• Links to All Regular Zoom Meetings (Worship, Board Meetings, SJC) August 11, 2022 - SUNDAY WORSHIP Click Here For Sunday Worship Room opens at 9:45 am, Worship begins at 10 am. Above is a link that has a password embedded in it. I encourage you to use this as it is the safest and easiest way to access the room If you are calling in, here is how to do … Continue reading Links to All Regular Zoom Meetings (Worship, Board Meetings, SJC)
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. – In a Flash May 4, 2022 - In a Flash After worship on Sunday, I did my normal routine: dropped Blake to get a sandwich by where we live and headed home. As I turned the corner to my circle by the University, I saw two police officers waving people away. I figured it was getting a little full from people parking … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. – In a Flash
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. – A Summer of Adventure and Sabbath April 27, 2022 - A Summer of Adventure and Sabbath As many of you now know, my time of ministry with this community is coming to an end. I know this is sad in many respects, and it is both an honor and a great gift that people are sharing the concerns and sadness they feel at my departure. … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. – A Summer of Adventure and Sabbath
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. April 13, 2022 - Mahalo to You All Aloha Friends, First and foremost, I love you all so much. I would not be the person I am without the unparalleled gifts this congregation offers the world. You have given me the incredible gift of inspiration, partnership and aloha for five years. Together we have been through a worldwide pandemic … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. March 30, 2022 - Stars Align I read the news today, like a lot of you. Sometimes I wonder whether doing that so early in the morning is wise. I think I’ve mentioned the results of a study years ago that found people who do not read the daily news have a longer life expectancy than those who do. … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. March 23, 2022 - Someday When I was very young, my aunt and uncle lived with three of my cousins in Virginia. I was living in Connecticut then. We took a lot trips south down the highway to see my cousins, and it was a lot of fun. I learned a lot about obeying other peoples’ rules when you’re … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. March 9, 2022 - Real Candles “You should get real candles. You’re a minister.” I was at Bed, Bath & Beyond and my friend was helping me get some supplies. I explained that we light a chalice at church and that the electric ones last so much longer and are a lot safer in an old building. So when … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. March 2, 2022 - The First Day The proudest I might ever have felt on the first day of school was all because of monsters. My shirt had monsters all over it and it buttoned up, like a big boy’s shirt. I also had orange shorts, which matched some of the orange in the shirt. It was quite a … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. February 16, 2022 - Trigger warning: this is about having dental work done. For some people, even the thought of that is unsettling, so I wanted to be clear about what you’ll be reading if you continue. Piece of Work Isn’t the needle always longer than you ever expect? Also, its very presence was never mentioned. When I was … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. February 9, 2022 - I Got In Me: “I just locked myself out Lol” Friend: “Dude!” Me: “I’ll get in” Friend: “I think it’s time you hide a key outside or something” [3 minutes later] Me: “I got in” This, you may be able to surmise, is not the first such conversation I’ve had with a friend. I’ve locked … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. February 2, 2022 - A Note of Understanding My weekly message this week is less of a reflection and more of a report. I’ve been hearing concerns lately about an incident that took place nearby the church building late Sunday, January 23 and early Monday, January 24. Someone left the dryer you see here at the entrance of the … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. January 26, 2022 - A Certain Tee Sometimes my friend wishes I’d wear a different shirt. “Great. Let’s talk to a bunch of people today.” It’s just that almost every time we go out with me wearing it, some conversation has to happen. “Oh, I saw them in concert. It was one of the craziest experiences of my life.” … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. January 19, 2022 - Freedom, Too On the 129th Anniversary The booties I had to wear were so cute. I felt like I was pretending to be a doctor or like I was putting on slippers over my shoes. Then walking around the magnificent structure and on the finely milled and polished floors, it was a little more slippery … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. January 12, 2022 - A Christmas Miracle? I don’t want to brag, but I am a bit of a Christmas miracle, right in your midst! Every year I hope it won’t happen. I eat right (mostly). I exercise (usually). I try to keep the stress of the season and the calendar at bay every year. And this year, I … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. December 22, 2021 - Reason in this Season Friends, there is a lot I like about this time of year, but it might not surprise you that one of my favorite parts of the year is the music. I’ve shared previously about “Pretty Paper” by Willie Nelson, and covered beautifully by Dolly Parton. But I thought I would give … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. December 15, 2021 - We Can Be Heroes One of the things I’ve always wanted to do is to run a marathon. Well, I think what might be more accurate to say is that I’ve always liked the idea of running a marathon. Friends of mine have run them, and I’ve gone to see folks finish them before. I … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. December 8, 2021 - Broom with a View “Can you help me?” I got out of the car and arrived at the front door of my friend’s home and saw the waves—they were little, but they were waves—lapping up and over the threshold of his door. When we walked around, our feet were submerged under the water. We moved … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. December 1, 2021 - Pretty Paper It’s here, isn’t it? I knew it was here maybe for the first time yesterday, when I walked into the grocery store and there were wreathes and garlands for sale by the entrance. Like so many experiences of recollection and of knowing, it wasn’t the sight of the garlands—it was the smell. The … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. November 17, 2021 - Love Somebody Else It’s time for me to share an important confession. Throughout the pandemic, I have tried a range of ways to stay occupied. I’ve shared my love of The Great British Baking Show and I’ve shared how jogging and walking have also helped. Of late, I’ve stumbled into something entirely new. Around the … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. November 3, 2021 - Wake-Up Call Once upon a time, a young man had been doing a bit of drinking in Waikiki. He was having a great time with his friends, but one by one, his friends departed until he was drinking by himself. Then the bars closed, and this young man wasn’t sure how he would get home. … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. October 27, 2021 - At the Seams “Get it. Get it!” This is what I was saying to the crabs ticking along the sand sideways. Their spindle feet made tracks like seams wherever they went, and there were a lot more seams because my friend and I were lobbing whatever we could find in the sand at them to … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. October 6, 2021 - The Ball “ball…ball……ball, ball, ball, ballballballballball………ball” As I watched my friend’s border collie, this is all that could possibly be going through her brain. Her focus was beyond intense. It was singular, concentrated, and unbreakable. Around her at the dog park, other dogs would try to play with her, try to sniff her, try all … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. September 29, 2021 - Now Is The Time “Tenors, please don’t scream here.” We giggled a little, as a tenor section in a choir has a tendency to do. The conductor who was rehearsing us for the big performance was trying to be sure the tone coming from the tenors wasn’t too strident or yell-y. It was her task … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. September 22, 2021 - Something About Love “It’s not about the notes. It’s about the groove.” That is the thought that came to me as I listened to a recording of Knocks Me Off My Feet by Stevie Wonder in one ear, listened to my own voice and piano playing in the other ear, read the music in front … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. September 15, 2021 - Modeling Self Care Aloha Friends. My message this week is no message. I’m taking a floating holiday from Labor Day today because I have worked in some capacity on each of the past fourteen days. I feel great. I share that not in any way to make anyone feel bad. I am simply modeling what … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. September 8, 2021 - Our Own Advice Sometimes I wonder what our lives would be like if we took all of the great advice we give to others. Would we let more things go, get more sleep, drink less caffeine, and go for more walks in nature? Probably. Those are just a few of the ways I’ve wondered recently … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. September 1, 2021 - A Good Time “We’re having a good time…having a good time…” When these lyrics came from the speakers, they came with an announcement: “The groom wants everyone to get up and dance before dinner.” It was nice to have the message from the DJ, but the groom’s message was already clear because he was punching … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. August 25, 2021 - That Time of Year Well, it’s that time of year again…time to plan for Thanksgiving! The annual Nu’uanu Valley Interfaith Thanksgiving Service is in full planning mode, and in meetings taking place on Zoom, from a few different corners of the globe, our merry band of planners is at it again. We are looking for … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. August 18, 2021 - What’s Next I had a chance this week to speak with a colleague who is a hospital chaplain. She was naturally very concerned with all of the wild growth in numbers of Covid infections, and we spoke about what that means for the many patients she and her colleagues see in hospitals. She also spoke … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. August 11, 2021 - Early to Rise “I want to be on the road by 6.” Big words from my friend who usually wakes at 11. Up by 6 though, we got the essentials done. We made banana pancakes and since we forgot to get maple syrup, we concocted a peanut butter and almond milk “syrup” that seemed like … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. August 4, 2021 - The Cheering Section The first person I knew really well who died was my friend Christopher’s mother. Carole was the mother hen, really, of our town. Everyone knew her, and if there was ever a house where we needed to have a party or an event for a school function, she was quick to offer … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.
