Ask Reverend Claire: Your 36 Questions

At last Sunday’s annual Question Box service, attendees wrote down and submitted their questions, and in place of a sermon, Rev. Claire answered them in real time. View the video here.

In case you were wondering, 36 questions were submitted, but we only had time to address 11 of them. Below, you can read them all, starting with the ones Claire answered in the service.

11 Questions Claire Answered

  • How do you define spirituality? Is spirituality different than religion?
  • In what ways do you wish the congregation were different?
  • While we can never replace Susanne, are we planning to hire someone soon to do her job?
  • There is a new “Congregational Covenant” called “How Should We Treat Each Other?” What prompted that? As UUs and good human beings, isn’t it obvious how we should treat each other?
  • Who are your three most favorite poets?
  • Do we really want to welcome everyone?
  • What do you do when past regrets come back to haunt you?
  • Why is there a cross on the altar?
  • What is your greatest fear?
  • We default to thinking with our heads. How can you help us think with our hearts? (Thinking about the draft covenant!)
  • How do you fight despair when logic compels you to fear the future? I fear for the earth.

25 Questions As Yet Unanswered

  • What is the meaning of life?
  • Please give examples from Follen (without giving or implying names) of the kind of behaviors that the new covenant is intended to address.
  • What do you feel needs the most improvement at Follen?
  • What piece of popular music do you love the most and why?
  • Being new to UU, we are still looking for resources, book, traditions, etc . to incorporate in our everyday life. What do you recommend?
  • What are your plans for your sabbatical year? How will you use your time?
  • What do you think happens to us when we die? What do you tell your children?
  • How do you respond/discuss with our Jewish/Christian friends/family the notion of Jews being the “Chosen People” or Christians’ notions of saving of souls only through Jesus?
  • Change is inevitable. How do you (suggest) adapting to or dealing with it? (life stage, children growing up, Follen Church, health, finances, etc. etc. etc.)
  • How do you come up with your semons? Ideas, references, and humor
  • What everyday practices of spiritual cultivation do you yourself do, or do you recommend? Something practical or not. Something small or not.
  • What do you hope to do in the rest of your life?
  • What should we do when we love something that is also problematic? Like Game of Thrones. Do we have an obligation to stop watching? Is it possible to enjoy while we know it has troubling content?
  • How can we continue to bear witness to suffering when our hearts are heavy? (I realize this is a big question and could be an entire sermon!)
  • How do you deal with despair? (your own) (when you take on the burdens of so many)
  • Greatest fear and greatest hope for Follen
  • Other than the changed physical space, what are your hopes and vision for Follen post-construction?
  • UUs and Follen in particular say they are accepting of all views but that is far from true. It appears that we are really only accepting of views that align with our views (yearly NOLA trips, big Black Lives Matter banners). Views differing from those are NOT really accepted at Follen. This appears very hypocritical. How can you help the Follen community to be more accepting of all views and not just those which are aligned with the “party line.”
  • In your opinion/from your perspective, does Follen need an assistant minister and if yes, when?
  • Are we a Protestant denomination or not? Why?
  • What was the best/worst sermon idea you have had/done? I refrain from reporting any of the OWL question box questions.
  • I’m new to Unitarianism so I was wondering if simplicity was an important value/pillar/theme of Unitarianism? How is it similar or diferent to Quakerism’s view of simplicity?
  • How much time do you spend writing the Sunday sermon?
  • Here’s a softball. What is the biggest opportunity for Follen in the next several years?
  • How will we ever replace Susanne?