August 12, 2007
Introduction by Bethanne Jacobson
of us, each person, is born free, free of expectation and regret, free of
ambition and embarrassment, free of fear and worry, and free to search for
a sense of serenity where we may first touch our spiritual side. It is
this spot where begin to develop our spiritual self. Psychologists call
this spot the psyche, theologians call it the soul, Jung calls it the seat
of the unconsciousness, Hindu masters call it the Atman, Buddhists call it
the Dharma, and, for some, Jesus calls it the Center of Our Love.
know this spot of inwardness is to know who we are, not by surface markers
of identity, not by where we work or what we wear or how we like to be
addressed, but by feeling our place in relation to the Infinite and by
inhabiting it. This is a hard lifelong task, for the nature of becoming is
a constant taping over of where we began. The quote in your order of
service describes it well. The spiritual path wrecks the body and
afterward restores it to health. It destroys the house to unearth the
treasure, and with that treasure builds it better than before. Our
spiritual journeys may seem commonplace, but they are what give our lives
meaning. The spiritual journeys we will hear this morning are each persons
sacred experiences. They are subjective and even intuitive experiences.
For many their spiritual journeys and experiences come through ordinary
daily life, through parenting, through work, through friendship, through
illness, or just in some elevator somewhere.
of us can easily talk about those things we cannot touch or express in
numbers. I truly thank everyone for being willing to share their
The short answer to How I Came to UUFNB:
David Webb, a member of UUFNB, was my coworker. He
described to me the support he had received by joining this fellowship. He
very carefully invited me, not wanting to appear as if he was offering
redemption by attending his place of worship. Being new to the area, I had
already had a lot of those offers.
I told him that I had quit going to church in high
school because I always wanted to ask questions, or challenge parts of the
sermon. He said,”Oh My Gosh, you have to come!”
The longer answer is that I am not sure of all the
whys and wherefores of how I got here, but I can tell you some bits and
pieces of my path.
In Grand Rapids, MI, my mother attended a large
Congregational church. In summer, the choirs did not practice, so soloists
were used instead. I got to sit next to Dr Burhan at the huge pipe organ
as he played and my mother sang. 2nd grade was the earliest I could
audition for the children’s choir, so I was in choir until we moved
about four years later.
To me, church was music.
Junior High brought a move to a tiny community in
Northwest Lower Michigan. Mom was still a Congregationalist so, I started
to attend confirmation classes. About
the 2nd class, the stuffy minister told me that dogs do not go to heaven.
I balked. Then I quit. Now, I am not a dog lover, really, but sure enough,
I was right because several years later a movie was made called All Dogs
Go to Heaven.
I started to attend the Church of the Brethren with
some friends. My whole family eventually followed me. It was the end of
the Viet Nam era, and I was drawn to their pacifism.
In high school I began to read more philosophical
types of books. And I started to skip church, instead choosing to sit in
church; I sat on a sand dune and looked over the endless Lake Michigan. I
began to realize that I was a very tiny part of the universe. I have
strived to keep that foremost in my consciousness.
I read Jonathon Livingston Seagull, and “got”
that I could be anything I wanted to be, as could anybody, if they put
their mind to it. Even Jesus. Even Jonathon…
I read The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran, and with that, the cornerstone of my
parenting philosophy was set:
Your children are not your children.
They come through you but not from you,
And though they are with you, yet they belong not to
I practiced Hatha Yoga, and learned to feel, and to
be aware of the flow of energy.
After children, I became deeply involved in La Leche
League. It was my social support, and truly an institution of higher
learning for me. I became a Leader to help other mothers nurse their
babies. Eventually, I held state positions in the organization.
When I divorced and went back to work, I lost my
moral support, and much of my social network.
For probably 15 years I have had nothing. At my son’s funeral, a
friend told me that she was so grateful to have had the community of
church help her to raise her family. She said, “It does take a village
to raise a child.” This is something I have always agreed with.
But - it struck me that I have needed to be more
diligent, and try to find something that maybe I could use for a village -
even though I doubted I could find anything that would help my own spirit.
I had heard about the UU
church, and I went so far to look it up on the net, and try to locate you,
but actually couldn’t figure out where you were. (Response: a few
chuckles, and shaking heads) At that point in my life, I really didn’t
have any energy behind me to figure it out. Two years later, I started
working in the same office as David Webb, and here I am!
What I like here, is to be free to say that I ‘m
not really a “god” person, and I’ve known since Jonathon Livingston
Seagull, that I’m not a Christian. I think Jesus was a cool guy, a
really good guy, but a guy, none-the-less. Here, that is fine. I do
believe in quantum physics, and I do believe that there is a flow of
energy in the world. I do believe that everything we do affects one
A baby sways in tune to his mother’s movements.
That is not philosophy; that is not a religious belief. That is the flow
of energy between mother and child. As a matter of fact, the baby
doesn’t even know he is a separate person. But you know, I think he’s