  • Weekly Message from Rev. T. J. July 28, 2021 - A Good Age I don’t think he really meant to hit her very hard. It was still a little difficult to watch, though also a little comical. A child I guessed was about nine months old was tottering on his mother’s lap in the boarding area. She was trying to get him to stand, but … Continue reading Weekly Message from Rev. T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. July 21, 2021 - There and Back Again It was a great blessing to have some time for rejuvenation! Because I know how much we all love seeing pictures of a vacations…here are some from mine. There are only 10, so I am not taxing you all too much.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. – Vacation Edition June 30, 2021 - A Banner Day Greetings from the sweltering Pacific Northwest! With temperatures at or around 108 degrees the past few days, it’s been quite an adventure so far. Now I know what some of you are thinking: “Good heavens, leave us alone. We’re on vacation from you!” And that’s a fair thought. But a few of … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J. – Vacation Edition
  • Weekly Message from T. J. June 16, 2021 - The Big Fuss It’s funny how the older I get, the more I find myself saying things around my birthday like, “It’s really only a number,” or “I don’t know where the time went.” When I was younger, the ticking off of another year really meant something. It marked a right of passage or maybe … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. June 9, 2021 - Sole Work It looked so inviting. There between what looked like rocks were two open channels out to the breaking surf. We wondered if we could body surf the break out there or if it would be too strong. There was only one way to find out. We swam to the rocks and saw that … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. June 2, 2021 - Taking the Hint “Are you OK?” I didn’t know why he was asking me that. Maybe he saw me wipe out on my wave and was concerned. I’m not an expert surfer to say the very least. I am not even a novice surfer. I think I’d have to stand up more than once or … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. May 26, 2021 - “Great” Grace “I can’t stop smiling. I am now a great uncle.” This is a text I awoke to from one of my closest friends. His niece gave birth to a beautiful new baby and that made him a “great” uncle. The joy I know he is feeling over welcoming this new human into his … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. May 19, 2021 - A Life’s Work Do you know what I didn’t like growing up? Homework. Especially math homework. If my mother could have back the hours that it took to get me to do my math homework, she could have earned another degree. I don’t even have a great excuse for why I didn’t do my math … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. May 12, 2021 - I Always Will He was always tinkering with his car. That’s one of the things that he always talked about. This piece is supposed to come in by that time. This friend has a lift so I can get the piece on the car. When he stayed with me and my family in Washington before … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. May 5, 2021 - Personal Day Aloha Friends, Some of you likely picked up in the sermon that I surprised an uninvited visitor in my home last week who was trying to make off with some of my belongings and the belongings of my friend. After giving chase and retrieving all of my belongings, I had a lot more … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. April 28, 2021 - Turn in Your Homework I had a little problem growing up. It was completely self made, and no matter what my parents and my teachers did, every so often it would come back. I was one of those kids who just wouldn’t do his homework. I would have periods where I’d do better, and it … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. April 21, 2021 - To Make Fire There is the old story of the fire maker.* Once upon a time, many years ago, in a place not too different from where we are now, a wise and loving woman had special knowledge. She knew how to make fire. This woman’s compassion for those in the towns around her was … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. April 14, 2021 - Inch by Inch The thunderclap was ominous. I don’t hear as much thunder on Oahu as in other places I’ve lived. And when I hear it, there is usually rain close behind. As I exited the church after the 10 am service, I saw the gray patch on the otherwise bald sky and I wondered … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. April 6, 2021 - Together Again Friends, I am going to take this time of my weekly message for something a little different. I want to explain some of what I’ve been up to for the past year in my free time and over a few study leaves. Over the summer I began writing a book in response to … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. March 24, 2021 - To Love Alike The friend I have had the longest in my life lives in Boulder. One of my best high school friends does, too. They both have children. Blessedly, they live in a part of Boulder that has its own fancy grocery store where they shop. So when I saw the news that a … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. March 17, 2021 - The Life for Me It’s been a while since I’ve been afraid of pirates. I remember the Pirates of the Caribbean ride at Disney World that I visited when I as young. I also remember a cassette tape and picture book my parents gave me with songs sung by…well…pirates. They weren’t real pirates. They were … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. March 10, 2021 - To The Moon It must have been a terrifying experience. The clouds gathered. The winds picked up. And the water began to rise. It must have been hard to build a boat in the rain, a boat big enough to weather the storm, to withstand the flooding. And it must have been scary to try … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. March 3, 2021 - In The Garden It’s so quiet there. The view from the road around it contains the very embodiment of the patience of a saint. If only the same could be said for the viewer, me. It’s the day before the first game to be played in Les Murakami Stadium in more than a year, and … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. February 24, 2021 - Stuck The dark of morning was as still as it always is. My morning writing was done. So was my morning workout. It was time to log in and say “Hi” to my friend. He’s always good to see, with his huge beard and bright smiling eyes. I thought about the line of beard-care products … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. February 17, 2021 - It’s Gonna Happen “…and then he just put his hand out like he wanted me to shake it. And I was like, brah, not gonna happen.” My friend was telling a story about meeting someone new, someone he didn’t know, who put out his hand in the customary gesture of a handshake. We laughed a … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. February 10, 2021 - Just a Moment As some of you learned yesterday, I was feeling a little under the weather the past few days. I am feeling better today, which is wonderful. And one of the advantages of actually feeling under the weather is that I slow down a little. And in slowing down, I’ve learned in some … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. February 3, 2021 - Canned Faith *tink*… “Damn.” *tink*…*tink*…*dff* These are the sounds of a person trying to toss tiny rocks into the open mouth of a 12-ounce aluminum can on the beach. Sometimes it would hit the can, maybe even on the top, and tink. But a lot of the times, it hit the sand around the can, … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. January 27, 2021 - Blessed Thoughtlessness I’m listening to a book right now that a friend recommended to me. In fact, he forwarded a link to the audio book to be sure I couldn’t make any excuses about not listening to it. And since the “credits” in my Audible account have been piling up lately (due to a pretty … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. January 20, 2021 - To Survive I will be taking today away from work to reflect on new beginnings and transitions of power. Every four years we watch new oaths, we witness blessings, and we listen to plans for the future. Governments of the people are not always governments I endorse or agree with. If I recognize them as … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. January 13, 2021 - Seeing it Coming The boos from the gathered crowd started slowly. They were only scattered. And there was also applause. Somehow laughter was starting to roll through, too. No one was sure what to make of the situation. We had all seen it coming. It only took some foresight to see it might be a … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Gift Card Scam – Again December 30, 2020 - Rev. T. J. Does Not Need Gift Cards Friends, it’s happening again. It’s that time of year. When the traditions of years’ past come to us in new and wonderful ways. And this time, we yet again have someone impersonating me trying to get you to buy gift cards. If a message is not coming … Continue reading Gift Card Scam – Again
