From the Minister, Thu Aug 16

In last Sunday's sermon, "Truth, Who Needs It?" I said the question of truth is the question of trust. Tell me who you trust, and I've got a pretty good idea of what you think is true. If our era seems to be "post-truth," it's because the power of trust, which can sometimes mitigate confirmation bias, has diminished. Without trust in any source that might challenge our prejudices, we dismiss any evidence that doesn't confirm them. Thus, I concluded: "If you want more truth, build more trust."

But how? I didn't say how. I just urged that we "keep looking for ways to build connection, build bridges, build trust everywhere. Keep looking." Thanks and kudos to Audra Russell for doing just that -- and finding something. There's a program called "Common Ground" here in White Plains to which Audra's post on Facebook called my attention:

Every third Thursday of the month, 2018 Sep - 2019 May
18:00 - 20:00 (i.e. 6p - 8p)
Community Room
White Plains Public Library
100 Martine Ave. White Plains, NY 10601

See the Common Ground flyer HERE. Discussion will follow the World Cafe model: "Participants will be split up into small groups and paired with a table captain, who will help keep the discussion on track. We will mix the groups up a few times during each event, to maximize the number of people who interact with each other. There will be time for both dialogue and reflection."

Topics to be addressed:
   Thu Sep 20: Immigration & American Identity
   Thu Oct 18: Civic Engagement & Voting
   Thu Nov 15: Transgender Rights
   Thu Dec 20: Insiders & Outsiders in Our Society
   Thu Jan 17: Race & American Society
   Thu Feb 21: Economic Inequality
   Thu Mar 21: Sexual Misconduct
   Thu Apr 18: Food Justice & the Environment
   Thu May 16: Healthcare

Another program that brings people together for structured conversations is Better Angels. See their website HERE, and the David Brooks column about the program HERE.

"Screen" is a contranym -- a word that means its own opposite. To "screen" a movie is present it to view. But screen also means to block from view. Screens -- TVs, computers, smartphones -- have tremendous power, shaping thought by both presenting and concealing information. When too much of our information comes to us through screens, the screens become the walls of the echo chambers that reinforce our prejudices and exacerbate polarization and distrust of anyone outside the chamber. This, then, is how we change the world and build trust and democracy: one unscreened conversation at a time.

Yours in the faith we share,

The Liberal Pulpit
New this week:
Index of past sermons: HERE.
Index of other reflections: HERE.
Videos of sermons are on the Liberal Pulpit Youtube Channel: HERE
Practice of the Week: Instagram as Spiritual Practice / Instagram practice involves looking carefully at everything I pass, seeing within it the light of the holy, noticing beauty even in the broken, old, and careworn, and stopping my day to celebrate as I decide upon an angle from which to snap a photo. These aspects of my day have become equivalent to stopping and praying or to pausing and breathing. READ MORE.
Your Moment of Zen: Too Clever by Half / Owl then spoke up. "Are you saying that her stick represents her Buddha-nature?" Raven launched herself from her perch without a word and flew out of sight. Porcupine said, "Don't you see? It's a plain old stick. It doesn't even have a rubber tip." Owl said, "Sometimes I think I'm just too clever by half." READ MORE
Zen at CUUC: Sat Aug 18

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