Thursday, December 01, 2022

 Atheists and Agnostics 



Script for Sunday 


December 4, 2022 



Atheists and Agnostics


The best way to understand God is to think in terms of myth and metaphor. 



NIUU, Jeanie Donaldson, Pastor Fred 



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Welcome and Announcements: 


Come into this circle of love and compassion,

Come into this community where we can dream and

Believe in those dreams—

Welcome to North Idaho Unitarian Universalists where we accept, we support, we transform:  Ourselves, Our Community. Our world.   



Lighting the Chalice: 


By Oberlin UU Fellowship, Oberlin, OH


We light this chalice to find inner peace,

love for each other, and faith in ourselves.

Also, to be welcoming to whomever we meet

and kind to all living creatures. So gather around

this light of hope as we share this time together.



Opening Words: ­­­


We gather here as individual people

By Barbara Hamilton-Holway


We gather here as individual people:

young and old;

male and female;

temporarily able and disabled;

gay, lesbian, bisexual and straight people,

all the colors of the human race;

theist, atheist, agnostic;

Christian, Buddhist, feminist, humanist.


We gather here as a community of people who are more than categories.


We gather here—each ministering to the other, meeting one another's strength, encouraging wholeness.


We give thanks for this extraordinary blessing—the gathering together of separate, unique individuals as one whole, one body, our church.


Here may our minds stretch, our hearts open, our spirits deepen.


Here may we acknowledge our brokenness and be ever stirred by love's infinite possibilities.


Come, let us worship.



Hymn #226: People Look East


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6sJoyBvgTQk 


1. People, look east. The time is near 

Of the crowning of the year.

Make your house fair as you are able,

Trim the hearth and set the table.

People, look east and sing today:

Love, the guest, is on the way.

 

2. Furrows, be glad. Though earth is bare,

One more seed is planted there:

Give up your strength the seed to nourish,

That in course the flower may flourish.

People, look east and sing today:

Love, the rose, is on the way. 

 

 

3. Stars, keep the watch. When night is dim

One more light the bowl shall brim,

Shining beyond the frosty weather,

Bright as sun and moon together.

People, look east and sing today:

Love, the star, is on the way. 





Covenant: 

Love is the spirit of this church, and service its law

This is our great covenant:

To dwell together in peace,

To seek truth in love,

And to help one another. 






Greeting each other  (Those present in person can leave our seats for this, if we wish.) 



Joys and Concerns (with lighting of candles of caring) 



Story: 


The Beautiful Tiger

By Christopher Buice


There once was a beautiful and powerful tiger.


One day she was captured by a mean and cruel man who put her into a cage. The man kept the cage in the jungle not far from his house. Everyday he would bring out a bowl of water and some food for the lonely tiger.


Sometimes the tiger would see her own reflection in the bowl of water and she would say, “My, I must be a beautiful tiger.”


When the man heard her say this he would lie and tell her, “No, you are not a beautiful tiger. You’re very ugly. You’re a pitiful creature.”


Sadly, the tiger would believe the man.


Some days, after she ate her food, she would walk back and forth in her small cage and feel energy and power moving through her body, and she would say, “My, I must be a powerful tiger.”


When the man heard her say this, he would lie and tell her, “No, you are weak and puny. You’re a pitiful creature.”


Sadly, the tiger would believe the man.


Then one day, when the man was nowhere around, a lion happened to walk by the cage. The lion saw the tiger inside and spoke to her, “Beautiful and powerful tiger, what are you doing lying about in that cage?”


“Do not make fun of me,” replied the tiger. “I know that I am neither beautiful nor powerful.”


“I’m not making fun of you,” said the lion. “You are surely the most beautiful and powerful tiger I have ever seen. I am only surprised to see you lying here when you are clearly strong enough to break out of that cage.”


“You really think I could break out of here?” asked the tiger.


“Quite easily, I should think,” replied the lion


The tiger was not so sure at first. She had been told so many times that she was a weak and pitiful creature.


