Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

Skip to comments.

Sermon in the Unitarian Church of Portland on Sunday after the 2004 election: READ AND LAUGH
First Unitarian Church, Portland, Ore. ^ | November 7, 2004 | "Rev." Dr. Marilyn Sewell

Posted on 02/12/2006 3:07:14 PM PST by nwrep

The following "sermon" was delivered on the Sunday after the 2004 Presidential election at the First Unitarian "Church" of Portland, Ore., by "Pastor" Marilyn Sewell.

**********************************************************

This country has just been engaged in a huge exercise of power. Power has been used, and it has been misused. The upside to this election is that never have I seen so many people so passionately engaged in our political life. Never has our vote seemed so precious. Never have so many of us sent money to candidates and organizations supporting our views. I count all this as a great positive influence.

And yet so many of us in this congregation were devastated—yes, that is the word I heard most often—devastated—by the results of the election. So many of us worked so hard in this election, to support those values that we deeply believe in, and we lost. We lost the Presidential election. And we lost on Ballot Measure 36, as well, which now defines marriage in this state as between a man and a woman. We registered voters, we held educational events and lectures, we went to peace rallies and marches, we put our banner across the front of our church proclaiming our support of the right of everyone to marry. We never carried on partisan activities, because that would have been illegal, but we did work for our values—I’m thinking of the values articulated in our Purposes and Principles—the first one being “We believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person.” Every person. Not just people of wealth. Not just Americans. Not just people with white skin. Every person. The second principle is “Justice, equity and compassion in human relations.” In a society in which economic inequity is so great that some people have so much money they don’t know what to do with it, while others are sending their children hungry to school, we were crying out in this election for compassion, for every person to have the basic necessities of life. And then I think of our seventh principle, “Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part,” and I know how many of you are working to save this green earth—we are surrounded with such beauty here in the Northwest—we are reminded each day of the preciousness of this earth, and we know how environmental laws have been rolled back and scientific fact ignored and long-term destruction courted for short-term gain.

Yes, we fought hard for these values, and we lost this election. But as I reflect upon this event and your efforts, I say that we did not lose. I say this because, in a spiritual context, winning is never judged, as I said last Sunday, by the fruits of your efforts, but only by the integrity with which you pursued those efforts, and the values that drove your work. As I observed your work, I see only winners here. Let me give you an analogy. There is a film I saw some weeks ago that is still playing here in town I believe—it is called Friday Night Lights, and it’s about small-town football. It’s set in Texas. I know about small-town football in the South. I’m from a small town in Louisiana, and I was in the marching band in high school, as was everyone else who wasn’t in the pep squad or on the football team. The stadium was by far the largest gathering place in our town. And the pressure was on the football coach to win—you better believe it.

Anyway, in this film, the boys on this team are trying to win state. Their coach wants their best effort, and insists upon it. He tells them, “Be perfect. I want you to be perfect.” They try, oh do they try. And they lose their first game. And then they win and they win and they win. Finally they are in the finals for the state championship, and they are playing these huge, hulking players who have little regard for the rules. They play dirty, trying to hurt our heroes. In the end our boys, so much smaller but fighting so hard, are way behind, but then they catch up, they get the ball just before the game is over, and they head for the goal line, and they almost beat the clock. They almost beat it, but they don’t. They lose by inches. They are, well, devastated. This is a true story. I find it fascinating that somebody in this country made a movie about a team that loses. But you see, these boys weren’t losers. They had lost their star player with an injury, and they just didn’t have the power to go those final few inches. But as human beings, they won. Before they went in for that last play, their coach, played by the inimitable Billy Bob Thorton, tells them, “You know I’ve been telling you guys to be perfect—do you know what that means? It doesn’t mean winning this ball game. It means doing the very best you can, not holding back anything. When you look people in the eye tomorrow, you want to be proud that you gave it everything you had. That’s what it means to be perfect.”

And so my friends, I look at you this morning, and I say to you, “You are perfect. You are just beautiful. And I don’t know when I’ve loved you more than at this very moment.”

