In peace and love from Rev. Ian

In her novel Akata Woman, Nnedi Okorafor writes, “Everyone is connected to something. Connection brings you benefits, but it also makes you responsible.” It is a reminder to one of the characters that she is responsible for the health and safety of her community.

We understand ourselves to be both individuals with inherent worth and dignity, with rights and freedoms, and part of a vast web of existence, woven together, drawing strength from each other and our connections, but also acknowledging that these connections bring responsibilities. It is not just freedom we gain by being part of this religious tradition. Here we also find a call to responsibility: responsibility to each other, responsibility to the values we profess, responsibility to the beckoning of that which we hold most high: love.

When we welcome new members into our community, we ask them to affirm that “In joining the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Desert we affirm those principles of freedom and responsibility upon which this church is founded. We bring our talents and enthusiasm and ask that you reach out to welcome and invite our participation in this community.”

As we head into the warmer months of the year, months which may invite us into slowing down and taking time to reflect while we avoid the heat … I invite you to ponder the ways in which our community calls you to responsibility as well as freedom and connection.

How are we responsible to each other?

Are we responsible for each other?

And what does our commitment to be responsible to each other and our values call us to bring to the world and this community

How are we to live together, to relate to each other if we understand ourselves as responsible to each other?

I hope that you find ways to stay cool. I hope that you can find ways to remember those who live in our cities without the luxury of air conditioning or, often, even shade from the heat of the sun. Drop a case of water off at one our city’s cooling centers, hand out umbrellas, hand out bottles of water.

Minister’s Message Recent Posts

How do we respond to the pain and anxiety and violence in the world around us?

My friends,
As I sit to write this column for you there are bombs and deadly artillery falling on the people of Ukraine, there are children and families in Texas and Florida whose governments are telling them that their love and very existence is wrong and abusive and abhorrent, and there are still thousands and thousands of people sick and dying in our communities and around the world—dying from disease, but also from a lack of care and love and commitment to health for all.

Bread not Stone: A Bowl of Stones and Shells

Dear Friends,
I have a little bowl of stones and shells on my bedside table. I know that they came to me, one by one, from almost every place I’ve been and moments I’ve shared with loved ones and colleagues. But I couldn’t tell you where each individual stone came from.

Bread not Stone: Minister’s Message

My friends,

As I sit to write this column for you there are bombs and deadly artillery falling on the people of Ukraine, there are children and families in Texas and Florida whose governments are telling them that their love and very existence is wrong and abusive and abhorrent, and there are still thousands and thousands of people sick and dying in our communities and around the world—dying from disease, but also from a lack of care and love and commitment to health for all.

Bread not Stone: Living in Love

February is a time when we often focus on love in all of the ways it plays out in our hearts and lives.
I am so often inspired by the words and thinking of others, and so this month I wanted to share with you some things that inspire me when I think about love and how we craft it together.

Bread not Stone: Resolving to Love

It’s a new year by our calendar. It’s a new year by the sun and the stars and the moon. It’s a time when so many of us make plans to change who we are, how we are in the world, how we are living in our bodies. We make resolutions to change our wretched, lazy lack of discipline in some area of our life and to start anew with new discipline and commitment and focus.

Bread not Stone: Beloved

Last month I shared from the pulpit my conviction that the values that we share and express as Unitarian Universalists call us to do the work of love, justice, and inclusion. For me, this is not just the work of one sermon or worship service but our daily lives.

Bread not Stone: Gathering

When I was at university in Toronto, I was usually unable to travel back to my parents’ home for Thanksgiving weekend and so I would usually have Thanksgiving dinner with my aunt’s family there in the city. (I was in Canada, so Thanksgiving was in October!) It was always a wonderful time. The opportunity to gather together around food was wonderful, of course, but it was also deeply meaningful to gather together around ideas and values: family, gratitude, generosity.
I know that our congregation and our UU tradition and values have become that gathering place for so many of us. A place we can gather together to explore our values, to hear and share stories of our lives, to be grateful for what we have, and to be mindful of how we live together in the world.