But suddenly it seemed that she could feel energy and strength moving through her body. She began to pace back and forth in her cage and then, almost without thought, she leapt against the cage door and it flew open without any resistance.


Once outside she seemed dazed. “That cage didn’t even have a lock on it,” she said. “I spent so much of my life stuck in there and the door wasn’t even locked.


The lion looked at her with soft brown eyes and said, “Those kinds of traps don’t need locks, for it is the lies we believe in that keep us in our cages...and it is the truth that sets us free.”




Meditation: 


Unitarian Universalist Confession

By Mary Edes


Here we are gathered, Humanist, and Christian, Non-theist, Buddhist, and Jew, Pagan, and Seeker—a Unitarian Universalist congregation. Let us confess what we know to be true.


We are quick to proclaim our faith, but slow to live the teachings of that faith as it has been handed down to us, across every generation—from prophets, preachers, and sages, scientists, historians, and poets, great thinkers of every age, from ordinary women and men who would have us understand what it is to be, and what it is to love the neighbor.


We are quick to judge one another, but slow to act for justice, equity and compassion in human relations. We are quick to ignore or smooth over broken places among us, too fearful to work for peace and healing. We are quick to share our knowledge, but slow to temper that knowledge with the love and wisdom that leads us always closer to the truth.


In small and large ways we are overwhelmed by all we cannot do.


For all the times we fail to affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person, when we do not affirm and promote the goal of a world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all, when we live as though interdependence were a personal choice and not a fact of our existence, we ask forgiveness of one another and we vow to begin again, in this and every moment.



Sermon: 


I am not a theist. 


When I say this, I’m speaking of philosophy, not personal feelings. 


Both theists and atheists are assuming something ahead of time (a priori). 


The theist assumes that there is a God. 


The atheist assumes that there is no God. 


Agnostics admit that they are not sure whether there is a God or not. 


For myself, I’m not interested in assuming anything ahead of time, before we even begin to think or speak about the ideas surrounding the concept of God. 


If you have heard me say that I’m a Christian agnostic, and you may well have heard exactly that,, what it means to me is this: I do not believe that I have any final answers. 


Again, that is a matter of philosophy, of understanding, not personal choice. 


I have made my own personal choice, and that choice is that I do believe that God is real. 


That will probably not come as a surprise to anyone. 


Contrary to most theists, atheists and some agnostics, I make no claim to any special relationship with the truth about God, or about much of anything else. 


The truth about matters of faith, about the things we believe or do not believe, is that we know much less than we think we know. 


As the great line from Hamlet says, “There are more things in Heaven and Earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” 


Agnostics tell us that it is impossible to know whether there is a God or not, so they decide not to make a choice at all regarding their thoughts about the existence of God. 


When we want to talk about things we don’t know for certain, we often use metaphors to help us express the things we think or the things we want to say. 


Sometimes extended metaphors develop into stories known as myths. 


One of the metaphors we like to use about important things like decision making is that we are being guided by some divine or supernatural power. 


That metaphor often develops into stories that are really myths. 


I recently heard Margaret Atwood speak about writing the Handmaid’s Tale. 


She started the Handmaid’s Tale in the early 80’s. 


It seemed much too far-fetched to her at the time. 


She then began a different novel. 


The different novel didn’t work out. 


She pointed out that the powers from which she gets her inspiration told her that she could not write anything else until she wrote the Handmaid’s Tale. 


In an offhand way she said that she doesn't really believe in powers that inspire her. 


Her reference to the powers in which she does not believe is a perfect example of the kind of metaphor of which I am speaking. 


We all use metaphors like that from time to time. 


We might say something like, “The powers that be inspired me to say something.” 


We get into trouble when we forget that such statements are, in fact, metaphors. 


People sometimes try to turn such metaphors into doctrines that everyone is required to believe. 


The simple fact is: 


A metaphor is a figure of speech intended to help us make sense of some of life’s experiences and our feelings about them and our experiences and feelings about them can seem too difficult to pin down. 


