Angels for All Occasions

Ask any ten people “What is an angel?” and you will usually get ten different answers. Joan intends to tell us about angels she has known personally. And some other stuff. Rev. Joan Shiels has a Masters Degree in Religion, another in Theology and another in Divinity. Besides all that, she’s really interested in religion […]

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Bearing Your Cross

It’s an old term — bearing your cross — and it alludes to the Christian myth of Jesus’ death. How could it possibly mean anything to us? …A meditation on sacrifice and commitment and story. Rev. Joan Shiels has a bunch of degrees in world religions. She has been bringing messages to us at UUFDC […]

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Jonah and the Whale (Etc.) for Grown Ups

Exegesis [Ex-a-gee-sis] is a new word for most people. But it’s an interesting way to help the ordinary person understand why those old Bible tales are for adults as well as children. Jonah, for instance. You think he got gobbled up by a whale by accident? There is a lot more to the story! And […]

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Exegesis: Good For You and Fun Too

Every field has its own technical words. Everyone who studies theology does a lot of exegesis: a fancy word for interpreting a text— usually, but not always, scripture. (The Supreme Court does exegesis on the Constitution every day.) It may sound boring, but it’s not! Biblical stories are great teaching tools. It was not for nothin’ […]

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Blues Traveler: The Good in Sad

It’s easy to get mired in sadness. But it’s also possible to let sorrow move through you and open you to the light within your heart. Just as anger can be a doorway into strength, and desire the force behind creativity, so sorrow can trigger soft-heartedness, humility, and other profound spiritual emotions. It’s a station […]

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The Best Possible Day

Most of us have brushes with death when we’re young but in those years it is usually never more than a rare visitor, to be forgotten as quickly as possible. After 50 it becomes an acquaintance, sometimes a frequent one. Too soon, for all of us, it will be a companion and, finally, move in […]

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What We Do When We Say “I Do”

The old wedding vows. Brides and grooms say them as if it’s going to be easy to keep them. But it is seldom easy. And usually it’s very, very hard. A wedding minister examines the meaning of that big “I Do.” Rev. Joan Shiels has a bunch of degrees in world religions. She has been […]

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Duty, Destiny and Dharma

Brilliant writers from the classical tragedians down to today’s most popular authors have addressed the conflict between fate and free will. Think of Homer and Hamlet, Oedipus too. At the heart of every human life lies the universal struggle between the human inclination to accept fate absolutely and the natural desire to control destiny. A […]

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Afraid?

Fear is the most destructive emotional bogeyman there is – especially when it’s out of control. But ironically, fear can also trigger our best instincts. We must learn not to surrender to it, but to manipulate it to our own advantage. It is worth thinking about. Joan Shiels has a bunch of degrees in religion […]

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Some people survive conditions of horrendous physical extremes —lost at sea for six months, fallen into a deep crevasse on Mt. Everest, seriously injured deep in the Amazon jungle —while others do not. The survivors often report that what saved them was a curiously interconnected experience of Will and Grace.  In a culture that’s always telling […]

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