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RE-flections from Carol


Rev. Carol Bodeau, Director of Religious Education

Lately, books have been playing a big role in my interactions with many of you at Westside: sharing information from favorite authors and teachers in sermons, discussing books and movies with you at coffee hour, and attending the WUUC book club. As UU’s, texts of all sorts (books, movies, poems, etc) inspire and challenge us to think more deeply. This is one of the greatest gifts of our tradition: it reaches beyond one or two texts to all texts from all traditions.

Our Six Sources (the companion to our 7 Principles) of Unitarian Universalism include a wide range of resources we can turn to for wisdom. They encourage us to explore Jewish, Christian, Earth-Based, and all other world religious traditions, and to go beyond these formal repositories of wisdom. The Six Sources also include not only the words of prophetic people, but also their actions. Going even beyond this, the first of our Six Sources names our own “direct experience of transcending mystery and wonder” as a primary source of wisdom and inspiration. So, not only are we invited to look to intellectual wisdom, but also to lived experience for guidance and contemplation.

Sometimes, it can be easy to reserve our philosophical or spiritual reflection for Sunday mornings, sitting in the sanctuary at church. Daily life is busy, and can catch us up in just moving through the tasks, activities, and events of our lives without really letting in their deeper meanings and implications. But our tradition tells us that everything we encounter is a source of possible growth, a potentially transformative or eye-opening opportunity. And this doesn’t just include the big, global, or political topics covered in the nightly news; it includes the simplest of things happening in our day. So perhaps as spring arrives, we can take a little extra time to notice the ‘texts’ right in front of us: the flowers blooming, the answer of a friend when asked “How are you?” or the care taken by a cashier at the grocery store.

And, for those of you curious about the books I’ve been talking about in worship, here’s a short list you might be interested in:

  • Awakening Loving Kindness by Pema Chodron.

  • Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver (And, yes, I mispoke in my recent sermon about the place the family moved from: it was Tucson, AZ not Albuquerque. Thanks to the folks who pointed out the error.)

And upcoming book club books for May 9, 10 am:

  • The Little Book Store of Big Stone Gap by Wendy Welch

  • Gray Mountain by John Grisham

I’d love to hear what ‘texts’ are inspiring you these days, books or otherwise.

Rev. Carol

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