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Dan Harper | Selected sermons

Here are a few sermons of mine from the past half dozen years that seem to be worth re-reading.

Why Do We Do What We Do in our Sunday Services? In 2017, the Committee on Ministry at the UU Church of Palo Alto, where I was then serving, raised the interesting point that not many people understood why the worship services are the way they are. So Castor Fu, chairperson of the committee, and I came up with a complete service where we asked the question: Why do we do this? Castor has a full-time job, so we agreed I would do most of the writing and preaching; nevertheless, I feel it was a truly collaborative effort. (While Castor’s daughter was the worship associate, sadly her school schedule did not allow her to be part of our collaborative effort.)

Labor of Love Can you love your job? What if you don’t love your job? To begin to answer this question, I retell an old story attributed to Jesus, the radical rabbi of Nazareth. (Trust me, this Jesus doesn’t sound a bit like the Jesus of the right-wing evangelicals.) But ultimately this turns out to be a sermon about the Web of Life.

Religion vs. Spirituality Being spiritual but not religious (SBNR) might be the best option for some people, especially those who have been damaged by restrictive religious groups. But avoiding organized religion cuts you off from one of the most powerful human tools for inuqiry and self-knowledge. That powerful tool is the community of inquirers



Our Congregation And Its Ministers, 1947-2000 Back in 2018, I preached a sermon about the ministers of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto. This isn’t the usual ministerial hagiography: I look at both their strengths and their flaws, including one minister who allegedly engaged in sexual misconduct.

Helen Kreps, Remarkable Palo Alto Unitarian In 2020, I spoke about the short remarkable life, and tragic death, of Helen Kreps, an early Unitarian feminist. Her words and her example still have something to offer us today.

Dan standing at a pulpit, gesturing with his right hand, and looking out at the congregation as he speaks

Me preaching at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto.