“They were not social thinkers, but their friends were. Their summer friends, in particular, harvested facts row on row from newspapers like mice on corncobs. The Maytrees were not always up -to-the-minute. Their city friends envied their peace.” — The Maytrees by Annie Dillard From this hour, freedom! “From this hour I ordain myself loos’d […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading

Homo sapiens: Clever But Seldom Wise

Our current existential dilemma – intimately intertwined over-population, over-consumption, and myriad environmental quagmires – can best be understood in the light of human behavioral characteristics that have arisen over evolutionary time.  Our most unique trait as a species, our clever brain, has gotten us into a lot of trouble.  I will argue that humans have […]

Continue reading

Why We Worship

Since before recorded history, the human animal has gathered in groups to perform rituals, to share spiritual experience, and to sit in awe at that which we find ourselves embedded in. Worship, derived from the old English word to acknowledge worth, takes on many forms today. Especially in the UU movement, worship can be most […]

Continue reading

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 […]

Continue reading

Renewing Your Prescriptions

Every time I go to my doctor for my annual or semi-annual exam, I am given a printout of my prescriptions. Although I am not fluent in the language of pharmaceuticals, I dutifully refresh my knowledge of what and why and when and how much. Recently I prescribed something similar to myself from myself regarding […]

Continue reading

Law and Disorder: The Calas Affair

In 1761, a controversial trial in Toulouse, France, provoked an uproar through the country. A Protestant, Jean Calas, was accused of murdering his own son, Marc-Antoine, because the latter was planning to convert to Catholicism. In an overwrought atmosphere of religious zealotry, Calas was quickly tried, found guilty, and executed. Following the lead of a […]

Continue reading

The 3-Step Formula in Religion

Building on his sermon the week before, Tony will look at the psycho-spiritual consequences of atonement theology, and why it became a 3-step success formula for conversion–as well as why UUs have an alternative way in religion. Rev. Dr. Tony Larsen has been pastor of Olympia Brown UU Church in Racine since 1975 (yes, that’s […]

Continue reading

The Problem with Atonement

Many forms of Christianity today rely on an atonement theory that espouses the idea: “Christ died for our sins.” Usually it takes the form of God the Father sacrificing his Son to save humanity. Is there a better way to understand Jesus’ life and death? Tony’s sermon will argue that there is, and that it […]

Continue reading

What Should I Do With My Mind?

When we’re not busy thinking about our problems, what should we do with our mental energy? Is it a good idea to just let our minds wander to the next topic, or is there something more beneficial we could be doing?  We will briefly overview research on how mental focus affects our moods, and offer […]

Continue reading