How to Drive Like a Minister

Living A Life Rooted in Unitarian Universalism


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Thanks!

As I was writing a couple weeks ago on saying “I’m Sorry!" it came across my mind that there are other things we do which can happen immediately or after a long while.  One of them is giving thanks.

I remember very vividly a friend of mine paid me a compliment…  maybe 12 years ago.  And as with apologizing many years later, I felt compelled to thank many years later.  Letting someone know that they made a difference in your life is a strong and powerful action.  Whether you do it immediately or after over a decade.  Say Thanks!

Take the time this week - and into the future - express your gratitude to someone whom you haven’t thanked.

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What’s the Impact? (Take 2)

Here are some further thoughts on “What is the Impact of our Actions?”, which I only touched on briefly back in March.

Earlier this summer the congregation I serve, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Newark, decided to take a stand on a difficult social justice issue.  There was a plan by the University of Delaware to build a data center with an attached power plant.  This data center and power plant were proposed to be built within a few miles of our congregation.  Based on our values of environmental justice we took a public stand against the power plant.  This included sending out a press release, supporting other organizations and adding our voices to rallies.

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And just this week, the University decided to terminate its lease with the company which was going to build the data center!!  That’s good news for those of us who opposed it.  But the question remains: How much did our small voice make?  What was the impact of one congregation in this large issue?

This isn’t just a question for protestors and congregations.  How much impact we make is a question all of us face, whether we recognize it or not.  What impact does recycling have on the world?  When I smile at a stranger, does it make their day better?  Does my writing a letter to a friend bring them joy?

I say, even if we can’t have a full idea of what the impact is, we must keep on trying to make the world a better place.  I end with an oft-repeated quote by Margaret Mead:

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

P.S. I am feeling especially moved by this topic, so if you want more - come by to worship at UUFN Sunday, July 20, at 10am for a more in depth exploration!

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It’s Hard to be Good

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This week I’ve been thinking about recycling…  I am of the mindset that the world is a better place for recycling.  Reduce, reuse and recycle, right?  So I try my best to recycle!  But recycling isn’t always cut and dry.  I’ve done some quick research, and surprised myself by what I found:

- Stickers and the paper they are printed on are not recyclable (source).

- Aluminium Foil is recyclable, but not always accepted (source) (it’s not accepted in Delaware).

- Paper Receipts are usually not recyclable and can actually be harmful! (source).

- Leave your caps on plastic bottles (source), or maybe you should take them off (source)…

- How clean?  Consider running your recycling through the dishwasher (source), or just rinse them (source).  Better yet, read more about the pros and cons here.

- Removing labels from metal cans is not needed  (source)… but it is good to do (source).

- No need to take staples out of paper before recycling (source).

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But this isn’t a blog about recycling.  It’s about living a life of deep and devoted beliefs.  The illustration of recycling is that it isn’t always easy to know how to live out our values.  Sometimes we don’t know how to make the best choices.  Sometimes our choices are misinformed and we unknowingly make a “bad” decision.  I have been wrongly putting paper receipts into our recycling bin!

The important part is that we do our best to live our values.  And when we hear new information or insight, we are open to changing our habits - and possibly even changing our values.

Let us all go forth into the world, living our faith and beliefs.  And when we are not 100% sure of ourselves, still striving to do the best we are able.

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As a Post Script:  Here are some great resources for recycling information.  For the most accurate information on what you can or cannot recycle, contact the city/company which handles your waste!
- Earth 911
- EPA

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Social Justice Baby

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My Bad

The other day I was having dinner with my family.  My father was about to say something, and as we are very similar to each other, I had an idea of what anecdote he was about to share.  I said, “Okay dad, we all know what you are going to say.”  Needless to say, that wasn’t very kind of me.  He was quiet, and I felt like a jerk.

In recognizing my error, I immediately apologized profusely.  It didn’t take away the hurt I had caused, but an immediate recognition of wrongdoing sends a powerful message of desiring reconciliation.

But immediacy can not always happen.  Here’s a different story from my life:

Facebook has given many of us a chance to reconnect with people from our past.  I was able to get in touch with someone I went to prom with in high school.  And through the years I felt that I had ignored my date.  So I sent her a message expressing my sincere sincere apology.  This is saying “I’m sorry” over a decade later.

We all make mistakes; we are all less than perfect.  And we can all take ownership of our failings and apologize.  The point is not when.  The crux is that the desired outcome is reconciliation and care.

It’s never too early, and it’s never too late to say, “I’m Sorry!”

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