2014-10-09 Service

9 10 2014

First Unitarian Universalist Congregation, Second Life (FUUCSL)

Thursday, October 9, 2014

6:30PM SL Time (Pacific Standard Time)

Leading the service: dav0 Turas




** Announcements **


Welcome to the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Second Life.


An Order of Service is available by saying “oos” in chat. For

visitors, a special welcome. If you are not familiar with Unitarian

Universalism (“UU”), a single service is not enough to experience the

diversity of ideas and styles of interaction that we offer, either

here in SL or in RL. Please come again.


You might also wish to look at UUA.org. or consider joining the group

“Unitarian Universalists of SL” to receive regular announcements.

There are lots of events besides this weekly service to take part in.

Be sure to check out our web site: http://fuucsl.org, for more details

on these and other such events.


We are always looking for members of our community who wish to get

more involved.

There is rental property available in UUtopia as well – contact Zyzzy

Zarf to learn more.

If you would like to try your hand at leading a service, please

contact a member of the Leadership Group – their names are available

in the notecard dispenser in the welcome area.


Please also join us after the service for coffee and conversation –

perhaps the only true UU dogma!


Are there any announcements?


** Lighting the Chalice **


“We gather this hour as people of faith With joys and sorrows, gifts

and needs. We light this beacon of hope, Sign of our quest For truth

and meaning, In celebration of the life we share together”

– Christine Robinson


** Joys and Concerns **


Please feel free to share any joys and concerns…


** Opening Words **


Moral Perfection – 10/9 2014


“I thought I would state a principle which I was going to teach.

I have this theory for doing a great deal of good out there, everywhere in fact,

that you should prize as a priceless thing every transgression,

every crime that you commit – the lesson of it I mean.


Make it permanent; impress it so that you may never

commit that same crime again as long as you live,

then you will see yourself what the logical result of that will be –

that you get interested in committing crimes.

You will lay up in that way, course by course, the edifice of a

personally perfect moral character.

You cannot afford to waste any crime,

they are not given to you to be thrown away, but for a great purpose.

There are 462 crimes possible and you cannot add anything to this,

you cannot originate anything.

These have been all thought out, all experimented on and have been

thought out by the most capable men in the penitentiary.


Now, when you commit a transgression, lay it up in your memory,

and without stopping, it will all lead toward your moral perfection.

When you have committed your 462 you are released of every possibility

and have ascended the staircase of faultless creation

and you finally stand with your 462 complete with absolute moral perfection,

and I am more than two-thirds up there,

It is immense inspiration to find yourself climbing that way

and have not much further to go.

I shall then have that moral perfection and shall then see my edifice

of moral character standing far before the world all complete.

I know that this should produce it.


Why, the first time that I ever stole a watermelon –

I think it was the first time, but this is no matter,

it was right along there somewhere –

I carried that watermelon to a secluded bower.

You may call it a bower and I suppose you may not.

I carried that watermelon to a secluded bower in the lumberyard,

and broke it open, and it was green.


Now, then, I began to reflect; there is the virtual –

that is the beginning – of reformation when you reflect.

When you do not reflect that transgression is wasted on you.

I began to reflect and I said to myself, I have done wrong;

it was wrong in me to steal that watermelon – that kind of watermelon.

And I said to myself: now what would a right-minded and

right-intentioned boy do, who found that he had done wrong –

stolen a watermelon like this.


What would he do, what must he do; do right; restitution; make restitution.

He must restore that property to its owner, and I resolved to do that

and the moment I made that good resolution I felt

that electrical moral uplift which becomes a victory over wrong doing.


I was spritually strengthend and refreshed and carried that watermelon

back to that wagon and gave it to that farmer – restored it to him,

and I told him he ought to be ashamed of himself going around working

off green watermelons that way on people who had confidence in him;

and I told him in my perfectly frank manner it was wrong.

I said that if he did not stop he could not have my custom,

and he was ashamed.  He was ashamed;

he said he would never do it again and I believe that


I did that man a good thing, as well as one for myself.

He did reform; I was severe with him a little, but that was all.

I restored the watermelon and made him give me a ripe one.

I morally helped him, and I have no doubt that I helped myself

the same time, for that was a lesson

which remained with me for my perfection.

Ever since that day to this I never stole another one – like that.”


-Mark Twain – from a lecture given at the Music Hall in Cleveland on

July 15th, 1895


Perfect!  The key word in this story of course is “confidence”

since this piece of satire is all about confidence.

Of course, Twain wasn’t hired to speak about confidence.

He was hired to speak “all about morals” on this tour.


Twain replied:

“I have a great enthusiasm in doing that and I shall like to teach morals to those people.

I do not like to have them taught to me and I do not know any duller entertainment than that,

but I know I can produce a quality of goods that will satisfy those people.”

And I suspect he did just that.


So while we’re on the subject of conning people out of their hard earned money

and feeling a sense of moral perfection when doing it to boot,

it’s time I segued into the offering portion of our service.


You see, the trouble is, we are facing a growing budget crisis here in UUtopia,

and it won’t be long before we too will have to start stealing watermelons

to help cover the costs of running this wonderful place,

so anything you can spare will definitely be appreciated.




** Offering **


Please be generous and donate to the offering plate so that we can help sustain UUtopia.


** Musical Interlude **


Also – a reminder – please consider renting property here

on the UUtopia islands as this will help defray the costs as well.