Metaphors in turn can be combined to make wonderful stories. 


Fairy Tales are like that, and so are many Bible stories. 


There is no lack of faith or understanding in making such a statement. 


Quite the contrary, our UU faith is deeply affirmed by the recognition of so many familiar stories as metaphors. 


One of my UU friends, whose ideas I often cite in my preaching, says that UU’s are almost all Christian, more than any other time, at Easter and Christmas. 


As Christmas draws near, I often reflect on his concept. 


It’s true to varying degrees for different people. 


Some of us are at least a little bit Christian most of the time. 


Some of us are more so. 


Some of us are hardly ever Christian at all. 


My point is that the major Christian festivals of Christmas and Easter are cultural holidays as well as holy days, and, to varying degrees, most people are drawn into the cultural aspects. 


These feelings need not be a source of discomfort. 


In many ways, they are just a part of being human. 


Since Christmas is the nearer holiday, I want to think together about some of the mythology that surrounds it. 


I’m not thinking mainly of cultural myths like Santa Claus or Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. 


I’m thinking of the metaphors and myths that surround the birth of Jesus. 


As most of my hearers are probably well aware, when I speak of myths, I’m not speaking as though myths are untruths. 


Myths often represent greater truths than ordinary ideas. 


It’s just that they cannot be taken literally, as history, or at face value. 


The story of the birth of Jesus is a good example. 


The overarching point of all the Infancy Narratives (as they are called) is that they describe the birth of an important, history changing person. 


The arrival of the Wise Men represents the idea that it is the birth of someone who is important, not only for his own family or nation, but for all the world. 


We hear a lot about how Jesus changed history. 


That alone is not the point. 


It’s more that his place in history was a turning point, a story that leads people to value themselves and others more and more. 


To try to make the stories literal truth is to miss the point entirely. 


Maybe the greatest point is that Jesus is valuable, not only for those who believe certain ideas about him, but even more, that his story can bring hope to all kinds of people, regardless of what they believe. 


All too often, Christians take the stories around Christmas as literal, historical truth, and pay much less attention to the underlying universal, hope-filled message. 


Maybe Mahatma Gandhi (whose title of Mahatma means Great Soul) said it best, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians.” 


I definitely understand that sentiment. 


By speaking of Christ and Christianity, I’m not trying to press the issue of personal faith; neither am I trying to impose that context as the way I’m presenting this service. 


Rather, it is simply the religious context in which most of us live, and I’m using it as my example of metaphor and myth and the ways that we may make use of them in our own understanding. 


I grieve that a particular kind of Christianity is seeking to dominate our society today. 


In writing The Handmaid’s Tale, Margaret Atwood has provided a powerful story that communicates a warning of a path we could take as a society if we allow that particular kind of Christianity to dominate. 


Obviously we hope that our society will choose a different direction. 


The recent election brings hope to my heart that we are already choosing a path away from Gilead, the terrifying, mythical America of The Handmaid’s Tale. 


In the context of the evolution of religion in our time, the simplest and most important thing I can say about atheists and agnostics is: 


Whether you believe in God or not, you can be a person of UU faith, fully representing our traditions and ways of understanding the world. 


The faith of too many Christians could not fit at all in a UU context. 


The negative kind of Christianity seeks to impose its teachings upon others, whether they agree with the teachings or not. 


If we do not agree to the imposition of their teachings, we are supposedly limiting their religious freedom. 


The interesting thing about all that is this: 


Religious freedom means that we are at liberty to believe whatever we want and to practice whatever religion we wish, so long as we do no harm to others in the process. 


Therein lies the key, no harm to others: 


Freedom of religion means freedom to practice your own faith. 


It does not mean that we have the freedom to impose our religion on anyone else. 


If you choose to believe in God, that is your prerogative. 


If you choose not to believe in God, that is equally your prerogative. 


