Archive for March, 2008

Hindu and Buddhists concerned about Mike Myers’ film

March 31, 2008

Mike Myers

AP- The 43-year-old actor, who lost his dad Eric to Alzheimer’s Disease in 1991, was inspired to make ‘The Love Guru’ – about a romantic spiritual adviser – after finally coming to terms with his dad’s death.

He said: “My father died in 1991 and I’ve been on an informal spiritual quest ever since. But I am just so happy now that I wanted to make a movie about my happiness.”

In “The Love Guru”, a film which Mike Myers helped to write, depicts the ‘Second Best Guru’ in all of India. Jessica Alba costars.

Members of Eastern spiritualities are starting to express concern that “The Love Guru” might do more harm than good. Having only seen the trailer, I’m concerned as well. I worry that Myers may have tried to capture the warmth and healing he learned on his ‘spiritual quest’, but ended up undermining the very thing he wished to present. It is a failed formula for an entire movie to mock a subject or people only to offer a redemptive moment in the form of a final lesson for the main characters. See Razzie Award nominee: I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry. When a movie finds its success by taking part in the mockery of a subject, it undermines the base credibility of that subject.

It is my hope that Mike is doing more than that. True, many of the ‘funny’ moments don’t seem to be all that funny, and the catch phrases are tired already. And while the trailer certainly depicts an exaggeration of all things Eastern, it is my hope that somehow, Mike will not cross the line. If – amongst the poop and fart jokes- the spiritual basis behind his character is treated with dignity and respect, there may be some hope for the movie.

But let’s face it. This is Mike Myers.

Have a look for yourself.

Myspace Link:

Why I’m glad Barack isn’t a UU, and the full Rev. Wright Sermon

March 26, 2008

A few months back, I pretty much endorsed Barack Obama from a UU perspective. Click here.

Now I’m glad Barack isn’t a Unitarian Universalist. The amount of shared exploration and miss-statements that occur at a good UU service would feed the media with enough quotes to bring down Thomas Jefferson himself. I consider spiritual exploration and missteps to be a good thing among friends, but a damaging exercise in the face of hostile media attention.

A favorite Huffington Post and DiscoverUU blogger of mine is Rev. Debra W. Haffner. Please check out Debra’s blog post on Hilary Clinton’s condemnation of Wright. Sexuality and Religion: What’s the Connection?: How Could She Have Said That?

I’m not endorsing everything that comes out of Rev.Wright’s mouth, but Barack Obama’s minister deserves a second look, before we- especially UU’s- condemn either him or Obama.

“America’s chickens are coming home to roost” is a quote we’ve all heard in clips of Wright by now. Barack has been forced to disassociate himself from Wright’s words for this and other comments that Wright has made. I wasn’t sure quite what it meant, and longed for more context.

It turns out that the chickens quote attributed by Rev. Wright was taken from Ambassador Peck. Peck was the Deputy Director of the Reagan White House Task Force on Terrorism. He served as Chief of Mission in Baghdad (Iraq 1977 to 1980) and later held senior posts in Washington and abroad. Edward Peck also argued against invading Iraq prior to the March 2003 invasion.

Wright uses this quote, not to say that Americans deserved the attacks of September 11th, but that ‘violence begets violence’ and ‘hate begets hate.’

Most Americans did not bat an eye when our own government committed extreme acts of violence, and Wright calls for each of us to examine ourselves in this time of need and see if/how we are participating in this cycle of violence and hatred. There is a big difference between calling for an understanding our role in the cyclical nature of violence, and proclaiming an attack on Americans ‘justified’.

Wright calls on people not to hate. Not to strike out. Not to be a part of the cycle. He uses inflammatory language at times, but any minister that challenges their congregation will likely fall into this at one point or another.

Wright’s overall message remains.

It’s wrong to attack someone for the words of their minister. I can only imagine if I were held accountable for every word I’ve heard at every UU sermon. Goodness! Part of the reason I enjoy attending is the struggle with the ideas put before me. If I leave a sermon thinking and slightly pissed off, odds are, it was a good sermon. In the end, I may not agree with what was said, but the process has made me explore my own beliefs and ideas. Sometimes I go BECAUSE I know I may not like/ will be challenged by the sermon.

