Showing posts from April, 2023

Zoom Meeting Sermon April 30, 2023

  Topic: Recommended Reading: A Creed for the Third Millennium Today we are reviewing one of my favorite novels, A Creed for the Third Millennium by Colleen McCullough, published 1985. There are a couple of themes in this book that I want to discuss. First, we will talk about the difference between religion and faith and the space we make for both of these concepts in our lives. There is a second, more subtle lesson, as well. This book is set in a dystopian future where, instead of global warming, there is a significant drop in temperature. Glaciers are advancing from the poles and the growing season of all major food crops is substantially shorter. An international treaty has been signed that includes a universal one-child policy, among other things. The people living in this dismal world have lost all hope in the future, for good reason. Judith Carriol works for the government, in the Department of the Environment. She is tasked by the President with finding somebody, one perso

Zoom Meeting Sermon April 23 2023

  Topic: Recommended Reading: Stranger in a Strange Land   Today we are talking about the novel Stranger in a Strange Land, by Robert Heinlein, published 1961, and the statement contained within it, which also hangs on the wall here in the Temple of the Path: “All that groks is god.”   This book is about Valentine Michael Smith, one of the Patron Saints of the Path. He was born on Mars, raised by Martians when his parents died, and brought to Earth at the age of twenty-five. He starts out as a rather na├»ve and trusting young man, but he learns and grows throughout the story as he is introduced to new people and new ideas . Eventually, he becomes an ordained minister, preaching a message of love and acceptance, of sharing yourself with others. Like most messiah characters, he dies at the end, but you do get to find out what happens to him afterwards. One of the things he teaches his followers is that “all that groks is god.”   The word “grok” in the book literally translates to “dr

Zoom Meeting Sermon April 9 2023

Topic: Rabbits in Myth and Legend Today is Easter Sunday, it is the Year of the Rabbit, and we are currently discussing stories. So today we are going to be talking about the Rabbit or Hare as a character in myths and legends from around the world. There are few animals that have inspired as many tales as the Rabbit. A culture hero in some traditions, a god in others, sometimes wise and sometimes not so much, the Rabbit can be found in folklore everywhere that humans and rabbits have co-existed. The Cherokee, Creek, Alabama, and Yuchi tribes view the rabbit as a Trickster archetype. In some stories, it was the Trickster Rabbit who stole fire from the gods and gave it to the denizens of Earth. (As an interesting side note, this particular story -of a trickster who stole fire from the gods and gifted it to mortals- can be found in multiple cultures. My hypothesis about this is that the domestication of fire was a universal game-changer, so much so that it seemed divine in origin.)

Zoom Meeting Sermon April 2 2023

  Topic: Recommended Reading-Wicked Today we will be talking about the novel Wicked, by Gregory Maguire, published 1995, which is a rather clever retelling of The Wizard of Oz from another perspective. Wicked tells the story of Elphaba, marked as different from birth with her green skin and sharp teeth, who grows up to become the Wicked Witch of the West. She is written as a sympathetic character who devotes her life to fighting on behalf of the oppressed and downtrodden, only to be the victim of political assassination at the hands of a clueless patsy. The Wizard in this novel wants to get rid of Elphaba and get his hands on her book of spells so that he may solidify his position as supreme ruler of Oz. He only sends Dorothy on this errand because he is pretty sure she will fail and the Witch will kill her, and then he will not have to figure out how to get her home. The first thing this book teaches us is that there is always more than one side to a given story. In the film The