Rev. Carter wished to share with you this column by Bill Walz.
APPROACHING TRUTH –
by Bill Walz - Rapid River Magazine May, 2018
“Three things cannot be long hidden: the sun, the moon, and the truth.” - Buddha
“And the truth shall set you free.” – Jesus
The only practice worth doing is the search for truth, and it is always about uncovering the lies of the ego - all ego - mine, yours, the politicians’, the preachers’, the advertisers’, governments’, the president's, corporations', religions', society's, and culture's, and doing the heroic work of walking increasingly in the truth. It is not easy, but it is what frees the soul and defeats suffering - and so - eventually makes life easier. Why? Because truth is what is natural - all of Nature lives in truth - except humans.
There’s an old bumper sticker that said: “If you aren’t outraged, you aren’t paying attention,” and since outrage is exhausting, it’s pretty easy to come to the point where you just want to stop paying attention to how out of alignment with truth human society is, and that is where most of us end up, vacillating between outrage and turning away our heads in exhaustion. Yet there are those like Buddha, Jesus, and Socrates and more modern figures like Einstein, Krishnamurti, Martin Luther King, the Dalai Lama, and Nelson Mandela who were fearless seekers and spokespersons for the truth, and while they undoubtedly had times of discouragement, they overcame them and returned to seeking and speaking eternal truths in the face of derision and persecution. How did they do it?
Minister's Message continued
| Sunday, 3 June 2018, 11 am|
"The Seven Principles in Song and Spoken Word"
Nancy Gavin and Ginny Moreland will lead us in a celebration and exploration of the seven principles which we, as a member congregation of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant to affirm and promote. This service is modeled on one originally prepared by Amanda Udis-Kessler of Colorado Springs, CO and features a carefully curated selection of readings and hymns which illustrate our much-loved principles. It will be lay-led and highly participatory!
Sunday, 10 June 2018, 11 am
Rev. Michael JS Carter
"The ‘G’ Word”
In the 1930’s, Frederick May Elliott was the President of the American Unitarian Association. Elliott was a theist and he was well aware of the baggage that the word God carried with it. Yet he was also aware of the power of symbols and found in the objections to the use of the word, important reasons for accepting it. Elliott realized that, ”we need symbols that will reach down deeply into our souls and make their power felt in the innermost recesses of our personality… the word God is such a word." I don’t always use the word but when I do use it, I use it intentionally and it depends on to whom I am speaking and the context. Let’s explore why The G word irritates so many UUs.
Sunday, 17 June, 2018, 11 am
Rev. Michael JS Carter
"The Father's Day Sermon"
I personally find Mother’s Day and Father’s Day sermons to be pretty difficult sermons to prepare. This is because everyone has such a different experience with their parents and family dynamics. Having said that we press on. With some reflections on marriage and so called “gender roles,” Christianity proclaiming “God as Father,” as well as some insights from both Unitarianism and Universalism, we will honor Father’s Day at UUCSV. See you there!
Sunday, 24 June, 2018, 11 am
Rev. Michael JS Carter
"UUs and Miracles"
For some, but not all of us, we as UUs shy away from anything that speaks of miracles. This is one reason many of us do not read the bible. It insults our intelligence. Miracles are something that all religions talk about, but for us as UUs we cannot tolerate stories that contain miracles. Yet whether you read the bible or not, your life and mine has been conditioned by this book and those stories because of our culture. Thomas Jefferson made a bible for himself without the miracles stories of Jesus. We call it, “The Jefferson Bible.” Some may call it, The Gospel According to Thomas Jefferson. A Time magazine poll has found out that 70% of Americans today believe miracles are actively occurring in our world. My question is,what is a miracle for you?
Sunday, 1 July 2018, 11 am
"Life in Poetry"
Members of UUCSV
Poetry in a few words tries to describe feelings from the poets’ hearts to the hearts and minds of their readers. When it works, poetry brings depth to this human communication. Some of us have been meeting monthly to write and share with each other good poetry. Sometimes we share what we have read, sometimes what we write or compose; all times we share important life moments.
We dig deeply to understand ourselves and share meaningful stories with each other. Join Ann, Bill, Carolyn, Jim, Larry, Mamie and Ruth as we share some of our moments along this spiritual journey. Come and enrich your life with us.
