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First UU Blog

Columns and occasional online reflections from First UU Ministers, staff and members of our community.

 

 

Rev. Jennifer Brooks - Covenant PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rev. Jennifer Brooks   
Friday, 02 September 2016 11:23

UU Principles in Child Friendly LanguageWhen I hear the words “best friend,” there’s one person I think of first, and then a few others. The first names are childhood friends with whom I’m still in touch. There was something about us: we were soul mates. We laughed at the same things. We groaned at the same things. Then there was how we treated each other.

Relationship. A friendship that “sticks” for a lifetime doesn’t mean that we always agree or that we have the same talents or that the friends of our friends like each other. There can be awkward moments. But the friendship sticks.

The relationship of friendship is based on the initial connection, frequent proximity, shared experiences. It’s not, so much, intentional.

Adults who are members of a free faith community make friendships within that community. But there’s something more going on. In a Unitarian Universalist congregation, we enter into relationship with intention. We covenant.

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Rev. Lane Campbell - A People Who Show Up PDF Print E-mail
Written by Lane Campbell   
Wednesday, 20 July 2016 00:00

uua2016columbusI have been reflecting in the wake of our most recent General Assembly. This June, close to 4,000 UUs came here to Columbus, Ohio to celebrate Unitarian Universalism, to worship together, to learn in workshops skills and knowledge to bring back to one’s congregation, and to just be together with one another. It is my hope you were able to attend a portion of the event, to feel the magnitude of it all.

From those of you I did see, I want to reflect back that First UU Columbus showed up. A majority of volunteers at GA were from our congregation. It was a delight to be greeted each day by a familiar face. The church was a part of making our public witness happen, providing a loving presence for a brief visit from the Westboro Baptist Church, and came out in droves for an extremely touching worship service on Sunday morning. This is a congregation that shows up.

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Rev. Jennifer Brooks - Rain, Thunder, Lightning PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rev. Jennifer Brooks   
Friday, 08 July 2016 10:27

blog rainI grieve.

Henry Green in Columbus. Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge. Then Philando Castille in Minneapolis. These names are at the end of a long list of Black men killed by police while cooperating, fleeing, or held under restraint. It is not an executable offense to cooperate, flee, or struggle when held to the ground.

And now this: early today a peaceful Black Lives Matter rally in Dallas ended with sniper fire aimed at police. Five officers are dead. It is not an executable offense to be a police officer in uniform.

It is not illegal to drive through a white neighborhood while black (Philando Castille); though it is illegal to drive with a broken tail light, usually the penalty involves a ticket and a fine.

People say: But they were carrying handguns. And in Dallas, it appears the snipers openly carried rifles, “long guns.” In nearly every state in America, it’s legal to carry hand guns and long guns. Openly. Only six states forbid open carry.

I can’t help but wonder: If I were carrying a licensed handgun, would I die at a traffic stop? I’m almost certain the answer is no. But I’m also certain that my son, who is Black, could die in a traffic stop, even though he will never, ever carry a handgun.

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Rev. Jennifer Brooks - Wings and Song PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rev. Jennifer Brooks   
Tuesday, 05 July 2016 00:00

blog jb wingsongLife is a journey. It’s often an adventure. But always a journey.

When the UUA learned that Westboro protestors were planning to picket the Columbus Convention Center during General Assembly, the GA planning committee asked me, GA Lead Chaplain, to coordinate our UU response. Of course I said yes.

Of course.

The Westboro protesters are infamous for picketing at military funerals of those they believe to be gay or lesbian. “God Hates You” is one of the mildest signs they carry. Last month, during the funerals of the 49 victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida, they showed up carrying their wrathful signs. So the Angels came.

The Angels, with their tall, broad wings, first appeared in Laramie, Wyoming, during the trial of the gay-hating murderers of Matthew Shepard in 1998. Matthew was 21. The Westboro protesters had appeared at Matthew’s funeral, shocking his friends and family with their signs and chants. They announced that they would protest again during the 1999 trial, as if Matthew’s being gay made it inappropriate to seek justice for his death. Romaine Patterson, one of Matthew’s classmates who’d attended Matthew’s funeral, created the Angels to shield Matthew’s friends and family from Westboro’s hate-filled messages.

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First UU Blog - Rev. Jennifer Brooks - Simple Truth PDF Print E-mail
Written by Rev. Jennifer Brooks   
Monday, 30 May 2016 00:00

blog spring wordcloudWhat, exactly, do we mean when we say that something is the “simple truth”?

We live in a multicultural world. As Unitarian Universalists, we welcome all seekers who share our values [UU Principles], and sometimes we describe those values as “universal.” Within our faith community, we embrace diversity of theological points of view. In the wider community, we stand on the side of love for racial justice, immigrant justice, reproductive justice, environmental and climate justice, and sexual orientation and gender identity justice.

Where, in all that diversity, is the “simple truth”?

One place it’s not is this idea that our UU values are “universal.” Even if they are widely-embracing values that welcome people who are on a path of personal growth and community spirit, they cannot be considered “universal” because there are plenty of folks out there who do not agree with them.

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