Sermons delivered by
Robert J. S. Manning
. . . during his tenure as the longest serving (November 1996 to June 2011) Miniser to Quincy's Unitarian Church in its history. Rob continues his association with us as a member of our congregation and as our Minister Emeritus.
- May 29, 2011 - Love to Love
The longest serving minister in the long history of this congregation takes his leave. In this talk Rob thanks the congregation and offers his hopes for our future.
Listen to the live recording: Love to Love.
From May 29, 2011. 31:49 min. - 12.7 MB file.
- February 27, 2011 - Call it a Day for Democracy:
Thoughts on our Revolutionary Present for Jacques Derrida.
Revolution is in the air! Americans are applauding the overthrow of despotic governments that Imperial America has supported with aid and arms for decades. But why is it that when democracy is adopted, following revolutions in other parts of the world, that American, representative democracy is not the model that is chosen? Are we Americans missing something here?
Listen to the live recording: Call it a Day for Democracy: Thoughts on our Revolutionary Present for Jacques Derrida..
From February 27, 2011. 31:49 min. - 12.7 MB file.
- February 6, 2011 - Super Bowl Sunday - Troubles With Sports in Our
Watching football has become our national pastime. Characterized by crashing together, falling down, then repeating frequently; football is a bruising sport which takes a severe toll upon the players' bodies. These modern gladiators provide the entertainment for this Super Bowl Sunday's afternoon.
Listen to the live recording: Troubles With Sports in Our Football Nation.
From February 6, 2011 - Super Bowl Sunday. 37:49 min. - 15.2 MB file.
- January 9, 2011 - Liu Xiaobo, for
The winner of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize is a Chinese man little known in the United States. In this talk our Minister helped us better understand the life and the character of Liu Xiaobo.
Listen to the live recording: Liu, Xiaobo, for Example.
From January 9, 2011. 31:46 min. - 12.7 MB file.
- December 19, 2010 - Living Advent with Medieval
Women Christian Mystics
Catherine of Siena and Julian of Norwich were 14th Century contemporaries who never met. We consider the contributions to the Christian Tradition that these extraordinary women brought to their contemporary culture, as a part of our advent reflections.
Listen to the live recording: Living Advent with Medieval Women Christian Mystics.
From December 19, 2010. 38:48 min. - 15.5 MB file.
- October 10, 2010 - Gandhi and Levinas in Dialogue
on 'An Eye for an Eye, a Tooth for a Tooth'
A collaboration with Dr. Richard Middleton Kaplan.
Emmanuel Levinas once wrote a short paper on the proposition presented in the Old Testament, 'An Eye for an Eye, a Tooth for a Tooth.' Today, we look in to the context of that concept in Jewish Law, and we come to understand it as a limit upon retribution, rather than a prescription for retribution.
Listen to the live recording: Gandhi and Levinas in Dialogue on 'An Eye for an Eye, a Tooth for a Tooth'.
From October 10, 2010. 44:20 min. - 17.8 MB file.
- October 3, 2010 - Peace and Peacemaking in an
age of Endless War
During the 2010 General Assembly, a draft statement, "Creating Peace" was brought to a vote. It was approved to be an official Statement of Conscience of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA). Today's talk places the statement in perspective.
Listen to the live recording: Peace and Peacemaking in an age of Endless War.
From October 3, 2010. 34:03 min. - 13.6 MB file.
- September 12, 2010 - The Restorative Influence of
A summer "away from it all" can be very much like a night of good rest. And the return to "reality" can be thought of as an awakening. Though the world will certainly have undergone change during our respite, we will return to our lives, rejuvinated and happy to greet the new day.
- May 30, 2010 - Do Animals Have a Face?
Thinking about our Obligations to Other Animals.
Since Darwin, we've come to understand that we humans are simply a species of animal. When this is contrasted with Genesis 1:26, this revolutionary realization may require a re-thinking of our ethical attitudes.
- May 2, 2010 - Weirdos
Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "There are some things to which we all should be 'Maladjusted'." Perhaps he was saying that we should all be 'Weirdos'.
Listen to the live recording: Weirdos.
From May 2, 2010. 29:58 min. - 12.0 MB file.
