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Braver/Wiser Archive
Braver/Wiser Archive
Worship
  • Even When...

    As a hospital chaplain, I often listen to painful stories. We call it compassionate presence, but I may be crying inside. When words fail, I pray and sing.
    By Yuri Yamamoto | 6/12/2019
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  • Everyone for Everyone

    People of color—and other marginalized people—can’t just want things to be different. It has to be everyone wanting things to be different for everyone.
    By Rayla D. Mattson | 5/29/2019
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  • Where the Real Growth Happens

    When we can gently hold things steady, change comes from within; that’s where the real growth happens.
    By Alix Klingenberg | 5/15/2019
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  • Brilliant Collisions

    We can’t always predict which choices will wind up having a huge impact on us, whether it's bringing home a stuffed animal or taking a particular train to Oxford Circus.
    By Lindasusan Ulrich | 4/17/2019
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  • Another Human Miracle

    What could you accomplish this week if you knew you had a ground team wishing you well? Who are the other explorers around you, needing a word of encouragement that would mean so much coming from you?
    By Monica Dobbins | 3/13/2019
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  • Here. Now. You.

    Outside of the meditation hall, we plan for the future and think of the past. But so often we replay past regrets and worry about future events to the point where we’re no longer present in the present.
    By Kat Liu | 2/6/2019
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  • Finding Our Way Out

    Surrender is the last thing, often the only thing, available. And so we give ourselves to it. We fear it is our end. Sometimes—with grace or luck—we find it is our liberation.
    By Karen G. Johnston | 1/23/2019
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  • Quitting

    Once I quit drinking, my inner voice and I began the harder work: that of creating a life from which I do not need or want to escape.
    By Alix Klingenberg | 1/2/2019
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  • Radical Expectations

    Advent is about expectation—radical expectations that undo the status quo—and anticipation: a skillful search for the places where liberation rises from the ashes.
    By Robin Tanner | 12/5/2018
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  • The Kindness of Others

    A white woman pulled over and ran over to me with a shopping bag. She noticed that I never have on a coat and I often stand in the rain. She didn’t know if the things would fit, but the receipt was in the bag. She smiled and drove away. As I looked down at the bag, I had very...
    By Rayla D. Mattson | 11/14/2018
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  • Love Does Not Disappear

    In the eighteen years I’ve served as minister of my small-town congregation, I have led 96 memorial services, most for people I have loved. The longer I stay, the deeper I love and the more I grieve.
    By Elea Kemler | 10/31/2018
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  • Out of the Spiritual Fog

    God is not a distant force, far away. God is in the beating of our hearts and the backbeat of a funky baseline. God is in a four-on-the-floor drum fill, and in the achy joints and sore muscles the day after.
    By Alex Haider-Winnett | 10/24/2018
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  • Worthy of Love

    What had to die was my shame: my belief that I was not worthy of such love. I discovered a greater love within myself as a creation of God, worthy of these gifts.
    By Rebekah Savage | 10/17/2018
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  • Blessed Are the Magic-Makers

    We could see the main path to the swimming hole ahead, but we had to pick our way through sand spurs to get there. Behind us were rattlesnakes. What did the youth do? They started playing.
    By Teresa Honey Youngblood | 10/10/2018
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  • The Compliment

    I trusted the woman at the pharmacy to be capable of hearing hard truth. Bless her wounded heart with its internalized misogyny. She just wants women to love and support each other. Thank you. Me too.
    By Misha Sanders | 9/26/2018
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  • Amen-Peanut Butter-Eyeballs

    Our family prays at mealtime to practice gratitude in our lives. I love that my children are taking it as their own, finding their own meaning.
    By Christian Schmidt | 9/19/2018
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  • Fear Can't Last Forever

    This is a story of in-the-middle for those wondering how their story ends.
    By Robin Tanner | 8/29/2018
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  • Petrichor

    May we find unexpected ways to remember where we came from and imagine where we may go next. May we find touchstones of our pasts, and may they become a foundation for the future.
    By Alex Haider-Winnett | 8/15/2018
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  • Playlists of the Spirit

    Music is my solace and my comfort, the one thing that’s always with me. I feel its vibration deep in my soul; it’s my spiritual practice. Music tells the story of my life.
    By Connie Simon | 5/23/2018
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  • Opportunities to Say Yes

    Last year for Lent, I decided to say yes to any request. I made it all the way to Easter without having to honor my decision.
    By Nathan Ryan | 3/14/2018
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  • Faithful

    Being faithful doesn’t mean endless work. It also means attention to the movement of spirit that can appear as an hour of sleep, the truth of a toddler, or a donut in the middle of the day.
    By Robin Tanner | 2/28/2018
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  • No Longer Claiming "Divorced"

    I spent time feeling embarrassed—that somehow I had failed—because I had filed for divorce. It’s been over nine years now, and I wake up every single day happy with my decision.
    By Rayla D. Mattson | 2/14/2018
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  • Wanting to Break Free

    I wanted so badly to break free and let loose—but I just couldn't. I was stuck in my own false ideas of the congregation's expectations of me. Luckily, there’s still time.
    By DeReau K. Farrar | 1/16/2018
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  • Mrs. Cash's Oranges

