The DuPage Unitarian Universalist Church exists as a beacon of liberal religious thought and practice. Amid the challenges and changes of a chaotic world, we aspire to proclaim and embody the possibilities of meaning in human life, of freedom in human thought, and of peace and justice in human community.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Sunday Service: Native American Spirituality - January 25, 2015

Native American Spirituality
Reverend Tom Capo
Preached on January 25, 2015

Evan T. Prichard, a descendant of the Algonquin people, founder of The Center for Algonquin Culture, and currently Professor of Native American history at Marist College, wrote in the introduction to his book, Native American Stories of the Sacred:  “A religion—whatever its origin—is more than a spiritual path; it also invariably contains philosophy, numerous folk customs, and a wealth of stories or teaching tales.  The spirituality of a given religion, including meditation practices and revealed teachings, arises out of the depths of the illuminated soul; the philosophy behind the spiritual message arises from the clarity of mind that a true religious experience produces; the traditions, folk customs, health practices, and artifacts that affect the physical body arise from the religious culture; and the wealth of stories, teaching tales, myths, and legends, not to mention the poetry and songs that each religion preserves come from the heart of the faithful.  Each Native American subculture has all of these, so Native American spirituality in each of its forms could be compared with every world religion point for point.”
I found myself having some difficulty with this sermon.  My great grandmother was full blood Cherokee; my grandfather never told us of his Native American roots because he feared persecution.  And some of my ancestors were immigrants to the United States took advantage of and abused the Native American population.  Non-natives moved Native Americans off their land; they killed them when they resisted; and they took their sacred objects.  Immigrants educated Native American children in their ways, indoctrinating them into the Christian religion.  Many Native American traditions and rituals, artifacts and stories were lost.  What I wish to share with you is some of what has survived.  The rituals and traditions and stories that have survived are being used within different Native American communities.  

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Sunday Service: The Path of Buddhism - January 11th, 2015

Editor's Note:  Along with a congregational service on Buddhism, our Religious Education programming is devoting time to learning more about this major world religion.  Youth in their Sunday classes will spend time this year on the religion, its tenets and practices - and adults are welcome to attend the five-week course led by Rev. Tom starting January 18th.  Details available HERE

The Path of Buddhism
By Reverend Tom Capo
Preached on 1/11/2015

How many of you know the story of Siddhartha Gautama or as he came to be known, the Buddha?  Well, just so we start in the same place, let me tell you the Cliff Notes version of his life.  His father was a king, who believed that Siddhartha would either become a great king or a great religious leader, and since he wanted his son to become a great king, he kept his son secluded on their castle grounds.  One day Siddhartha went outside the grounds, and saw old people, sad people, and sick people.  He was greatly moved by this exposure.  So he left the castle and started studying with great spiritual teachers and tried many spiritual practices to find how one might cope with the problems of this life.  Eventually, he found himself sitting under a Bodhi tree meditating, and he realized, that is, he became enlightened, that there was a path to deal with suffering in the world.  He realized that there will always be suffering; our lives have ups and downs—that is the way life is.  And suffering is not intended to convey a negative view of the world or of life.   Tibetan Buddhist monk, Pema Chodron (choe drun), wrote: “When we resist change, it’s called suffering. But when we can completely let go and not struggle against it, when we can embrace the groundlessness of our situation and relax into its dynamic quality, that’s called enlightenment, or awakening to our true nature, to our fundamental goodness.”  In order to deal with suffering, one needs to have a down-to-earth, reasonable understanding of suffering, and see the world as it is—not as we want it to be.  In other words one day or another there will be suffering in your life—so it is best to learn to cope with suffering without letting it control you.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Sunday Service: The Complexity & Simplicity of Hinduism - Sunday January 4, 2015

The Complexity and Simplicity of Hinduism
Preached on 1/04/2015
By Reverend Tom Capo

First let me share a few interesting facts about Hinduism. (Hindu.BZ.com and hindu facebook)
1. More than 10,000 years ago the institution of marriage was founded and put forth in practice by Hindus.
2. The Rigveda, one of Hindu's holy scriptures, is the oldest literature known to humanity.
3. According to the Vedas, lending money on interest is a bad Karma.  We will talk about Karma later. 
4. According to the Vedas, Om, Hinduism's most sacred sound, is the sound which was present at the time of creation of universe.
5. Parents, teachers, and food are considered next to God.  That makes sense to me somehow.
6. Because of the usefulness of rivers, they are highly revered in Hinduism. People call them mother. 
7. Hindus believe that we get the human body when our soul passes through 8,400,000 species of plants and animals.

I could go on with interesting facts or tell you about the gods and goddesses of Hinduism, or the social caste system--the societal level that each person is assigned based on their birth; or I could talk about the various ways that people practice their faith, or all the religious texts and their meaning to various sects of Hinduism; or I could talk about the various rituals, holidays, and pilgrimages.  If I chose to talk about even one of these in detail, we would be here for a very very long time.  You see Hinduism is a collective term applied to the many philosophical and religious traditions native to India.  In a strict sense there was no 'Hinduism' before modern times, although the sources of Hindu traditions are very ancient.  And Hinduism has no definite starting point that anyone has been able to discover. The traditions which flow into Hinduism may go back several thousand years and some practitioners claim that revelation in Hinduism is eternal; sound familiar?