Thursday, November 10, 2005

I too am quoting Dan Harper today

Thanks Dan for giving me a Sunday insert commentary. I was suffering over it. I hope I have used your words appropriately.

What's so funny?

Q. What’s a Unitarian Missionary?
A. Someone who knocks on your door for no apparent reason.

Humor can be used as a way of reflecting ourselves to one another, or of seeing what popular belief may be about something. Humor often sheds light on ideas that may reference truths, but provides incomplete pictures of any reality and certainly of religion.

Q. How many Unitarians does it take to change a lightbulb?
A. The Unitarians wish to issue the following statement:
“We choose not to make a statement either in favor of or against the need for a lightbulb; however, if in your own journey you have found that lightbulbs work for you, that is fine. You are invited to write a poem or compose a modern dance about your relationship with your lightbulb, and present it next month at our annual lightbulb service, in which we will explore a number of lightbulb traditions, including incandescent, fluorescent, three-way, long-life and tinted, all of which are equally valid paths to luminescence.” ~

I love jokes. I especially appreciate deadpan humor and jokes that take something to its opposite extreme or turn a situation upside down. I often get myself in trouble when people don’t realize I’m joking. But while humor can point to amusing extremes, it cannot relate the depth and breadth of our lives together, and the ‘joke of the day’ isn’t the text I use for spiritual reflection. Rev. Dan Harper stated recently that,
“Contrary to popular belief, when you join a Unitarian Universalist
congregation, you cannot “believe anything you want.” You must believe, with all your heart and soul and mind, that love can transform the world.
Contrary to popular belief, it is not easy to be a Unitarian Universalist. If you are a Unitarian Universalist, you will care deeply about making this world a better place for all persons, to the point where you devote your whole life to that end.
Contrary to popular belief, Unitarian Universalism is not a comfortable religion that asks very little of you. Unitarian Universalism requires you to give substantial amounts of your time — like fifteen to twenty hours a week spent in spiritual practice, doing sabbath with your family, participating in worship and small group ministries, reading and study and reflection, using your gifts to help your congregation thrive — and substantial amounts of your money — like twice the amount of money you now spend each year on movies, electronics gadgets, and Starbucks coffee combined.” ~ Rev. Daniel Harper,

Rev. Harper identifies our faith as one not defined by creed and belief, the lack of which is the primary fodder for UU jokes, but a faith defined by our actions, choices, and commitments to one another and the world. He is remarking upon the kind of covenental relationship we intend to live out with one another.

As jokes are incomplete pictures of any reality, Sunday Morning participation represents only a fraction of what it means to be in relationship with our religious community. Involvement in the spiritual, social, and action-oriented communal activities of our congregation provides a more full expression of our lives together, and increases the likelihood that we will transform the world, and be ourselves transformed.

If you are a Member of this congregation, that is, if you have “signed the book,” please attend the Semi-Annual Meeting today. If you are not yet a Member, give serious consideration to Membership as part of your complete experience of our faith. We are fed here, and we feed one another, not by the points of creedal agreement, but by the ways we involve ourselves with one another and journey together even when we disagree. That’s what makes Unitarian Universalism NOT a joke.

~ Cindy, DRE (I also recommend Rev. David Bumbaugh’s excellent sermon/essay at )

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