It has been said that Unitarian Universalism suffers from lack of a “Great Story”.  While this may be true concerning its origin, many “saints” (an informal assignment in UU-ism) have lived extraordinary lives in our liberal faith. On Thoreau’s 198th birthday, Joan offers a very personal appreciation for the remarkable philosopher, conservationist, inventor and civil […]

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Be Prepared

“Be Prepared.” That’s motto of the Boy Scouts. Someone once asked Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting, “Be prepared for what?” He replied, “Why, for any old thing!” The Reverend Joan Shiels is a long-time friend and frequent speaker at our Fellowship. She was both a Brownie and a Girl Scout.

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Bad Girls Of The Bible Part IV: Rahab

Along with the names of forty-four men in the Biblical genealogy of Jesus are four extraordinary women: Ruth, Bathsheba, Tamar and Rahab. This week concludes Joan’s four-part series on these surprisingly lurid females.  Rahab’s story shows us the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob not only condones —but blesses— thieves, liars and traitors. It’s what […]

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Taoism For Unitarians

Five hundred years before the birth of Jesus, a quiet man in ancient China dictated 81 verses, which are regarded by many as the ultimate commentary on the nature of our existence. The classic text of these verses, called the Tao Te Ching, or The Great Way, offers advice and guidance that is balanced, moral, practical and spiritual. […]

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Bad Girls Of The Bible Part III: Tamar

The Bible is littered with the scandalous acts, beliefs and behaviors that come as a shock to anyone who has been taught to regard the Bible as a single-minded manifesto of virtuous heroes. No biblical literature is more scandalous than the story of this “harlot by the side of the road.” When we finish hearing […]

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The Wisdom In The Tapestry

A tapestry of symbols representing seven religious traditions is affixed to the wall at the front of our fellowship hall. This message is a short lesson of the wisdom (in Joan’s quirky subjective opinion) revealed in each of these religious traditions. The Rev. Joan Shiels has a broad knowledge of the world’s religions. She believes that […]

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Most people assume that the women in the Bible were good Jewish girls: obedient, courteous and docile. Nothing could be further from the truth! Willful and wise, trampled and triumphant, they used sex, subterfuge, chicanery and charm to get what they knew they deserved. We will visit a couple of the stories of the harlots, heartbreakers and heathens whose […]

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Reel Spirituality: Groundhog Day

Groundhog Day, a 1993 film starring Bill Murray, may be the only movie  not actually made to illustrate Buddhist principles, that does. A look at some Buddhist beliefs through the lens of this delightful film. Rev Joan Shiels is a longtime friend and frequent speaker at UUFDC. Once a year she brings us an analysis […]

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Christmas Stories: Other

No Santa, no Jesus, no happy family gatherings. But Christmas stories, nonetheless. Rev. Joan Shiels is a long-time friend and frequent speaker at UUFDC. She likes to share familiar things in new ways.

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Children Will Break Your Heart

A few commiserations and recommendations now that we’re thinking about being with the children over the holidays. The Reverend Joan Shiels has children. So do most of her friends. And she knows that having children is not all coos and cuddles and sweet things. Not by a long shot.

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