  • Weekly Message from T. J. December 23, 2020 - Just One Person I was Snoopy once. It sounds funny, but it’s true. In high school we did a production of the musical Snoopy!, which is a darling musical about…well…Snoopy, the beloved Peanuts character. One of the things we did to promote the musical in high school was to spend a day traveling around many … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. December 16, 2020 - Pieces Be with You You know what I was missing this week? I was missing the annual holiday “tree” trimming we would do at the church. In some years, we’d have an ukulele choir playing carols while the magnificent bamboo/sheer fabric “tree” was strung with church-made ornaments. I still have one ornament someone gifted me … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. December 9, 2020 - Turning it Down The music wouldn’t stop. In fact, it was getting louder. And as the hours stretched across the day, I couldn’t escape it. A friend visiting our campsite brought with him a very loud speaker that he seemed to take everywhere he went. Even when we were in the water bodysurfing, he lugged … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. December 2, 2020 - High Hopes “Whoops there goes another rubber tree plant.” What? The request that came was not one I was all that used to. Working in New York in publishing at the time, and playing some piano at night in clubs, I’d learned a lot of songs. But “High Hopes” was one I’d never played. The … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. November 18, 2020 - ***NOTE: Friends, the story I am about to tell contains some discussions of human anatomy. I realize that many come to this space for spiritual up-lift and reflection. I urge you please to consider the elements of some of this story in the ways it speaks to the best in each of us, even though … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. November 12, 2020 - Boxing Match There were so many boxes. Twenty three in all, in fact. And they had been partway around the world. That was clear. Labels here, stickers there, barcodes, inspection confirmations, diplomatic mail insignias, customs readouts: they had seen a lot in their day. By the time I had seen them all, they had made … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. November 4, 2020 - The Moment I waited a long time. Everyone had been talking about it. There wasn’t a lot of theater I hadn’t seen in New York at the time, but this was one of the shows I hadn’t seen. On a very limited engagement, it was hard to get tickets, but the lawyer for the director … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. October 28, 2020 - Don’t Miss It The morning sun is shining again. It’s strange how a few gray days in a row here can affect how we feel. Sometimes its harder to get out of bed. It’s easier to spend the day indoors. We can sort of miss whole days, it seems. And we know others don’t understand. … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. October 21, 2020 - Decision Division This past weekend I preached at Central Union Church. It was a wonderful experience to share worship with one of my good friends and colleagues on the island. And it was a wonderful experience to share some of what our community thinks about, what our community is concerned with, with our neighbors. In … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. October 14, 2020 - Where Dreams Arise I’ve been sleeping a lot more. It’s not my fault. It’s my room. For years I sort of ignored much of the wisdom about having a dark, cool place to sleep. Most of the last few years, light spilling in from street lights, from the LED display on my air conditioner, and … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. October 7, 2020 - We’ve Got You Claire’s was a treasure. On a corner just off campus, for thirty years, it stood for fine vegetarian and vegan foods at prices that college kids could afford. Claire, herself, was a treasure. After training to be a nurse, she left the profession to focus on diet and nutrition when she saw … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. September 30, 2020 - Hands Up Winner This week we bring September to a close. I know, it’s hard to wrap our head around that fully. And with it we bring to a close our month in worship and in other ways of looking at the spiritual theme of “Promises.” The promises we make are a large part of … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. September 23, 2020 - To Be Home It is so good to be home. I say this after traveling during what must have been some of the finest weather Washington, DC and Rochester, NY have any right to hope for. And still, when the evenings crept around, my poor toes were so cold. I spent a week trying to … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. September 9, 2020 - At a Distance “Alexa, let’s play a game.” My friend said this to my new speaker I have in my kitchen, and the speaker lit up. Apparently my speaker I bought to link to my phone to play music also can entertain me with trivia questions, which is nice. But it also has an uncanny … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. September 2, 2020 - Getting Schooled I had to be careful. I had to be quick. The four-wheelers, with their blue lights and uniformed drivers were flowing out in formation from the beach and across the park. There must have been more than a dozen of them. I knew that if I dawdled (a strange word to see in … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. August 26, 2020 - Over the Mask The dogs were huge. Huge. And the home was lovely. It was hard to miss the Tesla sport utility vehicle parked next to the Ferrari roadster in the car port as I approached the door. But when the door opened, two dogs that could have been bears met me. Others met me, … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. August 19, 2020 - Grounded…again It wasn’t that rare an occasion for me to be grounded as a child. And it was less rare as a teenager during high school. But when I was grounded, when I was not seeing friends or getting out into the world, the real punishment would start. Not mine, but my parents’. Because as … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. August 5, 2020 - Being a Jerk “Use your feelings.” This is what a great teacher of a galaxy far, far away said to his disciple, Obi-Wan. Today, Yoda’s words seem to be taking on a powerful dimension. But this is a problem. Yoda had some habits that might make us question his judgment. He liked to ransack people’s … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. July 29, 2020 - Sun-day The hush and murmur of the crowd washed through the living room as my friends and I finally got do to something we had been longing for: watch baseball. And as the camera fixed over the right field wall focused behind the pitcher, we got the first of a few surprises: cardboard cutout people. … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. July 22, 2020 - What it Used to Be It ain’t what it used to be. Every step is degraded from what it once was. The wooden beams are pitted in places and caved entirely in others. My sneakered toes balance on the ridge of relics as I climb. And the spaces between the steps, the gaps in the … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. July 15, 2020 - There You Are “I don’t like hiking” I made this admission once to about 500 people at the church in Portland one Sunday morning. The gasps were audible. I think one person hissed. This is the congregation that counted Cheryl Strayed as a member, the author of Wild, one of the most famous memoirs about … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. June 24, 2020 - Some Assembly Required As a young child, our elementary school would often hold assemblies. They were times when the entire school or large parts of it came together for different things. Maybe the administration had something to tell us or to scold us about (gum under desks, name calling, etc.). Maybe there was a presentation … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. June 17, 2020 - Happy Birthday to Me Aloha all. Today is my 42nd birthday, Jackie Robinson’s number, and I’ll be taking it as a vacation day. I hope that everyone enjoys their day. Take a look at the interview we did with Judge Levinson last night if you can. There’s a link on this weekly bulletin. In truth, … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. June 10, 2020 - People Everyday Friends, the world is changing before us. In cities, villages, and homes, the ways that policing and systemic racism come together in to the violence of white supremacy culture is being laid bare for so many to see. Today’s Weekly Message is a little different. I’m offering a few different ways to get … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. June 3, 2020 - What Are We Doing? A week now since the killing of George Floyd, a week now since direct actions and uprisings in communities far and wide, a week now since the militarization of cities and the policing of bodies, we are all asking, “What are we doing?” Blessedly, this question in our faith community is … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. May 27, 2020 - Asking Questions His face is looking a bit white. But we keep asking questions. We finally get to it, the reason we are all here. Will he or won’t he admit his attorney had put him up to this entire case or not? My law partner is relentless…he asks harder and harder questions. And I … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. May 20, 2020 - Happy Birthday IZ Sixty one years ago today Israel Kamakawiwo’ole was born in the territory of Hawai’i. He was raised in Kaimuki until moving to Makaha with his family as a young man. Raised with musicians in his family and all around him, he grew up exposed to the influences of some of the finest … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. May 13, 2020 - Are You Still Watching? How are you doing? What’s new? How have you been? For the past two months, the habit of asking these questions has started to feel inane. When I ask these kinds of questions, I’m met often with wide eyes and an open gaze, as if the person I’ve asked is jogging … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. May 6, 2020 - Beautiful Building “It really is a beautiful building.” I said this as I looked up at a ceiling adorned with interlocking, colored tiles inlaid against decorative concrete frames. Examples of the art deco design of the building flowed from the centerpiece ceiling down the cream colored walls and over the ironwork. The clay tile roofs … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. – Trivia Edition April 29, 2020 - Not ALL Fun and Games, but… We had some good old fashioned fun last night at the weekly Pau Hana. We do this every Tuesday night at 6 pm by Zoom. And last night we had a great time looking together at some of the facts of our own church, other churches, Unitarian Universalism, and the history … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J. – Trivia Edition
  • Update: FUCH Building Closed Through the End of May April 23, 2020 - IMPORTANT Building Closure Through the End of May Aloha Friends, The Board has elected to continue the closure the church to all church meetings or gatherings through the end of May. Please know we do not do this lightly. The risk to members of our own community as well as those in our surrounding community … Continue reading Update: FUCH Building Closed Through the End of May
  • Weekly Message From T. J. April 22, 2020 - Humble Me Last night we had a pretty good time at Pau Hana Tuesday. For those who weren’t there, we had a little mini concert (really a light cabaret presentation if we’re being honest) from yours truly. We traced the history of some of the songs that mean the most to me in my development … Continue reading Weekly Message From T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. April 15, 2020 - Follow It I give myself very good advice, But I very seldom follow it. That explains the trouble that I’m always in. — From “Very Good Advice” by Sammy Fain and Bob Hillard from the motion picture Alice in Wonderland. I don’t know what my family used to think when their ninth-grade family member would sit … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. April 8, 2020 - In Memory Bill Withers and John Prine   Lean on me when you’re not strong, and I’ll be your friend. I’ll help you carry on. In the past days, a nation of musicians and music lovers entered mourning. Last week, the unparalleled talent and extraordinary inspiration that resided in the body of Bill Withers passed … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. April 1, 2020 - Pausing the Show The shelves in my apartment are half cleared of personal items. Some of the surfboards are here; the others are gone. Things I’d never eat are still in the fridge, waiting to go. My roommate’s move-out is on pause. A friend says he’s thrown out the schedule he was keeping with his … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Pau Hana Tonight (Tuesday, 3/31) 6 Pm – With Musical Guest, Tim Rose! March 31, 2020 - Pau Hana Tuesday! Come and Join in Happy Hour at 6 pm Special Musical Guest: Tim Rose https://zoom.us/j/446163758 Aloha First U Ohana! We hope you will join us today at 6 pm for this very special pau hana. We will have a great time with our special musical guest Tim Rose all the way from … Continue reading Pau Hana Tonight (Tuesday, 3/31) 6 Pm – With Musical Guest, Tim Rose!
  • Weekly Message from T. J. March 25, 2020 - Our Seconds I have written before about the piano I had growing up. At a Thanksgiving dinner in my early childhood at the home of my great grandparents, my great grandfather taught me to play one note at a time. And in this way, he stopped me from mashing my tiny palms against the keyboard … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. March 18, 2020 - In Bloom Well, I don’t know about you, but I’ve had some changes to my routine lately. What we are seeing, what is happening around each one of us, maybe in each one of us, is unprecedented. And for a few days now, the conversations I’ve been having seem to turn to the enormity of … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. March 4, 2020 - Tuning In I know, I know, I know…I’m on leave presently. And as essential as this time is to the renewal and growth of my spiritual life, it’s also important to me that I share how you can watch your newest episode of Now That You Asked Me, the television show about faith experiences in … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. February 26, 2020 - A Dusty Present “From dust you came, to dust you will return.” This is the phrase many in our human family will hear today when ashes are deposited on foreheads around the world. In the Christian world today marks the first day of the Lenten season, which leads that world to the celebration of Easter. … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. February 19, 2020 - Guide My Feet Cannon fire is not the first thing I thought of that morning. Through a night of tossing and turning, wondering what might happen the next day, I thought of a lot, but never once of cannon fire. The preparations were all in place: get up at 4 am, get the car to … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. February 12, 2020 - The Push and the Pull I feel like I could break these reflections into a few categories. And if I did, one category that would make sense would be the “Visiting Friend” category. I’ve been blessed by so many visitors in my time here. And there are a number of things that seem to be … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. February 5, 2020 - Entwined Yesterday started out like a lot of days: time catching up with friends in the morning, some coffee, and then a little trip to get a new remote control for my car. I arrived at the scheduled time, 7:30 am. And I figured there would be some work that needed to be done. But … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. January 29, 2020 - Holding Healing There are many privileges that come with being a minister. The trust others give you to hold some of their more tender feelings is one. Another is the chance to share on a regular basis your thoughts or interpretation of events, history, and beliefs in a way that might help others. And being … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. January 22, 2020 - Love and Spreadsheets If I’ve said it once, people have heard me say it 100 times, “Sometimes love looks like a well managed spreadsheet.” Well, friends, on Sunday I did my best to make that so. As some of you know, I keep track of the way I spend my time ministering to this community. … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. January 15, 2020 - I Am Weak but We Are Strong Some of you know I have a bit of a habit of tracking things and looking at numbers. Partly this is because in ministry there are not many metrics to measure progress or effectiveness that can produce data. There is a lot we do together in ministry measured … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. January 8, 2020 - The Quality of Mercy Friends, welcome to the new decade. The turning of the year in the Gregorian calendar is certainly a time when many of us take stock of the year and make plans for the new year we enter together. For me, it is my custom to take study leave from Christmas Day … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. December 18, 2019 - All Through the Night On Sunday, at the urging of friends, I was delighted to attend the annual holiday concert presented by the Gay Men’s Chorus of Honolulu. It was extraordinary—not necessarily for the musicianship (though lovely), but more for the depth of the concert’s heart. The songs ranged from campy or downright crass to … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. December 11, 2019 - No Coincidences “Oh, I love this time of year.” I’ve been hearing this a lot lately. I’m guessing you have, too. But what is becoming more common is what follows this statement. For decades, what followed this statement was, “All the decorations in the windows, the heavy coats, and the children playing in the snow … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. December 4, 2019 - Checking In “We’re checking in right