This election was frustrating and disheartening, yes, and we need to be able to say that, we need to be able to vent our anger and to cry our tears. We need to grieve, and we need to mourn. But in no way should we be without hope. Not at all. Remember that we almost won this election, and this is not the last election that will take place—it is one along the way. We must take the long view. Remember that social change takes a long time. It starts small. It typically starts with a few people around a kitchen table, maybe with a bottle of not-so-great red wine, saying to one another, “You know, that’s just wrong. That needs to be changed. We’re just not going to put up with it.” And they begin to worry at the problem, to think, to plan, to enlist others. When these folks tell others, they are often ridiculed—whether the issue is abolition, or the right of women to vote, or gays and lesbians to marry—people will say, “Oh, that’s just crazy—it’s always been this way.” But these change agents continue to talk, and educational forums are held, and books are written, and sermons are preached, and so on and so forth, and new elections are held. People change so slowly, and so there is much failure along the way, but one day, because a thing is right, change comes, freedom comes to a people who have been oppressed. It always takes longer than we think it should. Always. And sometimes those changes do not come in the lifetime of the people who fought hardest for them. Susan B. Anthony never was able to cast a single ballot in any election. Did she think of herself as a failure? She attended her last women’s suffrage convention in Baltimore in February of 1906. She died a month later at the age of 86. Her words to that final convention? She told them, “Failure is impossible.”

I want to share with you now some words that have been important to me in this long fight for our values. They are from one of my heroes, Howard Zinn, from his essay entitled “The Optimism of Uncertainty”: (Incidentally, if you have never read his book A People’s History of the United States, I highly recommend it—it is one of those books that changed my life, for sure.) He writes: “Note that throughout history people have felt powerless before authority, but that at certain times these powerless people, by organizing, acting, risking, persisting, have created enough power to change the world around them, even if a little. That is the history of the labor movement, the women’s movement, the anti-Vietnam War movement, the disabled persons’ movement, the gay and lesbian movement, the movement of black people in the South. Remember that those who have power and seem invulnerable are in fact quite vulnerable. Their power depends on the obedience of others, and when those others begin withholding that obedience, begin defying authority, that power at the top turns out to be very fragile. . . That apparent power has, again and again, proved vulnerable to human qualities less measurable than bombs and dollars: moral fervor, determination, unity, organization, sacrifice, wit, ingenuity, courage, patience.”[1]

My friends, we simply don’t have the luxury to despair—there is just too much work to do. This election that we’ve just been through is a blip on the screen of human progress, and we are the force that’s moving inexorably, in hope, in faith, toward a world of peace and justice. We might not get to the mountain top, to the promised land, but we’ll take steps along the way, we’ll do our part, and then we’ll pass the torch on to the next generation, to those hundreds of thousands of young progressive voters who turned out to vote this time.

Now if you’re sitting there thinking, that yes, I want to do my part, but what do I do? What comes next? Then I have an invitation for you. This afternoon at 1:15 in our parish hall, Fuller Hall, just downstairs, we are having a potluck gathering with just that title, “What’s Next?” You are welcome to attend, and if you didn’t bring any food this morning, you have plenty of time to go pick up some chicken or potato salad or whatever, or if you don’t have time to do that, come ahead anyway, because we’ll have plenty of food. Also, a more immediate opportunity: during the coffee hour right after the service, downstairs in the same place, in Fuller Hall, you can visit the tables with information about our social justice task forces—there are several groups, including EJAG, our Economic Justice Action Group, and the Seventh Principle, our environmental group, just to give you an idea. You can find out about their activities and sign up for whatever looks interesting or compelling to you.

I know you people pretty well. I know how sad and disappointed you were on Tuesday night—but I also know that you are people of great courage and patience and endurance. I know that you do what you do because you believe it to be right, and for no other reason. We are Unitarian Universalists, after all. We have a long history of persecution—and you know what? We never, never give up. And I believe with all my heart that justice and truth will prevail. Let us do our part to make our country what it should be: yes, a powerful country, but a country that uses power well, a country that is a moral force, a justice seeker, a peace maker. Let us keep the vision before us, and one day, it will be so. So be it. Amen.