If you believe that you have the right to force your opinion about God (or anything else) on other people, that is not your prerogative. 


You do not have any right to do so. 


Christians,, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Indigenous faith practitioners, Wiccans, and all kinds of others have the freedom to practice their own religions without constraint by law. 


Atheists and agnostics are equally free not to practice any religion at all. 


No one of us has the right to apply coercion of any kind against others in order to try to convince them of one faith or lack of faith rather than another. 


We are free to believe or not, according to our own choices.


Because I am a Unitarian UNIVERSALIST, I believe that every person’s choice to believe or not is as valid as my own, and I have the responsibility to defend their right to make their own choice.


I want to close today’s sermon with a Koan, a special kind of Buddhist saying that joins two seemingly contradictory statements in a way that opens our minds to new possibilities, expanding our consciousness. 


At least that is the intent of a Koan. 


The Koan for today is the best representation of my own understanding of atheism vs. theism: 


God does not exist. 


Therefore, God is. 

Amen 


Let it be 


So mote it be 


Blessed be



Congregational Response 



Offering Information 

Charity of the Month:

 

St Vincent de Paul

 

Providing support and compassion.

We offer services that help people return

to a life of self-sufficiency.

“The Hand Up – Not Hand Out” principle

guides us as we help to

“Clothe the Naked, Feed the Hungry,

and Shelter the Homeless.”


NIUU

P.O. Box 221

CDA ID 83816



Extinguishing the Chalice : 


Flame in Our Hearts


By Vanessa Williams 


Like the flame of the chalice,

may the flame in our hearts burn,

remaining unextinguished.

May it ignite our energies, our drive, our resolve,

to dream, to build, and live into the world

that good which exists, for now, only in our imaginings. 



Closing words: 


Blessed with Questions 


By: Ma Theresa “Tet” Gustilo Gallardo 


Some came here to be blessed with answers in a tumultuous world.

Let us hope too, however, that many of us have been blessed with questions

to direct us with a clarity of mind to steer our logic towards kindness and justice always.



Closing Circle 


Saturday, November 19, 2022

Knowledge and Belief


 Order of Service - Script 


for Sunday: 


November 20, 2022 


Knowledge and Belief 


What we know and what we believe are two different realities. We can be truly thankful for both, and for the ability to distinguish between them. 


NIUU, Jeanie Donaldson, Pastor Fred 


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Prelude - Jeanie Donaldson



Welcome and Announcements: 


Sanctuary of the Soul

By David R Chapman

To those of you who are visitors here for the first time, thank you again for being with us.

If you are lonely, here you will find a warm companionship.

Here, in this sanctuary of hope, you can find a new seat at the table of life, and feast yourself on love and fellowship, and you will not hunger for the touch of a human hand or an embrace of your searching spirit.

If you are afraid or if you have been abused, if you ache with fatigue, here, you will find rest. You will be comforted, your spiritual wounds will be dressed and your courage will be returned to you. You will be led beside the still waters, and your soul will be restored.

If you seek to understand, here you will be encouraged in your search. Wonderful pathways will be lit unto you, and wherever your journeys take you, you will know that you can always come home again to this place, made sacred by our love for you.

This is a sanctuary of the soul. There are no boundaries in this cathedral of hope.

The collective wisdom of all humankind and our painful but glorious history are open to you here. Your heart and your mind need never struggle with one another in a Unitarian Universalist congregation. We have no fear of science; we have no fear of knowledge here.

If someday you decide to join us, you may feel what I have felt, in the words of author Dorothy Leigh Sayers:*

"All my life I have been wandering in the dark—but now I have found your heart(s)—and am satisfied."

"And what do all the great words come to in the end, but that?—I love you—I am at rest with you—I have come home."


Come into this circle of love and compassion,

Come into this community where we can dream and

Believe in those dreams—

Welcome to North Idaho Unitarian Universalists where we accept, we support, we transform:  Ourselves, Our Community. Our world.   