Please watch Wright’s full sermon in context. It makes a difference.



I believe in my duty to find the sacred, to chose it for myself, and hold it in my heart.

I affirm this right in you as well.

Together we can share the joy of community, the power of reverence, and the burden of freedom.

This is the creed of my heart, extended to you, and expressed through this loving institution.

Check it out! A real flaming chalice could save the world.

March 21, 2008

UU’s have always been willing to mix fire and water.

Many UU congregations embrace a new tradition in the celebration of a Water Communion. We use a Flaming Chalice as a symbol of our religion.

UU’s have also been champions of the environment as a part of our seventh principle Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Well, have I got a perfect storm for you!

SYDNEY: A U.S. broadcast executive-turned-scientist has seemingly found a way to burn seawater. John Kanzius, from Erie, Pennsylvania, blasted a test tube of salt water with high frequency radio waves, causing the water to burn like a candle, he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette newspaper. Chemist Rustum Roy from Pennsylvania State University told the same newspaper that he had confirmed the phenomenon by replicating the experiment himself.

The image of a flame held by an instrument used to hold liquid has always felt beautiful in its dichotomy. Water and flame. Two opposing forces united. If the burning the hydrogen can release enough energy to compensate for the radio waves that have freed it from the water. H20 will be the new gasoline. Energy will be clean burning and in endless supply.

Sadly, this is not the case. Using radio waves to produce the hydrogen gas is inefficient. Still, I’ll hold out some hope that someone will find a way.

Could it be?

The flaming chalice. A solution for our social AND scientific problems.

Big day for me: my screenplay and the Jefferson Bible

March 19, 2008

I’ve been working on a screenplay (no easy feat!)

I’m now done (until the endless re-writes occur).

And I’m having a staged reading using professional actors in front of industry professionals. Tonight!

The script started when I was reopened to the ideas of Jesus by the Jefferson Bible.

Thomas Jefferson edited the Bible by removing all but the words of Jesus including the stories of his miracles and surrounding commentaries. Not only did it open me up to the actual words and message of a man that walked the earth, but it enabled me to realize the difference between that message and the other writings contained in the Bible.

I was captured by the story we are told about the man called Jesus. The first thing that struck me was that he was thirty (thirty!), before he ever performed a miracle. AND that miracle was to help a wedding party keep drinking after all of their wine had been exhausted. Jesus’ first reported miracle was to go on a beer run without ever leaving the house.

Yes, there are stories about him doing things as a youth, but I decided to stick with the canon most people know.

His mother is unquestioning in his role as the Son of God- something he can not prove in any meaningful way. He’s famous for hanging out with prostitutes, criminals, and other undesirables. If he was a man, he must have had sex before the age of thirty, and likely had a wife (Mary Magdalene?). In fact, Jesus must have had quite a few women who doted after him, as it is mentioned in Luke 8:2-3 that Mary Magdalene was only one of the many women who gave Jesus the money and supplies he needed.

I grew very interested in the life of Jesus before he miraculously became the life of the party. Who was this twenty-five year old claiming to be the Son of God? Women are doting all over him. He hangs out with prostitutes, beggars, and tax collectors. He’s never performed a miracle. He’s gathering hoards of people into his clan…

I think a guy like that would be too much for people today as well. My screenplay explores a very human second coming as he struggles to come of age, learning about life and love.

Come check it out!

A New Feature Film Script Written by Aaron Sawyer
Wednesday, March 19, 2008, 7:30 PM

Theatre Palisades

941 Temescal Canyon Road

Pacific Palisades, California 90272


Dalai Lama- ‘I’ll quit.’

March 18, 2008

DHARMSALA, India (AP) – The Dalai Lama threatened Tuesday to step down as leader of Tibet’s government-in-exile if violence committed by Tibetans in his homeland spirals out of control.