PRAYER

Mother God, we need your comfort just now. We need to be held, that we might rise to go on yet another day. Give us faith, give us hope. And Father God, we need your strength and resolute purpose as we regroup and turn our energies to new days and new times. Help us through it all to be faithful to what we know is right, in thought, word, and deed, that we might live lives of integrity and courage. Amen.


TOPICS: Other Christian
KEYWORDS: aclu; bush; butch; butchdyke; churchandstate; dyke; election; lesbo; newage; religiousleft; reverendlesbo; scotus; unitarians; vandyke

1 posted on 02/12/2006 3:07:17 PM PST by nwrep
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | View Replies]

To: nwrep

Unitarian motto:

"somebody loves you"


2 posted on 02/12/2006 3:09:51 PM PST by JWinNC (www.anailinhisplace.net)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nwrep

paganism


3 posted on 02/12/2006 3:10:48 PM PST by Texas_Jarhead
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nwrep

I went to a Unitarian funeral once. I wasn't sure who lived or died, who the pastor was or what his message was, or even when the service started or finished.


4 posted on 02/12/2006 3:11:49 PM PST by Eric in the Ozarks (BTUs are my Beat.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nwrep
Is this one of the churches which are going to lose tax exempt status due to political partisanship?
5 posted on 02/12/2006 3:12:07 PM PST by BenLurkin (O beautiful for patriot dream - that sees beyond the years)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nwrep

Doesn't the Bible (not that it matters much to a UniPagan) say something about 'fashioning idols'. I think that Mother god prayer is nothing but a prayer to a false idol.


6 posted on 02/12/2006 3:13:24 PM PST by keithtoo (It's STILL not safe to vote Democrat)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nwrep

Aaack! What a load of leftie self-righteousness!

Guess the Johns were correct, there really are two Americas, sane and insane.


7 posted on 02/12/2006 3:17:31 PM PST by Theresawithanh (Always remember that you're unique. Just like everyone else.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: BenLurkin
Is this one of the churches which are going to lose tax exempt status due to political partisanship?

Everyone knows that arguments about separation of church and state only apply to the real church, not imposters like this.

8 posted on 02/12/2006 3:18:09 PM PST by the invisib1e hand (nuke everything)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 5 | View Replies]

To: nwrep
I was just telling someone this morning that the Unitarian Universalist Church is little more than a political organization pretending to be a religion so they can be tax exempt and raise money for their Democratic friends without having to disclose that fact. EVERY Unitarian I know is always going on about how Bush and the Republicans are evil and how we need to vote for whatever Democrat is on the ballot, and they admit that they get much of their political motivation and "information" from their church and they sometimes show be bulletins and fliers printed by the church that blatantly campaign and often fund raise for Democrats.
9 posted on 02/12/2006 3:19:26 PM PST by spinestein (All journalists today are paid advocates for someone's agenda.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nwrep
We lost the Presidential election.

No separation of church and state issues here, nosiree.
And if you don't believe that, just ask the ACLU.
10 posted on 02/12/2006 3:19:56 PM PST by VOA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nwrep

I once went to a wedding in a Uni-church. I've seen more religious items at a VFW hall. Whatever it is, these people are not practicing a religion. It was nice to "listen" Ms. Reverend whine.


11 posted on 02/12/2006 3:20:20 PM PST by jmaroneps37 (We will never murtha to the terrorists. Bring home the troops means bring home the war.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: spinestein
...the Unitarian Universalist Church is little more than a political
organization pretending to be a religion so they can be tax exempt
and raise money for their Democratic friends without having to disclose
that fact...


"That's not a church...that's a country club!"
What my brother said after a visit to the local Unitarian congregation.
12 posted on 02/12/2006 3:21:34 PM PST by VOA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: nwrep
What about Cousin God and Brother-in-law God? They need to practice what they preach. ... Inclusiveness ...

How sad

13 posted on 02/12/2006 3:23:17 PM PST by TexGuy
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nwrep
many of us worked so hard in this election, to support those values that we deeply believe in, and we lost. We lost the Presidential election.... We never carried on partisan activities, because that would have been illegal,

Non-partisan, eh?

14 posted on 02/12/2006 3:24:25 PM PST by paudio
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nwrep

"...one of my heroes, Howard Zinn.."

