Archive for the ‘giving’ Category

Universal Health Care Theatre

October 31, 2009

I’ve updated DiscoverUU.com. It was long past time to take down the UU Presidential Election section.

Unfortunately, there are many things that have been happening which have fallen by the wayside as I pursue great personal growth in an MFA of Direction of Stage and Screen at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

I would love more help with the site for anyone with a desire to help color or steer this useful page.

For a sample of my theatrical work, here is a topical theatrical piece I wrote and starred in entitled, Philip Glass Needs Universal Heath Care.

 

UU Affirmation

Please modify and use this in every way imaginable. You more than have my permission.

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UU AFFIRMATION

I believe in my right to search for the good, to choose it for myself, and hold it in my heart.

I affirm this right in you as well.

Together we share in the joy of community, the power of reverence, and the responsibilities of freedom.

This is the promise of my heart extended to you, as we walk on separate paths, together.

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Visit DiscoverUU.com for UU News, plus the best minister blog posts and sermon podcasts.

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DiscoverUU.com: Web traffic has steadily doubled over the last six months

October 28, 2008

DiscoverUU’s web traffic has doubled reliably over the last six months.

This is good news!

Please feel free to recommend any changes you’d like to see (or even better- to help make happen). Tips to new, hot, and happenin’ UU bloggers are also greatly appreciated.  Blogging UU ministers always have a free pass to the site as well. Just send me your RSS feed.

FYI: We need a webmaster.

DiscoverUU is a nonprofit UU organization dedicated to promoting the ideas and ideals of UUism in society. Please consider a donation: here.

We have web master fees, bandwidth fees, etc. Just a few dollars WOULD go a long way toward helping this site to continue to grow, develop, and promote a space for a living and diverse UU presence on the explosive and limitless medium of the worldwide web. When you find a good article, please continue to share this site with your friends.

Sincerely,

Aaron Sawyer

DiscoverUU Founder

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UU AFFIRMATION

I believe in my right to search for the good, to choose it for myself, and hold it in my heart.

I affirm this right in you as well.

Together we share in the joy of community, the power of reverence, and the responsibilities of freedom.

This is the promise of my heart extended to you, as we walk on separate paths, together.

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Visit DiscoverUU.com for UU News, plus the best minister blog posts and sermon podcasts.


Quick mention of my other blog: Nebraskan For Obama

August 26, 2008

With the Democratic Convention, I feel I should mention that I started another personal blog to chronicle my experiences volunteering for the Obama campaign in the red state of Nebraska. Nebraska is interesting in that it is NOT a winner take all state (just us and Maine), so different district’s electors may vote differently…. more after the link.

Nebraskan For Obama

http://nebraskanforobama.wordpress.com/

Screw the rest: UU social justice should be UNIVERSAL Health Care

May 9, 2008

We’re a weak bunch. Let’s face it. We’re horrible at organization, follow through, and devotion to, well, anything. Efforts of UU Social Justice suffer from Attention Deficit Disorder. Food for the poor, bicycles to tsunami victims, gay rights, migrant rights, and- oh yeah- we’re still in a war.

I applaud individuals helping individuals, but organizations are formed to make organizational changes. And I’m not talking about any specific organization, but my sense of UUSJ efforts on the whole.

The only way for UU’s to have impact as a group, is to unite behind one issue, and no issue is as fresh, primed, and ready for a UU push like health care. Why?

It’s in the name.

Universal Health Care the only issue that affects everyone regardless of sexuality, race, color, creed, or gender. It also eliminates some of the battles we’re fighting for on our other fronts- health benefits to the spouses of gay workers, vetran care, and children.

Academics support it. Doctors support it. And now, the American people support it.

It advances our core principles, raising awareness in the most alienated American of our interconnectedness, while promoting a financial structure that promotes the inherent worth and dignity of every person instead of reducing individuals to claim numbers and profit margins. And it will help our business compete in the world community, removed of the burden of providing health care solely to Americans.

But mostly, it’s in the name.

There are many other issues we should promote on an individual level, but this tiny organization’s brand should be concise.

We’re Unitarian Universalists. We support Universal Health Care.

Obama and Clinton, the lesson for UU’s

April 24, 2008

When I look at the conflict surrounding Barack and Hillary, I see a problem that is emblematic of UU behavior.

They’re on the same team. They have the same goals, dreams, and even share many of the same methods for achieving them. And yet there are differences. Important ones. Somehow a decision must be made between them. And that decision should always be in service of those same goals and dreams.

