from my UU church with my opinion on the death penalty.

I am from Texas however and as the comedian Ron White says, “as other states are trying to abolish it [the death penalty] my state is putting in an express lane.”

After I viewed the NBC News video from that link above though I couldn’t help but come up with my own monologue about Continue reading

baking bread and patience


kneading bread

the boys helping knead
bread dough in November 2012

I’ve recently (the past 12mos or so?) been trying my hand at baking bread. I actually have to come to enjoy it and my two stepsons like to help out whenever they know I’m about to start the alchemy of putting flour, water and yeast together.  I’ve done it maybe seven or eight times and have had some success in that it actually tasted ok. Sometimes it turns out quite nice with a tangy, homemade, yeasty flavor to it. Other times, not so much. They were just… meh.

One thing that they all had in common though, tasty or not, was they were pretty substantial. Solid. Heavy… that is until this last loaf I made. This one was rather light and airy and I’m sure it was because I cultivated a little patience and let the yeast do its work.

Patience… [sigh]
If you read my “Exposed” post, you know I’ve been going through a bit of a rough patch. Actually putting it that way is a very nice way of saying I feel like my world is crumbling around me.

I don’t mean to be too cryptic about it so I’ll just say The Deistette and I are having marital problems, we’re having internal family problems and host of other problems all of which are tributaries and offshoots of the main issue… litigation with her ex. I’ll leave it there.

So to cope and deal with… well, with all of it I’ve been trying to do things that occupy my mind but don’t necessarily require a great deal of thinking… like, mowing the grass, raking leaves, hemming my slacks, finishing out a replaced window or…

baking bread.

Believe it or not, I can be somewhat domestic and baking bread is something that makes me think about the task at hand, not so much that it becomes real work, but enough to let time pass.

A couple of weeks ago I and my oldest stepson were working on a batch while his younger brother and momma did some grocery shopping.

I’ve noticed with both boys over the years that they are “pleasers.” They’re behavior is better when they have a job they actually want to do and that they feel is actually necessary and that they feel is helping the family or others.

do what you loveIsn’t that all of us though. I think I wouldn’t be so depressed, frustrated and angry if I were working in an occupation that fulfilled that list: was something I felt was really necessary, something I enjoyed or looked forward to doing and something I thought actually helped others and/or contributed to the common good.

Anyway… so the boy and I were mixing and measuring, kneading and pounding. And finally we were done.

I looked at it and thought, “What a miserable excuse of dough for a loaf of bread.” It was rather puny and I thought, “this won’t make much at all.”

We put it in a bread pan and then in the oven that was slightly warm. I kept thinking maybe we should just fire up the oven to 350 and be done with it. But the boy kept saying “no, the directions said to wait an hour for it to rise.”

So we waited. And waited.
And waited, and waited and waited.
And waited some more.

What’s that saying?… “a watched pot never makes the dough rise as fast as you want it to?” :mrgreen:

Finally we reached an hour and in that time I think I added a little bit of that virtue with the help of the boy as we continued our exercise in patience. Not only had I gained a little virtue but that little bit of dough had doubled in size!

It wasn’t the best bread I’ve made but making this batch (particularly with the help of my older stepson) certainly taught me something.

Patience my boy…. patience.

I’m trying hard to cultivate the virtue of patience in my life again. I have strayed from my spiritual path and with awareness, faith, Providence and if I’m lucky grace, I’ll have it back again.

Exposed


20140118-215728.jpg

I used to take pictures.

It’s been so long ago that it almost seems like it was in a past life. When I first started, I was in the military and took pictures that were part of news and feature stories. A few years later I began to fancy myself an arteeest and began trying to create what I “thought” was art. I actually pulled some off and there were a few people who actually considered it art and paid for my prints or asked me to exhibit.

My first attempts were crude but in time my eye developed. I tended to drift toward my journalistic side and capture images that had a human element… you know, that showed where a human presence had been. I rarely did landscapes or what I referred to derogatorily as “snapshots of trees and rocks”.

