1 00:00:00,000 --> 00:00:15,097 2 00:00:15,097 --> 00:00:16,520 Nelson Moroukian: Good morning. 3 00:00:16,520 --> 00:00:17,786 Audience: Good morning. 4 00:00:17,786 --> 00:00:19,660 Nelson Moroukian: My name is Nelson Moroukian 5 00:00:19,660 --> 00:00:21,201 and I come from Saint Paul, Minnesota 6 00:00:21,201 --> 00:00:26,320 from the Unity Unitarian Church. 7 00:00:26,320 --> 00:00:29,060 We live in a world of constant change 8 00:00:29,060 --> 00:00:33,170 and we love in a community of constant change. 9 00:00:33,170 --> 00:00:36,800 In our Unitarian Universalist principles, 10 00:00:36,800 --> 00:00:40,500 we state that we have a goal of world community, 11 00:00:40,500 --> 00:00:45,740 yet there is so little diversity in our faith. 12 00:00:45,740 --> 00:00:47,980 I was sitting in a service at my church, 13 00:00:47,980 --> 00:00:50,180 but it was not any old service and it was not 14 00:00:50,180 --> 00:00:51,800 with any old minister. 15 00:00:51,800 --> 00:00:55,250 In fact, our minister that day was a young, African American, 16 00:00:55,250 --> 00:00:59,180 Christian minister by the name of Reverend Danny Givens. 17 00:00:59,180 --> 00:01:03,060 He was preaching about paradise on Earth. 18 00:01:03,060 --> 00:01:06,260 It's not a very common occurrence for most UUs. 19 00:01:06,260 --> 00:01:10,680 He said, "Paradise is defined as a walled-in garden. 20 00:01:10,680 --> 00:01:13,660 One that only let's in the worthy few who God knows 21 00:01:13,660 --> 00:01:16,150 will protect it, will enjoy it, and will not 22 00:01:16,150 --> 00:01:18,820 let in those who they know will bring it down." 23 00:01:18,820 --> 00:01:21,790 He said that, "As UUs, we must reject that idea 24 00:01:21,790 --> 00:01:23,580 of an exclusive paradise." 25 00:01:23,580 --> 00:01:26,610 And of course, the congregational agreed. 26 00:01:26,610 --> 00:01:30,320 We believe in the inherent worth and dignity of every person, 27 00:01:30,320 --> 00:01:36,960 so how could we believe in an exclusive paradise. 28 00:01:36,960 --> 00:01:39,790 But then he said something that I will never forget. 29 00:01:39,790 --> 00:01:43,600 He said, "Our garden, the paradise of this faith, 30 00:01:43,600 --> 00:01:45,740 still has its walls up. 31 00:01:45,740 --> 00:01:48,120 And even though we built a door in those walls 32 00:01:48,120 --> 00:01:50,650 and we put up a sign saying all are welcome, 33 00:01:50,650 --> 00:01:52,750 we left that door closed and we never 34 00:01:52,750 --> 00:01:57,850 ventured outside to go bring people into our paradise. 35 00:01:57,850 --> 00:02:01,300 We say we believe that everyone is part of an interconnected 36 00:02:01,300 --> 00:02:05,580 web of existence and that we strive for a global community. 37 00:02:05,580 --> 00:02:07,660 So what are you willing to do to bring people 38 00:02:07,660 --> 00:02:12,150 into the paradise of freedom that is this faith? 39 00:02:12,150 --> 00:02:15,150 If we can open up our minds to new ideas and our hearts 40 00:02:15,150 --> 00:02:18,700 and souls to new Gods, maybe one day we 41 00:02:18,700 --> 00:02:21,800 will venture out of those doors and out of those walls 42 00:02:21,800 --> 00:02:23,210 and gather up the people and say, 43 00:02:23,210 --> 00:02:27,140 come, I know a place where you can be free. 44 00:02:27,140 --> 00:02:28,700 If we can bring about that change 45 00:02:28,700 --> 00:02:31,490 by living into new traditions and new ideas, 46 00:02:31,490 --> 00:02:35,190 we can create a garden with open doors and open windows 47 00:02:35,190 --> 00:02:37,930 and then we can begin to take down those walls 48 00:02:37,930 --> 00:02:40,580 so we don't have to go out and tell others to come in, 49 00:02:40,580 --> 00:02:45,370 but they will want to come in of their own accord." 