'Solstice Sunrise' - (Rev. Marlin Lavanhar)

The sermon was delivered on Sunday, December 22, 2013, at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by Rev. Marlin Lavanhar, Senior Minister.

SERMON DESCRIPTION

When the sun rises on Dec. 22 it will have emerged out of the longest, darkest night of the year. Cultures around the globe and across time have found ways to celebrate and respond to both the darkness and the returning of the light. Before much was understood about astronomy, ancient people feared that the sun was dying. Fear of the darkness and alarm over the lengthening nights and shortening days was something that called people to some kind of ritual or religious response.

In religious parlance, darkness is often used as a metaphor for something negative. We hear about “going to the dark side,” or “dealing with the darkness within,” or “dark emotions,” or “dark moments in life.” But darkness has many positive attributes too: seeds grow in the dark, the womb that prepares life is dark, and nighttime is filled with many restorative blessings.

With Sunday falling on the first day of lengthening sunlight, let us begin this day and season by paying special attention and honoring the darkness, even as we come more fully into the light.

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Direct download: 2013-12-22-MLavanhar-Solstice-Sunrise.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:30am CDT
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'Gravity' - (Rev. Tamara Lebak) - Contemporary Service

The sermon was delivered on Sunday, December 15, 2013, at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, during the contemporary service by Rev. Tamara Lebak, Associate Minister.

SERMON DESCRIPTION

Spoiler alert: this sermon is inspired by the film. If you haven’t yet seen Gravity, be forewarned, you may learn more than you want to know. You may also be influenced by my perspective on the film as a religious parable. And finally, you may want to see it before Sunday!

Dr. Ryan Stone is a medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, when disaster strikes. As the story unfolds, we learn that she is numb with grief over her daughter’s death, and devotes all of her time, energy, and attention to her work. Not noticing all the opportunities that Creation offers her, she gave her life completely to her tasks – so much so that it may even cause the drama that ensues. Dr. Stone, with the help of some incredible cinematography, hurls herself from space station to space station trying to get home.

The characters in Gravity float through outer space, completely vulnerable (as do we all.) Dr. Stone must decide over and over again, despite many trials, whether to give up or fight for life. You don’t have to be an astronaut to empathize. What literally grounds us – what binds us to the earth and keeps us from flying off of this planet – is gravity. What grounds you in the chaos of life?

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Direct download: 2013-12-15-TLebak-Gravity-Contemporary.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:00pm CDT
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'Gravity' - (Rev. Tamara Lebak) - Traditional Service

The sermon was delivered on Sunday, December 15, 2013, at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, during the traditional service by Rev. Tamara Lebak, Associate Minister.

SERMON DESCRIPTION

Spoiler alert: this sermon is inspired by the film. If you haven’t yet seen Gravity, be forewarned, you may learn more than you want to know. You may also be influenced by my perspective on the film as a religious parable. And finally, you may want to see it before Sunday!

Dr. Ryan Stone is a medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, when disaster strikes. As the story unfolds, we learn that she is numb with grief over her daughter’s death, and devotes all of her time, energy, and attention to her work. Not noticing all the opportunities that Creation offers her, she gave her life completely to her tasks – so much so that it may even cause the drama that ensues. Dr. Stone, with the help of some incredible cinematography, hurls herself from space station to space station trying to get home.

The characters in Gravity float through outer space, completely vulnerable (as do we all.) Dr. Stone must decide over and over again, despite many trials, whether to give up or fight for life. You don’t have to be an astronaut to empathize. What literally grounds us – what binds us to the earth and keeps us from flying off of this planet – is gravity. What grounds you in the chaos of life?

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Direct download: 2013-12-15-TLebak-Gravity-Traditional.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:30am CDT
Comments[0]

'Gravity' - (Rev. Tamara Lebak) - The Point

The sermon was delivered on Sunday, December 15, 2013, at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by Rev. Tamara Lebak, Associate Minister.

SERMON DESCRIPTION

Spoiler alert: this sermon is inspired by the film. If you haven’t yet seen Gravity, be forewarned, you may learn more than you want to know. You may also be influenced by my perspective on the film as a religious parable. And finally, you may want to see it before Sunday!