The fact is “trees and rocks” are hard to shoot and shoot well and I knew it, so I tried to place myself above those Ansel-disciples and do my cutting edge Henri Cartier-Bresson impersonations.  What’s funny is I actually did a series of only trees one time AND… had it exhibited.

It’s been a long time since I’ve taken photographs like that.

But now and again, something will catch my “eye” (which surprises me that my photographer’s eye still works) that makes me think, “this says something” and I wish I had my old Mamiya loaded with some velvety Ilford Delta400.

The above image is one that did just that and all i had was my cell phone, It was taken in an instant, filters applied the way I would have liked to have seen a final print after hours in the darkroom.  It says something… at least to me. The roots are exposed. The tender part of a tree that should be covered which help it grow and mature are all out in the open.

[sigh]

I’ve been going through the some personal stuff that is really stressful. Really stressful… taxing on my soul and is one of those times when I hope with all the faith that I have that God is listening and will send angels to calm my spirit. I pray that Providence will cover my tender parts.

I have entered another dark period, one that makes me want sit with my back in a corner with my knees to my chest bracing for impact. I can’t get everything covered and I feel quite exposed.

click story


I have an old Mac laptop that seems to be running on last legs. I didn’t update the operating system like I should have (read: at all) and so this old 2005 machine is still running OSX Tiger. Knowing that it’s only a matter of time before it decides it just can’t bear to come to life even one more day, I’ve been transferring files to an external drive. In doing so, I ran across something I had posted at a blogging buddy’s place back in early 2010. I thought I had cross post it here but I can’t find it.  I thought it was worth sharing again so here it is.

To give a little context, this friend had a blog where occasionally she would have blog friends contribute what she called a “click” story… a personal story where the writer had learned some grand lesson.  Below is my contribution.
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Leslie asked me months ago if I would write a click story for her and I quickly said yes.  I feel bad for having put it off so long.  Sorry Les.  The thing I think that has disrupted my ability to do it is she inadvertently placed some heavy pressure on me by saying, “I’m sure you have so many stories to tell.”

Gulp.

Do I?  Ugh.  I couldn’t think of anything that would compare to the others that have been published here.

I began rifling through the mental files of stories I have where I learned a lesson… you know, trying to find one where I learned a really big lesson about myself or life  but none of them seemed to be so profound as to be earth shattering.

I thought of my trip down the aisle (the first time) and how my voice cracked and my eyes welled a little as I repeated the vows the preacher told me to say… a tear came not because I was happy but because I knew!… right then and there I realized with absolute certainty…

I was making the biggest mistake of my life. I realized that we humans sometimes make poor choices, we can’t blame anyone but ourselves and we have to live with the consequences.

I thought I could tell of the time during Marine Corps boot camp when my platoon was learning how to throw hand grenades.  A drill instructor and I were in a concrete bunker and he handed me a live grenade with the pin pulled.  He said, “recruit! You make sure you throw it over this wall like we taught you…

and far! You understan’ me!”

I stood there with a live grenade in my hand… explosions were going off from my fellow recruits lobbing theirs down range.  I looked at the grenade… my hands shaking.  I stared that DI in the eyes, then looked at it again as I heard in a deep, garbled, slow-motion sort of voice, “yewwwww ohhhhkayyyy reeecrewwwwt?”.  It seemed like lifetimes passed as I pondered my ability to heave that piece of metal over a seven foot wall of cinder blocks.

As I pulled my arm back just like they taught me, I was thinking my life has the potential to change or end right now.  In that moment I realized some events in life are deliberate, calculated actions. Other times a completely random, unexpected bit of happenstance careens life toward other places.

I also thought maybe I could tell of a lesson I learned from the time I got fired from a retail job I couldn’t stand.  While in the parking lot after leaving the store I immediately called my editor of my part-time freelance photo job.  I told her what happened, I told her I was desperate and that I was available to shoot anywhere, anytime, and anything.  She gave me work… lots of it. A few weeks into it, my younger brother invited me to a basketball game through company tickets with some co-workers of his.  One of them asked, “so what do you do?”  I got that roller coaster feeling in my stomach.  I hesitated a little in my response and I almost said, “uh… I’m in between jobs” when it occurred to me, “no. I have a job.”