There is plenty to do around here and we would love to have you

join us if you are so inclined.

Contact Zyzzy Zarf for more details on rental property.


~Principles and Beliefs~


Unitarian Universalists hold the Seven Principles as strong values and

moral teachings. As Rev. Barbara Wells ten Hove explains, “The

Principles are not dogma or doctrine, but rather a guide for those of

us who choose to join and participate in Unitarian Universalist

religious communities.”


The Principles are:


1st Principle: The inherent worth and dignity of every person;

2nd Principle: Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;

3rd Principle: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;

4th Principle: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;

5th Principle: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;

6th Principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;

7th Principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.


As a leadership goal, we are challenged to explore at least one of

these principles each week.


This week, I would like to explore the 4th Principle: A free and

responsible search for truth and meaning


What is our responsibility in this search for truth and meaning?

Are you truly free to pursue such a search?  And if so, for how long?

If you are lucky enough to be able to conduct such a search

then you should rejoice in your relatively free corner of the world.


You can bet that it wasn’t always this free and it might yet again not be.

In fact, we still really aren’t even all that free in many areas of the western world,

but we let these inconsistencies be explained away in a relatavist shrug.

Many fellow creatures on this planet are not so lucky for they are not so free.

Meanwhile, there are some who are free but who take their freedom for granted,


Most people are filled with curiosity about the wonders of the world,

only to discover a much more shocking reality when they begin their spiritual search.

We are all born with bright inquisitive eyes,

and for those of us who do retain their curiosity as they grow up,

the search many times unfolds as follows:


“…it will almost certainly be suggested to you that the answer to

the question of origins requires you to believe in the existence of a

further, invisible, ineffable Being “somewhere up there,”

an omnipotent creator whom we poor limited creatures

are unable to even perceive, much less to understand.


That is, you will be strongly encouraged to imagine

a heaven with at least one god in residence.

This sky-god, it’s said, made the universe

by churning its matter in a giant pot.

Or he danced, Or he vomited Creation out of himself.

Or he simply called it into being, and lo, it Was.


In some of the more interesting creation stories, the single mighty

sky-god is subdivided into many lessor forces – junior deities,

avatars, gigantic metamorphic “ancestors” whose adventures create the

landscape, or the whimsical, wanton, meddling cruel pantheons

of the great polytheisms, whose wild doings will convince you that the

real engine of creation was lust: for infinite power,

for too-easily-broken human bodies, for clouds of glory.


But it’s only fair to add that there are also stories which offer the message

that the primary creative impulse was, and is, love.


Many of these stories will strike you as extremely beautiful and, therefore, seductive.

Unfortunately, however, you will not be required to make a purely literary response to them.

Only the stories of “dead” religions can be appreciated for their beauty.

Living religions require much more of you.


So you will be told that belief in “your” stories and adherence to

the rituals of worship that have grown up around them

must become a vital part of your life in the crowded world.


They will be called the heart of your culture, even of your individual identity.

It is possible that they may, at some point, come to feel inescapable,

not in the way that the truth is inescapable, but in the way that a jail is.


They may at some point cease to feel like the texts in which human beings have tried to solve a great mystery,

and feel, instead, like the pretexts for other properly anointed human beings to order you around.

And it’s true that human history is full of the public oppression wrought by the charioteers of the gods.

In the opinion of religious people, however, the private comfort that

religion brings more than compensates for the evil done in its name.


As human knowledge has grown, it has also become plain that every

religious story ever told about how we got here is quite simply wrong.

This, finally, is what all religions have in common. They didn’t get it right.

There was no celestial churning, no maker’s dance, no vomiting of galaxies,

no snake or kangaroo ancestors, no Valhalla, no Olympus,

no six-day conjuring trick followed by a day of rest.

Wrong, wrong, wrong.


But here’s something genuinely odd.  The wrongness of the sacred tales

hasn’t lessoned the zeal of the devout.

If anything, sheer out-of-step zaniness of religion leads the

religious to insist ever more stridently on the importance of blind faith.


.  .  .


So perhaps a war of religion is beginning, after all,

because the worst of us are being allowed to dictate

the agenda to the rest of us, and because the fanatics,

who really mean business, are not being opposed strongly enough

by “their own people.”


And if that is so, then the victors in such a war must not be the close-minded,

marching into battle with, as ever, God on their side.


To chose unbelief is to chose mind over dogma,

to trust in our humanity instead of all these dangerous divinities.


So, how did we get here?

Don’t look for the answers in “sacred” storybooks.


Imperfect human knowledge may be a bumpy, pot-holed street,

but it’s the only road to wisdom worth taking.


The ancient wisdoms are modern nonsenses.


Live in your own time, use what we know, and as you grow up,

perhaps the human race will finally grow up with you and put aside childish things.


As the song says, It’s easy if you try.”


— Salman Rushdie – excerpts from his contribution in 1997 to a UN-sponsored

anthology which was addressed to the 6 billionth human child born that year

that he entitled “Imagine there’s no Heaven”.


** Discussion **


Please discuss…


** Closing words and Extinguishing the Chalice **


“We extinguish this flame but not the light of truth, The warmth of

community, Or the fire of commitment. These we carry in our hearts

until We are together again.” – Elizabeth Selle Jones


** Dance **


** Coffee Hour **