- April 18, 2010 - What it Means to Remember
Norbert Capek was a Unitarian Minister in Prague, Czechoslovakia, whose life ended in captivity, during the Holocaust. Rob brings to life this dynamic leader, in his time, of the largest Unitarian Congregation in the world.
Listen to the live recording: What it Means to Remember Norbert Capek.
From April 18, 2010. 42:15 min. - 16.9 MB file.
- Easter Sunday, April 4, 2010 - Living Good Friday and
Easter with Martin Luther King, Jr.
In this Unitarian Church, we celebrate Easter and recall the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s death, all in the same service. Rob tell us that there are ideas, ideals, points of view, that will not die! Hatred and violence are not of God. They cannot be ultimately victorious. This is the essence and the audacity of MLK's faith!
Listen to the live recording: Living Good Friday and Easter with Martin Luther King, Jr..
From Easter, April 4, 2010. 37:06 min. - 14.9 MB file.
- March 14, 2010 - Too Many Americans and Other
Environmental Problems: Changing the Ways We Think and Live
Can America lead a global Green Revolution? Are you part of the revolution? Or are you, like Rip Van Winkle, sleeping through the Revolution?
Listen to the live recording: Too Many Americans and Other Environmental Problems: Changing the Ways We Think and Live.
From March 14, 2010. 37:19 min. - 14.9 MB file.
- March 7, 2010 - From the Majority Opinion to
the Minority Opinion
In the minority opinion from the 2009 Supreme Court Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission decision, Justice John Paul Stevens offered this prophecy: "Starting today, corporations with large warchests to deploy on electioneering may find democratically elected bodies much more attuned to their interests." Democracy is a core Unitarian - Universalist Value.
Listen to the live recording: From the Majority Opinion to the Minority Opinion.
From March 7, 2010. 41:46 min. - 16.7 MB file.
- February 21, 2010 - The Backward Look
You screwed up! You feel guilty. You regret what you've done. And it's past. You can't change it. You can't keep from remembering it. You have to keep on living with yourself, knowing that it was your fault. What are we to do?
Listen to the live recording: The Backward Look.
From February 21, 2010. 36:01 min. - 14.4 MB file.
- February 7, 2010 - Buddhism, Britt Hume, and
Yes, we've heard enough about Tiger Woods' personal affairs! But Britt Hume brought Tiger's religion into the spotlight. Unitarians might have a little trouble swallowing Britt Hume's American Religious myopia.
- January 17, 2010 - Dreams, Accomplishments and
Disappointments: Obama's First Year in the White House
The principles that guide us as Unitarians encourage us to be actively involved in the political community in which we live. In this talk, we are treated to a broad survey of the possible reactions to the first year of the Obama presidency.
Listen to the live recording: Dreams, Accomplishments and Disappointments: Obama's First Year in the White House.
From January 17, 2010. 31:20 min. - 12.6 MB file.
- December 20, 2009 - The Light In The
Only in a Unitarian Church on the Sunday before Christmas. We explore the Tao Te Ching!
Listen to the live recording: The Light In The Dark.
From December 20, 2009. 28:45 min. - 11.5 MB file.
- November 8, 2009 - Right Wing Radio and the
Place Where we Live
In our community, it seems there are very few alternatives! If you listen to the radio, and you'd like to listen to people discussing imnportant issues, your choices are right-wing, right-wing, right-wing, and NPR. Is that what they mean by, "Fair and Balanced?"
- October 11, 2009 - The Worship Question and the
Ties that Bind
It can be truly difficult to explain what it is that we, as Unitarians, do. And when we are contrasted with the American versions of Christianity, it is impossibly difficult for us to explain what it is that we believe. But here is Rob, taking one more stab at it.
Listen to the live recording: The Worship Question and the Ties that Bind.
From October 11, 2009. 29:23 min. - 11.8 MB file.
- September 13, 2009 - Thinking About
While we were apart during the past summer, the seeds of a revolution were being crushed in Iran. On this day, we opened ourselves to a discussion of the human values and the human connections we share with the people of Iran.
Listen to the live recording: Thinking About Revolution.