I said confidently, “I’m a photographer with The Houston Chronicle.”

It felt good. It felt DAMN good and I realized we make our own destiny.  WE make things happen in our lives if we push ourselves towards them. And I survived working six and seven days a week until I found another job seven months later.

I could tell the story about Hurricane Ike blowing through town in 2008.  I could tell you how I saw thick, heavy branches from two different trees that missed my house and my vehicle by inches and my property came away relatively unscathed; yet neighbors had fences crash through windows and roofs blown off.  There was one person I met in my neighborhood who had lights on in just a few days but the house right next to him waited four weeks in the sweltering September weather of the Gulf Coast Plains of Texas.

From the hurricane, I realized sometimes shit happens that we have no control over.  God didn’t get angry.  Karma wasn’t reacting.  The Tao wasn’t balancing things out.  I didn’t come away unscathed because I said the right prayer the night before and the other guy didn’t.  Just sometimes… shit happens from no fault of our own or anyone.

And I thought about telling my story of when I went to see my brother and future sister in-law get baptized at their Baptist church.  Coincidentally it happened the Sunday after the planes crashed into the World  Trade Center buildings.  While in that church, watching what should have been a great day for my brother, I saw a preacher point his finger at his congregation and heard him yell… yes, yell at them “it’s because of you and you and YOU that this happened.  Because YOU ARE A SINNER!!! America has lost favor with God and He made those planes fly into those building because of you!”

I realized that my concept of God does not fit that mold.  I don’t believe in a God like that at all.  My God loves me unconditionally.  My God doesn’t control my actions or the actions of others.  My God gave me freewill and reason.  I realized I don’t believe in a devil or that a devil can make people fly planes into buildings.  I realized some people are just jerks and assholes and they do evil things.  And my God weeps when we do crappy things to each other.  That is when I realized there must be another way of thinking about the nature of God compared to what this guy was preaching and I took my first deliberate steps ever towards spiritual awareness and where I found myself on a road towards UU-ism, Buddhism and Deism.

I’ve read most, if not all, of the click stories here at Leslie’s place and they have been amazing, beautiful, heart-wrenching, glorious stories.  Wish my click story were as amazing as those.

Sorry, Les… I got nothin’.

i believe in a better way


I’m slowly getting back into the frame of mind to start posting again at the ol’ Deist blog. Ideas come to me but unlike before where I could remember throughout the day what I wanted to write, my ideas tend to disappear slowly and without any definitive moment they vanish like mist that’s burned away from morning sun.

But I’m getting there and hope to be flexing my thoughts again in a more consistent manner. I’ve been looking at drafts that I have sitting in my WordPress cue and it seems like most of them were meant for when they were first written… a year, two, three or even four years ago. Not sure why I never pressed the publish button on some of those but needless to say they aren’t really relevant or would be out of context because… well, I don’t know how to explain but they would be out of context.

But there are a handful that are meaningful to me still and I’m sure I’ll dust them off and give them the chance to be seen by someone. Kinda like this one. Not sure why I never posted this one but the first draft was written almost four years ago to the day. Weird huh.
Below is the original post:
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A friend of mine from church introduced me to this song several months ago.  I hadn’t thought about it in a while and don’t know why I remembered it today.  Just thought I’d share.

[Deist begins to stretch a little so he can properly do his best air guitar windmill and scissor kick]

So what’s happened in a year?


Well, during the last 12 months quite a bit has actually stayed the same for me. I’ve noticed as I get older, I am, if nothing else, relatively constant.

I still work at the same place (earlier this month I hit seven years there), The Deistette and I are still married and hit a milestone in September (she moved here five yrs ago the weekend Hurricane Ike made landfall ), I’m still making music with a few friends of mine (in February we’ll hit seven years) and I still live in the same house that I’ve been working on and renovating for what seems like forever (September was 16 years).

There have been a handful of changes though. My longest readers might remember a post or two about how I like to ride my bicycle… well, I still do but have become a bit obsessive about bicycles since October of last year and have since added several bikes to the herd that used to consist of just my road bike. Here’s a pic of one of my faves.