now!” I received this message a short while ago from a good friend who will soon be holding his first-born child. Well, let’s all hope it will be soon, for his wife’s sake. The waiting and expectation seem appropriate about now. This time of year, many all over the … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. November 27, 2019 - The Very Beginning “One note at a time, T. J.” My tiny thumb rests on middle C. My pointer and middle fingers take over in turn, and then give ground again to my thumb, back and forth between the notes, hopping over the silent D. “Doe: a deer, a female deer,” someone maybe sung along. … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. November 20, 2019 - Unlocking Possibilities As we descended the stairs from the sports complex, I explained that my house was only a little farther away. And when we arrived at my house, I asked my new friend, who was clearly a few months away from bringing a little one into the world, whether she’d like a glass of … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. November 13, 2019 - Get in the Water I asked a friend visiting the island what he wanted to do. And he replied that he wanted to “go to the beach.” And when I heard this turn of phrase, like I do sometimes, I weighed any potential benefit of telling him that its more customary to say “get in … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. October 30, 2019 - This Is Thriller… It wasn’t unexpected. Weather in Boulder, Colorado in late October can be a little tricky. But that moment when the snow and ice send you skidding on the less-than-optimal tires of the rental car, when the traction control switches on, when you’ve already eaten the last of the vegan Rice Krispies treats, … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. October 23, 2019 - “All My Bags Are Packed…” Aloha First Unitarian Ohana, This is one of my occasional messages from the E Terminal at the airport. I will depart in a few moments for a week on the continent to see my family, some friends, and to perform a wedding. In my absence, I will be regularly checking … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. October 16, 2019 - Weight of a World So, I know a lot of people are reading the news these past few weeks and days as the investigation into wrongdoing heats up in the U.S. capitol. A friend asked me yesterday if I read the news. I said, “No.” He was a little surprised. So he asked if I … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. October 9, 2019 - Rendering the Sacred I’m sure we’re all familiar with the phrase, “Something’s gotta give.” I am. I mean, I kind of enjoy the movie by that name. But also, as I type this message between a meeting with an attorney representing a refugee from Central America and a planning meeting with the Director of the … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. October 2, 2019 - Luxurious Wonder There are few scenes as perfect. The cooling night breeze breaks the heat of the day. Your good friend drives you to the selected destination in a busy city. And right in front of the restaurant is the waiting valet to whisk the car away, saving you both the long, impossible hunt for … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. September 25, 2019 - Awful Grace In high school my best friend and I were often referred to together. As in, “Are Pete and T. J. coming to the party?” or “Someone ate all the vegan brownies. Go find Pete and T. J.” Some of our friends got so used to saying our names together they would accidentally call … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. September 18, 2019 - Sweet Smell…of Failure I can literally smell failure from a few feet away. This isn’t a skill I developed in seminary or one I honed in other walks of life. Nope. The humble and soulful art of baking is one of the best teachers in the art of failing well in life. And just a … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. September 11, 2019 - Grinning and Baring The smiles are what I noticed first. Under tents, over cooking flames, the smiles that come from sharing a story I couldn’t hear spoke to me. And the quiet bustling, getting ready for what the day had in store, reminded me of a little village coming to life in the way they … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. September 4, 2019 - The Heart of the Matter There is a tiny church by the water. There between cruise ships on one side and the medical school on the other, in the shadow of a smokestack that seems so charmingly out of place, the church gathers. It’s a church that follows the Anglican tradition, which is the tradition … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. August 28, 2019 - Tyranny of Time “Hey, Jack.” I gesture for my friend to come over to the table where I’m reading outside Kahala Mall. He squints and takes a few steps toward a voice he isn’t sure is really calling his name. But he doesn’t recognize anyone so he returns to munching his pizza. I get up … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. August 21, 2019 - Two Questions It can stop me in my tracks, still. Walking from my car to my front door yesterday, it happened. I live close enough to the practice fields of the UH Mānoa athletic teams that I can hear what’s going on over there. And this week, the banging blare of the marching band practicing … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. August 14, 2019 - End-O-War With a friend visiting the island for the first time, I did what I love to do: venture to one of my favorite places in the world, Waimanalo beach. As usual, it was idyllic. But as we approached the shoreline, we saw it: “MAN-O-WAR STINGS ARE PAINFUL. STAY OUT OF WATER.” I am someone … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. August 7, 2019 - In Memoriam – Dr. Toni Morrison To imagine a world no longer subject to the critical, penetrating gaze of Toni Morrison, is to imagine a world more dimly lit, more hidden, perhaps, to those who were guided by her unspeakable genius. Many grieve the loss of the gift her life was to the world this … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. July 31, 2019 - Rest for the Wary I started my morning with a little peek at the weather. With the on-again, off-again rain we’ve been having the last day or so, I wondered what might be brewing in the skies. And like a lot of us, I saw the colored bands of two different storm systems on the … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. July 24, 2019 - Worlds Fall Apart…and Together I don’t remember the gown I wore. I don’t think I was wearing shoes. My parents and my sister were there. So were my aunt and uncle. I’m pretty sure I cried like a baby…because I was. I had just come into the world and this is how I joined the … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message From T. J. July 17, 2019 - Gift of Presence In social situations I don’t go out of my way to let it be known that I am a minister. It’s not that I am not daily humbled by the honor this congregation has bestowed upon me by calling me its minister. It’s not that I worry people will think I’m strange … Continue reading Weekly Message From T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. June 19, 2019 - Leaving on a Jet Plane, in a Honda Aloha Friends, I am departing in moments for General Assembly…by car! I have the banner in hand and our mighty contingent of members is getting ready to represent us fully and with Aloha! If there is an emergency, please reach me on my mobile at 917 886 … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. June 12, 2019 - A Brand New State It’s easy to miss these days. We have so many kinds of news coming at us. And every year we hear that the art form is fading, dwindling. Some say it’s for rich people and tourists. But the Tony Awards this past Sunday, the annual awards for Broadway theatrical productions, held … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. June 5, 2019 - Out from the Shadows Last night a close friend let me know his father was going into emergency surgery, so I left my phone in “on” mode instead of “sleep mode.” In “sleep mode” if the same number calls twice in a row it rings through. Otherwise it goes to voicemail. But sleep mode silences … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. May 29, 2019 - What We Can Do A member of our congregation did something big this week. Jon Love, one of our newest members, published another novel this week, and it’s now available for purchase on Amazon. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1733710701/ref=sr_1_2?keywords=There+ariseth+light&qid=1558984158&s=gateway&sr=8-2 I was lucky enough to have a chance to read an advance copy of the novel. And I was honored to … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. May 22, 2019 - Asked and Answered Many of us know that over the past few months we have been working with monthly spiritual themes. The theme of “covenant” this month was one that included some discussion in worship as well as some action in our annual meeting on the church’s living document, the covenant of right relations. I … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. May 14, 2019 - Standing Before Us Dear friends. Only hours ago, I received the news that Dorothy May Emerson passed away. A social media post explained that she collapsed in her new home and could not be revived. There has been a great outpouring of fond memories and support for Donna, her life partner at this time. As … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. May 8, 2019 - Floating Ideas The rumbling of the jets overhead is near constant. And the roar from those few that streak out of sight makes it hard to hear the television. Flapping helicopters chop the air, too. And then, of course, there is the noise of traffic. It’s rare to sit in a place free from the … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. May 1, 2019 - Never Forget I forgot a friend’s birthday yesterday. He lives in England and the time differences make it a challenge to remember to call him when he’s awake. But still, forgetting an important date is something I try to avoid when I can. It helps to have reminders. It was last week when I got … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. April 17, 2019 - Coming Through I laughed a little when the text came through: “So what exactly do Unitarian ministers do for holy week?” No doubt, my minister friend at a Christian church was staring down this week of worship in Christian communities and wondering what it might be like in my side of the theological ocean. After … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. April 10, 2019 - Asking for a Raise Yesterday I received a question by email: Who/What raises UUs up? And I took a little while to think about it. The question was inspired by the song You Raise Me Up which was written by a little-known folk duo in Europe in 2002. But Josh Groban made it a hit in … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. April 3, 2019 - Peace of Advice Someone asked me yesterday, “What’s the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?” And I was a little stumped. I thought about parents. I thought about teachers. I thought about close friends. But nothing came. There wasn’t a clear winner. Rev. Bray McNatt shared one of my favorite pieces of … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. March 27, 2019 - We’re Cool…Right? When this month began, some folks at the church shared their experiences with balance with me, the spiritual theme for March. And some folks shared with me what they thought was the best or closest Hawaiian word or principle that stands as a corollary to balance. Kaulike was one of the words, which … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. March 13, 2019 - Well In Hand As I sat at the gym, I heard it. The blib-blip-bloop came from the tiny device in the child’s hand, and his rapt fixation on the tiny screen and the noises that tracked progress of the characters on the screen was familiar. The pervasiveness of handheld games is almost as complete as … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. March 6, 2019 - On Balance The great teacher gathered her students one evening at the school. As the students were seated around her, she said to them, “We have learned much together about prayer. We have learned how best to say our prayers.” And then the teacher rose and exited the school. The students followed. They followed her … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. February 27, 2019 - Where There Is Hope For many years, I had a saying. “Where there is breath, there is hope.” This meant that if someone is still breathing, there is a chance—a chance at redemption, a chance at healing, a chance a reconciliation, a chance of some kind. And in some ways that is true, but in … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. February 20, 2019 - Wonderful Years ago, in a lifetime far away, I was at a party with Gwyneth Paltrow. I remember passing by her—she’s tall—and sort of chuckling that she was drinking a Corona Light. In those days I kind of thought Corona was light enough. But a few days later I read a quote from Ms. Paltrow … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. February 13, 2019 - Last Resort This month’s spiritual theme is Spirit / Mana. To deepen our understanding and our conversations around these themes it helps to experience different perspectives. Each month I’ll be putting together a set of writings to help with this. These are taken from essays, poetry, interviews, and other sources. Inspirational, sad, insightful, funny, these … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. February 6, 2019 - Free Exercise Many of us grow up hearing about the separation of church and state in the United States. And the idea seems relatively simple. Religion or religious bodies and the civil government should not be too intertwined. That’s the idea. But that idea, the separation of church and state, is really more of a … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. January 30, 2019 - Worthy of Hire Many of us know the reality of living in this place. It comes at a price. For many more of us, the price of living is getting higher and higher while wages are not keeping up. The legislature will look at three proposed bills to address the minimum wage in Hawaii. And … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. January 23, 2019 - I Got It A friend of mine described himself once as someone who likes to be alone in a crowd. I remember where I was sitting when I heard that. And I remembered the crossword puzzles I’d worked on at tables for one in busy brunching bars. I remembered the books I’d read on benches … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. December 19, 2018 - In Humble Gratitude My friends. I want to thank you so much for the generous and welcoming way you took the next step of bringing our ministries together in a more cohesive way on Sunday. By voting to extend a call to me, you have accomplished a great deal as a community, and that should … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. December 12, 2018 - To So Love The World This morning I was part of something kind of extraordinary.I took part in a call with Mary Evelyn Tucker, one of the foremost writers and educators in the intersections between religion and ecology. The call was sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations, a non-partisan group that encourages dialog and … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. December 5, 2018 - A Way of Caring Last week I was eating lunch with a friend not too far from the Ward theaters. It was one of those rare days when we both realized that we both had a few free hours in a row. And an even more rare day when we both realized that a movie … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. November 28, 2018 - What Relationship Asks Friends, we are coming to a very important time at our church. As many of you know, among some of the most important work this church does happens at the monthly meeting of A.D.O.R.E., a Dialog on Race and Ethnicity. And at this month’s meeting on December 9th, your facilitators will lead … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. November 21, 2018 - At Once This week the world lost Stan Lee. He started as a comic book writer and was the creator of a universe of superheroes now called the Marvel universe. Blockbuster movies, millions of comic books sold—there is little doubt about the regard in which our culture holds superheroes. They are titans, or even gods, … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. November 14, 2018 - To a New Land Well, here it comes—the Bermuda Triangle of holidays. We are gathered on this vessel together, navigating that course through a time of year that holds a lot for people. For some there are memories of past holidays that are fond, warming, and dear. For others there are memories of those same … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. October 31, 2018 - A Common Heart Those of you who were present at my ordination might remember the sermon that was delivered by Rev. Christopher Mathewson. He is a childhood friend of mine. But before he was a friend, he wasn’t. Let’s just say that one swim class my freshman year of high school held a pretty painful … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. October 24, 2018 - This Little Light It’s always a bit of a surprise. A pumpkin in a window. A string of electric lights with little plastic jack-o-lanterns illuminated all in a row. It’s going to be Halloween in a few days, but it’s a surprise to me. The holidays I’d known so well on the mainland, the celebrations … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. October 17, 2018 - Heavenly Rest I didn’t want to go on. I wanted to stop and go back…a lot. The path up Ka’ala, the highest peak on this island, was more than I felt I could do. But my friends let me take my time. They called out when I lagged far behind to see how I was … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. October 10, 2018 - The Rose Petal Rebellion The scene was perfect. Rippling water lapped against the shore of the hidden lake. Small beautiful structures, windows and doors wide-open, let guests mingle and move freely with icy beverages in hand. The perfect rows of white chairs gave form