From September 13, 2009. 28:34 min. - 11.4 MB file.
- May 31, 2009 - Standing Outside the
Miracle: Toward a Unitarian Spirituality
We Unitarians battle against the many ways culture, tradition, the way we think, just the way we do things, tries to shut the door and keep us from living with a full appreciation of life's miracles and mysteries.
- Mother's Day, May 10, 2009 - The Spiritual Roots of the
Economic Crisis: Professor Niemoller Revisited
What does the current economic crisis tell us about the social and ethical aspects of our contemporary American Culture; about what our values are; about what type of people we are?
Listen to the live recording: The Spiritual Roots of the Economic Crisis: Professor Niemoller Revisited.
From Mother's Day, May 10, 2009. 39:58 min. - 16.0 MB file.
- April 12, 2009 - Revolutionary Theology for Easter,
or Jesus, God, Empire, and Hope
If there was only one test for Unitarian Ministers just coming out of seminary, it could easily be the single question, "What do you do with Easter?" On this Easter Sunday, Rob offers an answer.
Listen to the live recording: Revolutionary Theology for Easter, or Jesus, God, Empire, and Hope.
From April 12, 2009. 34:33 min. - 13.8 MB file.
- March 1, 2009 - Racism in America, or the History of
a Poisonous Lie
Do we really intend that the word "Race" should refer to differences in ethnicity, or national origin, or skin color? We, as members of the Human Race, should be able to discern the logical fallacy contained in such a notion.
Listen to the live recording: Racism In America.
From March 1, 2009. 34:04 min. - 12.8 MB file.
- February 15, 2009 - Refusing
Hegel: Some Troubling Thoughts about Lincoln, The Civil War, and
On this, the Sunday following Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday, Rob chooses to question conventional wisdom. Can Lincoln's decision to preserve the Union at such a horrible cost be justified? By the constitution? By the subsequent course of American History? By the subsequent course of world history? Or by the integrity of The American Ideal?
Listen to the live recording: Refusing Hegel:.
From February 15, 2009. 30:20 min. - 12.1 MB file.
- February 1, 2009 - St. Paul
Among Contemporary Philosophers and Unitarians.
Recently, there has been an increased interest in the writings and the philosophy of St. Paul. Today, we look for a message that Unitarians and Universalists could find valuable in the words of St. Paul. As Rob says at the close, "Too Heavy."
Listen to the live recording: St. Paul Among Contemporary Philosophers and Unitarians.
From January 4, 2009. 39:55 min. - 16.0 MB file.
- January 4, 2009 - Hopes and
Expectations for 2009.
Anticipating regime change in America, we wonder what other changes a new regime might bring to us. Will we be able to find a more responsive and honest form of democracy, or will we return to the same ol', same ol' practices of the recent past?
Listen to the live recording: Hopes and Expectations for 2009.
From January 4, 2009. 27:27 min. - 11.0 MB file.
- December 14, 2008 - Should We Buy a Chevrolet for
In this talk, we concern ourselves with the Social Fabric of our nation. It is sometimes a discussion of the values surrounding our caring for our neighbors. And it is sometimes a critique of the level of care that we've experienced from our neighbors, the American Automobile Manufacturers.
Listen to the live recording: Should We Buy a Chevrolet for Christmas?.
From December 14, 2008. 31:18 min. - 12.8 MB file.
- November 30, 2008 - On
Living Finally: Thoughts on "The Last Lecture" and Jacques Derrida's
Last Interview, by Rev. Dr. Rob
Celebrating life in the words of three dying men, (1) Unitarian Minister, Forrest Church; (2) Professor Randy Pausch; and (3) the French Philosopher, Jacques Derrida. We who live on, we who survive; we live the most intense life possible.
Listen to the live recording: On Living Finally.
From November 30, 2008. 37:11 min. - 14.9 MB file.
- November 9, 2008 - Round to Reason 2: Is this the
Beginning of a New Regime of Truth?
The first sermon titled "Round to Reason" was delivered eight years earlier. Once the regime of our government changed, dare we look forward to a new era of reason?
Listen to the live recording: Round to Reason 2.
