Solemnity & Play (December)

Video – Solstices Explained

As we celebrate the approaching Winter Solstice, here is a playful explanation of their origin – along with appreciation of the beauty they offer to our planet!

Story Book – This is a Serious Book

Contributed by Andrea Young

A solemnly playful story for all ages!

 

December is a time full of festivals and holidays. These are opportunities to contemplate the passing of time, to consider our place in the world, and to spend with people dear to us – weighty matters that go to the heart of who we are!

These are solemn questions, balanced by the playfulness that go with them – we take these occasions seriously… and we have fun with them, finding joy as we seek deeper understanding.

Outside of Sundays, we can Take the Theme Home with these resources, as we share this search together.
–Rev. Rod

Article – The Importance of Play (The Atlantic)

The Atlantic makes its case for Play:

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1987/03/the-importance-of-play/305129/

Video – More Than Fun (TED Talk)

And, if you prefer to watch, here’s Stuart Brown giving a serious talk about Play.

Comic – Play-by-Play (XKCD)

Ever wonder what the game of baseball looks like to an outsider?  Here’s one take on it:

https://xkcd.com/1593/

 

Theme for June: Spirit of Summer 2

Ikebana

(Photo: Rodrigo Emilio Solano-Quesnel, Ottawa 2017)

Article – Ikebana: An Ancient Art of Complex Simplicity

This article tells one student’s story of learning the paradoxical beauty of Ikebana flower arranging.

https://www.thestar.com/life/homes/outdoor_living/2009/05/23/ikebana_an_ancient_art_of_complex_simplicity.html

Video – How It’s Made – Fireworks

The bouquets of fire we often see around summer holidays have a story of their own – here’s part of it!

Featured Unitarian – Rev. Wendy Luella Perkins

The Beauty Blessing we sang at our Flower Communion is one of the many originals by Rev. Wendy Luella Perkins, a community minister in Kingston, Ontario.

You can see some of her work here:
http://www.wendyluellaperkins.com/index.php

 

Theme for June: Spirit of Summer 1 – Rev. Dr. Heather Fraser Fawcett

Meditation – By C. J. Stevens

Green things growing are a sacrament.
The tiny flower in this stray plant
Is just as catching to the soul or mind
As the roses that proud in the corner stand,
And green things growing have a stubbornness.
They say to winter, to drought, to time, to us,
Wait until summer, until next year. Wait.

Featured Storyteller – Jon J. Muth

 

Story – Zen Tales – Jon J. Muth – 9780439634304

Featured Artist – Claude Monet

A history of Monet’s Village:
http://giverny.org/giverny/

Monet’s Art:
http://www.claudemonetgallery.org/

https://www.artsy.net/artist/claude-monet

Summer Music!

Those Lazy Crazy-Hazy-Days of Summer – Nat King Cole

 

When the Night Hears My Song – Bedouin Soundclash

 

In and English Country Garden – Jimmie Rodgers

Interview – Joanna Macy

Joanna Macy — A Wild Love for the World

 

Meditation – By Eric Williams

Let us bless the Earth,
And all that is steady and firm.
Let us bless the Sky,
And all that is open and filled with light.
Let us bless their union,
Holy and without ceasing.
Let us bless their children,
The bounty of field and forest,
Stones, plants, animals, and all living things.
May the gifts of the Earth and Sky
Strengthen, refresh, nourish, and heal the peoples of the Earth.
Amen.

Theme for May: Choices 2

Now With More Dimensions!

Activity – Deeper Images

See this in 3D – No glasses required!

Viewing instructions:

  1. Cross your eyes until you see four images.
  2. Allow the two middle images to merge so you only see three images in total.
  3. Let your eyes adjust on the middle overlapping images until the picture adds depth!

Have trouble seeing the 3D effect?  You’re not alone!

Not everyone can cross their eyes!  And not everyone’s eyes work the same.  You can also appreciate these two, slightly-different images on their own!

[Photo: Rodrigo Emilio Solano-Quesnel – Backyard (Mexico City, 2010)]

 

Video – Is This What Quantum Mechanics Looks Like? – Dr. Derek Muller

Wave or Particle?

Why choose one or the other? Quantum mechanics allows for more than one answer at a time! This video displays some of the complexity of particle physics with appealing visuals.

 

Story – What Pet Should I Get? (2015) – Dr. Seuss – ISBN 9780553524260

A new story from the late Dr. Seuss! It has a “quantum” ending when all options are possible!