Dr. Ryan Stone is a medical engineer on her first shuttle mission, when disaster strikes. As the story unfolds, we learn that she is numb with grief over her daughter’s death, and devotes all of her time, energy, and attention to her work. Not noticing all the opportunities that Creation offers her, she gave her life completely to her tasks – so much so that it may even cause the drama that ensues. Dr. Stone, with the help of some incredible cinematography, hurls herself from space station to space station trying to get home.

The characters in Gravity float through outer space, completely vulnerable (as do we all.) Dr. Stone must decide over and over again, despite many trials, whether to give up or fight for life. You don’t have to be an astronaut to empathize. What literally grounds us – what binds us to the earth and keeps us from flying off of this planet – is gravity. What grounds you in the chaos of life?

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Direct download: 2013-12-15-TLebak-Gravity-ThePoint.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:00am CDT
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'Education of God' - (Rev. Marlin Lavanhar)

The sermon was delivered on Sunday, December 8, 2013, at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by Rev. Marlin Lavanhar, Senior Minister.

SERMON DESCRIPTION

Does God make mistakes? And does God learn from those whom God created? The Bible makes it seem like God is continuing to change and grow as humanity changes and evolves. In this funny, heartfelt and (some would say) “heretical” message, the preacher takes on the character of God to describe what it’s like to be the Almighty, the Creator of all Existence. In the end, he truly brings God “down to earth.”

The sermon was inspired by the book, The Education of God by the Reverend David E. Bumbaugh. The book includes a series of powerful expository sermons in which the author tells the accounts of Abraham, Moses, Jonah and others from God’s perspective.

The Education of God. Bumbaugh, David E., Rising Press, Minneapolis 1994.

Rising Press First Universalist Church of Minneapolis 3400 Dupont Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55408

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Direct download: 2013-12-08-MLavanhar-Education-of-God.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:00pm CDT
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'Every Praise' - (Rev. Gerald Davis)

The sermon was delivered on Sunday, December 1, 2013, at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by Rev. Gerald Davis, Adjunct Minister.

SERMON DESCRIPTION

“Why does the caged bird sing?“ posed Maya Angelou. She tells us beautifully in her book of the same title, “Because it has a song.” You and I marvel at the remarkable resilience of those beset by disaster or life circumstances. We see them making a way out of no way. We feel their strength when they say, ”I feel like going on.“ When the poet says, ”…and still they rise," we ask ourselves, could we?

Yes, my brothers and sisters, we will consider the proposition that all of us are born not equal to a powerful force that moves us to places we never dreamed we could go. If we take ourselves too seriously we cannot ask for help. But if we humble ourselves to ask for help in overcoming those self-centered obstacles that keep us estranged from one another, our blessing is on the way!

Our theme this month is God, and we shall praise!

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Direct download: 2013-12-01-GDavis-Every-Praise.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:00pm CDT
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'Out of Sight, Out of Mind' - (Minister Randy Lewis)

The sermon was delivered on Sunday, December 1, 2013, at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by Randy Lewis, Adjunct Minister.

SERMON DESCRIPTION

World AIDS Day is held on December 1 each year and is an important opportunity to show support for people living with HIV and to remember those who have died.

We don’t hear about it much anymore. And World AIDS Day is often an occasion to note alarming or depressing statistics, like 33 million people are infected with HIV worldwide, and a quarter of them are unaware they have the virus…

But as important as it is to remember, and be aware, it is just as important to have hope. Although there is no cure for HIV, treatment has advanced greatly, and it is no longer considered a death sentence. People diagnosed today can have a near-normal life expectancy and live healthy and active lives.

So, my reflection is not only about enduring the storm but also about learning to dance in the rain.

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Direct download: 2013-12-01-RLewis-Out-of-Sight-Out-of-Mind.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:00am CDT
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'Thanksgiving for Everyone: A Native American Vision' - (Rev. Marlin Lavanhar)

The sermon was delivered on Sunday, November 24, 2013, at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by Rev. Marlin Lavanhar, Senior Minister.