Here's some lowdown on that Marxist...
http://www.discoverthenetwork.org/individualProfile.asp?indid=939


15 posted on 02/12/2006 3:24:53 PM PST by VOA
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nwrep
"Remember that those who have power and seem invulnerable are in fact quite vulnerable. Their power depends on the obedience of others, and when those others begin withholding that obedience, begin defying authority, that power at the top turns out to be very fragile"

So that's what happened to the MSM or the antique media as I now call it.

16 posted on 02/12/2006 3:36:30 PM PST by muir_redwoods (Free Sirhan Sirhan, after all, the bastard who killed Mary Jo Kopechne is walking around free)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nwrep
A friend took me to a service at his Unitarian-Universalist Fellowship once. Afterward, he asked what I thought.

I said, "I think I need to go to church now."

17 posted on 02/12/2006 3:53:07 PM PST by Dr. Thorne
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: VOA

"We lost the Presidential election."

I always suspected that John F. Kerry was a secret member of the UU.


18 posted on 02/12/2006 4:01:02 PM PST by kaehurowing
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 10 | View Replies]

To: Texas_Jarhead

UU well described in Phillipians:

17 Brothers and sisters,* join in imitating me, and observe those who live according to the example you have in us. 18For many live as enemies of the cross of Christ; I have often told you of them, and now I tell you even with tears. 19Their end is destruction; their god is the belly; and their glory is in their shame; their minds are set on earthly things. 20But our citizenship* is in heaven, and it is from there that we are expecting a Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. 21He will transform the body of our humiliation* so that it may be conformed to the body of his glory,* by the power that also enables him to make all things subject to himself.


19 posted on 02/12/2006 4:08:45 PM PST by DarthVader (Conservatives aren't always right , but Liberals are almost always wrong.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: nwrep; BibChr

Do you know what's really laughable about this sermon?

It's from her....her brain, her mind, her thoughts, her opinions, her stories, her impressions.


She's the authority.

Maybe she's the 2nd coming or something....:>)


20 posted on 02/12/2006 4:38:53 PM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Texas_Jarhead
paganism

U-Us do not refer to themselves as Christian, (or maybe some do) at least according to their somewhat vague FAQ.

21 posted on 02/12/2006 4:55:56 PM PST by Lee N. Field
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 3 | View Replies]

To: Eric in the Ozarks

Sounds confusing. LOL!


22 posted on 02/12/2006 5:05:12 PM PST by Salvation (†With God all things are possible.†)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 4 | View Replies]

To: xzins
Well, you know what they say.

Question: What do you get when you cross a Unitarian and a Jehovah's Witness?

Answer: Someone who goes door to door, for no particular reason.

Dan
Biblical Christianity BLOG
Pyromaniacs

23 posted on 02/12/2006 5:46:40 PM PST by BibChr ("...behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, so what wisdom is in them?" [Jer. 8:9])
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 20 | View Replies]

To: JWinNC
Unitarian motto:

"somebody loves you"

"We're not sure who it is, but we're pretty sure he/she/it loves you."

24 posted on 02/12/2006 5:46:49 PM PST by Alex Murphy (Colossians 4:5)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: BibChr

ROTFLOL!


25 posted on 02/12/2006 5:47:45 PM PST by xzins (Retired Army Chaplain and Proud of It!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: Alex Murphy

you got it


26 posted on 02/12/2006 6:21:17 PM PST by JWinNC (www.anailinhisplace.net)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: JWinNC
***Unitarian motto: "somebody loves you"***

I always thought it was "let us gather together...and not pray." LOL!

27 posted on 02/12/2006 6:23:09 PM PST by buckeyesrule (Joseph Lowery Sucks!)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 2 | View Replies]

To: spinestein

My mom is a Unitarian - many years a leftie - and she's starting to get mighty sick of them, especially since September 11. She knows we're at war, and not one we went looking for but in her church there's a disdain for the military and she's an Army brat - lost a brother and nephew in the line of duty. She's pro-abortion with limits and is unnerved by the rabid whole nine months choice-is-a-sacrament line. The homosexual men she's known have been wildly promiscuous and have died of AIDS - gay marriage doesn't make much sense to her. She put up some brochures for a social program she was interested in - literacy - and was told they conflicted with the church's aesthetics.