From November 9, 2008. 32:01 min. - 12.8 MB file.
- October 18, 2008 - Problems With
"I have this growing sense that at this point, feminism and feminist theory has become a complicated mess; hard to understand and to explain. At this point it is hard even to say what feminism is and who is a feminist and who isn't a feminist; and who gets to say who is and isn't a feminist."
- October 5, 2008 - The Spiritual Path of Living
Without a Why
Plagued by the ubiquity of the contemporary book, "The Purpose Driven Life," Rob draws a contrast to the profound philosophy of the 14th century Dominican Mystic, Meister Eckhart.
Listen to the live recording: Living Without a Why.
From October 5, 2008. 31:36 min. - 12.7 MB file.
- September 21, 2008 - The Spirituality of Kenosis,
Emptiness is a concept that is usually understood through Taoism or Budhism. In Phillipians, Paul said, "Jesus though he existed in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant."
Listen to the live recording: The Spirituality of Kenosis.
From September 21, 2008. 24:29 min. - 9.81 MB file.
- June 1, 2008 - Hope.
There is something about the word "Hope" that is seductively alluring to us. But what rational basis is there for our Hopes? It's a strange word, when you think about it! Isn't it?
Listen to the live recording: Hope.
From June 1, 2008. 23:39 min. - 9.47 MB file.
- May 4, 2008 - Creative
Advance into Novelty? Whitehead, God and Species Becoming Extinct.
Surveying the Religious Philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead, we find a
God that must be a being who loves to create, who loves diversity, who
loves to open up possibilities for the future of the universe.
Listen to the live recording: Creative Advance into Novelty?. From May 4, 2008. 26:56 min. - 10.8 MB file.
- April 20, 2008 - Trailing
Libyan Donkeys, or The Spirituality of the Way Back Out. Quoting
the Talmud, we challenge the wisdom of the American Invasion of Iraq.
Understanding that we are the Americans who who started it; we lament
the unintended consequences of the Invasion and our moral
responsibility for all of the lives lost and disrupted by the events
put in motion by U.S. - us.
Listen to the live recording: The Spirituality of the Way Back Out. From April 20, 2008. 32:40 min. - 13.1 MB file.
- April 6, 2008 - The "News"
of Rev. Wright - or How the More Perfect Union Remains a Dream -
Rev. Manning shares his thoughts on Barack Obama's "A More Perfect
Union" speech and on the way that America's mainstream news media
created the controversy over Rev. Wright's remarks.
Listen to the live recording: The "News" of Rev. Wright. From April 6, 2008. 33:49 min. - 13.5 MB file.
- Easter Sunday, March 23, 2008 - A Thought Experiment in Trinitarianism for Unitarians
Christianity in its popular forms may be responsible for our traditional conception of god as a great Being up in the sky, but the doctrine of the Trinity insists we have to think of God as a system of relation. God is the Father and is the Son and is the Father's relation to the Son and the Son's relation to the Father. "God" becomes intrinsically relational and interesting.
- March 9, 2008 - Emerson and America Today - What does
it mean to be Emersonian? Internationally regarded as America's
preeminent philosopher; do Ralph Waldo Emerson's writings still have
any relevance for our American culture today? The focus here is upon
his essays Self-Reliance, Nature, and his Divinity School Address.
Listen to the live recording: Emerson and America Today. From March 9, 2008. 34:36 min. - 13.9 MB file.
- February 24, 2008 - Antigone
and the Politics of Mourning. What parallels can be found between
Antigone's predicament and ours, today. The King forbade Antigone to
bury her brother. We are forbidden to view the flag-draped coffins of
our fallen brothers and sisters. How can we respond when the State is
manipulating the depth of public response towards the actions of the
Listen to the live recording: Antigone and the Politics of Mourning. From February 24, 2008. 34:06 min. - 13.7 MB file.
- February 10, 2008 - Abraham Lincoln's Religion
Reconsidered. Historians have offerred much speculation about the
religious views of Abraham Lincoln. Here, a Philosopher surveys the
evidence and comes to his own conclusions.
Listen to the live recording: Abraham Lincoln's Religion Reconsidered. From February 10, 2008. 40:22 min. - 16.2 MB file.