to the place where so many have walked so many times … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. October 3, 2018 - What Are You Thinking? I don’t know what has come over me. Last night at the meeting of your Social Justice Council, one observant member noticed that I was yawning. I assured her that I believed my yawning had little to do with exhaustion or boredom and a great deal to do with my body … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. September 26, 2018 - I Can See Clearly Now I have spoken before about the fun we can have when visitors are here and we get to play tour guide. We dip our toes in waters we haven’t in a while, we ascend the heights of hikes we miss, we eat at our favorite spots. It’s a mutual relationship … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. September 11, 2018 - Where We Were Most of us remember exactly where we were when it happened. We remember exactly what we were doing. Though seventeen years have passed, most of us can feel it like its was yesterday, or even today. The faces around the rooms where we were. The images on the television. The inexplicable feelings … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. September 5, 2018 - Patient Patience is a virtue, so we are told. In many of our own personal experiences, this phrase is parroted by people who want us to wait or who want us not to take some kind of action. As wise as the sentiment is in theory, for many this phrase is associated with frustration or … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. August 28, 2018 - Not So Easy This past Sunday I asked for a show of hands during the sermon of people who had seen 13TH by filmmaker Ava DuVernay (Selma, A Wrinkle in Time). From my rough count I saw possibly a dozen hands go up, maybe less. I realize this is not the best way to conduct … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. August 22, 2018 - Manifest Have you seen them? Have you seen the signs? Swirling, driving, building, the signs are springing forth in all corners of these islands. They are bubbling up once more to reveal the truth that we all know: the swirling, driving, and building up are telling us something, something deep and something old, and something … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. August 15, 2018 - A Greater Testament I used to talk to myself. Not a lot, but sometimes. Maybe I was preparing statements I’d present in court. Maybe I talk through parts of sermons to be sure certain points get across. But aside from these, there was a time when I would argue a little with people who weren’t … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. August 8, 2018 - The Story of a Hurricane Since I’ve arrived back home I’ve been hearing some chatter about the hurricane churning off the southerly part of the big island. My friend assures me that the reports of hurricanes here are frequent but rarely come to much. “You’ll see,” he said. This may be true, but the winds … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. August 1, 2018 - I’ll Leave This Here Friends, I’m writing to you from under the gray, gloomy clouds of Portland, Oregon. I am here because over the coming days I will have the honor to serve the UU Musician’s Network as the conference chaplain for the UUMN annual meeting. In my role I have the chance to provide … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. July 25, 2018 - This Guy’s Crazy As I sat in the airport waiting area, we heard the first sign of trouble. “Ladies and gentlemen in the waiting area, we are getting information now from Canada air traffic control that due to weather and traffic over Toronto, we are looking at about a four hour delay taking off this … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. July 3, 2018 - Gone Reflectin’ We have done so much this year together. From bringing joy and music to our community parades, to bringing new and exciting worship experiences to our sanctuary; from bringing fun and engaging lessons to our keiki in worship and the classroom, to organizing our communities for the March for Our Lives and Poor … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. June 27, 2018 - Message Received When I read the news I was trying to eat a bowl of rice and beans. My friend was trying to tell me about the things going on life. I was trying to do anything else but think about it. But I was failing. There it was: “Justice Anthony Kennedy announces his retirement.” … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. June 20, 2018 - When Words Fail As I sit here in the airport, I can’t miss it. Families are everywhere. They are watching bags for each other while taking trips to the kiosks and water fountains. They are checking around them as they get up to board their flights to see if any family member left a toy … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. June 6, 2018 - The Struggle Is Real Friends, you may know that for the last few weeks members of this community have been taking part in planning an event to participate in the national movement of the Poor People’s Campaign. Through organizing meetings, though discussions, and through some laughter and fear, we are approaching a crystallized action that … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. May 29, 2018 - Staycation So, Hawaii is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the world, right? Well, in the spirt of taking part in this worldwide phenomenon, I am taking a vacation in Hawaii this week! Already I’ve had the chance to take in a jog around Diamond Head, a destination for runners around the world. … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. May 23, 2018 - Short Days Ago 2018 marks a century since the end of the first World War, the Great War, The War to End All Wars. This last moniker, The War to End All Wars, is today often used as an indictment of the state of militarism around the globe. What stood once as the hopeful message … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. May 16, 2018 - Happy Returns Did anybody notice? I think we all kind of missed something yesterday. I’m sure they won’t care, but we might owe a belated greeting of some kind. I’m sure they’ll understand, right? See, some other things happened yesterday so we just kind of missed it. It makes sense really. After all, Rev. Susan … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. May 9, 2018 - Crashing Tide Anyone ever see real passion? I’m not talking about romantic, amorous passion. I’m talking about the kind of passion that sweeps into someone’s life and tugs, pushes, cajoles, and otherwise propels the afflicted toward something they hope to accomplish or attain. It can seem like passion possess the person it chooses. Anyone who … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. May 2, 2018 - The Thing with Feathers “Hey there, buddies. How you doing? I’ll see you later, OK?” These words, or those like them, are words we’re all used to hearing. Maybe someone speaks them when leaving a social situation. Maybe they’re said to children when a parent is leaving home to run some errands or to go … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. April 24, 2018 - More Than What Divides Us Aloha from Portland, Oregon! This is the week of the Regional Assembly for the Western Region of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Unitarian Universalists from across the western states will gather for education, worship, and to work together to strengthen the bonds that hold our movement together. It is a blessing … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. April 18, 2018 - What Dreams May Come Ask a dozen people, “What is money?” If you only get a dozen answers, congratulations. Among the responses you’ll hear are things like, “Money is what we use to secure needed or wanted goods or services.” Very true. But you might also hear less concrete approaches like, “Money is how a … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. April 11, 2018 - Paths to Wonderland There was a period of time a while back when Disney was making some really out there movies. I remember watching parts of Dumbo, especially when the elephants were on parade in Dumbo’s dream sequence, and thinking, “This is just weird.” I remember trying to get through Fantasia, and wondering what the … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. April 4, 2018 - Take My Hand One of the smartest people I have ever known, someone who has seen more, weathered more, suffered more, than I might ever see, ever whether, or ever suffer, often listens thoughtfully and quietly to what is going on in my head. A lot of what I have to say to him comes … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. March 21, 2018 - On a Jetplane “All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go…” I remember when those words were sung to me for the first time. My mother’s cousin David was playing his guitar and singing along in my great grandfather’s living room. I remember not wanting the music to stop. I remember a feeling flooding … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. March 14, 2018 - All the Things I have a friend who says often that he is “doing all the things.” He