I grew up with old t-shirts at the Salvation Army that read ‘Save Tibet’. From my perspective in rural Nebraska, it seemed like a funny quaint slogan, like ‘Virginia is for Lovers’.

Neither place seemed real. I didn’t know anyone that had been to Tibet OR Virginia

(I STILL don’t know anyone that’s ever been to Tibet.)

But the Dalai Lama, who’s audiobook (yeah, yeah, I didn’t READ it) of The Art of Happiness changed my life for at LEAST a few weeks- before I got back into the same ol’ habits.

The frustration of the Tibetan people in their continued peaceful protests against the Chinese government has turned some toward more violent means of expression. The Dalai Lama’s threat to resign rests on the ability of the Tibetan people to continue under their repression without violence.

I have always been torn on the effectiveness of nonviolent movements. There is a great deal sacrificed and very little damage inflicted. The movement relies heavily on the sympathy of outsiders.

Do we care? China hosts the Olympics this year and has already gone to extraordinary measures to beautify their cities and move (not reduce) pollution. They’ve even gone so far as to practice shooting rockets at rain clouds to prevent it from raining.

Where are the t-shirts?

PS- for a great blog on Buddhism and more, please check out Monkey Mind.

UPDATE: Monkey Mind promotes going to Avaaz to sign a petition.

Obama blogs on his spirituality

March 14, 2008

If you haven’t seen this blog post from Barack Obama, please check it out.

Technical Issues: Action being taken

March 14, 2008

Thanks for bearing with me as DiscoverUU continues to find and fix technical problems. As it is, if your blog is feeding via Atom feeds, we’re working on getting your feed to work properly on the site.

Other blogs have been disappearing as their servers upgrade ahead of our current abilities. Please let me know if your blog goes missing. Rest assured, I’ve not singled you out in some way. It’s probably just a technical matter.

Many of these problems should be solved in a couple of weeks (or less!). I’m hiring a new webmaster.

Your dollars are appreciated in helping to cover these maintenance and server costs.  Let’s keep DiscoverUU going!

What if the Second Coming was a UU?

March 13, 2008

Now, I know that question implies a whole hell of a lot of things that don’t really work with one another…

But I was listening to an old radio program and it got me thinking.

On Prairie Home Companion a few years ago, Garrison Keillor suspects that the rapture has happened and calls Billy Graham, the Pope, President Bush. But they all answer their phones.

On Garrison’s next call he hears the message: “Thank you for calling the Unitarian Universalist Association. Nobody is here to take your call so please leave a message and we will return your call as soon as possible.” We hear the sound of a trumpet in the background and an astonished voice saying, “Oh! My Clothes!” And then silence. Garrison Keillor responds, “The Unitarians? Gone?

What would the Second Coming be like if He/She/It was a UU?

It’s a fun question I’ve been pondering because it’s more fun than the old classics like “When a tree falls in a forest…?”

What do you think?

Mrs. Spitzer: Open Comments

March 12, 2008

Morning talk radio is all abuzz over whether Governor Spitzer’s wife should ‘stand by her man at press conferences. Advocates for women state that by doing so, she helps send the message that what he’s doing is ultimately all right.  Radio hosts even had guests on stating that there were women who would NOT vote for Hilary Clinton BECAUSE she stood by Bill Clinton despite his actions.

At other times, I distinctly remember the media saying the opposite, praising Hilary for staying with Bill.

What do UU’s  think about this?

I’m going to open this post up for comments.

The Vatican defines ‘new sins’ and going green

March 10, 2008

I’m happy to hear that the Vatican has started to look a little more in touch with our moral obligations to the environment.

I was even more surprised to hear that the Vatican itself has gone green, installing photovoltaic cells on its building and raising awareness of global environmental issues. It’s a shame to know that the Vatican, which has consistently lagged far behind world trends, is far out in front of our own White House and Congress on this issue.

Other ‘new sins’ included the world of  bioethics, in which scientists are becoming increasingly more adept at the creation of human tissues, organs, and entire beings.