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  • "Thanksgiving Day & Native American Justice" by Rev. Andrew Warner, Plymouth Church UCC - November 18, 2018 On a small rise in Lake Park sits a marker; it looks like a forlorn grave stone.  And in a way it is, for it marks one of the last Indian Mounds in Milwaukee. A cultural group called the Woodland Indians lived throughout Wisconsin from about 500 BC to about 1200 AD.  They built mounds throughout the state - conical ones like in Lake Park but also ones shaped like animals or lines. Sometimes the mounds included tombs, sometimes just objects; their purpose remains elusive.Milwaukee once had numerous Indian Mounds - 200 - but now only two remain, the one in Lake Park and one more on the State Fair grounds.  White settlers to Milwaukee quickly destroyed the vast majority of ...
    Posted Nov 21, 2018, 10:33 AM by Plymouth Church UCC
  • "Joseph" by Rev. Andrew Warner, Plymouth Church UCC - November 11, 2018 I love the way some people have names which perfectly fit them.  The other night I went to see a gay comedian who adapts famous musicals into political commentary.  Last Spring, with President Trump visiting Kim Jong-un he drew on the Sound of Music to produce “How do you solve a problem like Korea.”  He goes by the name “Randy Rainbow.”  Could there be a more perfect name for a gay musical theater comic?  At first, I thought this must be a stage name; but no, his parents named him Randy Rainbow.  Or I think of a gifted and organized wedding planner we sometimes work with here at Plymouth, Tiara.  Yes, that’s right, when she was born the ...
    Posted Nov 21, 2018, 9:52 AM by Plymouth Church UCC
  • "Saints and the New Birth of Freedom" by Rev. Andrew Warner, Plymouth Church UCC - November 4, 2018 What lives do we honor?  And how do we honor them?  These questions underlie any celebration of All Saints’ Day.  But before looking at how we might answer these questions in the church, I want to think with you about whose lives we memorialize in our country.Our public memorials say a lot about our values.  In the 1900’s and again during the Civil Rights Era, many communities put up memorials to the Confederacy as a clear celebration of white supremacy in the face of movements for racial equity.  For example, the University of North Carolina in 1913 dedicated “Silent Sam,” a statue of a Confederate soldier, to symbolize, as the organizer said, “The cause for which they ...
    Posted Nov 12, 2018, 12:30 PM by Plymouth Church UCC
  • "Liberty, Purity, Solidarity" by Rev. Andrew Warner, Plymouth Church UCC - October 28, 2018 Every fall our nation remembers the Pilgrims, the intrepid souls who founded Plymouth Colony.  We ought to especially remember them here at a congregation named after their famed colony. And yet, what story do we tell about them?One story - the classic myth - describes the Pilgrims as refugees from persecution and violence, people who braved the seas in search of freedom.  The Pilgrims started in England, a group of people objecting to the practices of the Church of England. Life became intolerable. And so they left; first to Leiden in Netherlands, and later, for America seeking religious liberty.And yet, there is another version of the story which speaks of the Pilgrims leaving for America because they found the ...
    Posted Oct 29, 2018, 10:08 AM by Plymouth Church UCC
  • "Hearts Open to Others" by Rev. Andrew Warner, Plymouth Church UCC - October 21, 2018 As my kids got older, they stopped playing soccer and baseball on our front yard.  In fact, it’s been years since they did. So this summer, I decided to re-landscape the front of our house.  Two new beds, running down our front sidewalk, boxwood hedges with room for flowers beside them.And now, with the beds complete and fall arrived, came the time to plant - silia and tulips, my favorite spring bulbs.  We had so many bulbs - 200 per side - that Jay dug a trench for planting. I came out to question the depth. Never question an engineer about measurements.  He got out his tape and showed me he’d consistently dug it 8 inches, ensuring the bulbs ...
