"God" Revised - (Rev. Galen Guengerich)

The sermon was delivered on Sunday, January 26, 2014, at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by Rev. Galen Guengerich, Guest Minister.

SERMON DESCRIPTION

Over the past few decades, the ever-expanding scientific knowledge of the universe and the human condition, combined with the shift from religion-based to personal morality, has led to a mass crisis of faith. Leaders of most Protestant and Catholic religious traditions, which include nearly 80 percent of Americans, have watched their memberships stagnate or dwindle. Over the years, philosophers and scientists have argued that science has in fact “killed” God, and that if we believe the facts science has presented, we must also accept that God is fiction. Others, holding fast to their long-standing doctrines, attempt to justify their beliefs by using God to explain gaps in scientific knowledge.

Having left an upbringing in a family of Mennonite preachers to discover his own experience of God, Galen Guengerich understands the modern American struggle to combine modern world views with outdated religious dogma. Drawing upon his own experiences, he proposes that just as humanity has had to evolve its conception of the universe to coincide with new scientific discoveries, we are long overdue in evolving our concept of God. Gone are the days of the magical, supernatural deity in the sky who visits wrath upon those who have not followed his word. Especially in a scientific age, we need an experience of a God we can believe in — an experience that grounds our morality, unites us in community, and engages us with a world that still holds more mystery than answers.
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Rev. Galen Guengerich is Senior Minister of All Souls Unitarian Church in New York City. He was educated at Franklin and Marshall College (BA, 1982), Princeton Theological Seminary (MDiv, 1985) and the University of Chicago (PhD, 2004). He writes a regular column on “The Search for Meaning” for psychologytoday.com, and his sermon, “The Shaking of the Foundations,” delivered Sept. 16, 2001 – the Sunday after 9/11 – was selected for inclusion in Representative American Speeches 2001–2002 along with speeches by Governor George Pataki, President George Bush, and Mayor Rudolph Giuliani as one of seven “Responses to September 11th.” His most recent work, God Revised: How Religion Must Evolve in a Scientific Age, was published in May.

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Direct download: 2014-01-26-GGuengerich-God-Revised.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:30am CDT
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'Ordinary Love' - (Rev. Gerald Davis)

The sermon was delivered on Sunday, January 19, 2014, at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by Rev. Gerald Davis, Adjunct Minister.

SERMON DESCRIPTION

Thanks to narration, I was able recently to enjoy the film, “Mandela: A Long Walk to Freedom,” with my family. Assistive technology for the visually-impaired has arrived at movie theaters, and opened a vista of delight for us. Listening through wireless headphones to a beautifully-voiced narrator setting the scene for the dialogue heard by everyone else, allowed me to keep up with the movie and not disturb others with “What’s going on?” questions. The film studios made a business decision that had a positive moral tone, but it was just what one would do if someone seated at your dinner table needed some help in order to enjoy the meal. It would take only ordinary love.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., like Nelson Mandela, encouraged us to use ordinary love outside our comfortable circumstances. On this Sunday, when we celebrate the birth of Dr. King and a day of commitment to the love that embraces, I would like us to think about how far ordinary love goes. Is there a limit? If so, what are the circumstances? Dr. King titled his book, Strength to Love alerting us to the task before us. Everyone may be included in God’s love, but can you act out that love to just anyone? Without making lists, come prepared to wrestle with the challenges of Ordinary Love.

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Direct download: 2014-01-19-GDavis-Ordinary-Love.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:30am CDT
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'Was It All a Dream?' - (Carol Thomas Cissel)

The sermon was delivered on Sunday, January 19, 2014, at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by Carol Thomas Cissel, Resident Minister.

SERMON DESCRIPTION

Over four decades ago we heard a voice that made our hearts lurch forward. A voice that captivated and energized a nation. A voice that made us believe change can, must, and will happen. Together, with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we dreamed of making a difference. But have we? Did we? Can we? Or, was it all a dream?

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Direct download: 2014-01-19-CCissel-Was-It-All-A-Dream.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 10:00am CDT
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'It Stinks Being Green' - (Rev. Marlin Lavanhar)

The sermon was delivered on Sunday, January 12, 2014, at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by Rev. Marlin Lavanhar, Senior Minister.

SERMON DESCRIPTION

Let’s be honest. It’s not easy being “green!” Doing what is best for the environment is often inconvenient, expensive, complicated, unclear, and hard to maintain. Most people, including the loudest proponents of “being green,” act hypocritically regarding many of their own choices. Most of us, if we let ourselves think about it honestly, feel somewhat guilty and hypocritical about how we live with regard to the amount of resources we use and destroy. Looking at my own life, I’m in no position to lecture anyone on how to live regarding being a noble steward of the earth. But I try to do the “right” things, at least when it is not too inconvenient.

What do we do if we have a sense of responsibility to the earth, and to future generations, but we have neither the will nor the knowledge to make significant change? It may be one of the primary dilemmas of our times, especially for those who have enough time and money to think about such things. Can we step out of our agendas, our denial, our fears, and our self-righteousness long enough to struggle together regarding what all of this means? I’m going to give it a try.

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Direct download: 2014-01-12-MLavanhar-It-Stinks-Being-Green.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 11:30am CDT
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'In the Beginning' - (Rev. Marlin Lavanhar)

The sermon was delivered on Sunday, January 5, 2014, at All Souls Unitarian Church in Tulsa, Oklahoma, by Rev. Marlin Lavanhar, Senior Minister.

SERMON DESCRIPTION

What is your word for the new year?

Words have incredible power to change and even create realities. The old saying goes: “Sticks and stones can break my bones but words can never hurt me.” The truth is that words are more destructive and creative than sticks or stones could ever be. Sometimes one word can change our lives.

There is a verse in the Bible that says “In the beginning was the word…” As we begin a new year and launch into our monthly theme of Creation, let’s look at how words can help us be fully alive and can help us create the world we want to live in.

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Direct download: 2014-01-05-MLavanhar-In-the-Beginning.mp3
Category:podcasts -- posted at: 1:00pm CDT
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