Saturday, May 14, 2016

Understanding and Appreciating the Beauty of Sikhism

Unitarian Universalists for Sikh Awareness
Ever since I preached on Sikhism this fall, I have been pulled toward the religion and its traditions in a profound way. I often find myself with a case of "envy" after I preach about another religious tradition; every tradition has such beauty. At Yom Kippur, I have Jewish Envy; after preaching on the occasion of Mahavira's birthday I have Jain Envy, and so on. So it's not surprising that preaching on Sikhism gave me Sikh Envy.

What's been more surprising, to me at least, as that my Sikh Envy has not gone away! In fact, it keeps growing.

Weeks ago, I started a Facebook community called Unitarian Universalists for Sikh Awareness and a Twitter account for the same. Please feel free to like/join! I created the UUFSA logo shown here from the Sikh symbol (inside in orange) and the outer part of the UUA's new logo. I'm unreasonably proud of myself for this.

I find myself wearing a kara and reading all sorts of books on Sikhism. Recently, I attended my first Sikh service (conveniently for me, on a Friday) at the Milford Gurdwara Sahib (home of the New England Sikh Study Circle), and I loved it. Wonderful people; beautiful kirtan; langar (vegetarian food for all)... what's not to love? I also took my first Punjabi lesson. It all feels so good for my spirit. Stay tuned for more on this journey.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Hooray! Mass Senate Votes to Pass Protections for Transgender Bay Staters!

Today, something historic and wonderful happened in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts: the state Senate voted overwhelmingly to protect transgender Bay Staters by passing SB 735! Read all about it here.

Next step: To get this through the Mass House! Ask your representative to support the measure. Click here!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

For the Earth: Carbon Pricing

Today, I was the clergy representative in a meeting with our State Senator Barbara L'Italien to talk about possibilities for carbon pricing. Senator L'Italien listened carefully and asked thoughtful questions. She clearly cares about global warming, the environment, and her constituents' well being!

I was there with representatives from Clean Water Action and Climate XChange. Learn more about carbon pricing for Massachusetts here.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

Transgender Day of Visibility

Did you know that today is the Transgender Day of Visibility? Learn more here.

Another group to know about is Freedom Massachusetts. Their website link is here. They are working to fully protect transgender Bay Staters. As they say on their website:

"Under Massachusetts law, there are no explicit protections ensuring that transgender people cannot be turned away from a hotel or denied service at a restaurant—simply because of who they are. That's not who we are. But we can fix this by passing a commonsense bill that protects our transgender friends and neighbors from unwarranted discrimination."

Get involved! Let's work for full equality for our transgender friends and neighbors! 

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

A sad day... after many sad days. Terrorism, and a wish for peace and love.

To the left is a message from the Unitarian Universalist Association about today's horrific attacks in Brussels. This follows on violence in Istanbul... Ankara... Paris... Beirut... and many other cities around the world in the past year.

The message, from Rev. Eric Cherry (Director of the UUA's International Office) is: "On this day of extreme violence in Brussels, which follows brutal events in many countries in recent months, the UUA adds its voice to the interreligious witness for healing and peace in Belgium and throughout the world. We reach out to all those who suffer and recommit to faithful solidarity with all peacemakers." 

To that I add, amen. And blessed be.

I also pray that this terrorist incident isn't used to further to hatred directed toward immigrants, refugees, and Muslims in the United States.

To the right is a picture from the fall taken in Portsmouth, NH. I am with UUCiA congregants, speaking out to ugly anti-immigrant, anti-refugee, and anti-Muslim rhetoric that has become so prominent in this country in recent times.

During this Holy Week in the Christian tradition, may we indeed remember the message of Jesus to love our neighbor, and even our perceived enemy, as we love ourselves. May we remember Jesus's messages of peace and inclusive love for all. 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Bobby Socks and the Bomb, and Maundy Thursday

This past Sunday, we considered some of the spiritual and theological messages of the 1950s. You can listen to the sermon ("Bobby Socks and the Bomb: Diggin' that 1950s Spirituality") here.

Several of us dressed in 1950s costumes. I sported Bill Haley-like hair and Buddy Holly-like glasses. I'm not so sure about those... but the atomic blue bowling shirt is a keeper!

We are entering into a busy time of the year. There are lots of great events coming up in April and May, when the weather becomes more reliable in these parts. Stay tuned! I'll post information here!


Last night we had a UU Vespers service where we thought about Celtic spirituality and mysticism together. Now, we turn our attention to upcoming holidays such as Easter and Passover.

This coming Thursday, March 24, we will hold our second annual Maundy Thursday Service. Maundy Thursday (sometimes called “Holy Thursday”) is a Christian commemoration of the Last Supper and the mandate (“maundy” comes from the Latin mandatum) of Jesus to his disciples, “Just as I have loved you, you also should love one another.” We will have an intimate communion service, combining elements of the humanistic “Unitarian Universalist Eucharist” created by Rev. Chuck Freeman as well as elements from the liberal Christian tradition. There will be wine as well as juice available. This service is open to all. Please join us! Directions here.

Monday, March 7, 2016

Kirtan, Kripalu, and Krishna Das

I'm with my pal, Krishna Das at Kripalu
The last weekend of February, I went to Kripalu in Stockbridge, Massachusetts for a kirtan workshop with Krishna Das. It was a wonderful experience!

I'm teaching myself harmonium and loving it. But the workshop was more about singing, and doing kirtan as a spiritual practice.

I found that it made me feel a little more confident in my singing. One of my goals is to become a more competent leader of hymn-singing at the UUCiA. This was a good place to start!

My front-row view!
I lined up early for the Friday night concert, and I got a front row seat. I've seen KD perform before, but never from the front row. It was amazing to be so close.

KD is such a good story teller. During the workshop, there was a lot of time for Q&A, and it was a pleasure to hear him speak. The only thing better is to hear him sing.

Most of KD's chants are to Hanuman, Ram, Sita, Krishna, Durga, Shiva... Someone asked why he never does chants for Ganesh. Good question! His answer amounted to this: he never felt like it. Well there you go!

Oh, and while I'm posting...

Happy Shivratri!