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June 11 – The Search for Enlightenment

According to Buddhist teachers, when we reach enlightenment, we lose our fear and craving. Our illusions fall away, and we experience the oneness of all creation. Compassion and equanimity are our normal states. Enlightenment isn’t guaranteed, however, no mater how much we meditate or pray. So what do we gain during the process?

June 4 – The Joy of Pentecost

Pentecost is the birthday of the Christian church, the time when the followers of Jesus were filled with the Holy Spirit and sent off to convert the multitude. How can this holiday inform our own spiritual path, and what does it say about our ability to embrace the joy and community that is part of recovery?

May 28 – Re-creating Our Stories

Memorial Day is a time of remembering. We remember those who have died, those who served, and by remembering them, we recall our relationships. By recalling, we re-create our lives, over and over again. The meaning of our history changes; sometimes the history itself changes. How can we use this malleability to enhance our recovery?

May 21 – Acceptance

When we realize we are imperfect, we have the opportunity to accept the truth of who we are. Then we can learn to accept others. Recovery demands this kind of truth, and this kind of open, affirming relationship.

May 14 – Mother’s Day

It’s an honor to be a mother; it’s an honor to have a mother. Nonetheless, our love of motherhood may be mixed with annoyance, anger, and animosity. Love of our mothers can be complicated. On this Sunday, we will share the blessings and the curses of being and having mothers.

May 7 – False and True Prophets

This Sunday’s lectionary reading (John 10:1-10) seems to be saying that Jesus is the only way to salvation, whatever salvation means. If we explore a little deeper, however, we will see that Jesus is really inviting into community. Since communities have leaders, we who follow are at risk of being led astray. Unitarian Universalists err on the side of distrusting all prophets. But surely we can find wisdom somewhere? How do we know who is false and who is true?

April 30 –  White Supremacy Teach In

What is “white supremacy”? Why does it matter to us? How can we respond to our own racist thoughts and feelings, learn to change our racist culture, and support people of color?

April 23 – Drawing Wisdom from the Transcendentalists

Although not all Transcendentalists were Unitarian, many were, and they influenced our faith. Their mystical experiences guided their understanding of the “Over Soul” and of our responsibilities toward one another and the planet. How might their teachings guide us in our life today?

April 16 – Passover

Although this Sunday is Easter, it is also the fourth day of Passover, a festival celebrating freedom. If we really think about it, this story is also filled with brutality and vengeance. Can we find in that story a message of peace, love, and beloved community?

April 9 – Living Our Values

How do we decide what is right and wrong? What values do we use to guide us? In this world where simple answers are misleading and even facts are murky, it’s sometimes hard to know what to do. And if we can figure out what is best, how do we follow through?

April 2 – Coping with Temptation

During this time of Lent, let’s honor our capacity to be true to our values and recovery. The forty days of Lent represent the forty days Jesus spent in the desert, tempted by visions of power and greed. It’s a time for us to search our own souls and acknowledge our own cravings and unhealthy desires. We must all deal with temptation, and searching our souls will help us cope. This is a Scripture Study.

March 26 – Honesty

Being honest with ourselves is the first step in being honest with others. Both can be scary, but recovery depends on our ability to be speak truth and be true to ourselves. This Sunday, we’ll explore the difference between honesty and shame and honesty and nastiness.

 March 19 – Birth and Rebirth

In the spring, we think of birth, life, and all things new again. Yet as greed, entitlement, and hostility seem to be running our country at the moment, how do we protect those we love? How do we keep our planet healthy? Given all this, how do we keep ourselves healthy and focused on our own birth and rebirth? Read Barbara’s Reflection.

March 12 – Living with Fear and Uncertainty

Spiritual practices from around the world offer guidance in trusting and staying firm in our values. When we get lost in fear and uncertainty, our recovery is threatened. We’re no good to anyone if we fall apart ourselves, but how do we maintain our own health while also supporting others through these bleak days? Read Barbara’s Reflection.

