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 Our Associate Minister:The UUA recognizes several classifications of ministers, based upon the role they play in our churches.  It is time for us to recognize The Reverend Nathan A. Ryan and the Associate role he has been serving here in our congregation.  With this new title, we recognize and appreciate how he has become a member of a valued team, actively shaping and participating in our shared vision of ministry.

 T.S. Eliot wrote that April is the cruelest month. I recall this line from "The Wasteland" each April because it suggests that when nature is in full bloom and love is in the air, not everyone necessarily feels love, hope, or joy.  The contrast that nature presents -budding new growth and adventure- may pose a stark contrast to someone who can't shake lingering, unpleasant, or sad feelings. If you or someone you know is depressed or can't quite put a name on a sad feeling, please call one of the ministers for a listening ear and assistance.

 Does parenting preference indicate political preference?  Authors Marc Hetherington and Jonathan Weiler claim they can predict our national party preferences by asking us to choose one word in each of the four pairings:  a) independence vs. respect for one's elders; b)  being obedient vs. being self-reliant;  c) having curiosity vs. having good manners;  d)  being considerate vs. being well-behaved. The pairing choices, say the professors in Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics, are stronger indicators than age, gender, ethnicity, education, or social-economic group in predicting one's choice in a political candidate. In our congregation, I assume there is a variety of parenting styles amidst our political diversity.  The authors say that the italicized words suggest authoritarian political choices.  What's your parenting style? 

 Some things "Passion" got right:With trepidation, I watched the Dick Clark production of "The Passion," a nationally broadcast, live production of the passion play from New Orleans.  Essentially, it was a pop-star, pop-musical, laced with scripture narrative delivered by Tyler Perry.  I braced myself for how Jews would be depicted in the re-telling of the story.  Fortunately, the scene with Pilate (played by R&B artist Seal, a curious casting decision) avoided the interpretations that have contributed to hideous anti-Semitism.  Pilate and his sycophants ordered the execution as a gesture to preserve the status quo and the machinery of empire. That's basically the truth of the matter, according to Marcus Borg and Dominic Crossan in their book, The Last Week.  But as for Jesus's passion, it was not his agonizing death, but his passion for redistributive justice that got overlooked in the New Orleans production.  (The same thing happened in Mel Gibson's 2004 film, "The Passion of Christ.")  Surprisingly, however, the pop song "Unconditional" closed out the production, a songabout unconditional love, a theological point that Universalists would appreciate. Is the idea of universal and unconditional love trending in our culture? On television, one Sunday evening in March, it seemed to be doing that.