SERMON DESCRIPTION

One of the questions I am most frequently asked is, “How can people with many different beliefs be members of the same church?” It seems to go against the very nature of church.

The answer is “Covenant.” A covenant is a sacred promise. At All Souls we are not bound together by a central, unified belief or creed. We are united under a sacred promise that we make to one another when we join the church. On one level it is very simple and at the same time it is deeply profound. Instead of reciting a creed in worship, we recite: Love is the Spirit of our church and service is its law. This is our great covenant: To dwell together in peace, to seek the truth in love and to help one another. These words invite anyone who is willing to make such a promise toward the common good to become a part of our community.

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Direct download: 2013-11-24-MLavanhar-Thanksgiving-for-Everyone.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:30am CDT
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'Don't Get Mad... Get Busy!' - (Carol Thomas Cissel)

The sermon was delivered on Sunday, November 17, 2013, at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by Minister Carol Thomas Cissel, Resident Minister.

SERMON DESCRIPTION

Every now and I then I get good and mad… and stay mad… and wallow around in it for a little while. The other day, while in that frame of mind, I went online and looked up quotes on, “How to deal with anger.” They were all very mushy, cosmic, and woo-woo. Most of them said I needed to get into right relationship with the folks I am mad at, or maybe give my anger up to the Universe.

Yeah, right. I don’t think so.

See, I do not believe there is anything wrong with getting angry or upset. The thing to remember is that anger is a sly, dangerous emotion. It can consume us, and get in the way of our creating full, productive, genuine lives. It can pull us away from others. It can blind us, and stop us from being in touch with our most authentic feelings.

But anger can also propel us to action. It can be our response to what is wrong in the world, and it can motivate us to work for change. There is nothing like a good dose of righteous UU anger, directed well, to offer the proverbial kick in the pants and get things moving forward. As the world rages on, we often rage along with it. There are a plethora of problems and people in this world that regularly tick me – and probably you – OFF.

• No decent bus service between Swan Drive and All Souls • Red light cameras • Liars • Politicians that lack integrity • Stubbing my toe at night, on the corner of the bed… AGAIN!

Problems, big and small, exist. Still, in the midst of them we are called upon to figure a way out of the “red haze of anger.” Come to church this Sunday. Let’s talk about anger.

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Direct download: 2013-11-17-CTCissel-Dont-Get-Mad-Get-Busy.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:00pm CDT
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'When I'm Hopeless' - (Dr. Miguel A. De La Torre)

The sermon was delivered on Sunday, November 10, 2013, at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by Dr. Miguel A. De La Torre, Guest Minister.

SERMON DESCRIPTION

This Sunday at All Souls we will have 60 Unitarian Universalist ministers and lay-leaders from around the United States, visiting our congregation as part of a national conference we are hosting on “Building Vital Multicultural and Multiracial Congregations.”

Today’s sermon is presented by Dr. Miguel De La Torre, an author of many published works, a passionate speaker, and a subject-matter expert on such hot topics as religious and social ethics, theology, immigration, sexuality, and reconciliation.

Dr. De La Torre is Professor of Social Ethics, Iliff School of Theology. He specializes in ethics within contemporary U.S. thought, specifically how religion affects race, class, and gender oppression.

He is the author of ‘Genesis: A Theological Commentary on the Bible’ (WJK, 2012); ‘The Quest for the Historical Satan’ (co-authored, 2011); ‘Liberating Jonah: Toward a Biblical Ethics of Reconciliation’ (Orbis Books, 2007); ‘Lily Among the Thorns: Imagining a New Christian Sexuality’ (Jossey-Bass, 2007); ‘Doing Christian Ethics from the Margins’ (Orbis Books, 2004). De La Torre has also edited the ‘Encyclopedia on Hispanic American Religious Culture,’ a 2-volume set (ABC-CLIO, 2009), and is the series editor for the 12-volume ‘Latino/a Religious Thought for the New Millennium’ (Baylor University Press).

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Direct download: 2013-11-10-MDeLaTorre-When-Im-Hopeless.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:00pm CDT
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