My Sermon at Red River Unitarian Universalist Church

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11:30 AM Sunday, February 5, 2012

Dennison, Texas
Welcome to my world, the world of Pluralism.
It was a pleasure driving  to Dennison, Texas to give a talk on Pluralism. In the Unitarian Universalist Church language they call it a sermon.

Marla Loturco, president of the Church was an incredible person; she is committed to building a community of Universalists around that Church.

 If you are wondering what this Church is about,  “It is a religion that celebrates  diversity of belief and is guided by seven principles. Our congregations are places where we gather to nurture our spirits and put our faith into action through social justice work in our communities and the wider world.”

As a pluralist, Universalism is natural to me and I define Pluralism in the context of Religion as, learning to respect every which way one worships the creator.   Here you are on your own terms, with your own belief with a community of people who honor it.  In the weekly writings at Dallas Morning News, several of us wrote the decline in Church membership is attributable to the fire and brimstone sermons. When you visit the place of worship, it is a sanctuary of peace and you would want to find tranquility there and not the arrogance that yours is the best religion. Indeed, spirituality and arrogance are inversely proportional to each other.

There is an amazing quiz at Beliefnet; there are about twenty five questions with four possible answers for each. If you said, you believe in a universal God, you get a point each for 27 different religions it lists; as you keep answering your profile keeps building. Here is my score, consistently for over six years.  This shows how close you are with the essence of each faith.  I should have scored 100 in Islam as well, and I will if the questions were about the spiritual aspect of Islam. My low score is due to my responses on the physical manifestations of religion like Hijab, Prayers, fasting etc.

Neo-Pagan (85%)
Islam (84%)
Sikhism (68%)
Hinduism (68%) and
Unitarian Universalist is fairly close to being a pluralist tradition. By the way you can be a Pluralist and a Jew, Hindu, Muslim or a Christian. Pluralism is not a religion; it is merely an attitude of respecting the otherness of other and accepting the God given uniqueness of each one of the 7 billion of us. If we can really do this, then conflicts fade and solutions emerge.
My talk revolved around essence of greetings, creation of life and matter, pluralism and diversity, and the love of creator for his creation, birth of religions, what is that God wants?  What does it take to build cohesive societies? 

God has not signed a deal with any one behind my back or your back, so no one has any special privileges unless he or she does a lot of good to fellow beings, if he does that, who needs a God like that? It is what you have done in keeping harmony and cohesiveness of the creation.

Diversity is incredible, just look around, everything is unique, no two things are alike. Each one of the 7 billion of us has our own thumb print, eye print, our own DNA combination, our own taste bud and I hope one day , we will build our own religion bud, so it does not bother us what any one believes, as long as that belief remains contained to the individual.  What difference does it make if you believe in one, many or no God, the difference comes when you push your belief onto others without giving them the same chance to push theirs on to you.

Each one of us cultivates our own rituals, from the moment you wake up to the moment you sleep – everything you do is ritual, methodical and sequential. There is nothing on the earth you can do with without a system.  Rituals are pathways and milestone that tell us where we are on our own trajectory, whether it is driving to work or going for dinner.
What does God want? He wants us to preserve the harmony he has created in this World Wide Web; it frees one from worries and apprehensions….

I consider myself an expert in Pluralism, not because anything special, but simply because of the amount of time, thinking and writing I have invested in it for nearly two decades. I am a natural pluralist most of the time, not 100% of the time though, and I am sincerely working on it.

The Question answer session always turns out to be mirroring each others. My first question came from a gentleman who is a farmer and is experimenting with nature. He asked (answered too) about religion and spirituality. My response was, “sir, I don’t want to accuse you of plagiarizing my writings, because you have not read it, and you are reflecting my writings.” Indeed spirituality is similar no matter who expresses it; whether a farmer in Dennison, a guy likes me in Dallas, a Maya in Amazon or a Zulu in Swaziland. It is a joy indeed to see the depth of spirituality among the Unitarian Universalists, other gentleman brought his teen daughter to the church and I was wondering, how nice to have a young person grow up with an open mindedness that is incomparable. 
I cannot forget to share this little bitsy scary moment I experienced; Marla took me around this fabulous historical building from 1920’s that used to be a funeral home. She pointed different rooms where different things were stored and displayed, for a moment, I was not sure, if I wanted to see, then I questioned myself for the nonsensical thought.  After the tour we came back to the sanctuary and about to check the PA system…. Although I do not believe in ghosts and witches, I froze; and was completely taken back for a second. I guess instinctively Marla saw my pale face and quickly added it’s the PA system. OMG came out of my mouth.

I took a few pictures of Dennison, Texas about 70 miles North of Dallas. Nice town! However, the town was named for one George Denison, whose family did not spell their name in the usual way (with two “n”’s).

About Mike

Mike has spoken at international forums including the Council for a Parliament of the World’s Religions in Melbourne, Australia; the Middle East Peace Initiative in Jerusalem; and the International Leadership Conference in Hawaii, Chicago and Washington.

He is a member of the Texas Faith panel at The Dallas Morning News and writes about issues facing the nation every week. He writes for the Huffington Post regularly, and occasionally for the Washington Post and other daily newspapers and magazines around the world.

In 2011 Mike published over 300 articles on a variety of subjects. Two of his books are poised to be released this year on Pluralism and Islam in America. Mike is also a frequent guest on Fox News, “The Hannity Show”, and on nationally syndicated radio shows along with Dallas TV, print and radio networks, and occasional interviews on NPR.

He is a speaker, thinker and a writer and is available to speak at your place of work, worship, home, conference, college or seminar. His information is available at

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