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I wrote and preached a homily on the Sunday after Thanksgiving almost every year from 2003 to 2014 (I missed 2004) to the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Stanislaus County, in Modesto, California. I was the web master there 1998 - 2015.

I sometimes called my talk a "sermon". That's wrong. A "sermon" is:
1) A religious discourse delivered as part of a church service or
2) An often lengthy and tedious speech of reproof or exhortation.

A "homily", on the other hand, is:
1) A sermon, especially one intended to edify a congregation on a practical matter and not intended to be a theological discourse or
2) A tedious moralizing lecture or admonition.

Note that both can be tedious, so if they bore you the distinction will be meaningless, but my talks tend to be about practical matters, not theological ones.

If you are not a Unitarian Universalist, or, worse, have never heard of our odd little denomination, some of the things I mention will confuse you. I didn't go back and change the tense, which may also confuse you. In the homilies written before 2015 I'm still the web master.

Here they are, in reverse chronological order:

Life Lessons from Sherlock Holmes:
The 54 stories and four novels are over 100 years old, but still popular; we can learn about life from Sir Arthur. (November 29, 2015, at UU Merced.)

That Teal Hymnal:
There are a couple of things I love about our teal hymnal, "Singing the Journey", and a couple of things I doen't like. I felt the same way about the congregation. I discusse both, with special attention to my favorite hymn, "Comfort Me". (November 30, 2014)

Sex, Money and Commitment:
I know that most UUs would rather talk about their sex lives than their income or pledging amounts. I talk about both, illustrated with some personal confessions. Commitment comes up, and so do beets. (December 1, 2013)

Simple Gifts:
I start with the Shaker hymn, moves on to mission statements, then discusses covenants of right relations with teeth in them. (November 25, 2012)

Things You'll Never See:
I was web master for UU Mendocino. Rick Childs, their former lay leader, wrote about a conversation he had with his contractor: "[He] told me: 'There are things that you'll never see in your house'." Things like more nails than required by the building code; stronger bracing where he thought it would help, should a bad earthquake hit ...
This struck a chord with me, because I put a lot of small things into the UUF of SC web site, at considerable expense in time; and it leads to a spiritual lesson. (November 27, 2011)

Men, Women and Communication:
I discusse the differences in the way men and women communicate, and the problems that arise when they think their spouse is speaking their language. Illustrated with examples from my checkered past. (November 28, 2010).

Good Guys:
What is a good guy? What impels people to do the right thing? What is the right thing? Readings from "The Maltese Falcon", Leviticus, Mark and others. (November 29, 2009)

Reflections on Three Score:
I turned 60 in 2008. I'm older. Am I any wiser? Some, I say, and illustrate with lessons learned from my checkered past. (November 30, 2008)

What is a Devout Unitarian Universalist?:
I answer questions about Unitarian Universalists on Yahoo! Answers. Some of the common misperceptions about our faith are that we're a cult, that we are "the church that doesn't believe in anything" and that a "devout Unitarian Universalist" is a contradiction in terms. See how I spread light in the darkness. (November 25, 2007)

My Spiritual Journey:
I'm one of those people who was a UU for a long time before I found there were others like me, who had buildings and regular meetings. (November 26, 2006)

I discusse the nature of God, my relationship with the Lord, the nature of our church and our relationship with each other. It has two vivid metaphors and an underwear joke. (November 27, 2005)

Adventures of a UU Web Master:
One-eyed, two-eyed, three-eyed and four-eyed geeks. Elly Mae at Redneck.com, who wanted "pitchers from the Bible". An underwear joke. Humbling questions. Spiritual growth. It is all here. (November 30, 2003)

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This page updated: June 14, 2017