Lighting the Chalice: 


If You Have Knowledge

By Margaret Fuller

If you have knowledge, let others light their candles at it.

If you have knowledge, let others light their candles in it.

If you have knowledge, let others light their candles with it."



Opening Words: ­­­

Water! Earth! Air! Fire!

By Peter S. Raible

Water! Earth! Air! Fire!

Water: nurturer of life, sustainer of growth, basic to every living thing;

Earth: where every seedling takes root; the ground of our being, our home and point of outlook;

Air: in every breath we acknowledge the atmosphere wherein we live; the elixir of our existence;

Fire: thwarter of cold, light against the darkness, symbol of the burning human spirit.

Water! Earth! Air! Fire!

These signify the larger unity of all life and the glory of creation wherein our spirits are embraced.



Hymn #68: Come, Ye Thankful People 


1 - Come, ye thankful people, come, raise a song of harvest home: 

Fruit and crops are gathered in, safe before the storms begin; 

God, our Maker, will provide for our needs to be supplied; 

Come to God’s own temple, come, raise a song of harvest home. 


2 - All the world is but a field, given for a fruitful yield;

Wheat and tares together sown, here for joy or sorrow grown: 

First the blade and then the ear, then the full corn shall appear; 

God of harvest, grant that we wholesome grain and pure may be. 



Covenant: 

Love is the spirit of this church, and service its law

This is our great covenant:

To dwell together in peace,

To seek truth in love,

And to help one another. 



Greeting each other  (Those present in person can leave our seats for this, if we wish.) 



Joys and Concerns (with lighting of candles of caring) 



Story: 


A False Story of Discovery

By Myke Johnson

Every October and November in the United States, we find ourselves in a season of false and misleading stories about European settlers and Native Americans. First there’s the story that Columbus discovered America in 1492. Then there’s the story about the Pilgrims and the Indians at the first Thanksgiving. It is astonishing, after all the work done by Native activists and their allies, that these stories keep returning unchanged year after year. Perhaps many people are willing to acknowledge, if pressed, that when Columbus supposedly “discovered” America, it was already full of people. But that “discovery” has a more sinister history that’s not often talked about.

Prior to 1492, European church leaders and monarchs had collaborated in a stunning series of proclamations, which became known as the Doctrine of Discovery. In 1452, a papal bull declared that the king of Portugal had the right to conquer any Muslim and pagan peoples and enslave them. A few years later, a second letter declared that all the Christian kings of Europe had the right to take the lands and possessions of any non-Christian people, and keep them in perpetuity. If the pagan inhabitants could be converted to the Christian faith they might be spared, but otherwise they could be enslaved or killed. The Doctrine of Discovery was also later claimed by England in 1496, authorizing English explorers to seize any lands not already discovered by other Christian nations.

The Doctrine of Discovery became the legal basis for the “discoveries” of Columbus and others, and for the resulting attempts to conquer and colonize the western hemisphere, unleashing genocide on its peoples. It was also the legal basis for the slave trade. Its influence did not remain in that distant past — it’s still a source of oppression to this day. It became the basis of U.S. Indian Law, beginning in 1823, when Chief Justice John Marshall ruled that “Christian people” who had “discovered” the lands of “heathens” had assumed the right of “dominion,” and thus had “diminished” the Indians’ rights to complete sovereignty as independent nations. He claimed Indians had merely a right of occupancy in their lands. This decision has never been overturned, and is still cited on a regular basis in Federal court.

Responding to the requests of Indigenous peoples, several religious denominations have passed resolutions to repudiate the Doctrine of Discovery — including Unitarian Universalists, in 2012. These resolutions are a first step toward reckoning with this history of stolen lands and stolen children.

(This reading is excerpted from Rev. Myke Johnson's essay, "Stolen Lands, Stolen Children," published in her book Finding Our Way Home .)


 

Meditation: 


All That We Do Not Know

By Susan L Suchocki


Day by day, month by month, year by year we are confronted with all that we do not know, that we do not understand, that we do not grasp.

