Witness and Pride

Witness pairs grief and rage with remembrance. Pride pairs joy with a determination to be visible.

E Eli Clare

A Failure

This short, personal essay from Raziq Brown speaks to failure, loss and personal growth.

R Raziq Brown

Wild Emancipation for All of Us

When I was small and just learning how to do life in my body, I didn’t hesitate, didn’t hold back, didn’t worry how it would look, didn’t look for cues or ask for a line. My imagination ruled... I was entirely free to be, driven by the innovation my body inspired. This is the wild...

R Rebekah Taussig

Crushing Systems

Shame seems to be a bestselling product pumped out of all these crushing systems.

R Rebekah Taussig

Dear Divine Spirit

I believe in your grace and protection and cannot imagine them slipping through the cracks.

V Vanessa Williams

The Prophecy of the Disabled Body

The following is an excerpt from the Theological Statement that opens the May 2018 Report of the UUMA Ableism Task Force. The members of that Task Force were Rev. Josh Pawelek and Rev. Barbara F. Meyers, co-chairs; Rev. Mark Belletini; Rev. Erika Hewitt; Rev. Evan Keely; and Rev. Theresa I. Soto.

Bringing Conflict to the Table

Conflict resolution is in fact one of the greatest things that you can accomplish in your life and in your relationship. [W]hen I view people as not bringing conflict up, I think it’s being unfaithful to the relationship. I think it’s an abdication of your role in the relationship, and you are...

A Amanda Doyle

A Gospel of Living

At the core of American racism is the belief that the things we the Blacks desire, the fact that we the Blacks desire, are perversions.

I Imani Perry

What If Nobody Forgave?

In a land far away, a wise old man who knew a great deal about people because he traveled from place to place arrived at a strange village. In this town all the people were carrying what seemed to be great bundles on their backs....

B Barbara Marshman

The Unseen Skeleton

We in the developed world are like homeowners who inherited a house on a piece of land that is beautiful on the outside, but whose soil is unstable loam and rock, heaving and contracting over generations, cracks patched but the deeper ruptures waved away for decades, centuries even....

I Isabel Wilkerson

Decolonizing My Desire

Since I was a kid, I have had a penchant and passion for my touch on my body. This was sometimes shameful, sometimes wonderful, and deeply private from fairly early on, as I received messages from family and neighbors that it wasn’t “right.” It has only been as an adult, as i have witnessed...

A Adrienne Maree Brown

The Promise and the Practice: "Words Matter" Reading

Diverse. Multicultural. Inclusive. Welcoming. If I made a list of every single Unitarian Universalist congregation I have served, visited or worshipped at, they would have a few things in common—including the use of these words. Perhaps on the front of the Order of Service?...

C Carol Thomas Cissel

The Grout

Unitarian Universalists are mosaic makers.

M Marcus Hartlief

On Being Asked to Change "Black Lives Matter" to "All Lives Matter"

As a Unitarian Universalist minister, it is sometimes my role to answer correspondence that comes to our congregation from members of the community. Last night, I received this brief note in my inbox: Good Evening: I am very upset at the signage that is outside of your church stating that “Black...

D Daniel S. Schatz

Litany of Comfort for Blue Christmas

Please speak the response when you hear: "...this season brings forth many feelings" Response: We find comfort in naming these feelings; we find some peace in being together All around us are bright lights and merry messages Yet in our heart not all is joyful There is grief with the loss of...

D Debra Faulk

Every Place Is a Battleground

I was born nine years after four little girls were killed in Birmingham, Alabama, and two other boys later the same day.

I Imani Perry

Goodbyes Are Hard

It’s important to honor the footprint others leave on our heart.

L Lauren Robbins

Spring Surprise: Interactive story written for an Easter Service

Squirrel: tch tch tch Sparrow: cheep cheep Mouse/mice: squeak squeak Frogs: ribbit needeep Tadpoles: ribribrib Grass: oooohhhh Pond: plip plop Peepers: peep peep peep Nighthawk: scree scree Daffodils: nodding head/trumpet sound It wasn't a particularly hard winter that year, but it was long and...

K Kirsty Johnson

"Hallelujah!" Is a Dangerous Word

Hallelujah! is a dangerous word, especially in the mouths of the creatively maladjusted.* Hallelujah! is a dangerous word, for it comes always with an exclamation point. Hallelujah!...

M Marcia McFee

Tapping Out of Fake Fights

This reading is an excerpt of the sermon delivered by Rev. Nancy McDonald Ladd on Sunday morning at General Assembly 2016. For as long as two or more have gathered in the name of the spirit, those two or more have fought some fake fights. You remember, perhaps, the classic wedding reading from...

N Nancy McDonald Ladd

Love In Tangible Form

Looking at the overflowing cup, Seeing from another perspective, Witnessing life in all its fullness, We share from a place of hope and dedication And put our love into tangible form.