says this to mean that through times of sadness or stress, he does those things, indeed, all those things, which he knows he needs to do to get through. He speaks with friends, attends to his spiritual … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. March 7, 2018 - Something Is Happening There is a plant in my room here at the church. It was there when I arrived. Not knowing much about plants, I took a look at how it seemed to be surviving (with water) and I kept it up. I added water to it, kept it in the spot in my … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. February 28, 2018 - Inspired One of the most beloved songs we sing as Unitarian Universalists is the song Sprit of Life by Carolyn McDade. In it, the singers beckon the arrival of a spirit that touches the soul and builds in us something of use to the world. As with so many of the most powerful images and … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. February 21, 2018 - A Place in the Choir I will never forget watching that videotape. There on the second riser, he stands. He is playing with his tie. OK, now he is hitting other children with his tie. And what is he doing now? Oh my…he is now pretending to blow his nose on his tie and wipe … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. February 14, 2018 - The Archer’s Mark Throughout many of this nation’s streets, and certainly in its bars, the celebration of Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday to those who skipped out of French class, will herald the arrival this week of…Valentine’s Day? That’s right, that amorphous holiday purporting to celebrate romantic love by venerating saints executed in a Roman … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. February 7, 2018 - Visitors Growing up, I was a fan of the science fiction miniseries V. The “V” stood for “visitors” and it was an imaginative take on what would happen should visitors from another planet come to our own planet. The series I remember had a trademark gaseous compound that would, however, cause the visitors to remove … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. January 31, 2018 - Homeward Bound “Ladies and gentlemen. As you can see the captain has turned on the fasten seatbelt sign indicating that we have begun our initial descent into Honolulu. As the crew moves through the cabin to collect any remaining service items, please return your chairs and tray tables to their full upright and locked position. … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. January 17, 2018 - A Shared Blessing Who is your minister? You might be thinking of the person you see on Sundays delivering a sermon. Or you might be thinking of some other person who was a minister of the church in the past. But most of us have an idea of what a minister is, right? But think … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. January 10, 2018 - Getting In Line I turn off the ringing alarm. I pack up my documents. I get in my car and head down. I want to arrive early so that I can beat the line. Surely, there can’t be too much of a line before they open, right? And if I get there early it’ll go … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. January 3, 2018 - Talk About The Weather I never spent a lot of time worrying about the weather. And being here in Honolulu has effectively cured me of any lingering habit I might have had to worry much about checking the weather or fearing for what it will bring—surely some rain here and there, but nothing to get … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. December 27, 2017 - Skip My Turn Well, here we are again, my friends. Every year we put Thanksgiving behind us, we vault out toward the winter holidays, and then we are here, in this space together. We traverse this distance, this final leg of our journey together through the Bermuda Triangle of the holiday season toward the New … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. December 20, 2017 - Reason for the Season This time of year it’s common to hear people saying, “Remember the reason for the season.” And the implication is to remember that this is this time of year that we remember the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem to his parents Mary and Joseph. In orthodox theological circles, this is called … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. December 13, 2017 - Always Remember I think I will always remember last night, when Doug Jones defeated his opponent in the special election for the seat in the Senate vacated by Jeff Sessions in the State of Alabama. I think I will always remember a few days ago, hearing from my close friend, a native of Alabama, who … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. November 29, 2017 - Leftover So, who’s still eating leftovers? That’s OK, there’s nothing wrong with leftovers. I know some people who appear to be constitutionally opposed to eating leftover food, but more and more, the big meals of the holiday season seem to lend themselves to the pleasure of picking at sweet and savory dishes for days, maybe … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. November 21, 2017 - We Give Thanks A Meditation and a Prayer for First Unitarian Church of Honolulu In a space out of time, out of our human knowledge and understanding, A spark lit the flame of the existence, the reality, the web of life we share today. In a space out of sight, beyond vision we know today, … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. November 14, 2017 - Gentle Mercies I once led a children’s chapel service on the subject of “generosity.” This was during the annual fund drive at a previous church. As the grownups were asked to give money to support the important work of the church, the children and I talked a little about what generosity really means. When it … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. November 8, 2017 - Moments of Silence One of the most memorable vacations I ever took as a child was to a place famous for its lazy river. For those of you unacquainted with a lazy river, I feel for you. For those of you only acquainted with a lazy river constructed in a water park or hotel pool, … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. October 31, 2017 - In a Holy Place I missed you all this Sunday. I took a trip to nearby Moloka’i with some friends to do some camping. We were able to make use of some property a church owned. There was even a rickety old church piano in the corner of one of the rooms we could use. … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. October 24, 2017 - Boo! Is anybody else as shocked as I am that Halloween is next week? I know that must be a really “new-to-the-island” thing to say, but I feel like it crept up on us this year…almost like it wanted to scare us! And that’s entirely appropriate. Worlds Collide See, Halloween, or All Hallows Eve, is … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. October 18, 2017 - Winds of Change Greetings and Aloha, my friends. I hope you’ve been enjoying some of the shifts in the weather this week. I know that the swell we had in the ocean made for some very happy surfers, boogie boarders, and fans of those sports. Yesterday I was able to see more than a dozen … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. October 10, 2017 - Not Only the Lonely This week, the Harvard Business Review ran a very interesting cover story. I encourage everyone to read it (you can click here). You will see that it was not written by a business professor or by an economist. The article is by a doctor—and not by just any doctor. It’s written … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. October 4, 2017 - I Am Angry I am angry. The scenes of chaos, terror, and dread on the streets of yet another city made me sad for a time, but now, mostly, I’m angry. Violence in Our Lives The New York Times Editorial Board ran an article on Monday about mass shootings. In the 477 days since June … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Our Sanctuary is Open Today – October 3 October 3, 2017 - Dear Loved Ones, Our hearts ache for those families, friends, loved ones, and all members of our shared human family devastated by the events of the past days in Las Vegas. Answers or solutions in these times are not always clear and are rarely simple. But responses in the face of such actions often include … Continue reading Our Sanctuary is Open Today – October 3
  • Weekly Message from T. J. September 27, 2017 - Send in the Clowns Greetings, friends! Have you ever felt that some ideas are better in the planning than in the execution? I learned this last night. A friend asked me to see the movie It, the most recent adaptation of the Stephen King novel. The movie was showing at a deep discount from the … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.
  • Weekly Message from T. J. September 20, 2017 - Boston Calling Greetings and Aloha! These past three weeks were a bit of a whirlwind. It’s hard to believe that today marks three weeks of being here with you at First Unitarian. In my first two weeks I spent a lot of time to getting to know my way around the church and the island. … Continue reading Weekly Message from T. J.