March 5 – Jesus and Resistance

According to Walter Wink, Jesus was not a revolutionary or reformer. His goal was to topple what Wink calls the “domination system,” to usher in an entirely different “kindom,” that based on love rather than legalism, on harmony rather than greed and violence. How do we understand this gospel today? How do we live out Jesus’ call to justice, in our personal lives in in our country’s? Read Barbara’s Reflection.

 February 26 – Choosing Life

Although the calendar tells us we have another month to spring, in the Pacific Northwest, bulbs start sprouting in February, and bushes start leafing out. This is a great time to commit to life and to living our life to the fullest. Today we’ll gather and talk about how we can do that. Read Barbara’s Reflection.

February 19 – Letting Go

Although there are plenty of times when we gain friends, wisdom, jobs, material riches, life is also filled with little losses. We move, heirlooms break, loved ones die, we age and our bodies fail. We learn, day by day, to let go. How do we do so gracefully? Read Barbara’s Reflection.

February 12 – Building Loving Relationships

Sometimes we behave worst with the people we care about most. What gets in the way of treating our loved ones with gentle compassion? How do we reach out in healthy ways to friends and family? Read Barbara’s Reflection.

February 5 – Tu B’Shevat and Honoring Nature

On this Scripture Study day, we’ll look at how each person “is a tree of the field,” as it says in Deuteronomy. The trees of the field are vital to our survival; so is each one of use. What does this tell us for how we treat one another and how we treat the growing things of our earth? Read Barbara’s Reflection.

January 29 – Guilt, Repentance, and Recovery

A big challenge for many of us in recovery is coping with the guilt we feel over past deeds. Twelve-Step programs and religious thinkers can guide us in healing our guilt through repenting or making amends. Read Barbara’s Reflection.

January 22 – Anger and Anger Addiction

Violence, name-calling, intolerance, and bullying are rampant in our country and our world. Are we addicted to the rush of power we get when we act out in anger? In what ways does addiction fuel our anger, or our anger fuel our addiction? Most of all, how do we as individuals and as a society enter into recovery from our anger? Read Barbara’ Reflection.

January 15 – Martin Luther King’s Legacy

It may seem that our gains from the Civil Rights movement are quickly disappearing, yet no matter how we backtrack, we are not the same. Just as every relapse is different and is an opportunity for growth and resilience, so this relapse into self-righteousness and greediness is an opportunity to rise up stronger, more enlightened, and more compassionate. Read Barbara’ Reflection.

January 8 – Technology and Time to Think

Recovery requires time for reflection. Some of us thrive on being alone; others prefer company. Regardless, we might not take time in silence to commune with ourselves or our higher power. How do we create boundaries on our technology use and find time to take care of our inner self? Read Barbara’ Reflection.

January 1 – Claiming a New Purpose in Life

On this New Year’s Day, we will look at the story of Esther, the Hebrew orphan who became a queen and thus had the power to save her people. By winning the queenship, she was given a new beginning, an opportunity to become a new self. That new her also had a new purpose in life. Read Barbara’ Reflection.

There will be no service on December 25.

Enjoy the holidays!

December 18 – Privacy versus Security

Most of us feel better if we think we are safe and secure. Behind the locked door of my house, I feel comfortable, partly because I have privacy. Sometimes, though, privacy is at odds with security, as when our bags are searched at airports, jails, or treatment centers. We make trade offs all the time. If we were better able to tolerate insecurity, perhaps we wouldn’t be so willing to give up personal rights to feel safe. Read Barbara’s Reflection.

December 11 – Resilience

What gives us the courage to bounce back? Who supports and protects us? The road to recovery – as individuals and as a country – is long and hard. How do we find the resilience to keep going when times are hard? Read Barbara’s Reflection.

December 4 – Prophecy, Doubt, and the Abuse of Authority

Because Christmas comes in December, I thought we could explore the story of Mary and Joseph fleeing to Egypt with their new baby, thereby escaping death and fulfilling an earlier prophecy. Not only is there much to ponder here about the place of spiritual messengers and prophecy in our lives, about belief and doubt, but also about the abuse of authority and how we respond. Read Barbara’s Reflection.

