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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All Saints Day – Unitarian Style

The fall celebration of All Saints Day is a popular one in the Catholic tradition. Why should they have all the fun? Unitarians may not formalize the recognition of saints, but it doesn’t mean we don’t have some! Joan Shiels has a bunch of degrees in Religion. She has been a good friend and frequent […]

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Is UU The True American Religion?

With an emphasis on reason, personal responsibility, equality, democracy and autonomy, Unitarian Universalism might be the religion that is closest to the American ideal. A meditation on faith in America. The Rev. Joan Shiels has graduate degrees in Religion, Theology and Divinity. She is also deeply interested in the American experiment and the spiritual context […]

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How to be Happy (Part II)

A Chinese proverb says “You cannot prevent the birds of sorrow from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building nests in your hair.” This is Part Two of a message about what the world’s wisdom traditions say about how to be happy. Joan Shiels is a long-time friend, and frequent speaker […]

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How to be Happy (Part I)

The goal of philosophical inquiry is to find Truth. The goal of spiritual inquiry is to find Peace. A peaceful heart makes for a happy person. A short, and quirky, look at what the great wisdom traditions tell us is required to be happy. (Part II follows next Sunday.) Joan Shiels is a long-time friend, […]

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Unitarians Lead the Way

On many a Sunday morning Joan drives by the Lutheran and Catholic churches and notes that their parking lots are large – and full. When she arrives at UUFDC she notes that their parking lot is small and seldom crowded. She wonders at this. Most churches, she concludes, do a very good job of recounting […]

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What We Don’t Know

In our enlightened age, science and technology explain almost everything to us. But still, there are some mysteries in the world— some things that defy rational explanation. What do we make of those? Rev Joan Shiels is a long-time friend and frequent speaker at UU.  She has graduate degrees in Religion, Theology and Divinity but […]

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Ageing: Further Along the Road

Thoreau said “Every time something is gained, something is lost.” When it comes to growing old, it’s easy to see what is lost but sometimes hard to realize what is gained: a meditation on the good, the bad and the fabulous. Joan Shiels is an old friend and frequent speaker at our Fellowship. She has […]

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