"Ourselves, Our World, Our Stories"
Rev. Scott Aanseng
We can keep on having half-conversations about who’s right and who’s wrong, and further feed the brokenness that threatens to tear us apart. Or we can see each other as part of a larger We--a We that is broken, but a We that is in this brokenness together.
Rev. Scott Aaseng has sought to bring together congregational ministry and work for justice in the world since his early days as an activist on church college and seminary campuses in the U.S. and South Africa in the 1980s. As a Lutheran pastor on the southwest side of Chicago, he helped found a community-based youth development and organizing initiative, and went on to do multi-state organizing with the American Friends Service Committee. Since finding his UU grounding at Third Unitarian in Chicago, he has served UU congregations in Oak Park IL, Quincy IL and Hobart IN, and now leads the growing Unitarian Universalist Advocacy Network of Illinois (UUANI).
Rev. Matthew Johnson
To become who we wish to be - the truly beloved community, diverse in age, expression, race, class, and theology - we will need to be more comfortable than some of us are with messiness. We will need to risk our assumptions and transform our habits. Thoughts and stories about the complicated journey to where we might be bound.
What does it mean to have a human identity? What make us us? Science-fiction (and, increasingly, science-reality) poses this question in part through the encounter with Artificial Intelligence. Could a computer program be human? What might be the religious and spiritual implications of such an idea?
An exploration of in-spiriting experiences — those moments of sudden insight, realization and/or inspiration. Far from being limited to biblical times, epiphanies accost us frequently and in times of great need, like now.
Our culture can be both deeply narcissistic and shaming all at once. What might it mean to celebrate you for who you are? To appreciate the beauty that is you, inside and out?
What is it to be a person? To have identity? By listening to the answers of existentialism and Buddhism, we might be provoked to rethinking our assumptions about who we are - and what connects us to each other.
Welcome to the Prophet
by Mr. Shahid Naseer
Muslims consider Muhammed, peace be upon him, to be the “Seal of the Prophets” — the prophet of God, peace, and truth. Shahid Naseer, director of public relations for the Muslim Association of Greater Rockford, will be our guest today. Come to learn about the faith of our neighbors and celebrate religious diversity in our community.
That was the question that the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., asked in one of his books: with the possible answers “chaos or community.” We’ll reflect on Dr. King’s prophetic legacy and what it means to ask and answer that question today as we confront the powers and principalities of racism, sexism, and injustice.
Taking my inspiration from a sermon preached by Thomas Kerr at the laying of the cornerstone of the Church of the Christian Union (the name of our congregation at the time) in 1888, I’ll reflect on how we weave together a sense of mystery and a commitment to reason and science. For Kerr, archeology and biblical history helped enliven, not diminish, his faith. Can the same be true for us - from physics, neuro-biology, anthropology, and more?