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  • "Koinonia" by Rev. Andrew Warner, Plymouth Church UCC - June 3, 2018 Earlier this week something in the news caught my attention; no, not Roseanne Barr. The National Spelling Bee took place in Maryland, with hundreds of youth competing for the trophy of top speller. 14-year old Karthik Nemmani of McKinney, Texas, won the honors; but all the youth amazed me. As much as I like to read, they spelled words I didn’t even know.At the penultimate moment, a previous winner misspelled Bewusstseinslage. I had to look that one up; a loan word from German that means a state of consciousness lacking in sensory awareness. To use it in a sentence, “She claimed Ambien caused her Bewusstseinslage.”But other words were as difficult, like glossodynia, a “burning sensation ...
    Posted Jun 4, 2018, 1:49 PM by Plymouth Church UCC
  • "Joy and the Trinity" by Rev. Andrew Warner, Plymouth Church UCC - May 27, 2018 A while ago, I was talking with a friend about the work of our congregation to address white privilege and to work for racial equity and immigration rights.  The friend I talked with is white; and as we talked, her face became clouded, until she said, “I just find it so depressing to talk about this.” It made her feel ashamed to talk about issues of oppression and discrimination.  She wanted to talk about happier topics. “Why can’t people just be happy?” she wanted to know.The conversation stuck in my mind.  First, I know many people struggle with this sense that talking about white privilege is demoralizing.  But I also realize that these conversations and the work for ...
    Posted May 29, 2018, 11:15 AM by Plymouth Church UCC
  • "Listening, the Spirit’s Gift" by Rev. Andrew Warner, Plymouth Church UCC - May 20, 2018 I don’t do much on Twitter; but a few years ago I had set up an account.  And though I don’t follow many people and have even fewer followers, I did somehow end up getting notifications during the last presidential election from the Tennessee GOP.  @TenGop tweeted articles that pressed all my partisan buttons; aggravating tweets I completely disagreed with. And these tweets just hardened my heart against the GOP and made me feel like I had nothing in common with those across the aisle.Eventually I figured out how to clear @TenGop from my twitter notifications.  And I didn’t think about it again, until this winter when the Mueller investigation revealed @TenGop to be one of ...
    Posted May 22, 2018, 7:48 AM by Plymouth Church UCC
  • "Why I Support Immigrant Rights" by Rev. Andrew Warner, Plymouth Church UCC - May 6, 2018 I’m wondering: has anyone here visited the house where Anne Frank tried to hide from the Nazis? And how many more have read her diary? Thanks; but even if we haven’t seen her house or read her journal, almost all of us know the basics of her story. Anne Frank’s family sought refuge from the rising violence in Germany. They fled to Holland and were safe for a while; but when the fascists invaded, they hid in the attic of a house, the secret annex. But after two years in secret, they were discovered and sent to concentration camps, where Anne Frank and most of her family died.In recent years new information about Anne Frank’s ...
    Posted May 9, 2018, 1:44 PM by Plymouth Church UCC
  • "Watching Your Language: On Love" by Rev. Andrew Warner, Plymouth Church UCC - April 29, 2018 A writer I like once said, “theologians are people who watch their language in the presence of God.”  Normally people think of “watching their language” as avoiding swear words. And indeed, I regularly have people apologize for using an off-color expression.  People use a swear and then look at me, “Oh, sorry Pastor.” It happens so often that I’ve realized I never get called Pastor as much as when people swear. But swear words don’t really offend me.  And, honestly, I know how to use them too.  Still, I like the reminder to watch our language in the presence of God.  Yet what language ought we watch? Swear words? No, the words we ought to be careful ...
    Posted May 2, 2018, 8:15 AM by Plymouth Church UCC
  • "Truly Seeing" by Rev. Andrew Warner, Plymouth Church UCC - April 22, 2018 I’m going to tell you something that will make you wonder if I really am the gourmand I pretend to be.  Years ago, back in the nineties, when Jay and I first moved here to Milwaukee, we needed a gift to take to his brother and family out in Oregon.  We wanted something that captured “Wisconsin” but also fit their interests. They love wine. So, we thought, the perfect gift would be a bottle of Cedarburg Winery’s Cranberry Blush.Jeff and Eddy were very polite when we gave them our Wisconsin vin de pays (or really, vin de bog).  The bottle went on a shelf by the stairs to the basement, ready to go down to their extensive ...
    Posted Apr 23, 2018, 9:59 AM by Plymouth Church UCC
  • "Belonging: Zombies, Vampires, and Werewolves vs. the Shepherd," Sermon by Andrew Warner, April 15, 2018 Last Friday, Friday the 13th, I found myself thinking of all the scary characters of our imagination: zombies, vampires, and werewolves.  These creatures, which populate our screens, disclose something of our fears. And yet zombies, vampires, and werewolves speak to different kinds of fears.I first encountered zombies in high school.  We’d stay up late watching one or another of the Living Dead movies, in which the zombies come after the living, hungry for their brains, and the haplass humans retreat behind barricades, safe until they realize one among them got bitten and now transforms before their eyes into a living dead person.Only much later did I start to wonder about the meaning of these movies and ...
    Posted Apr 17, 2018, 2:35 PM by Andrew Warner
  • "Undocumented Resurrection" by Rev. Andrew Warner, Plymouth Church UCC - April 1, 2018 Do you ever find yourself well outside your comfort zone?  I did last Sunday, as I got ready to walk the runway at a fashion show.My friend Dana - the same one who got me to try yoga (you’d think I’d learn) - organized a fashion show to raise money and awareness for the fight against human trafficking.  The show featured real couture. One designer created a dress that looked like something out of Star Wars. Two models wore versions of the dress, one in white and one in black; each dress had a large hoop raised up over their backs which they held with their arms.  Stunning and impractical; then, as they walked the runway, the women dropped ...
    Posted Apr 4, 2018, 8:58 AM by Plymouth Church UCC
  • "Cosplaying Messiah" by Rev. Andrew Warner, Plymouth Church UCC - March 25, 2018 Cosplay (v) - dressing up as a character from a movie, book, or video game, especially one from the Japanese genres of manga and anime.A few weeks ago the results of my ancestry.com DNA test arrived.  To be honest, I took the test hoping for something interesting or unusual to show up on the family tree.  My sister-in-law had recently unraveled a family secret. Her grandmother left Germany in the 1930’s to pursue a career on the stage in London and then America.  But in the attic was a trunk the grandmother kept anyone from looking in and commanded be burned on her death. For years, my sister-in-law carted around the trunk: too curious ...
    Posted Mar 26, 2018, 11:33 AM by Plymouth Church UCC
  • "Work of Art" by Rev. Andrew Warner, Plymouth Church UCC - March 11, 2018 Our reading this morning contains one of the first scripture passages I memorized by heart, “You are God’s work of art, created in Christ Jesus, for good works prepared beforehand.”  I came across the verse while reading a Lenten devotion decades ago during a time when I struggled deeply with what it meant to be gay and Christian.  At a time when I was drowning in homophobia, this verse came like a life preserver thrown just to me. “You are God’s work of art.” The verse, which I repeated even when I didn’t believe it, came as an assurance of love and grace.  No matter what people said, I was God’s work of art. No ...
    Posted Mar 12, 2018, 2:29 PM by Plymouth Church UCC
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