 

Movie – Back to the Future II (1989) – Robert Zemeckis

Also featuring 2015 is a story of time travel into the future as it might have been two years ago… when people wear two ties, and every choice has the potential to alter the space-time continuum!

Now on Canadian Netflix.

Theme for May: Choices 1

Challenges and Choices

Books

Free Will – Sam Harris – ISBN 9781451683400 – suggested by Mike Jan

A belief in free will touches nearly everything that human beings value. It is difficult to think about law, politics, religion, public policy, intimate relationships, morality—as well as feelings of remorse or personal achievement—without first imagining that every person is the true source of his or her thoughts and actions. And yet the facts tell us that free will is an illusion.

Sam Harris argues that this truth about the human mind does not undermine morality or diminish the importance of social and political freedom, but it can and should change the way we think about some of the most important questions in life.

Choice Theory – William Glasser – ISBN 9780060930141

William Glasser’s choice theory begins with the idea that behavior is not separate from choice; we all choose how to behave at any time. Second, we cannot control anyone’s behavior but our own.
Choice theory posits most mental illness is, in fact, an expression of unhappiness. Glasser champions how we are able to learn and choose alternate behaviors resulting in greater personal satisfaction.

The Illusion of Conscious Will – Daniel Wegner – ISBN 9780262731621

Wegner argues that it is easy to show that people have the illusion that they are in control of events when actually they aren’t. Based on neurological research, he concludes that unconscious brain events cause both the intention to act and the action, but conscious intention does not cause actions.

Theme for April: Grace 3

Featured Film – Plan 9 from Outer Space – Ed Wood (1959)
One of the first films to be known as “so bad it’s good”, with pacing, dialogue, and special effects so offbeat they are comical!

 

Video – On the “Historical and Future Trajectories of Black Lives Matter and Unitarian Universalism” – UU Planet, April 1, 2017
Rev.. Mark Morrison-Reed, who has previously served at First Unitarian in Toronto, offers a comprehensive history of Black history in our tradition.

Article – Interim Co-Presidents See ‘Opportunity to Re-Center Ourselves – UU World April 21, 2017
Want to know more about the conversations on race that have been brewing this month at the Unitarian Universalist Association? This article is a good place to start.

Theme for April: Grace 2

Meditation – on Bread by Thich Nhat Hahn

You, me, the trees, the birds, squirrels, the creek, the air, the stars are all phenomena. There is a relationship between one phenomenon and another. If we observe things deeply, we will discover that one thing contains all the other things. If you look deeply into a tree, you will discover that a tree is not only a tree. It is also a person. It is a cloud. It is the sunshine. It is the Earth. It is the animals and the minerals. The practice of looking deeply reveals to us that one thing is made up of all the other things. One thing contains the whole cosmos.

When we hold a piece of bread to eat, if mindfulness is there, if the Holy Spirit is there, we can eat the bread in a way that will allow us to touch the whole cosmos deeply. A piece of bread contains the sunshine. That is not something difficult to see. Without sunshine, the piece of bread cannot be. A piece of bread contains a cloud. Without a cloud, the wheat cannot grow. So when you eat the piece of bread, you eat the cloud, you eat the sunshine, you eat the minerals, time, space, everything.

One thing contains everything.

With the energy of mindfulness, we can see deeply.

(from Going Home Jesus and Buddha as Brothers, by Thich Nhat Hahn)

 

Recipe – Simple Bread

Want to make more bread like we did this past Easter? Missed out on the service? Here is a version of the simple bread recipe we used for our “Flour Communion”!

http://www.tasteofhome.com/recipes/basic-homemade-bread

(Note that we used whole wheat flour instead of all-purpose)

Seeking Part Time Religious Educator

UUFO is looking for a part-time Religious Educator to work with our children and youth starting January 2017.  
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ottawa (UUFO), a progressive faith community, is hiring a Part-Time (20 hours/month)  Religious Educator to plan and lead Sunday morning programming with children and youth.   

Requirements:

  • Previous participation in Unitarian R.E. programs or equivalent
  • Ability to work effectively with children and youth, and enjoy their company
  • Strong communication skills (fluency in French as well as English)
  • Preference for working in a collaborative environment
  • Ability to encourage, motivate and organize volunteers
  • Sense of humour!

Those interested in applying should send a CV to:

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Ottawa, 400 McArthur Ave., Ottawa ON  K1K 1G8
Or by email to: president@uufo.org

A full job description is available here.