Sometimes we are humbled by this knowledge and say: God, it is too wonderful for me to comprehend but I know this universe is more grand and more beautiful than I ever could have imagined and I give thanks for the blessing of being here and seeing, hearing, experiencing, and sensing all that is so wonderful around and in me.

Sometimes we are saddened by this knowledge and say: O merciful spirit, we need to have the burden of hurt and suffering removed from us. Grant us the courage, the wisdom and fortitude to bear the pain of living. Send us those who will carry our burdens for a short while and send us those who will comfort us with their healing words and thoughts.

Sometimes we are angered by this knowledge and say: In the name of justice and compassion—if it be in our power—give us the strength and ability to right the wrongs, for we do not nor does any person in the world deserve this.

Sometimes we are made joyous by this knowledge and we say: Spirit of life who blesses our world, we rejoice and cheer for our glorious life.



Sermon: 


Among our nearest neighboring churches is Anthem Church that meets at Lakes Middle School, 915 N. 15th Street. 


Their church office is also nearby, at 623 E. Wallace Avenue. 


Anthem Church is Quaker, also known as the Society of Friends. 


The Society of Friends has an interesting approach to the concept of religious ideas and doctrines. 


They call them “notions.” 


I have long admired that concept. 


For everyone who knows me well, that will be no surprise at all. 


After all, I’ve mentioned this concept of notions before. (smile) 


We all have experiences that we could label transcendent. 


We all seem to get into trouble when we begin to describe those experiences, especially if we begin to think or speak of our own experience as normative. 


One of the great American theologians was Charles Schulz, author of the Peanuts comics. 


The best expression of his theology (imho) was Snoopy. 


One time Snoopy was portrayed as typing as while he wrote. 


He was asked, “What are you writing?” 

“A book on theology,” he answered. 


“Have you thought of a title?” he was asked. 


“I have the perfect title,” he answered: 


“Has it ever occurred to you that you may be wrong?” 


The statement is helpful, not only when we think of theology and religion, but also any time we consider our own ability to admit that we could be wrong in our opinions. 


Knowledge and belief are both important in our lives, and it’s even more important for us to distinguish between them. 


We can be grateful for what we know. 


We can be grateful for what we believe. 


Even more, we can be grateful for the ability to tell those two aspects of our thinking apart. 


Maybe the most important attitude toward our knowledge and beliefs is, as Snoopy wisely pointed out, is to have minds open enough to recognize the need to change what we think we know as well as the things we believe. 


Gratitude for our own inner lives of thought, feeling, believing (or not) and understanding (or not) can be a part of the celebrations of thankfulness we will share this season. 


We especially need the ability to distinguish between truth and illusion these days. 


That’s why I’m emphasizing the distinction between knowing (knowledge) and believing (belief) in this sermon. 


There are many ideas floating around in our society today. 


Some of them are based on verifiable truth. 


Some are based on deliberate falsehoods. 


Probably many more are based on confusion about aspects of our lives. 


Sometimes the confusion has been deliberately caused by others, sometimes by ourselves. 


In either case it can be done for fun or profit. 


A case in point is the Russian oligarch, Yevgeny Prigozhin.


We know some things. 


For example, Prigozhin (Putin’s chef by nickname) wrote that Russia is meddling, has meddled, and will meddle again in U.S. elections. 


What we believe about the things he is saying is another matter. 


After all, his claim of Russian meddling is itself yet another attempt to meddle! 


How much and what kind of meddling has happened (is happening, and will happen) is the open question, and people believe different things according to our own preconceived notions. (There’s that wonderful word, “notion,” again!) 


In so many situations in our lives, not only in this critical international relationship, it’s important to know the difference between the things we know are true and the things we believe are true. 


For us as UU’s there are only a few things that we truly know are true, and we are deeply aware of this reality. 


We know that we are together in this world. 


Exactly what this world means and where it is headed are matters that sometimes we have a clue about and sometimes we have no clue. 


