Ministerial Musings

Recently I have heard that a few folks in our community, new and old, want to learn more about Unitarian Universalism. This month I bring you a few book suggestions, and also a little perspective on how I see the role of church and preaching in particular. Conveying information used to be a primary role of any religious service. Before the internet, before libraries, before easy access to printed material it was the only way to learn about religion. Now though, most of us are awash in too much information. Now, we are coming to see church as a place to filter excess information and a place to discuss with others what we have learned.

There will always be some teaching through sermons. The information I can squeeze into a sermon, while still offering something inspiring and relevant, is pretty slim. Your hunger for information will likely be more satisfied by reading. Here are some of the books on Unitarian Universalism that I recommend.

For a general introduction to Unitarian Universalist theology:

For thorough history of our tradition:

  • Unitarian Universalism, A Narrative History by David E. Bumbaugh. It’s a bit dry, but very helpful.

For in-depth understanding of our theological roots in American:

  • Three Prophets of Religious Liberalism: Channing – Emerson – Parker with introduction by Conrad Wright. This is a collection of three long sermons. It is dense, but my favorite resource for understanding the foundations of Unitarian theology.  

For understanding our engagement with Civil Rights efforts:

  • In Between: Memoir of an Integration Baby by Mark Morrison-Reed,
  • Revisiting the Empowerment Controversy: Black Power and Unitarian Universalismby Mark Morrison-Reed,
  • No Greater Love: The James Reeb Storyby Duncan Howlett

For an amazing inspiring story:

  • Defying the Nazis: The Sharps’ Warby Artemis Joukowsky and Ken Burns. This is both a book and documentary film by PBS.
Some of these texts are out of print. Through a little digging on the Internet, you can find used copies for purchase. Also I encourage everyone to check out our Unitarian Universalist Association bookstore.

I love that Tapestry is a community of curious people. There are several good curricula for UU adult religious education. Another resource for us may be The Great Courses. Several sessions address world religions and philosophy. I would be thrilled to work with any lay leaders who would like to host a learning opportunity like this. In this amazing era there is limitless information available for us to learn together.

Rev. Kent Doss


Minister's Seminars

The Stranger Game

Monday, December 5, 6:30 - 8:00 pm

 “The Stranger Game” by Peter Gadol is a literary suspense novel in which an eerie social game goes viral and spins perilously out of control. The book explores the connections, both imagined and real, that we build with the people around us. The author will join us for this discussion. To fully participate, please read the book in advance of this discussion.

For more information or to sign up, please contact Rev. Kent .

Dare to Lead

Monday, January 7, 6:30 - 8:00 pm

Dare to Lead: brave work, tough conversations, whole hearts by Brene Brown.
Leadership is not about titles, status, and wielding power. A leader is anyone who takes responsibility for recognizing the potential in people and ideas, and has the courage to develop that potential. In addition to talking about leadership in work and volunteer roles, we will also consider the leadership culture of Tapestry.

For more information or to sign up, please contact Rev. Kent .


Monday, February 4, 6:30 - 8:00 pm

Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari
This book answers the question, how did we Homo sapiens evolve from an unexceptional savannah-dwelling primate to become the dominant force on the planet? The author describes human development through a framework of three “revolutions”: the Cognitive, the Agricultural, and the Scientific. Special attention is paid to our social networks and “imagined realities”—such as money, religion, and Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs). To fully participate, please read the book in advance of this discussion.

For more information or to sign up, please contact Rev. Kent .