S Susan Karlson

Acknowledgment of Limitations

We come into one another's presence seeking some part of ourselves, knowing that we do not live alone, knowing that we cannot live fully if we are for ourselves alone. We come as ordinary people, each with strengths and each with weaknesses, aware of our shortcomings. Our lives set before us many...

C Calvin O Dame

The Idiocy of Flight

A well-known poem by Robert Graves speaks of butterflies—their "honest idiocy of flight," "lurching here and there by guess and God and hope and hopelessness." Any number of quotations sound this way, and so, I think do we. But privately. Publicly we speak the civilized language of human beings...

J Jane Ranney Rzepka

And How Are the Children?

Among the most accomplished and fabled tribes of Africa, no tribe was considered to have warriors more fearsome or more intelligent than the mighty Masai....

P Patrick T O'Neill

Testifying (a reading for five voices)

Frances, an African American woman: To be African-American in this country is to face racism throughout life, however subtle. The love of one’s family is paramount in reducing the damage of racism on one’s wholeness. Unitarian Universalism is splendid as an affirming church family. Its primary...

M Mark Hicks

We Come To This Time And This Place

We come to this time and this place: To rediscover the wondrous gift of free religious community; To renew the faith in the holiness, goodness, and beauty of life; To reaffirm the way of the open mind and full heart; To rekindle the flame of memory and hope; and To rekindle the vision of an earth...

D David C Pohl

We Are a Rainbow People

Somos una gente del arco iris. We are a rainbow people. The rainbow is an arc of light brilliantly displaying all the colors of the visible spectrum, all the colors that combine to make the astounding beauty of our world, all the colors that combine to reflect the astounding diversity of human...

N Naomi King

Learning from Daffodils

When you look at a daffodil there are lots of things you notice (note: you can ask and get responses). Almost no one ever notices the little withered brown bit at the base of the flower. But it's really important....

R Ruth E Gibson

Extremists of Justice

The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish truth....

M Martin Luther King, Jr.

Beyond the Zero-Sum Game

“Beyond the Zero-Sum Game” excerpted from Nathan C. Walker (2014) Exorcising Preaching: Crafting Intellectually Honest Worship. St. Louis: Chalice Press. For centuries, insiders have been democratizing their religions. Incremental moments of institutional reform have led to a new era of...

N Nathan C. Walker

Resurrection

In all sacred literature, the hearts of the storytellers are revealed in the stories, their breath is felt in the words on the page, and we may be touched or moved or stirred by their ancient art. And maybe we can glimpse a truth that they saw, if we read closely and reflect on what we have read.

P Paul R Beedle

The Inherent Wholeness of Every Being

We who are Unitarian Universalist not only affirm the inherent worth and dignity of every person; we also affirm the inherent wholeness of every being -- despite apparent brokenness. No one reading these words is a stranger to pain, or the knowledge that things break, or break down: promises,...

E Erika A. Hewitt

Come, come, whoever you are: you are welcome here

I want to say to all those who would close the door, who would be guided by fear instead of hope, who would clutch in scarcity rather than live in generosity, who would say “No, you can’t come here”— I want to say: How dare you. For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, . .

M Matthew Johnson

Hopping over the Surface of Life

When I was a kid I liked to skip stones on lakes. If I threw a flat stone at the correct angle and with enough speed and energy it would kiss the surface and leap into the air again and again. If we have too much stuff in our lives, our attention skips from one object to another without really...

D Doug Kraft

Devotion to Humanity

For all the talk about reason and science, Humanism is really about a passionate love affair. It is a love affair with life, not a mythical hereafter. Humanism is a love affair with a progressive vision of civilization in which each of us can add to our growing library of wisdom, our evolving...

M Michael Werner

The Stolen Infant

I like to think that after many years of living together, our family has developed a certain sense of equilibrium, a certain ease with each other. From time to time, of course, differences arise and sometimes, and, occasionally, an act of outright rebellion....

C Carl Scovel

All of Us Love Poorly Sometimes

The work of forgiveness is so challenging—the actual work of it. The naming, grieving, empathizing, releasing. It’s like a death. A death of what we wanted, what we expected, what we’d hoped for, what we deserved and didn’t receive….We don’t get to control other people or outcomes. I am...

J Jen Hatmaker

The Fine Art of the Good Guest

The most important thing that I’ve learned in traveling to more than twenty countries is the art of being a guest. And I’m a particularly fine visitor at the supper table. I’ve consumed live fish in Inner Mongolia, not-quite-coagulated blood sausage on the Tibetan plateau, shredded pig’s ear...

J Jeffrey A. Lockwood

Reading for four voices and unison response

(From the East:) Brothers and sisters in creation, we covenant this day with you and with All creation yet to be; With every living creature and All that contains and sustains you; With All that is on the earth and with the earth itself; With All that lives in the waters and with the waters...

S Sydney A Morris

Looking For Love in All The Wrong Places

Most of us look for love in only the most obvious places, and as a result, most of us come away disappointed. Its as if we are still grade school kids, counting valentines as a measure of what matters. The love that matters is not typically the subject of sonnets or love songs....

D David S Blanchard