Trek-720

Years ago, it almost seems in another lifetime, I used to work in the printing industry… well, sort of. I was a print buyer for a financial company. And, because of the vast resource that is the interwebs, I’ve been able to get back to my roots (which started when I was in the military a couple of decades ago laying out the base newspaper via cut and paste). I’ve built (on the cheap) a very crude letterpress out of steel pipe. I’m not sure how practical this thing will be as I haven’t printed anything on it yet but I hope to start printing letterpress stuff soon.

Letterpress when done well is absolutely beautiful.
just my typeImage above found at this Etsy shop

Let’s see what else… Well, this is a not-so-fun fact. In August I hit the heaviest my short frame has ever been. It has however spurred me to become really aware about needing to lose weight. I’ve been going to the YMCA on a regular basis for the past few months and have become more aware about the junk I’ve been putting in my body.  I guess you have to start somewhere and my somewhere is a very, very small step. But moving my body even just twice a week and trying to be careful about what I eat has helped  me to scrape off a little weight. Key words in that sentence is “scrape” and “little”. But if I make the time and get to the gym a couple more times a week and could lose even as little as 15 pounds that would be good. Realistically though, being only 5’3″ and trying to get to a healthy weight, I really need to lose about 30 pounds. Wish me luck. I really need to make this happen.

So those are some of the minor things that are new with me after a year of being gone. But the biggest bit of change that happened is that I withdrew membership to my UU church of which I had been a member for 10 years.

It’s been six months yet it’s still very difficult to come to grips with it. It’s been a tremendous loss and I still I feel quite sad about it. I had a strong community of friends, like-minded seekers and familiar souls surrounding me that I not only saw on Sundays but throughout the week as well. I was deeply involved in my old congregation and literally put blood, sweat and tears in trying help maintain it and help it grow. It was painful to leave and for the sake of proper decorum I won’t go in to the gory details of why I left but for now let’s just say I couldn’t continue to support that congregation any longer.

I am still however…
a UU.

And I think one needs (what in Buddhism is called) a sangha… a dedicated community of spiritual seekers. The basis of my beliefs still stem from my view of the nature of God which comes from Deism. My practice, as much as I may have drifted from it, is Buddhist.

But my people… the ones who remind me to keep vigiliant as a person of faith comes from a UU church.
My sangha.

And so The Deistette and I have been attending another congregation off and on for a little while now. It doesn’t feel the same as my old congregation. I feel like I don’t fit in. But we’re getting a little more involved and are making plans to try to attend more of the events and programs. And we’ve met new people who we like. : )

I think there are three essential elements of a person’s spiritual walk.
1) you have to have a foundation for your belief system (i.e. what is your view of the nature of god, where do you get your sense of right and wrong come? from where do your ethics come?)
2) Your ethics, morality, and/or spirituality should have a practice and be exercised in the real world.
3) You should have a community of like-minded people who challenge your sense of beliefs, keep you in check as well as support your beliefs.

In some instances, two out of three wouldn’t be bad but I think in the case of a spiritual walk… two out of three ain’t gonna cut it.

Here’s to adding my third back in to the mix and to change.

serious questions for UUs from my mother in-law


The Deistette and I took a visit to another UU church Sunday. I haven’t been to my home congregation on a Sunday morning in probably two months at least but I feel a strong sense of loyalty to my home congregation so this felt kinda… i don’t know, adulterous?

I’ve been so busy with keeping the HOA deed restriction wolfhounds off my back as well as doing other handyman work for neighbors that I’m either too tired or involved in working on a project to get to church on Sunday.

But I humored my wife and went to this other UU congregation, which on paper seemed pretty damn awesome. It has an engaging children’s program, a number of opportunities for adults to grow spiritually as well as activities to participate in social justice.

I told her not to get too excited about it because on paper a church is much different from what you experience when you get there. The minister might be dull, the people clickish, the sanctuary uncomfortable or it may just lack that “x” factor that tells you “THIS is a church I could see myself being a part of.”