- January 27, 2008 - Understanding Darfur. A broad and
comprehensive survey of the history, the politics, the religious values
and the racism of the crimes against humanity that are being
perpetrated in the region of the Sudan called Darfur.
Listen to the live recording: Understanding Darfur. From January 27, 2008. 46:26 min. - 18.6 MB file.
- January 20, 2008 - Martin Luther King on the
Holocaust. Recently returned from a seminar at the Holocaust Museum,
and marking the coming holiday, Rob surveyed the words of Dr. Martin
Luther King, Jr. for references to the Holocaust.
Listen to the live recording: Martin Luther King on the Holocaust. From January 20, 2008. 29:13 min. - 11.7 MB file.
- December 9, 2007 - Living the Peace of Advent with
Thich Nhat Hahn. When we speak of peace, our first thought is of peace
in the world. We look for an absence of violence and conflict, warfare
and crime. But there is a more immediate level of peace, the peace
within. The Budhist tradition offers us detailed techniques for
developing inner peace. And the Vietnamese Budhist writer, Tich Nhat
Hahn describes them with a beautiful simplicity.
Listen to the live recording: Living the Peace of Advent with Thich Nhat Hahn. From December 9, 2007. 31:59 min. - 12.8 MB file.
- December 2, 2007 - Living the Peace of Advent
with Catholic Mystic Thomas Merton. American Christianity, even
American Catholicism, has lost much of the contemplative meaning of
Advent. From the writings Thomas Merton, a secluded, Trappist Monk, we
glean his understanding of what it is about current events that is
worthy of contemplation, and what is not.
Listen to the live recording: Living the Peace of Advent with Catholic Mystic Thomas Merton. From December 2, 2007. 28:14 min. - 11.3 MB file.
- November 18, 2007 - Paper or
Plastic? Reflections on the Difficulty of Life. Rob moves us
towards the enjoyment of our place in the sun. Using the Latin term,
ipseity, we can find an understanding of our selves lying outside of
the province of sin and guilt and aescetic ideals. We hear Nietzsche
saying, ". . . that the sick should not make the healthy sick, should
surely be our supreme concern on earth."
Listen to the live recording: Paper or Plastic? Reflections on the Difficulty of Life. From November 18, 2007. 28:14 min. - 11.3 MB file.
- November 4, 2007 - Postmodernism, Unitarianism, and the Return of
God. Unitarian thought grew out of the Enlightenment, the age of
the Modern. As intellectuals have grown past the age of the Modern into
the Postmodern, Unitarian thought too, has evolved into something fresh
Listen to the live recording: Postmodernism, Unitarianism, and the Return of God. From November 4, 2007. 26:56 min. - 10.8 MB file.
- October 7, 2007 - Confucius and Jesus. Jesus is often
credited as a great teacher of moral principles by the Christian
community. Writings handed down from Confucius contain a larger body of
moral teaching than any other moral teacher, including Jesus! Today, we
explore Confucian wisdom.
Listen to the live recording: Confucius and Jesus. From October 7, 2007. 24:38 min. - 10.3 MB file.
- May 27, 2007 - Honoring the
Tenth Anniversary of the Ministry of the Rev. Dr. Rob Manning,
by Frieda Marshall.
A very special service honoring the Tenth Anniversary of the ministry of the Reverend Dr. Rob Manning. Remarks from Fr. Bill Burton, Ellen Taylor, Frieda Marshall, Dr. Kerry Manning, and Dr. Rob Manning. Music from Kim Starkey.
Listen to the live recording: Honoring the Tenth Anniversary, by Frieda Marshall.
From May 27, 2007. 35:00 min. -14.0 MB file.
- April 29, 2007 - Joys. What do you think are the most
enjoyable things in your life? Playing in the dirt? Your children?
Hanging out with friends? "There has never been enough joy."
Listen to the live recording: Joys. From April 29, 2007. 22:29 min. - 9.01 MB file.