    Posted Oct 24, 2018, 2:24 PM by Plymouth Church UCC
  • "Practicing Extravagant Generosity" by Rev. Andrew Warner, Plymouth Church UCC - October 14, 2018 A few years ago, I pulled up to a parking space.  The car in front of me had a vanity plate - the one in your bulletin - “WE TITHE.”  Honestly, my first thought was, “What, HUMBLE wasn’t available?” (Actually, I checked this week; and indeed, someone has the vanity plate “HUMBLE”.)And then, as I thought about my reaction, I realized it said a lot about our cultural attitudes about money.  Talking about money can be hard; and yet it’s what Jesus talked about the most. My first reaction to the vanity plate showed a common one: to project a boast, an unseemly pridefulness onto the owner of the car.  And that’s how we can often respond to ...
    Posted Oct 17, 2018, 1:22 PM by Plymouth Church UCC
  • "St. Francis’ Lessons in Changing Lives" by Rev. Andrew Warner, Plymouth Church UCC - September 30, 2018 I always try to ask family members before telling stories about them.  Lucky for me, Duchess will agree to anything if she gets a treat. We love Duchess, our red lab.  But early on we realized Duchess didn’t care for water.  She’d freeze; legs locked, when we got close to water. She doesn’t even like a bath.  And if it’s raining outside, she’ll skip a walk rather than get wet. Serves us right for naming her after royalty; she’s a bit precious.I’d long given up hope she’d learn to swim.  But one day a friend suggested we walk our dogs; and as his loved to swim, we wandered down to the ...
    Posted Oct 1, 2018, 7:16 PM by Plymouth Church UCC
  • "A Sound Spirituality" by Rev. Andrew Warner, Plymouth Church UCC - September 16, 2018 This past Spring, Grace Episcopal Cathedral in San Francisco made news with its Beyoncé Mass.  The cathedral used several of Beyoncé’s songs - such as “Freedom” and “I was here” - along with readings from the Gospels and Psalms to explore female-centered interpretations of scripture.  One of the organizers explained the spiritual import one of the Beyoncé’s songs. “We used ‘Flaws and All,’ a song maybe Beyoncé wrote for her fans or for Jay-Z.  But if you listen to the words in an ecclesiastical context, it’s a very faithful, honest, raw acknowledgment of the imperfect relationship we have with God.”  And of course, from clips on YouTube, it appeared to be very fun. About 900 people ...
    Posted Sep 17, 2018, 1:54 PM by Plymouth Church UCC
  • "Acts 25: Church and State" by Rev. Andrew Warner, Plymouth Church UCC, September 9, 2018 Every February, politicians, lobbyists, and a few religious leaders come together in Washington for the National Prayer Breakfast.  The New York Times refers to the breakfast as “similar to the World Economic Forum, except that Jesus is the organizing principle.”  The prayer breakfast this last winter garnered more attention than most when it came to light that Maria Butina, the accused Russian spy, used the event as part of her recruitment of top government contacts (giving new meaning to the search for a Higher Power).  But even without Butina, we’d want to question this event and the ways in which Church and State interact in America today.Two moments this summer reminded me of the importance and disagreement ...
    Posted Sep 10, 2018, 11:33 AM by Plymouth Church UCC
  • "Acts 20: Leadership" by Rev. Andrew Warner - Plymouth Church UCC, September 2, 2018 Growing up, I spent much of my time in the Boy Scouts.  And at every stage I heard the motto, “Be Prepared.” So, I learned to have my emergency kit to start a fire whenever I went camping; to know how to turn clothes into an emergency floatation device.I thought of that motto when, over the weekend, Dakota texted that he wouldn’t make church today.  I was not prepared. And I heard the advice of my preaching mentor come back to me: always have two sermons ready, one in your back pocket and one on your heart.  Jay knows this too; so when he heard I was going to preach today, he wanted to know which sermon ...
    Posted Sep 10, 2018, 11:31 AM by Plymouth Church UCC
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