Lead One Another (delivered on Apr 25, Dumaguete City, my ordination) It is an honor to be ordained as a minister of the Unitarian Universalist faith

. Thank you for your trust and confidence. I am today ordained in a religion that has no dogma to offer a world desperate for answers; by tradition to be called The Reverend in a world cynical and irreverent about moral ascendancy; to stand for a people of my sexual orientation assailed by intolerance and met with violence in many parts of the world; to represent a liberal faith in a country so Catholic that one can be jailed for “offending religious feelings.” And my only question is what brings me here? It is not uncommon to hear of UUs who have tried different faiths before discovering our faith. I fell in love with this faith the moment I heard it said that homilies consisted in poetries of Whitman and Emerson. But the concept, romantic as it is of freely testing one’s beliefs and assumptions in the context of a relationship, needed time and commitment to flourish. I started going at 2006, inquiring how to be a pastor. But at the time I was needy. I was steeped in debt owner of a struggling food business in a university zone. UUs were ready to help with small business loans but my hands were still tied from turning my ideas into real initiatives. I was stuck on the receiving end. But I did my best to be as consistent as Bob in helping organize worship. 4 years later, I went bankrupt steeped in student loans in law school. This circumstance halted any participation in worship. I had no means to go for about a year. By the end of 2011, a year that ended with 7-year partner giving up on me, I met Diane Rollert, puzzled as she was about the significance of meeting me in a hotel lobby. Who was I to meet with her? I held no position, was out of church for a year, I looked problematic and spoke incoherently. A charity case, it looked like. A month later, I met Cathy Hamlin on the day I ended my absence from the congregation. She was born to and raised by all four UU parents. She has become very significant to me, proving to be an anchor many days , and meeting my questions with other questions. More than a year later, here I am with a good track record at work, with some plans and savings to speak of. And all I prayed in Feb 2012 was inspired by Diane’s reflection delivered to the UUQC about the voice inside us that can say Hineni, a Hebrew term meaning, “Here I am”, which I recall from the Bible the prophet Isaiah said--- “Here I am Lord, send me.” As if I said to God then in a moment of desolation, don’t waste a thing like me. Send me! The process of transformation has been very slow and painful but I can say faith has made it a purposeful and determined one. I have found two common messages in many faiths I’ve visited: To love and to serve. And we can still sum it up: To love is to serve. I have been writing a book on leadership since 2010, but I am not just its author, I am also its first beneficiary. One of the important lessons that I have discovered is that if we put ourselves out there for service, we are met with power, in more ways than one. We can realize that we can do and give a lot when we have empathy and we can be vested with power when people begin

As a minister. Another thing I learned is that service without love is not voluntary and makes a slave or a follower or an imitator. a Gandhi. I feel called to create that space for others to give of themselves. and to nurture response-ability in others by giving sharing responsibilities. but one that happens when you are trusting and loving the one who gives. a Christ.to rely on us. by love.” Friends can question friends. to exemplify the life-giving rewards of virtue. in acceptance --. in listening. Nothing is more devastating than to have no space for service. I am today ordained by a faith that offers a life of inquiry in a world that needs to be questioned and needs new questions. by tradition to be called The Reverend because we revere one another. to provide clarity.to create options. Thus to serve with love we are all called to lead--. . a Buddha. but giving others a chance for dependability. To lead is to make leaders of others. in giving way. But the hard lesson that I learned during my moment of failure was that there is service in being on the receiving end. We are not meant to live like that. Jesus said to his disciples before he left. So here I am. hoping to find the friend in you. “I have called you friends. Friends. as an embodiment of a people of my sexual orientation that is realizing the message of our existence. Questions brought me here. to correct error. at your service. I need to be led and to lead. not hoarding power. or challenge them. for everything that I learned I have made known to you. let us let us lead one another. in accommodation of other people’s contributions. to lead others is to let them say of their own volition. Service for love. with love makes a leader. not to make of them consistent subservient receptacles of good faith only. to restore faith. “Hineni!” Send me! But what is the UU mission? Send me to do what? As I asked earlier. not just follow or imitate or emulate.not one that is done because there is no choice. here in a country whose religious feelings may need to be offended. what brings me here? Questions bring me here. serving with love. A life of inqurity is just as important as a life of purpose.

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