- April 22, 2007 - This Week
in God. Following a week of senseless murder, both in Quincy and at
Virginia Tech, Rob shifted his focus to address some of the issues
raised. These acts are symptoms of a culture oriented towards death
rather than a culture of life. Referring to the conception of God
described by Alfred North Whitehead, Rob explains how God experiences
the losses during the week past with pain, very much like our own.
Listen to the live recording: This Week in God. From April 22, 2007. 33:42 min. - 13.5 MB file.
- Easter Sunday, April 8, 2007 - What Jesus Tried To Save Us From. On this Easter
Sunday Morning, Rob made a fresh survey of the four Canonic gospels,
with only one question in his focus: What was it that Jesus was trying
to save us from. He came up with five answers, each with a scriptural
reference. You will find the range of these answers at variance with
the traditional American Christian Easter sermon.
Listen to the live recording: What Jesus Tried To Save Us From. From April 8, 2007. 33:08 min. - 13.91 MB file.
- March 25, 2007 - The View from Afar: How the U.S. is
Perceived Abroad. Rob shares his recent experience as a Fulbright
Scholar in Romania. This time his focus is upon the perception that
Romanians and Eastern Europeans in general, have of America and of
Americans. Rob presents a 21 stCentury version of the story
of the "Ugly American."
Listen to the live recording: The View From Afar: How the U.S. is Perceived Abroad. From March 25, 2007. 31:21 min. - 13.17 MB file.
- March 11, 2007 - God's Politics, Jim Wallis, and the
rise of the Evangelical Left. The face of Christianity in America has
been dominated by the politically active, Religious Right, for several
decades, now. In his book, <em>God's Politics</em> Jim
Wallis presents an indictment of the Religious Right. Jim Wallis
presents a vision of Christianity that Unitarians can look more
Listen to the live recording: God's Politics, Jim Wallis, and the rise of the Evangelical Left. From March 11, 2007. 37:20 min. - 15.68 MB file.
- February 25, 2007 - Lost in
Translation. When we become confronted with clashing cultures, we
often find that truth becomes elusive. We suppose that we know many
things about other peoples. Our experiences within other cultures
reveal to us how much we don't understand about what is foreign,
different to us, and how imperfect, and flawed, and provisional is our
understanding when we do try to interpret and to know the other.
Listen to the live recording: Lost in Translation. From February 25, 2007. 29:13 min. - 26.06 MB file.
- February 11, 2007 - The Bear in the Closet. For us in this church, the fatherly God who assures and protects us and tells us that there is no bear in the closet is not a believeable vision of God. Instead, we open ourselves to the vision of a God who wakes us up and reveals to us that we are sleeping in false safety and security; and who asks us what we have done for those who aren't ok and safe and protected.
- Letters from Romania. During much of 2006, Dr. Manning was away teaching classes at The University of the West in Timisoara, Romania on a Fulbright Scholarship. During his time away, he sent this collection of letters to his congregation at home.
- September 17, 2006 - Thoughts About the Future. Rob has served as the minister of Quincy's Unitarian Church for ten years, now. He has served longer than any other minister in our long history, a history that dates back to 1839. In this talk, Rob shares a vision of our future, and his.
- September 10, 2006 - Our Church Community as a Home. Home for a while from Romania, Rob explains how his experiences away from America, away from Quincy, and away from Quincy's Unitarian Church, have affected his sense of "Home".
- May 22, 2004 - Patriotism and Spirituality. Rob offers an intimate glimpse into the way his patriotism has been affected by his theological and religious understanding.
- Easter Sunday, April 11, 2004 - The Secret of Forgiveness. "Father Forgive Them for they Know Not What They are Doing." Rob asks us to examine the ways in which holes are being made in the fabric of the universe.
- April 4, 2004 - Certainties and Hesitancies, A Talk about Gay Marriage. The certainty within the morality of Gay Marriage. And the Hesitancy to allow it to become a political football at this time.
- March 7, 2004 - Coming Together Outside the Temple. Rob tackles the theology of Mel Gibson's controversial movie, The Passion of the Christ.
- Christmas Eve, December 24, 2003 - A Unitarian Parable for Christmas. We look forward to our annual Christmas Eve Program as an important ingredient in our families' celebration of the season. Our Minister made Christmas 2003 especially memorable with his parable.