We can give thanks for the mysteries we have to work on, whether we have any clues about them or not. 


Giving thanks for such challenges can make them seem more bearable. 


Hence the importance of our harvest festival, our national day of Thanksgiving this week, turning our focus on what we have and what we know instead of concentrating too much attention or anxiety on what we lack and what we do not know. 


Our UU faith can fit beautifully into the Thanksgiving holiday. 


All that we are able to share together we can also affirm without claiming or proclaiming any universal transcendent meaning for any of it. 


Our faith focuses on the things for which we can provide evidence, even in the world of Spirit, Breath. 


As UU’s we often pride ourselves that ours is a fact based faith. 


Sometimes the pride is justified; sometimes not so much.


The key difference is generally a matter of evidence. 


Beyond the evidence there are many beliefs, but very little knowledge. 


That’s why my thoughts keep coming back to a statement (which I’ve cited before) from my good friend, UU minister Marlene Walker, “The opposite of faith is belief.” 


When our believing is frozen into belief, it can become more of a problem than a help to us. 


Knowledge is not the opposite of belief, but we can easily confuse the things we believe with the things we know. 


That’s where many religions get into trouble, claiming their own doctrines, their own notions, as though those were known truths. 


Confusing knowledge with belief has been the source of many wars and rumors of wars. 


If only we can focus on the evidence for the things we believe as distinct from the things we actually know. 


An example of the importance of evidence has been seen in the last week in the war in Ukraine. 


A Russian made missile struck inside Poland near the border with Ukraine, and two Polish citizens were killed. 


NATO leaders claim there is evidence that it was fired by Ukrainian forces as a part of anti-aircraft action. 


Volodimir Zelensky, President of Ukraine, claims that it could not have been fired by Ukrainian forces. 


There are conflicting interests among the allies, and those have been prevailing in the absence of sufficient available evidence. 


We don’t know what happened, and so people’s beliefs are colored by their interests. 


NATO leaders do not want and cannot afford expansion of the war into their territory. 


Many Ukrainians want the support for their war effort that would come with such an expansion. 


As a result, we may never know what really happened, but the contradictory beliefs may serve everyone in preventing more serious danger for everyone. 


It’s no wonder that the Quakers have long tried to sustain pacifism as part of their faith, since they recognize beliefs as notions. 


We can take to heart our own UU faith, with its principles and its lack of doctrines as a gift for which we are thankful. 


We have ideas that provide a peaceful heart and a hope filled life, even in troubled times like ours. 


Amen 


So let it be 


Blessed be 



Congregational Response 



Offering Information 


Charity of the Month:

 

Local Food Banks

 

Local food banks offer weekly assistance with perishable items. Depending on availability, households may receive bread, deli items, salads, dairy products, pastries, and fresh produce to help stretch food resources on a regular basis.


Please write the name of the food bank to which you wish to donate on your check written to NIUU.

Donations To our Charity of the Month, NIUU pledges and regular church offerings can be mailed to NIUU at: 


North Idaho Unitarian Universalists

PO Box 221

Coeur d'Alene, ID 83816



Extinguishing the Chalice :


Growing out of Our Comfort

By Melissa Jeter

We extinguish this chalice today but we are illuminated by a faith that allows us to sit and think. In this quiet time, we can reflect in solitude, meditating on Love, and growing out of our comfort. Though we experience discomfort, we are excited to give birth to a new, just world.



Closing words: 


Cherish Your Doubts

By Michael A Schuler

Cherish your doubts, for doubt is the servant of truth.

Question your convictions, for beliefs too tightly held strangle the mind and its natural wisdom.

Suspect all certitudes, for the world whirls on—nothing abides.

Yet in our inner rooms full of doubt, inquiry and suspicion, let a corner be reserved for trust.

For without trust there is no space for communities to gather or for friendships to be forged.Indeed, this is the small corner where we connect—and reconnect—with each other. 


Closing Circle