I'm not sure why she stays...I guess finding a new church is hard at her age...I just pray she finds Jesus.

Mrs Vs


28 posted on 02/12/2006 7:26:15 PM PST by VeritatisSplendor
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: nwrep
UU's only dogmas are abortion on demand and gay marriages.
29 posted on 02/12/2006 7:42:13 PM PST by Tarkin (Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Alito...one more to go)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Alex Murphy

Don't forget "Abortion and salvation for everybody".


30 posted on 02/12/2006 7:43:43 PM PST by Tarkin (Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Alito...one more to go)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 24 | View Replies]

To: BibChr

ROFLMAO


31 posted on 02/12/2006 7:44:59 PM PST by Tarkin (Roberts, Scalia, Thomas, Alito...one more to go)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 23 | View Replies]

To: VOA

You mean they have a bar and smoking lounge?


32 posted on 02/12/2006 8:28:12 PM PST by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 12 | View Replies]

To: VeritatisSplendor

The irony is that they idolize choice, but do not allow their members to choose.


33 posted on 02/12/2006 8:35:47 PM PST by RobbyS ( CHIRHO)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: VeritatisSplendor
[I'm not sure why she stays...I guess finding a new church is hard at her age...]


Maybe I'm too pessimistic, but I find that people get too comfortable belonging to a group even when that group starts to do things which are less than desirable or wise. And the members just stay and put up with it.
34 posted on 02/12/2006 9:12:06 PM PST by spinestein (All journalists today are paid advocates for someone's agenda.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 28 | View Replies]

To: spinestein

Except the Unitarian Church has been like this for at least forty years - it's my mom who's changed.

In Romania there are still serious Unitarians in the original sense - believing in God and in Jesus as God's son but not God. My mother's church used to support them when Eastern Europe opened up but they seem to have lost interest.

Mrs VS


35 posted on 02/12/2006 9:20:32 PM PST by VeritatisSplendor
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 34 | View Replies]

To: nwrep

Everyone seems to think that I am nuts when I say that the Unitarians are not a church but are instead a political organization. This sermon proves my point!

They can not tell you what God is or who He is or where He is, but they all know everything about global warming and abortion.


36 posted on 02/12/2006 9:21:06 PM PST by Between the Lines (Be careful how you live your life, it may be the only gospel anyone reads.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: spinestein
I was just telling someone this morning that the Unitarian Universalist Church is little more than a political organization pretending to be a religion...

Amen

37 posted on 02/12/2006 9:45:20 PM PST by Between the Lines (Be careful how you live your life, it may be the only gospel anyone reads.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 9 | View Replies]

To: nwrep
We believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person.” Every person. Not just people of wealth. Not just Americans. Not just people with white skin. Every person.

Yeah, I was one of those people that believed that inherent worth was solely a quality that rich white Americans possessed and no one else. What a cartoon leftist this chick is.

38 posted on 02/13/2006 6:16:27 AM PST by TradicalRC (No longer to the right of the Pope...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: nwrep
I find it fascinating that somebody in this country made a movie about a team that loses.

Because we all know that Hollywood is chock full of flag-waving jingoists.

39 posted on 02/13/2006 6:19:07 AM PST by TradicalRC (No longer to the right of the Pope...)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

To: Salvation

I says "We are Christians but we aren't Christians but we kinda are but not really"


40 posted on 02/13/2006 6:22:41 AM PST by bonfire
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 22 | View Replies]

To: nwrep

LOL! If Church is where one goes for their entertainment-that's the Church to attend.


41 posted on 02/13/2006 6:33:30 AM PST by F.J. Mitchell (Let's make government a liberal free zone.)
[ Post Reply | Private Reply | To 1 | View Replies]

Disclaimer: Opinions posted on Free Republic are those of the individual posters and do not necessarily represent the opinion of Free Republic or its management. All materials posted herein are protected by copyright law and the exemption for fair use of copyrighted works.

Free Republic
Browse · Search
Religion
Topics · Post Article

FreeRepublic, LLC, PO BOX 9771, FRESNO, CA 93794
FreeRepublic.com is powered by software copyright 2000-2008 John Robinson