November 27 – Waiting

On this first Sunday of Advent, we will consider how often we wait: to feel better, to discover our purpose, to succeed. Sometimes sitting patiently is important, especially if we don’t forget to live in the meantime. How does waiting support, and not support, our recovery? Read Barbara’s Reflection.

November 20 – Faith, Fear, and Security

What do we have faith in? Whether we trust in the strength of weapons, a “well-trained” militia, the support of friendships, or the love of God, where we put our faith affects how we live in the world and impacts our recovery. Read Barbara’s Reflection.

November 13 – The Election and “Amazing Grace”

John Newton was a slave trader who was struck by the mercy of God and changed his life. In response, he wrote the hymn “Amazing Grace,” a paean to the power of forgiveness. During this Sharing Circle, we will talk about the place of forgiveness and grace in our lives. Read Barbara’s Reflection.

November 6, 2016 – Specialness and Being Chosen

The Jews are “the chosen people.” Henri Nouwen explains that just because one group of people is “chosen” doesn’t keep the rest of us from being chosen, too.  Combining Hebrew scripture with Nouwen’s insight, we will explore the longing to be special. Read Barbara’s Reflection.

October 30, 2016 – Darkness, Death, and Life

What can we learn about life by looking at darkness and death? Around the world, October 31 is celebrated in some way by honoring that thin veil between the living and those who have passed before us. Read Barbara’s Reflection.

October 23, 2016 – Being Faithful

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, in The Little Prince, tells the story of a lamplighter on a tiny planet who work tirelessly to perform his job, even though it has become untenable, and the Little Prince is touched by his faithfulness. Is this foolishness, or is there something to be said for hanging on even when we feel overwhelmed and weary? Read Barbara’s Reflection.

October 16, 2016 – The Wisdom of Escape

Life can be hard. Emotions can feel overwhelming. At times, we long for relief. What kind of escape is healthy? What kind of escape can promote recovery? Read Barbara’s Reflection.

October 9, 2016 – Building Our Covenant

Last Sunday, we looked at what covenant was. This Sunday, we will start the work of creating a covenant together. Join us for this hands-on, joyful, work session. We value your input. Read Barbara’s Reflection.

October 2, 2016 – The Covenants We Make

Let’s look some different covenants in scripture, then consider what Unitarian Universalist groups have to say about covenant. Read Barbara’s Reflection.

September 25, 2016 – Connecting with the Healing Power of Autumn

In this Sharing Circle, we’ll look at the cycle of nature during this fall season. How can we find healing in this time of slowing down and turning inward? Read Barbara’s Reflection.

September 18, 2016 – Ego and Humility

What is our ego? In what ways does our ego support us, and how does it get in our way? Can we have a strong ego and be humble at the same time? This is a Sharing Circle. Read Barbara’s Reflection.

September 4, 2016 – Labor

What does the Bible say about work? How about Eastern or Indigenous religions? We’ll explore some different approaches to labor and how that can inform our lives.  Read Barbara’s Reflection.

September 11, 2016 – Anger, Fear, and 9/11

Where does anger come from? In this Sharing Circle, we will explore when anger is useful and when is it not, and we’ll share ways we release anger and move on. Read Barbara’s Reflection.

August 28, 2016 – Awe and Wonder

Throughout the ages, people have found many different ways to merge with the holy, to get lost in the awe and mystery of it all. For this Sharing Circle, we will look at how different peoples experience and express their awe and wonder. Read Barbara’s Reflection.

August 21, 2016 -Seeking

What do we long for? How do we go about finding that which we seek? How do we make sure the things we strive for support our recovery? This is a Sharing Circle. Read Barbara’s Reflection.

August 14, 2016 – Resilience

For this Sharing Circle, we will explore ways to enhance our resilience. Read Barbara’s Reflection.

August 7, 2016 – Lead Us Not Unto Temptation

For this Sunday’s Scripture Study, we will look at what the Christian Scriptures say about temptation and explore what that can teach us about growth, innocence, sobriety, and recovery. Read Barbara’s Reflection.