She agreed but she was practically giddy come Sunday morning. She was on the phone with her mom that morning as we were getting ready and because of her excitement was able to convince her mom to come with us and spend the morning and afternoon of her only day off… at church. Full disclosure: it was mentioned we would be going to IKEA afterward. : )

So we get there and it was a nice service. The people were nice. The music was nice. Everything was… nice. But it was just so generic and lacking in what felt like any spiritual experience that we all left… well, disappointed.

We talked about it as soon as we were in the car. After about 15 minutes of conversation my mother in-law finally says, “did I miss something? I mean it was a nice service but there was not one thing said that made me feel inspired or give me something to think about the rest of the week.”

We ate lunch at IKEA and for another 40 minutes or so we continued with trying to figure out what went wrong from little things about that particular congregation to big picture things about religion as a whole as well as shortcomings with UUism.

One thing my mother in-law asked me was “is it hard for a UU minister to give a sermon?” The way she asked it and given we were talking about the sermon being rather lackluster made me think she asked the question because she thought the homily sucked. Plus she knows any one UU congregation can have as many spiritual paths to address as there are members. In that regard she asked do all UU ministers speak with that weird cadence with obviously scripted pauses.  Are they all kind of obnoxious, fake, overly dramatic? In my experience… yes. Yes and I don’t know why.

She asked me what is it about UUism that appeals to me. What is it that makes it a right fit for me.

She asked if I thought of it as a religion? She also asked if I thought ANYONE in a UU church believes it to be a religion considering the way they dressed and carried themselves portrays a lack of self respect. I think her point was if they can’t dress in a way that shows they respect themselves how on earth do they respect anything else, particularly the place where they worship?

And then she asked, how on earth has the UU church had any success or continued as long is it has?

I think these are questions that are asked week after week after week by visitors to a UU church. I think the UU church has such a potential to be a real, valid, significant, legitimate, truly meaningful and substantial voice on the world stage regarding human affairs if we could just get our shit together.

I have been a UU for only 10 years… actually I’m about six months shy of that. But it seems I have always heard some sort of conversation about growth.. the lack of.., the need for…, mechanisms on… growth. This conversation has in fact been going on for decades in the UU church.

I’ve come to the conclusion that we will always be a speck on the religious radar. We always be will be a punchline. We will merely be a voice of misfits that is never really taken seriously. Oh we’ve had a one-off success here and there but you know what… you give a monkey a typewriter and enough time… it’ll tap out a word or two.

The fundamental problem with UUism and why it will always be relegated to the outer fringes of the religion landscape is because we don’t have a singular passion as a collective religious people. We don’t believe in something collectively with burning passion. We have let the genie of “believe whatever you want to believe” out of the bottle long ago and allowed our theological center to scatter to the winds.

Bring it back ministers. Bring back our theology. Preach from the pulpits and the street corners and everywhere in between the idea that we are all One… we all have a spark of The Divine and as such ARE One.

AND, more importantly that there is such a thing as unconditional, undeserved Love that tells us we belong despite are our shortcomings.

You do this, and you’ll create disciples that will have a burning in their heart which lead them to spread a message that can save souls and heal communities.

what DO we UUs believe


They’re coming in oneseis and twoseis… tweets and posts and articles from different people putting their two cents into the cart before the horse debate of doing good works (i.e. social justice) vs faith/religion (theology).

The question makes one run in circles as Lo Williams pointed out as she responded to a post Kinsi had put on his blog last week.

It’s hard.

It’s a hard question for UUs to answer, even those who have been lifelong UUs or those who wear the cleric’s collar of our clergy. And I think part of the reason it’s such a hard question to answer is because we’ve become so damn afraid of actually saying “We believe ______ and if you don’t believe ______ then you’re probably not a UU.”

We have drifted so far away from a belief system toward inclusivity that we have no idea any longer what we believe. We are desperate not to diminish any individual’s belief system and so our mantra of “we will support your search for truth and meaning” has become the demise of a central religious belief.

If you ask most UUs to describe their religion, it will come off sounding as though members of this tradition define their own theology, that UUism pretty much lets you believe whatever you want and that UUs love coffee on Sunday mornings after they meet for service. That would be about it.