In the end, the seeming enormity of difference between Barack and Hillary are very small compared to the glaring contrast between them and John McCain, their Republican opponent.

And here’s the lesson: in-fighting can be a horrible OR wonderful thing. If done correctly, a clearer vision is formed. Followers are MORE resolved toward the goals and dreams of the candidate. If done incorrectly, a great amount of energy is wasted in distraction and destruction. Ideas are traded in for accusations. We lose focus while the other side plows on.

Ego, loyalty, and self-righteousness can tear UU congregations (and political parties) apart.  We are better served if ALL focus remains on our unifying goals and dreams. There is a time for self-analysis and self-improvement. It can even be a destructive process- cut the fat!

But lose the vision and you lose your identity.

Sometimes the perfect is the enemy of the good.

Let us all reflect on our own lives and hope this battle between the good and the better will be resolved quickly. I fear we are losing sight of the vision.

Footnote:

I’m not losing sight of the vision! Many links have been fixed on DiscoverUU. Many more improvements have yet to happen. Google AdWords has started carrying a few DiscoverUU ads.

I still need and cannot afford a webmaster. I still need to get my butt out there and speak to congregations to offer them the vision and solicit their funds.

Pay people to go to church. Here’s how it works.

April 10, 2008

A bolt of lighting stuck me when I was watching Al Gore’s new slide show on climate change.

I’d never really understood his idea of a Carbon Tax, but now I do.

Instead of taxing people for doing the things we want them to do, like work and shop, the government should only charge people for the amount of carbon they’re releasing into the air. I could pay little to no taxes if I live green, ditching my car and riding my bicycle to work for example. Carbon-heavy activities and products would become expensive- in some cases prohibitively so. People are motivated to change their lifestyles to the betterment of us all.

How does this translate to church going?

We want people to come to church. When they get there, we ask them for money. As living proof that America has a dissolving middle class, requests for money are a big turn-off. Asking for money causes tension in young, the skeptical, the poor, and the alienated.

What’s that you say? Those are a majority of the people that first make their way to a UU church?

(Hey, how many old, wealthy, open-eyed socialites do you even KNOW?)

Well, instead of asking for money from church goers, why not have the church pay members for ATTENDING.

Yep.

Say, $5 a person would do it. That way, the church isn’t charging for something it wants to encourage.

Most people would ‘spend’ the money at the service anyway on coffee, cookies, etc.

Can you imagine the different feel something like this would have? Instead of shirking every time I grab a coffee and cookie, hating the $ donation sign and hating myself for clinging to my cash, I’d feel like I had a little spending money every time I walked in the front door. And if I felt like keeping the money, well… it WAS my money after all.

In this set-up, NOT going to church would feel the way it SHOULD. Like I was LOSING out.

Losing money. Missing friends. Missing an opportunity to grow as a person and add a quick fiver to my wallet.

Convincing people to donate an additional $250 per person shouldn’t be that hard. Heck, most UU’s can afford it. And who wouldn’t want to be a “Greeter” handing out cold hard cash to everyone that walked in the front door?! Can you imagine the look on the face of first time visitors as you lay a bill in their hand?

“Spend it however you want. Get some cookies. Buy a book. Heck, keep it! We’re just glad you’re here.” I’d say. “No, really. Take it. Everyone gets one.”

I bet UU’s would have a higher retention rate. I bet young people would show up more often as well. Use it to replace your sons allowance? Maybe. Beggars off the street? Could be. But it what’s wrong with giving directly to those who need it? It might help diversify and raise social awareness in the congregation. Don’t make me break out the ‘limousine liberal’ label.

Where does the money for guests come from?

Usually, churches are funded by contributions from all members with a few people contributing far more than the rest. Long time members interested in growing the church could be convinced to ‘sponsor’ a new member. Wealthy members could agree to sponsor any guests for a month. As new people walk through the door week after week, I’d be hard pressed not to ‘claim’ them as ‘my member’ and slip some cash to the greeter.

**Remember, all funds are received FIRST from pledged members specifically for this purpose. It’s like a membership at a gym. If you’re not using it, you’re not getting anything out of it. Church is sort of this way anyway, but the best gyms give members all kinds of perks: towels, fruit, drinks, classes, etc. It’s a much more pleasant experience than the ‘cheap’ place with ‘no frills’. Let’s think about providing a full-service service.

Change is scary. But what’s the worst case scenario? You run out of funds because too many guests start attending? You’d be lucky to have such a problem.

I know. I know. I’m young. I don’t get it.

