The Talk of TJMC – Questions and Responses

Here are the questions asked during the “question box” sermon, Questions in Search of Answers, on March 26, 2017.  For those who weren’t there, at the beginning of each service people wrote questions on index cards, and when the time came for the reflection, the cards were gathered together and I did my best to respond to as many as I could.  

I did not address all of these questions, and I can’t recreate now what I said then, yet I want to post these as a snapshot of some of the things on the minds and hearts of our members.  Why not ask yourself these questions and see how you’d answer them?  Or ask them in your Covenant Group, or ask a stranger during Coffee Hour …

Who are we?  Why are we here?  What is the great thing that we have come upon?

In your opinion:  What is the function/role of a Sunday service in a UU church, in this church?  How does that function differ from that of a mainline Protestant church, if any?

Why are we here?

The statement on the other side of this card is false?  (The other side of the card says, “the statement on the other side of this card is false?”)

What do the rainbow colors [of the rainbow chalice] represent in UU beliefs?  [This was the focus of the service the very next Sunday!]

We’re often told by the Right that if we protect the environment, and fight climate change, that it will hurt the economy.  Why wouldn’t it be possible to have both — protect the environment and make a profit?  Similarly with gun control — why can’t we protect gun owners’ rights and make the country safer?

What is the escape for youth (new generation) who are trapped in a […] culture of hate and discrimination?

What did you want me to ask?  [A note said that this wasn’t being asked sarcastically.]

What is God?

Is our spiritual community a dynamic one, or anchored in past doctrine, unable to un-tether itself from that doctrine?

How do we deal with doubt?

How do we manage the stress from difficult, long-standing problems like racism, poverty, and divisiveness?

Where are all the single, cisgender, straight men?  [I was told that my answer was helpful …]

Would you do a reprise of “Love Shack”?  [This was one of the songs the staff did during the Generosity Event (featuring Lip Sync Battle) a few weeks earlier.]

How would you frame the ethics of genetic modification?

What is the significance of the two octagons on the wall behind [the pulpit]?

So … why do you “eat” fire?  [I’d covered this in detail in the service, “Lessons From (and for) the Circus of Life” a few weeks before.]

What question are you living with now (in the way the Rilke reading suggests)?

Star Trek or Star Wars?

Why is our church still named after a slave holder, who had children with one of his slaves, if we are a church that promotes racial justice?  How long will it take for us to truly see the white privilege and racism of our history?

Why doesn’t our congregation require for people to contribute back into our religious community, whether financially or through volunteer time?  Maybe we wouldn’t struggle so much if everyone contributed.  [I can’t resist …]

When you have only a few minutes to respond if someone asks, “What is Unitarian Universalism?”, what do you answer?

What’s the point?

[A beloved member of our congregation is] “very sick” and will die — why?

What would it take to light the fire under this congregation to really get involved in racial justice?

What would it take to get rid of these pews and put in movable chairs in a semi-circle?  (We could look at each other!)

What is the biggest risk you’d like to see our congregation take this year?

Why is it that we are eager to call out the faults we see in others, but do so little to correct the faults in ourselves that we know exist?

How about animals as being equal to us?  Could we bring them into our sanctuary for [a] blessing?

How would you describe, “the Holy”?

What happens to me — my spirit, soul, being — after I die?

How may we all — the country, the world — grow in community?

We talk a great deal about the importance of our children, youth, and families.  Do we care as much about the quiet suffering and frequent loveliness of our elders?

Could we redesign the sanctuary to make it into a “church in the round?”  How feasible/desirable would that be?

What is the most FUN thing you’ve done so far this year?

Are we considering joining the sanctuary movement?

What are your thoughts and feelings on ageing and dying?  What are the thoughts and practices of Unitarian Universalism?

What question should a 70-year old person think about at the end of life?  What question should they ask?

What worries you most?  (And/or, what keeps your hopes up?)

Would this church be welcoming to someone wearing a tee-shirt with a confederate flag and a respectful, curious nature?  How?  Why?

What’s the most important purpose for UU churches to exist?

What is your favorite stole and why?

Whenever are you going to lose weight??  (I worry about you!)

Where is God today?  We need [God] now more than ever!

Who are we really?

Where are we going?

What is one of your very favorite parts of your job?

Do you have a contemporary hero?

Have you ever dyed your hair?  Where did you go before this?  How old are you?  How long have you been a minister?

I struggle with my response to needy folks (panhandlers) at intersections.  What example do I make for my children?

Why are we here?

Pax tecum,


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