Ironicschmoozer’s Weblog


My Foreword to My Senior Minister’s New Book, “Gods and Consciousness”

At a member’s request and with his help, Doug has compiled four recent sermons on the topic of “God” into a book.

It’s available at our Sunday Bookstore for $10 and through the cursed, community-destroying amazon.com (for less money but with shipping charges that make it more expensive).  But there are many people who may enjoy the book who don’t live in Sacramento.

If you have read the book, Doug invites you to go to amazon.com and post a review of his book.

This is the FOREWORD that I wrote for the book.  Now I can say I am a published writer!

Foreword

            It has been enriching and fun to have known Doug Kraft since 2000, when I was serving a church in Silicon Valley and he was called as Lead Minister by the Unitarian Universalist Society of Sacramento.  We have served together as officers for the UU ministers’ association in the Pacific Central District.   Our colleagues look to him as a pastor to pastors, coach, accompanist, troubadour, trouble-shooter, sophisticated psychotherapist, and wise elder.  He’s a compassionate and mellow court jester.

Little did I know when I left this District in 2007 that I would return in a year to serve along with Doug, in an associate ministry position at this church.

He’s gone beyond merely recruiting me to the job.  He helped me set up an old futon frame and a new laptop computer, drill holes in my wall and move old furniture in and out of a two-story apartment.  As a colleague and leader, he’s loyal, collaborative and playful.  He’s open to being challenged and is thoughtful in challenging me.  He’s insightful about human nature and forgiving of human blind spots and slip-ups, including mine.

In few parish pastors have I seen such a balance of ministerial talents as we have in Doug.  He stays on top of the facts and figures of the institution’s life and history, and he counsels individuals with care and insight.  He supports the nuts and bolts of board and committee work while keeping our long-range vision, goals and congregational covenant in front of our eyes.  He leads us in song with his guitar, delivers dharma talks, and keeps his church data organized and handy on multiple software applications he created himself.  He devotes heavy amounts of time to reading, sermon preparation and rehearsal, and his daily meditation practice.

Doug doesn’t talk much in his sermons about our Unitarian Universalist spiritual forbears or progressive theological heritage, even though he grew up as a UU in Houston and has served in historic churches in New England and in Sacramento, where Unitarianism arrived not long after the Gold Rush.  Instead, Doug embodies our tradition. The Unitarian minister professor of social ethics James Luther Adams (among others) has said that one of the keys to liberal religion is that revelation is not sealed, but continuous. New insights and understandings about God and human life continue to develop.

So it is that Doug has introduced our congregation to his ideas and those of Ken Wilber about human consciousness and spiritual literacy.  These four sermons invite us to consider how human beings perceive the divine and one another, and how we think about thinking about God.

The sermons are not only rich in analysis and thought, they use vivid examples and stories.  They are compassionate, practical and helpful—as he strives to make all his sermons, and all of his ministry.   Doug invites us to let go of the prize of certainty and the illusion of control.  He invites us to ease up a bit, step back, observe, and relax.  What an invitation.  What a sweet and simple gift.

                        Sacramento, June 2011

 

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