We are honored to have as our speaker Dr. Joseph Witt, Assistant Professor of Religion at Mississippi State University and Assistant Professor of Environmental Humanities at the Middlebury School of the Environment on Sunday, February 28. He says, "Despite denial from some sources in the United States, many scientists and policymakers around the world agree that the earth is entering into a new era of dramatic ecological change tied directly to human activities-climate change, mass extinction, and ocean acidification, for example. The major question for 21st century environmentalism becomes, then, if humans have caused these significant problems, how might we work to bring about solutions? This presentation will briefly discuss the emergence of different varieties of 'religious environmentalism' around the globe, or specifically religious efforts to address environmental problems. After surveying a few concrete examples we will conclude with a discussion about the possibility and effectiveness of 'religious environmentalism' as a part of the solution to global ecological crises." Dr. Witt's forthcoming book, Religion and Resistance in Appalachia (University of Kentucky Press, 2016) examines the role of religions in inspiring and motivating environmental activism surrounding the issue of mountaintop removal coal mining in Appalachia.
"Information is not knowledge. Knowledge is not wisdom. Wisdom is not truth. Truth is not beauty. Beauty is not love. Love is not music. Music is the best..."
- "Packard Goose," Joe's Garage Act III, Frank Zappa
What would our Sunday services be like without music? What roles does music play in your expression of spirituality? In your life? Do the lyrics or the music resonate more with you? Do you get annoyed when the text of old hymns is modified in our UU hymnal? We'll examine all of these points and more in an exploration of the close ties of music and religion.
'Standing on the Side of Love Sunday' - "Just the Way You Are" - Rev. Carlton Elliott Smith - February 14, 2016
At the center of our Universalist heritage is a god too compassionate and forgiving to condemn anyone to eternal punishment. This Valentine's Day, we will contemplate the meaning of holding ourselves others in unconditional positive regard, demonstrated by our willingness to show overall acceptance and withhold our own personal biases.
Rev. Carlton Elliott Smith is one of nine Congregational Life Staff currently serving the Southern Region of our Unitarian Universalist Association. Before returning to his hometown of Holly Springs two and a half years ago to begin his current position, he served several Unitarian Universalist congregations in the Northeast (and one in California) as a parish minister. In addition to being the primary contact for our congregations in Mississippi, Tennessee, Alabama, Louisiana and Pensacola, Florida, Carlton is also the staff person accountable for coordinating and supporting justice work in our region, and is one of the members of the Black Lives of Unitarian Universalism Organizing Collective.
Today we celebrate winter, with its special beauty, challenges, and call to reflection.
Storyteller/Actress/Playwright Rebecca Jernigan will share two tales inspired by her sojourn in China and by the the Lunar New Year winter celebration that begins this week.
As we move through our service elements, we will name the four spiritual practices we are enacting that help us draw forth our inner light during this season of limited sun.