Sunday, 8 July 2018, 11 am
Rev. Michael J.S. Carter
"The Challenge to Grow"
Spiritual principles do not change, but we do. As we mature through the years, we access more deeply information and lessons we had only abstractly understood before. Life was, or at least seemed much more innocent for many people not so long ago. Today the world seems filled with such sorrow and danger; it’s not so easy anymore to simply spout metaphysical spiritual principles and expect everything to be okay later in the day. These are times that challenge our notion of the Golden Rule; these are times that challenge our spiritual assumptions, as the shadow side of humanity appears to be taunting us, demanding, “How’s that change you wanted working out for ya? “So where’s all of that love you believe in now?” The answer of course is that the love is inside of us waiting to be unleashed. The shadow is an invitation to light, calling forth the best that is in us. Every challenge implies this question---are you really willing to embody what you say you believe?
REMINDER: Upcoming Sunday services can also be found here: http://uusv.org/sundays/
|Yay! Summer is here. Soon school will be out and vacations will start. Swimming and camping are just some of the wonderful activities to be enjoyed in the summertime. This also means that Summer Sundays will be starting. Yay! again! During this program we will learn crocheting & knitting, fun science experiments, pottery, and puppet making just to name a few. And that's not all. There are still spaces available for you to share your hobby, skill, or passion with us. Contact Beata Ball: firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve your preferred Sunday. |
This month's Meet RE star is Jack!
Jack plays football, soccer, and swims like a fish. He is super smart (like all our children!) and has the brightest smile. He is generous and friendly to our visitors making sure they feel comfortable and know it really is okay to be themselves.
He also loves his family and his dog! When you see this guy, give him a high five. He is a proud member of our Religious Education program.
|UUCSV May 17, 2018 Board Meeting -Abbreviated Minutes|
Lee Reading, our volunteer treasurer, characterized our balance sheet as very healthy. Lee also reviewed the income/expenses as of April 30th which is 10 months of data for this operating fiscal year. Funds from the Collection Plate are at 140% of budget and pledges are over 100% with 2 months remaining.
There was a discussion about the upcoming 2018-19 Operating Budget. Based on the success of the pledge drive, Jim (representing the Personnel Committee) suggested a slightly more than 3% pay raise for Michael. The discussion included changes to other budget categories affected by the pay raise as well as mention of the $1.00 per hour pay increase for other staff that was effective January 1st of this year. Jim moved we accept the budget as revised including the pay raise for Michael. Susan seconded. Approved unanimously. The budget will be presented to the membership for adoption at the annual meeting on May 20th.
Lee shared some figures which compared this year’s canvass to last year’s canvass. This year $98,459 was pledged with 91 pledges. Last year $99,405 was pledged with 83 pledges. This year had 8 first time pledgers, but we lost 13 pledgers. About one third of people raised their pledge while 20 people decreased their pledge. There was a discussion about having a more targeted canvass next year in which each person who might pledge is contacted personally. Jim strongly recommended that the Board get the Stewardship Committee organized in early autumn for the next fiscal year canvass.
Committees (or teams) needing help are Audiovisual, Membership, Stewardship, Strategic Planning, and Religious Education.
There was also a discussion about planned giving and how we would identify someone who has the church in their will and how we thank someone’s family when a bequest is received. There was a concern expressed that there is not a formal procedure but Lee assured the Board that he sends thank you notes.
There will be a congregational yard sale organized by Susan Hurley and another co-chair which will take place on September 22nd.
Membership is looking into our own software to create a photo directory and regular directory. There was a brief discussion about the possibility of putting the directory on our website in a restricted area protected by a password.
Full minutes of the meeting is posted in the foyer.
|Minister's Message continued|
|Of course, they answered that question many times, and the answer was always the same: with love, and with faith in the search for truth as the only path to freedom from the violence of ignorance. They had love of truth and realized that love is the great truth. Not romantic love, or the love of identification with someone or with something, but the love that holds the Universe together, the infinite energy of connection and interdependence; love of the truth of what is. The great Vietnamese Zen Master, Thich Nhat Hanh, often uses the term “Interbeing.” All in the Universe “inter-is” with everything else. Once again, all of Nature has no difficulty living within this truth – except human beings, and it is this violation of natural law that is the reason there is so much to be outraged about. The problem seems to arise from this evolutionary development in human beings called ego-identification and its compulsion to create lines of separation that do not actually exist, and it is these lines of artificial separation that are the lies of ego that entrap us.|
When the Buddha attained enlightenment he declared: “With the Earth as my witness, all sentient beings have the right to be free of suffering.” Of course, he was not talking about physical pain or discomfort, or even the emotional suffering that is legitimate grieving at loss of loved ones or over their pain, these are all quite natural states – you can see them in a dog. This is the pain of connection broken or injured or resonating sympathetically. He was addressing the unnecessary emotional pain caused by losses to ego-security and status and by amplifying our emotional challenges and traumas by placing them within a self-centered story that we emotionally resist, and it is this resistance that brings about the experience of emotional and spiritual separateness which brings on our suffering. The Buddha also offered us a path to freedom from this suffering that was not some supernatural ability or a pathological emotional callousness. He offered to us the natural state of acceptance, of alignment with the what-is in life – that which every creature except humans are able to live within naturally. This then, constitutes a truth we can depend upon.
