Mary Beth Writes

I was raised on Bible stories. I like to go back and see what they mean to us now.

The Old Testament/Hebrew scriptures story of Ruth – Surprise, Surprise! - is not the particular romance of Ruth and Boaz. It IS a story of dangerous poverty, racism, and sexism – and what happened when good adults welcomed each other in an unsafe place and time.

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There is a huge and powerful message going on that says what’s wrong with society is foreign people, especially foreign women, lax morals, and lack of respect for the laws, rules, and customs of olden times.

Into this overwhelming world view – come this unexpected story of Ruth the Moabite woman who will not abandon Naomi her penniless mother-in-law. Naomi is realistically apprehensive about her own chances for a secure future, yet she allows this younger woman, against all that is common sense - to accompany her. The two women move back to the heart of the Hebrew holy land where they work hard, think harder, live as upright lives as they can manage in desperate circumstances – which in turn catches the attention of a good and decent Hebrew man who welcomes them with respect - and extra grain.

That welcoming of the powerless, of women, of the unwanted immigrant from Moab –- this is the tale used to launch the story of King David.

Sermon - Courage / Roses on the Columbia

While on the space shuttle Columbia, which would explode during reentry a few days later, astronaut Laurel Clark wrote some emails to family and friends.

This is from one of them: Subject: Hello from 150 NM above the Earth

Sermon - "Why do we attend church? Um, I can't remember."

“Why do we attend church? Um, I can’t remember.”

There are so many reasons to not belong to or attend church - even liberal Unitarian Universalist churches.

Sermon - The Story of Ruth & Naomi / Who We Welcome is Who We Are

I have liked the Old Testament story of Ruth ever since I was a kid. But in seminary, when I learned it is not an “Aww Shucks, Ma’am” cowboy romance, I started liking it even more. The story of Ruth is not the particular romance of Ruth and Boaz. It IS a story of dangerous poverty, racism, and sexism – and what happened when good adults welcomed each other in an unsafe place and time.

In case you were not raised drenched in Hebrew or Christian stories (I can’t riff on Star Wars…) – let me retell the tale of Ruth, Naomi, and Boaz.

Sermon - Julian of Norwich / She Persisted

I first encountered Julian of Norwich in a seminary class on mysticism when I was in my 20’s –back when I could read for hours without falling asleep. I had been raised in such a religiously patriarchal culture; that reading Julian for that first time was as if someone had turned a light on in the room.

Sermon - From Auden's "For The Time Being"

This is the "Opening Words" and then later in the service, the sermon - that I preached on "For The Time Being" by WH Auden and also from the Gospel of John.  

I belong to a small congregation of Unitarian Universalists. This is directed to people who are asking questions instead of believing creeds. You will probably note the difference.

Thanks.

MB. 

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Opening Words:

"Something Happened Here"

What's your opinion on the High Holy Religious Holidays?

I don't necessarily believe the beliefs that the Christian Churches say one ought to believe. I did for decades and then in short order and long practice, many of those dogmas faded away.  I don't think that means I am right and doctines are wrong. I mostly believe one learns more about faith by trying to live a generous and kind life (anyone who thinks being kind is for sissies hasn't done enough of it yet) than argue shades of theological pronouncements that have come to us, too often, via powerful white men. 

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