50 00:02:45,370 --> 00:02:50,340 This week for the first time I tried a chanting meditation. 51 00:02:50,340 --> 00:02:56,520 As I lay on the ground chanting rue yah yah, 52 00:02:56,520 --> 00:03:01,130 I could feel my mind, my body and my soul working together 53 00:03:01,130 --> 00:03:03,790 to be in that moment. 54 00:03:03,790 --> 00:03:06,050 As the last note of the chant left my lungs, 55 00:03:06,050 --> 00:03:09,520 I could feel my soul buzzing inside of me, 56 00:03:09,520 --> 00:03:12,980 the same feeling I get when I sing in community 57 00:03:12,980 --> 00:03:16,130 and the same feeling I got listening to Reverend Danny 58 00:03:16,130 --> 00:03:17,970 Givens preach. 59 00:03:17,970 --> 00:03:20,200 And the thought came to me again. 60 00:03:20,200 --> 00:03:24,210 There is so little diversity in our faith. 61 00:03:24,210 --> 00:03:27,600 When we open our minds, our bodies, our hearts and souls 62 00:03:27,600 --> 00:03:30,370 to new ways of fulfillment, we open ourselves 63 00:03:30,370 --> 00:03:32,850 to a whole world of energy and love 64 00:03:32,850 --> 00:03:36,420 waiting pressed against the borders of our reality 65 00:03:36,420 --> 00:03:38,800 to rush in and transform us. 66 00:03:38,800 --> 00:03:40,820 We just have to let it in. 67 00:03:40,820 --> 00:03:45,340 So today I challenge you all to try something new, 68 00:03:45,340 --> 00:03:47,820 something completely radical that you never 69 00:03:47,820 --> 00:03:50,430 would have thought of doing before, whether it be praying 70 00:03:50,430 --> 00:03:53,530 to God are sending your soul through a journey 71 00:03:53,530 --> 00:03:55,770 in another realm of reality. 72 00:03:55,770 --> 00:03:58,400 Try picking up a new instrument or letting 73 00:03:58,400 --> 00:04:01,010 the spirits move you to sing out and when 74 00:04:01,010 --> 00:04:04,310 you find that thing that pulls you down to Earth 75 00:04:04,310 --> 00:04:06,760 or lifts you up into the sky, when 76 00:04:06,760 --> 00:04:09,710 you feel God buzzing inside your soul, 77 00:04:09,710 --> 00:04:13,700 you will realize that this is a world of vast, inconceivable 78 00:04:13,700 --> 00:04:16,570 diversity. 79 00:04:16,570 --> 00:04:20,339 We preach inclusivity and we preach global community, 80 00:04:20,339 --> 00:04:24,200 but our congregational diversity fails to reflect that. 81 00:04:24,200 --> 00:04:27,540 So ask yourself now, what will you do? 82 00:04:27,540 --> 00:04:29,910 What will you go out and do to make our faith 83 00:04:29,910 --> 00:04:31,860 a more inclusive one? 84 00:04:31,860 --> 00:04:34,920 Are you willing to go and stand at the doors of our paradise 85 00:04:34,920 --> 00:04:38,810 and tell people come in, we have been waiting for you? 86 00:04:38,810 --> 00:04:41,470 And what will you do once they have entered our walls 87 00:04:41,470 --> 00:04:44,380 to make them feel comfortable, make them feel at home, 88 00:04:44,380 --> 00:04:46,650 make them feel loved and needed, and make 89 00:04:46,650 --> 00:04:50,070 them feel free to be and practice their faith however 90 00:04:50,070 --> 00:04:51,760 they need to? 91 00:04:51,760 --> 00:04:54,210 And what will you do to help build those windows 92 00:04:54,210 --> 00:04:57,360 and expand those doors to the garden of our faith 93 00:04:57,360 --> 00:04:59,880 until we no longer have to ask why 94 00:04:59,880 --> 00:05:02,350 there is so little diversity? 95 00:05:02,350 --> 00:05:06,090 So I challenge you try something new. 96 00:05:06,090 --> 00:05:09,540 Try going out of the door finding someone 97 00:05:09,540 --> 00:05:13,240 and telling them you know a place where they can be free. 98 00:05:13,240 --> 00:05:14,960 Thank you. 99 00:05:14,960 --> 00:05:21,984