Another absolute truth of Nature is that, except for humans, no creature takes more than it needs for its survival, and no creature destroys for any reason other than its natural survival, but humans do it regularly because of egoic insecurity – the desire to make more of “me” – and the easiest way to make more of “me” is to make less of all that I think is “not me.” Yes, there are lines of separation in Nature, of predator and prey, but this all happens within a deeper ecological network of connection that creates perfect balance. While it can be granted that human survival-needs are more subjective than that of an animal in the woods, somehow it feels like there is something untruthful about the extremely unnatural impulse to acquisition and destruction of the human ego that creates imbalances and breaks ecological connections, yet is often covered over by calling it “human nature.”
Perhaps the truths of ecology could be brought to the human realm through the insight that balance is lost when a person causes others difficulty or loss or takes disproportionately for the purpose of their own ego-gratification, again, because no creature other than humans would do such a thing. Yet humans crisscross the terrain of Life, carving it up into little kingdoms marked by greed for power, wealth, and dominion, all in violation of Nature where there is just Life in balance. So here we have a conundrum, a paradox, for it seems to be the nature of humans to carve out paths and to build walls in the pathless and wall-less land of Nature and to require more than just the means for natural survival. How can we resolve this conundrum?
Twenty-six centuries ago, the Chinese sage, Lao Tzu, shared, “The Way that can be named is not the Way.” Yet this teaching and the other teachings recorded in the single record of his teachings, The Tao Te Ching, are all aimed at giving a guide to humanity for how to keep their restless path-making as true to the pathless land of Nature as possible. And herein we find a truth – a relative truth – for as long as we must create paths out of the pathless land of Nature, we must accept our truths as flawed, as merely approximations seeking illusive greater truths. We must remain humble, finding guidance from Lao Tzu’s 5th Century BC Greek contemporary, Socrates, who stated, "The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing."
So the truth that sets us free is in knowing that we, by the nature of our restless path and wall-making, are in violation of greater truths and therefore must be profoundly careful, and must, as Lao Tzu advised, keep as close to the truths of Nature as we can. We love to create lines of separation that are of “me” and “not me,” of “us” and “other,” and we give all these separations many names to give a seeming reality to these artificial creations. We create an artificial line between humanity and Nature, when, of course, there is no separation, for Nature is all existence, but this is a truth we have difficulty accepting. Ego does not like it, and it would do us well to learn to be far more humble and mindful regarding this tendency, this compulsion to separate humanity and Nature and its resultant destructiveness.
Another truth is that the problem isn’t in lines per se. What we forget is that in Nature, lines not only create separation, they also create connection. The ancient Vedic tradition that gave rise to Hinduism and Buddhism sought to represent the way things are through an image called the “Net of Indra,” which represents existence as an infinite net of connecting threads or lines which, at each point of connection, has a multifaceted jewel, the facets reflecting the whole of the net and all the infinite jewels in the net. We are many AND we are one. Buddhism reminds us that forgetting this fundamental ecological truth is the source of much of the unnatural suffering humanity creates.
The great hope and faith that we can hold to, is, as Buddha said, that truth cannot be hidden long, and that this is the arc of human history and evolution. While we try to hide behind the walls of our artificial lines of separation, the truth of Nature asserts itself irrepressibly and the truth of connectedness tears down the walls. We have a long way to go to fully embrace and implement the wisdom of Indra’s Net as the path for human society or to proceed with the humility that Lao Tzu and Socrates advised, but our only hope for freedom from the unnecessary suffering caused by our compulsion to create lines of separation while ignoring lines of connection is to return again and again to these wisdom guides. Our lines of separation must be balanced through consciousness of our lines of connection.
Our growing maturity as individuals, and as societies and as a species has always been marked by awakening to our natural instinct to erase artificial lines of separation and to realize our true lines of connection, to make our “we” ever more inclusive. So, pay increasing attention - and yes, while there is plenty to be outraged about, I suggest that you not get outraged – this only creates more of those separating lines and walls. Instead, love ferociously and compassionately confronting the untruths of those who would create lines and build walls of separation for egoic satisfaction, wealth and power, while you strive to be ever more courageous at creating and encouraging lines of loving connection wherever possible.
|On Saturday, June 30, we are pleased to present|
"An Evening with Matt Watroba."