I think it is a common misconception that Unitarian Universalism is one big stew pot of all the world religions lumped together. I can see how people might think that but I simply don’t believe that idea of UUism to be true… at least not anymore. If I am being honest, I’m sure there was a time where I did think that of UUism.

But now… not so much. In fact, not at all.

I think Unitarian Universalism should be a religion based on two ideas. Ideas that stem from our religious roots of Unitarianism and Universalism.

1) that there is but only one God… Only one Higher Power in the universe.  One Truth. But there is the caveat that people view that Higher Power by way of different lenses. So for some this Higher Power or Truth is Brahma, one of the gods of the Hindu trinity. For some their view of the Higher Power is the teachings of the Buddha. For some it is a goddess that moves the wind. For some their Higher Power is sacred community, more powerful and forgiving than the individual can be. And for some their Higher Power is their concept of God.

and 2): That salvation is universal. Transformation is universal. And this salvation/transformation can be had by anyone. Again there is the caveat that this salvation is viewed from different lenses. Salvation can be had from Sacred Community when someone says, “hi my name is John Doe and I’m an alcoholic.” And the salvific response is “Hi John.”  Salvation/Transformation can be had when you say to yourself, “I forgive myself for my shortcomings. I am after all only human. And I will do better” Or perhaps one’s salvation comes from the teachings of the son of carpenter who died 2000 years ago.

My friends THIS is what we UUs believe and should get back to preaching from our pulpits. THIS is the salvation message we have. THIS is our Good News and when we get this in our hearts, our heart will lead us to transform injustice in this world into right… not the other way around.

challenge to the UUA – reinvent UU ministry


There was a tweet I saw come across my time line last week from @Rev_Mother who stated to fellow UU blogger and tweeter @mattkinsi that she wanted to be put in charge of Faith Development. Kins was appointed to the UUA committee on appointments. Or the committee on creating appointments to appointing committees. I don’t know… irony and name aside, Kins has been noticed by some higher-ups in the UUA and it’s pretty cool that I can say I knew him when. In fact, Kinsi is the only one of my blog peeps who I have actually met in person.

Anyway… so a few days ago I woke up with a fuzz of ideas swimming through my head as I meandered from almost awake to drifting back into a dream state. I began thinking about her statement about a ministry on faith development.

Her statement was a tangent off a bigger discussion that had occurred (actually it’s still happening) which was debating the idea of the UUA focusing on it’s cause de jour coupled with the recent Social Justice General Assembly vice focusing on our salvific message. (i learned that word from Rev Mother. I use it all the time now. :) )

I’m assuming this is what brought on this subconscious/dreamlike thinking the other day. So I began thinking what if there was a ministry on Marriage and Family so that we could not only focus on pushing for legalizing same-sex marriage but also from the pulpit deliver a message that strengthened families and those who are married AFTER they have walked down the aisle whether they are gay or straight.  It may seem like semantics but the thing is we work pretty diligently at getting gay people to the alter but do NOTHING for them or other UUs who are married for that matter, AFTER they are married.

I challenge the UUA to develop a broad set of ministries, such as a  Ministry on Marriage and Family, Ministry on the Holy and Sacred, Ministry on Human Dignity, Ministry on the Holistic Human, Ministry on Stewardship  of the Earth. I challenge the UUA to reinvigorate the move Rev. Sinkford had in reclaiming our religious language and pull away from living by-gone days of being a hippy in the 60s.

These are just ideas for names but the concept is to create a small number of core of ministries where our actions and witnessing are sacred, holy work.  And the culture of our congregations would view it as such because that’s what we would hear and learn while sitting in the pews.  Those who are concerned with inhumane conditions at Joe Arpaio’s tent city would be doing holy work… UNDER the auspices of church/religious inspired language such as “ministry” “dignity” “sacred” instead of simply attending a protest to bring attention to a cause of injustice.

There are a million injustices in the world that should be righted simply because we know as a species what is right and wrong. The thing is when we as a religious people take up that cause to right a wrong it should be because we believe in our heart of hearts, it to be a sacred calling. UUism is a religion with a message of salvation… NOT a social club that meets on Sundays for coffee after protesting inhumane conditions the night before.