    Liking somebody, even loving somebody, is not enough to protect them from shade that you cannot even see, much less understand.
    By Teresa Honey Youngblood | 1/10/2018
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  • An Adequate Christmas

    An adequate Christmas would have you calm and open, taking it in, accepting whatever is. Slow it all down like you might be, in some way, attuned to the pace of the Eternal. If you need, you can fake it at first.
    By Jake Morrill | 11/29/2017
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  • The Dynamics of Silence

    "How complicated it is to break silence: to open all of the secrets in all of our broken hearts. But silence does break; truth seeks the light. We're unraveling silence because we have determined that our power with one another is greater than the power someone once had over us."
    By Erika A. Hewitt | 11/15/2017
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  • Holding Space for Truth to Bloom

    Someone whispered to me, “Can you pray?” All eyes turned to me. I had no earthly clue what to say. It was a profound gut-level panic. It was the moment I learned to speak the truth as best I understand it, and to hold space for it to bloom.
    By Lisa Bovee-Kemper | 10/25/2017
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  • "Change" Is a Word on Wheels

    How many times do I need to make mistakes at the expense of other people, or people’s groups, before I’m ready to admit that I’m not any better at this than the bigoted and willfully ignorant? If I am to “be change,” I must commit to humility and refuse to settle for my own...
    By DeReau K. Farrar | 9/12/2017
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  • Becoming a "Real" American

    For almost thirty years after coming to the United States, I didn't fully understand the cultural cues around me. Initially, this gave me the false sense of liberation. I often interpreted uncomfortable situations to be my fault, as an ignorant immigrant. Trying hard to...
    By Yuri Yamamoto | 7/5/2017
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  • Confessing Communities

    "Uh, where’s the booth?” Having been raised by a Christian-on-the-periphery, New Age mom and a Buddhist-leaning dad, I was a little perplexed at my first confession. I was eight years old, attending a Catholic school. That’s a whole different story, but let’s stay with the...
    By Robin Tanner | 5/3/2017
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  • Exuberance

    What's my favorite weather? When the wind whips your face, you're alive, and you can think what you will.
    By Jake Morrill | 4/26/2017
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  • Good Intentions and Incomplete Efforts

    I’ve been doing a lot of guest preaching lately and it’s always a little awkward. I often don’t know how the congregation is used to doing things. Recently I’ve tripped on my robe, forgotten to extinguish the chalice, called someone by the wrong name, and gave the wrong musician...
    By Sean Parker Dennison | 3/29/2017
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  • Blessed by a Stranger

    There we were, two strangers idling at the red light―but I felt seen, and blessed, by a stranger.
    By Erika A. Hewitt | 3/15/2017
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  • Singing Out for Love's Return

    For twelve years, Daisy has been the best dog any person could love. But last week, when she disappeared into the woods? That wasn’t what I was thinking. As I tramped along the wet trail, calling for her, other words came to mind. We’ve rambled together through these woods for...
    By Jake Morrill | 3/8/2017
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  • Expect Nothing

    I had finally begun to relax—a bit. We were en route to Pennsylvania. My friend, a formal part of our “framily,” was visiting. We decided a visit to a crayon factory was the perfect winter outing for toddlers. The day was clear and crisp with typical bumper-to-bumper traffic for...
    By Robin Tanner | 3/1/2017
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  • Love Is the Last Thing to Ration

    When I picked up her call, Kira’s voice was thick with tears. Kira, one of my best friends, is the mother of 4-year old twins, working full-time, and grieving a recent divorce—which means she’s also learning how to be a single parent. "I lost it tonight,” she confessed in a rush...
    By Erika A. Hewitt | 1/25/2017
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  • Sticking It Out in the Storm

    .I want liberty and justice for all in my country. That will ask of me—and of many of you—the discipline of discomfort.
    By Jake Morrill | 1/11/2017
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  • What on Earth Is Worth Saving

    Those of us with some privilege in this empire may be tempted to seek refuge in it, as if privilege was ever going to save us. But who’s to say whether you’ve come to this place and position for a time such as this?
    By Jake Morrill | 11/9/2016
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  • Help Us Never to Forget

    Help us to live in peace together and serve one another and to see the holy light in everyone, even when those holy lights are especially hard to see.
    By Daniel Gregoire | 11/2/2016
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  • Universal Shorthand

    I have begun to pray recently. This may sound odd coming from a minister, but as much as I adore leading prayer in front of a congregation, on the state capitol steps, or at a patient’s bedside, I’ve always held a certain amount of shame that prayer isn't central to my spiritual...
    By Marisol Caballero | 10/26/2016
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  • The Three Maries

    It took me 37 years to recognize that I had been cloistered off from the beauty, the richness, and the heartbreaking complexity of other people’s experiences.
    By Teresa Honey Youngblood | 9/28/2016
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  • Our Whole Life Is a Series of Signs

    Our whole life is a series of signs. Any slight action: a dim semaphore. Our redemption, if it happens, will mean somebody tried.
    By Jake Morrill | 9/21/2016
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  • United by Vulnerability

    "Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and rightdoing, there is a field. I'll meet you there." —Rumi ...
    By Robin Tanner | 9/14/2016
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