From the Minister, Fri Nov 2

My theology of prayer is not that some external person-like (i.e., having beliefs and desires) hears prayers and takes them into account when deciding events. It’s true that I do address my prayers to something -- I address them to the ground of being, or the source of healing and wholeness we call by many names, or the spirit of love, or the community-forming power.It’s also true that I address these addressees as if they were person-like. As if. But I do this because orienting myself as if I were addressing a person signals to my ultra-social brain that I’m saying something I want to be important to me. In prayer, I express my gratitudes and my hopes, and thereby orient myself. Prayer is the way I remind myself of how I want to live.

Voting works the same way. It’s like prayer. Indeed, a vote IS a prayer. I don’t do it because it “makes a difference” – the chances that any candidate I vote for will win by one vote are vanishingly tiny. I vote, as I pray, as a way of expressing to myself the values I hope to live by.

Both prayer and voting also have the effect of making me feel a part of something bigger than myself – that I am held in a relationship of accountability and responsibility. These are the relations in and through which our lives have meaning.

Yours in faith,

The Liberal Pulpit

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: The Vending Machine God /Ecospiritual. Whether or not we bought into the overt health and wealth gospel, it is not easy to let go of the paradigm of seeking contentment from material possessions. Especially since the turn of the twentieth century, advertisers have aggressively worked to convince us that we can find happiness and life satisfaction if only we purchase whatever they are selling. Since the early 1960s, they have used psychology in increasingly subtle ways, playing on our deepest longings for acceptance, love, inner peace, and contentment. We can't avoid the message.READ MORE.
Your Moment of Zen: Anger /Sometimes anger is petty. Just stare at that anger for a couple minutes, and it goes, "Oh, sorry, never mind" and it slinks away. I'm not saying suppress it. Just look it right in the eye and see what it's made of.

But there is also noble anger: the energy to stand against injustice. You can stare at this anger, and it'll stare you down because it knows it is righteous. This anger is your friend -- giving you the energy fire for standing up for what needs standing up for.

When the community was discussing ethics after zazen one evening, Black Bear remarked, "I have a hard time dealing with my anger."
Raven said, "Check it out afterward."
Black Bear said, "What good will that do?"
Raven said, "It might have been Great Bear's anger."
When Great Bear's grievance commands redress
The autumn wind in the leaves takes notice.
Coyote thinks of somewhere else to go.
Badger pauses from her digging.
Later, rain washing the hillside
Seems to take greater than usual care.
Case by Robert Aitken, adapted; introduction and verse by Meredith Garmon
Zen at CUUC: Sat Nov 3

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