We have to continue with the old ways and charge people for things we want them to do, while it remains free to everything else. Carbon taxes don’t work.

It’s not possible. It can’t happen.

Right?

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UU AFFIRMATION

I believe in my right to search for the good, to choose it for myself, and hold it in my heart.

I affirm this right in you as well.

Together we share in the joy of community, the power of reverence, and the challenge of freedom.

This is the promise of my heart extended to you, as we walk on separate paths, together.

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Visit DiscoverUU.com for UU News, plus the best minister blog posts and sermon podcasts.

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!

Thank you, DiscoverUU

February 20, 2008

As I look at the wonderful minds represented on DiscoverUU.com, I get emotional. To put so many amazing people in one ‘room’ has been more rewarding than I could have imagined, and I find myself eager to move the bar up even higher.

But first, I need to appreciate you.

So thank you, blogger and reader alike.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you for being you and for doing what you do.

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I believe in the duty to find the sacred, to chose for myself, and hold 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 responsibilities of freedom.

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

Part 2 of 2: “Oh, I went there!”

February 3, 2008

“Oh, I went there!” is Part 2 of a two part posting. Click here for Part 1: “What have we done?”

Aaron Sawyer

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Today I am asking you to help realize the DiscoverUU vision by donating to our promotional fund.

Our goals are far from the dirtied term ‘evangelism’.  We must remember that UU is an outside-the-box religion with a misleading name and a confusing creedless format. It is our duty to inform people about the UU option. I hold that most people likely to associate themselves with UU do not even know it exists.

Liberal political blogs are the best place to find our key demographic.

Promotions by liberal groups within the liberal blogosphere have proven to be VERY effective because the reach their key demographic inside their trusted communities where they are hungrily browsing available links and feeding off each other’s ideas.

These internet promotions can be placed on the top web sites for one week at a cost of about $4,000 and represent almost 3 million viewings. Three million viewings.

That’s about 15,000 views in the key demographic for every tax-deductible donation of $20. It can’t be beat.

$20 lets you present Unitarian Universalism to more people than you will probably ever speak to for the rest of your life.

$20 to feed a young living community comprised of some of the best ministers and leaders UU has to offer

$20 that provides the spiritual food that could grow America’s next Ralph Waldo Emerson, Alexander Graham Bell, or Susan B Anthony.

$20 is a bargain, folks.

Those that can offer more, should offer more. I would like to run internet ads year-round, but we’ll need $208,000 for that. I know it sounds like a lot, but IT CAN BE DONE.

And I’m going to throw down the gauntlet here:

I dare say that if UU’s had a different message, an ignorant, hateful, and fear-mongering message, WE WOULD HAVE OUR MONEY.

“Oh, I went there!”

Our principles matter. Period.

So in the spirit of Unitarian Universalists’ great leaders, if you’re serious about advancing the liberal perspective on the multitude of issues Unitarian Universalism has advanced throughout time- grass roots issues like global warming, and environmental protection… like women’s rights, homosexual rights, civil rights… Fair trade and labor rights.

If you long for the kinds of leaders Unitarian Universalism has offered in the past,

THIS is how you plant those seeds, THIS is how you strengthen those roots, and THIS is how you provide the spiritual food that is required to fight the poisons of hatred, bigotry, and corporate greed.

The spiritual aspect of these issues provides the strength, the backbone, and the right frame of mind to heal this divided world.

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Ultimately, DiscoverUU is not about policies or politics; it’s about the living spiritual journey of Unitarian Universalism and its collective and responsible search for truth and meaning

Please visit regularly. Tell a friend. Listen to sermons. Comment on blog postings, and become a part of a word-wide living community of Unitarian Universalists.

Death of a Friend

January 27, 2008

I’m about to go to a funeral on Sunday for THE FIRST contributor to DiscoverUU.com: Art Dell.

He just gave. I didn’t have a chance to ask.

He’d heard me speak a few times at the Sepulveda Unitarian Universalist Society (The Onion) and is a former congregational president there. He’d worked as a school teacher for many years in the area and when he heard about this youth oriented plan, he cut me a check. There is quite an age difference between Art and me, but I was surprised at how short a distance our souls had to travel to find one another.

In a strange way he lives on through this site, having helped make it possible.

I will miss him.

Here are a couple of great Art Dell quotes.

`I’ve been a member since 1969; I want to think for myself when it comes to spiritual beliefs,” said Art Dell, president of the congregation. `

`We search for our own truths. Being a member here answers my needs in a community of loving and caring people.”