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Guest in Your Pulpit - Tom Beck
Guest in Your Pulpit - Tom Beck

Tom Beck is a member of the Unitarian Universalist (UU) Church of Akron. Tom is employed by The University of Akron in Akron, Ohio, as an administrator responsible for the operation of WZIP-FM and also serves as a teacher instructing courses in Broadcasting, Radio Production, Speech, Radio Station Programming and Operations, and Business and Professional Speaking. Tom has worked at The University of Akron for 32 years. Tom is the father of three adult sons and has two grandchildren. Tom has been presenting Sunday services at Unitarian Universalist Churches in Ohio during the past ten years including speaking engagements at Kent UU, Akron UU, Society UU in Cleveland Heights, Westfield Center and Southwest UU.

Titles of programs/sermons and a brief statement of content on each:

  • Proud Army Dad—The U.S. Military is a popular topic for radio and TV talk shows and political debates, but all too often the topic is treated in a superficial and exploitive manner. What's it like to be a family member of a military service person who is on active duty? Tom Beck will share his experiences being an "Army Dad" and give some suggestions on how we can best approach the subject when we encounter family members of active duty personnel.
  • Breakfast With The Enemy—What happens when a liberal is seated across the breakfast table from a conservative and the conversation turns to politics and religion? Everybody can imagine what DOES happen ... but in this Message we'll investigate what SHOULD happen.
  • I Never Met the Man—Guest speaker Tom Beck will explore the phenomenon of how our actions can influence others in ways that we may not have anticipated. We are all builders, not only to meet our immediate needs, but also to serve in ways yet to be determined for generations to come.
  • Lessons Learned On a Bike Ride—Tom Beck is an avid bicycle rider and has been a biker since he was a child. In the Summer of 2003 an incident occurred during a bike ride on the Towpath Train in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park that changed Tom's perception regarding the age old question of "Who is my neighbor?" The message will examine the story of the Good Samaritan and evaluate an important aspect of that ancient story that is frequently missed when the story is told in our modern times.
  • The Book of Job, Revisited—Tragedy is a part of life and we'd like to avoid the consequences of misfortune if at all possible. Frequently when problems arise we ask "why me?" In the Message "The Book of Job, Revisited" guest speaker Tom Beck will explore the question "why me?" and then take the issue one step further by examining the follow up question that we should consider when difficulties strike: "what should I do next?"
  • Walking With Snyder—When I was a child, my mother was assisted in raising us kids by our neighbors, an elderly couple named Mr. and Mrs. Snyder. The Snyders passed away long ago, but when I think about them I'm reminded about how important it is for us to deal with people in a way that is meaningful. The Snyders took the time to really care about other people - and that made all the difference.
  • JesusA Stand Up Kind-a Guy—Some people think that the philosophies of Jesus have very little relevance in modern Unitarian Universalism. Others are uncomfortable with the interpretation of Jesus and his deeds as represented in fundamental Christian doctrine. Speaker Tom Beck will explore the viewpoint that the examples presented through the life of Jesus have something of relevance to say to modern Unitarian Universalists.
  • Whatever Happened to the Treasure of the Greentown Indians?—What does diversity really mean and why is diversity important? Speaker Tom Beck will explore the concept of diversity from a different perspective giving emphasis on the critical importance of diversity in our society and what is lost to us when we fail to recognize the value of cultural diversity among us.
  • Strangers Among Us (Christmas Season)—Everyday we come in contact with strangers - some we pass by quickly and others become an important part of our lives. Speaker Tom Beck will examine the role that strangers played in the Christmas Story and how strangers influence our lives today. This service will include Christmas Carols to get you into the holiday spirit.
  • A Kind Word—It's important to remember to say a kind word to family members, friends and strangers. The words we speak have the power to harm as well as heal. We have a responsibility to structure our comments with care knowing that a single word can affect another person's quality of life.
  • My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me? (Easter Season)—This sermon includes an examination of Christian Philosophy and what role it has to play in the Unitarian Universalist movement. Some people reject Christian Philosophy because of the way it's been administered by church bureaucrats over the centuries. What is the basic concept of Christian Philosophy and how have individuals put that philosophy to work in their lives and through their deeds? Tom Beck will explore this concept and suggest that Christian Philosophy has something to offer modern Unitarian Universalism.
  • How Can We Sing in a Strange Land?—America may have entered a period of history wherein conservative thought expressed by the religious and political right appears to influence public policy and dominate some aspects of social interaction. This direction can be very unsettling to individuals who are liberal in their religious and political philosophies. Tom Beck will discuss certain influence that the conservative movement in America has had on society and suggest that individuals who advocate liberal philosophies must remain actively engaged in articulating their viewpoints.
  • Let My People Go!—This sermon examines the power of free speech and celebrates the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. This service includes passages from famous speeches to illustrate the power of speech.
  • For Such a Time as This—Some people call it "fate" while others claim that we are just in the right place at the right time. Nevertheless, each generation finds itself in a place and time that is unique to history. We are Unitarian Universalists - a people who represent liberal religious philosophies and traditions. What role will we be called upon to play as we face the challenges of the 21st Century?
  • Jonah, Part 1—The Book of Jonah from the Old Testament of the Bible is only a few pages long but it contains an interesting story that helps to spotlight some issues associated with modern Unitarian Universalism. It's deceptively simple to become a UU. All you have to do is sign your name in a book. But is it really that simple? Are we serious enough about our commitment to Unitarian Universalism to really live what we believe as UU's? Tom Beck will explore this issue in Jonah, Part 1.
  • Jonah, Part 2—This second in a two part sermon series will continue the theme of Jonah from the Old Testament of the Bible. Early Universalists were faced with a dilemma. How is it possible for God to love all of humankind and at the same time condemn some people to everlasting damnation? This concept challenged Universalists to explore the nature of the Divine. They sometimes used the story of Jonah to explain their rationalization that God does not condemn anyone and that, indeed, Hell does not exist. In Jonah, Part 2, Tom Beck will review this historic philosophy that set Universalism and Unitarianism apart from other religious traditions.

Availability: Anytime of the year, within 2 hours drive of Akron, OH.

Fee arrangements: The standard honorarium for your congregation/fellowship.

Contact: Email Tom Beck at tbeck [at] uakron [dot] edu

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For more information contact cer@uua.org.