2015-08-30 The Sacrilegious Spirituality of The Simpsons

Dr. Karma Waltonen, Worship Leader; Autumn Labbé-Renault, Worship Associate.

Karma Waltonen has been teaching at UC Davis since 2000. The former President of the Margaret Atwood Society, Karma has a wide variety of interests, most of which are incredibly nerdy (and geeky). She co-authored The Simpsons in the Classroom:

Embiggening the Learning Experience with the Wisdom of Springfield. She has published on time travel in Star Trek, the ethics of religious cults in Doctor Who, and asexuality in BBC’s Sherlock. She speaks at various ComicCons and at international conferences–most recently, she spoke on The Simpsons in Helsinki, Margaret Atwood at the Modern Language Association Conference, and on a writing assignment she created, at the PCA/ACA conference. Dr. Waltonen (her students call her Dr. Karma) is the editor of Margaret Atwood Studies and The University Writing Program publication, Prized Writing. She is on the editorial board of The Journal of Popular Culture. She is currently editing books on The Simpsons, Atwood and the Apocalypse, and on best practices for composition assignments. In addition to her research on literature, rhetoric, and composition, Karma also writes poetry, creative non-fiction, plays, and jokes for her stand-up routines. Despite her love for comedy, Karma continually tries to kill it through analysis. Her Freshman Seminars on The Simpsons, British Humor, and American Satire have only strengthened its reserves, however. One of her most successful Freshman Seminars, Writing and Performing Stand-Up Comedy, has a spin-off student club (UC Davis Stand-Up), of which she is the faculty adviser. They were invited by the Mondavi Center to perform on picnic day.

2015-08-23 Living the Questions

Our Worship Associates: Stacie Frerichs, Alex Lee-Jobe, Donna Sachs, Amethyst McKay, Amanda Caudle, and more.

Ranier Maria Rilke wrote, “Be patient toward all that is unresolved in your heart…” This year’s Worship Associates will share their thoughts on the questions that are central to their lives. Come and meet the Associates through the reflections that come from their weekend training together.

2015-08-16 The Really Short Elevator Speech

Rev. Dr. Lucas Hergert, Worship Leader; Rev. Beth Banks, Worship Associate.

What is Unitarian Universalism, and why does it matter? This sermon argues for the relevance of our faith for the 21st century, summed up in just a few sentences.  Rev. Dr. Lucas Hergert is the minister of the UU Church in Livermore. A lifelong UU, he holds a Doctor of Ministry in Preaching.

2015-08-09 How Are We Asked to Heal the World?

Rev. Beth Banks, Worship Leader; Donna Sachs, Worship Associate.

Catholic Trappist monk, Thomas Merton, wrote prolifically in the 1960s about the world from his cloistered monastery. His words continue to give strength to social activists today. The opening of his book, Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander, begins with a quote about the modern violence of overwork. His words apply to today’s quick pacing. This sermon isn’t simply about the fast life. He challenges us to not be carried away by a multitude of conflicting concerns. What keeps us strong and renews us when we are trying to change the world? I’ll be looking for answers at the June Unitarian Universalist General Assembly, too. You are invited to a discussion in the Senghas Room following the service. This service leads into the sermon by our guest next week.

2015-08-02 Curiosity’s Guide to Puzzles and Mysteries

Rev. Beth Banks, Worship Leader; Karen Klussendorf, Worship Associate.

Curiosity has fallen in and out of favor throughout history, sometimes seen as encouraging evil distraction and other times as a pathway to unknown treasures. Scientists and artists referr to it as both pleasure and torment. Today, engaging curiously with life is necessary if we are to live successfully in a cross-cultural, multi-religious world. The first part of Beth’s sabbatical was devoted to a leisurely study of curiosity and its gifts. Curious to know more?