Matt Watroba is an inspiring performer with an almost magical ability to turn any audience into a choir. His songs and stories will lift you up and you will leave feeling better than you did when you got there. Matt is a regular staff member at the Swannanoa Gathering during Traditional Song Week. He's coming to town early for this special concert on Saturday, June 30 at 7:30 p.m. Join us at UUCSV, 500 Montreat Road, Black Mountain, NC 28711. Suggested donation $15 to $20, no one turned away.
|The Black Mountain Home, located in Black Mountain since 1922, is a private, nonprofit organization that accepts children from the N.C. Department of Social Services. It provides services for children from birth through college graduation. The home operates residential, foster care, transitional living and independent living programs. In July the Social Action Committee will be asking your help in collecting paper items for the Home. Stay tuned. Watch the Current in July for icollection dates and items needed.|
|Save the date and save your items to donate such as clothing, household items, collectibles, plants, books, children's toys. No electronics or mattresses.|
|The Choir will take a break in June, while Linda Metzner recovers from her hip replacement surgery. Hold Linda in the light on Monday, June 11th!|
|The Women's group will meet at 1:00 pm on June 8 at the Lynx Community room for a presentation by Susan Hurley, "Trauma Informed Skills for Emotion Regulation." Susan will be defining trauma, identifying events or experiences that constitute trauma, explaining how we react to trauma and the long term effects of trauma. We will practice trauma informed emotion regulation skills if time allows.|
|The Intuitive Development Group (Psi) will meet at UUCSV at 1:30 pm on |
June 26 to explore aspects of spiritualism. Spiritualism is the doctrine that the spirit exists as distinct from matter, or that spirit is the only reality. In philosophy, a characteristic of any system of thought that affirms the existence of immaterial reality imperceptible to the senses. As a religious approach, Christian or otherwise, Spiritualism focuses on contact with discarnates (human beings who have made their transition from earth-plane life to dwell for a time in nonphysical realms) and the nonphysical reality.
|June’s Friday Fling, a fun party for grown-ups, usually every third Friday of the month, will be held on 15 June at the UUCSV church. Red and white refreshments will be provided; please bring a potluck dish to share. First movie choice: La Cage aux Folles (1978; Ugo Tognazzi, Michel Serrault; a hilarious French farce, usually considered to be better than the subsequent American remake of 1995, The Birdcage). Second movie choice: The World's Fastest Indian (2005; Anthony Hopkins in a true story; in the late 1960's, after a lifetime of perfecting his classic Indian motorcycle, Burt Monro sets off from New Zealand to clock his bike at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah). Potluck begins at 6:30. For further information call Norm Kowal (458-4537).|
|Update: The Memorial Garden Committee will be meeting with three local and fully licensed landscape contractors interested in bidding on the construction of our garden on June 20th and 21st at our site. The contractors are all with jobs through the summer so construction will not commence until late summer or early autumn|
We'll certainly keep you posted. We thank those of you who donated money for the project as well as the bequest from Jay Ellis' estate. We will have a beautiful outdoor space for everyone to reflect and celebrate the history of our congregation and it's members.
in Cullowhee, NC. More
Every summer, for one week in July, people travel from all over to gather in the mountains of North Carolina.
Together we play, learn, worship, laugh, rest, restore and commune at SUUSI.
Join us July 15 – 21, 2018!
Thank you so much for another successful luncheon at Lake Tomahawk on May 24, 2018. You contributed wonderful food, serving assistance, comradeship and cleanup. Your support of this very important construction project for families in need makes all the difference in our community. I look forward to working with you again soon. Here are all the participants:
Julia Jordan, Suzanne Ziglar, Helen Bell, Jane Carroll, Rev. Michael Carter, Susan Culler, Janice Dzierra, Linda Tatsapaugh, Katherine Thorpe, David Groce, Emory Underwood, Kate Ramsey, Jean Brown, Brenda Chunn, Ruth Pittard, Diane Hutchins, Kathy Prosser and Anna Marcel de Hermanas, Roberta Madden
|Alert: there will be no newsletter in July, as the editor is taking a vacation. The deadline for the August Newsletter is July 25th. Please submit items to this address. The best format is simply in the body of an email. |
|Board of Trustees:|
Susan Culler, Vice-Pres.
David Wells, President
Rev. Michael Carter,