Anthony and I agree that this past Sunday’s Question Box service was one of the (possibly the) best yet. Thank you for the energy and curiosity that you brought to worship. Through your questions, we continue to learn things about ourselves and each other, and about you. Plus, we had fun!
You may listen to the full service recording and all our extemporaneous responses here. Typed below are all the questions that were submitted, with occasional commentary [in brackets] from me. As I said on Sunday, we’ll continue to refer back to these questions throughout the year, as they’ll inform some of our worship choices, as well as provide topics for these In Between Sundays pieces and other work.
Addressed from the chancel (in one way or another) on Sunday:
- What are the answers?
- Could we be a computer simulation?
- Why are you a UU? Are there more UUs in the US who don’t know they’re UU? What should we do about it?
- How do you deal with the diverse spiritual backgrounds and expectations of congregants as you plan worship services?
- When I see children at rallies/protests/etc. for causes I feel are hateful and wrong, I always find myself thinking how terrible it is that they are being “indoctrinated” into that way of thinking. Is it hypocritical, then, to think it’s wonderful to bring our UU children to similar events for causes I happen to believe in?
- What is the most interesting book you read this summer? [Anthony: Born A Crime (Trevor Noah). Paige: The Pants Project (Cat Clarke); The Hate U Give (Angie Thomas); Let’s Talk About Love (Claire Kann).]
- How can we, the congregation, give you, the minister(s), more support? [Thank you for asking, which is itself an expression of support.]
- Do either of you have any idea what a huge impact, positive impact, you have on the people around you, especially in this congregation? And do you ever walk out of here secretly thinking, “Yeah, I nailed it!”? [Perhaps not so secretly. 😉 And thank you.]
- Seems like most fun activities happen on Tuesdays. Can you spread the fun across other days? [Anthony asked, “What about Sundays?!”]
- Could we have an animal-pet-service here inside one of our services? [Perhaps someday. This year’s Animal Blessing service will be held on Saturday, October 6.]
- Question a tourist posed to [the question-writer] on our vacation: Does the UU promise to affirm & promote the inherent worth & dignity of others apply only to people who “deserve it”?
- Paige — What is the most difficult part of parenting?
- Anthony — Have you ever thought of running for office? If so, for what?
- Anthony — How can we continue to bring pop music and poetry fluidly and singularly performed in ensemble as an ongoing practice without you? Clearly this is one of the many innumerable gifts you have brought that will change but we would like not to lose.
- Why doesn’t Rev. Anthony always wear a robe at service?
- Do you believe in the divinity of Jesus Christ? [I misread the question as saying “the diversity of Jesus” and answered decidedly, “Yes!” Once corrected, I offered a conditionally positive response.]
- Other than being very accepting of all of us and our beliefs, what is unique about UUCC?
- How do we increase diversity at UUCC?
- What is the meaning of the noose above the altar? Does it give us a place to hang on? [That string—and the party balloon attached to it—should be removed by the weekend!]
- Why are there no disability-parking spaces anywhere near the lower level entrance?
- Will you announce today the fact that UUCC, CUMC, and OBIC (the body that manages our interfaith center) no longer receive any money from paper recycling in the bin on the upper parking lot? Therefore, why should we continue to bring paper to load in the recycle bin here instead of using the county recycling program in our own communities?
- How are spirituality and action on social justice symbiotic to each other? [Our worship services on March 25, 2018, addressed this topic. Listen to “False Dichotomy” here.]
Submitted but not addressed in worship:
- What is the (best) way to encourage connections within the congregation, when it is so large (and meeting at different times)? [One might begin by perusing the Get Involved! page of the UUCC website.]
- How are our food insecurity donations received by the community? How do we know?
- I want to expand my religious education – Does the UU have any classes / groups around this focus? [For adult religious education programming, check here for updates to this year’s schedule.]
- The best psychological strategy for learning to accept Trump voters and embrace them as human beings?
- Do you know how much you are loved & respected?
- How would you explain your personal view of death to a 6 year old? [Our multi-generational worship on Sunday, November 4, will be a Remembrance Service. I recommend bringing your children to this service where we will talk openly about death and loss and grief.]
- How is religious liberalism different from political liberalism? Is there room for more conservative political viewpoints inside of liberal religion/UUCC?
- We say all are welcome, but are they really? For instance, if a person came to service wearing a MAGA hat, would we make them feel welcome? Should we?
- Why are we so afraid?
- Why are some people motivated by fear and others love?
- What is a high holy day? Why “worship” weekly?
- Who or what do we worship?
- How does UUCC define worship?
- How do we work against our own apathy & fear?
- Why does cognitive dissonance affect us so much? How do you break cognitive dissonance? [Our worship services on April 29, 2018, addressed this topic. Listen to “Cognitive Dissonance” here.]
- How to Let Go and Live in the Moment!
- What is changing at UUCC for this new season?
- When will we have our next bring your neighbor Sunday? How has this worked before? What worked, what didn’t?
- How do we make more room for dance/movement in worship?
- How does a UU minister wind down?
- How do you deal with stress?
- What practices have you found to help you stay centered in these times?
- Do you pray to God? How often and how long?
- Re: current political environment & gov’t – What signs of hope are there now or will be in the future? We need constant reminders please.
- When is it okay not to be tolerant?
- How do you respond, faithfully, to hate?
- Anthony — I’d love to hear a story/anecdote about being a father. You can brag a little here!
- Why should I remain a UU?
- How would you feel if one of your children were to become a minister?
- What does enlightenment mean for us?
- If and when I get to “Heaven”, will I see my loved ones (including pets)? And what age will they be?
- I can’t confirm if there is a “god” or not. I can’t find any proof that there is one, or any. What do you think?
- What is Habitat for Humanity? [I recommend looking at their website here.]
- What is the odor of sanctity? For UUs, anyway. [For those who don’t understand this question, I recommend googling ‘odor of sanctity’.]
At the beginning of the Question Box service on Sunday, I shared Denise Levertov’s poem “A Gift”. The poet says,
You are given the questions of others
as if they were answers
to all you ask. Yes, perhaps
this gift is your answer.
Thank you, UUCC, for your questions, their gift, your gifts.