- December 21, 2003 - Extracting Meaning from the Christian Myth. Rob surveys several different possibilities for meaning from the familiar Christmastime story about the baby Jesus.
- November 30, 2003 - The Spirituality of The Gift. Digging deeply into some of the thoughts that surround the concept of the giving of gifts.
- October 26, 2003 - Which Halloween do we want?. A brief history of the syncretistic holiday, Halloween.
- September 23, 2003 - Has our Church Become Too Political. Reflections upon the role of our church in our community.
- April 20, 2003 - A Whole New Christianity, Beginning When? Where is the re-evaluation of Christian thought required by honest reflection upon the events of the Holocaust?
- April 13, 2003 - Talmudic Interpretation of the Babylonian passage recounting the conversation between the Rabbis and Alexander the Great. Our minister plays the role of a Talmudic Scholar and interprets a famous Talmudic Story.
- Good Friday, March 29, 2003 - On Judas. On this Good Friday, Rob was asked to make a short presentation to Quincy's Ministerial Alliance as part of the larger program.
- January 12, 2003 - The Ugliest Idea ever Conceived and The Most Beautiful Idea ever Conceived: Thoughts on Christianity. The predominant vision of Christianity in America is one that Jesus might hardly recognize.
- December 22, 2002 - On Dying Daily. In developing a personal theology of continuous renewal, Rob finds one meaning within the life of Jesus. Then another from Paul, which is more Buddhist in character.
- December 1, 2002 - Advent, The War Versus Iraq, and Spiritual Direction. Let Advent be a time for the contemplation of a most important question: Do we want to make war on Iraq in the first place?
- November 10, 2002 - Looking back at the Gulf War. Why aren't we discussing the Persian Gulf War of 1990. Why aren't we making the effort to learn from our recent history?
- March 31, 2002 - Violence and Christian Doctrine. How might conventional Christian teachings and theological interpretations be fostering, enabling, even promoting some of the violence in our households?
- March 3, 2002 - Unitarianism as a Culture. How are Unitarian values integrated into the lives of the Unitarians you know?
- February 24, 2002 - Life Inside the Simulacrum. Exploring the Social Theories of Jean Baudrillard, Rob asks how fictional visual images affect contemporary perceptions of "reality."
- January 13, 2002 - The Non-Christian Sources of Martin Luther King's Thought. "In his speeches and his writings, King mentions Gandhi more often than any other historical person except Jesus."
- October 28, 2001 - Unfunny Remarks About Humor. Jokes and their Relation to Repression. Wherein Rob gives us a heavy and serious talk about humor.
- September 23, 2001 - Good, Critical, Prophetic Theology: Where is it?. Or This is not a Time for Bad Theology!
- September 16, 2001 - Ruptured. A Unitarian response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001; presented on the Sunday following those terrible tragedies.
- September 2, 2001 - Life Lived Between Idiocy and Lunacy. A short talk for the first Sunday of our church year, celebrating how the summer has widened our horizons.
- May 27, 2001 - The Spiritual Practice of Forgiveness and its Problems. There are profound differences in the philosophies of Forgiveness practiced by the Christians and the Jews. Rob illustrates these differences with stories drawn from the survivors of the holocaust.
- Veteran's Day, November 11, 2000 - What Mean These Stones?. Cultural Memory and the meaning of the past. Reflections upon our rememberance during a day set aside for remembering.
- April 4, 1999 - Easter Sunday - Overcoming Christianity. Martin Luther King would tell us that all who work for justice have cosmic companionship. God, as a spirit who helps us to overcome, is the meaning of Christ's resurrection.
- November 9, 1997 - Christianity and the Care of the Self. Does Christianity have as one of its central concerns, and does it treasure and promote what Michel Foucault presented to us as the central concern of both Greek and Roman culture, "the care of the self"?
- October 17, 1997 - The Specter of Marx: Labor, Alienation, the Caterpillar and the Silkworm. Since we give so much of our lives to our work; our best sort of work should be the kind which enables us to become who we really want to be.
- February 22, 1997 - Love as Strong as Death. Life's toughest battles are fought inside people's hearts as they struggle with the despair, pain and hopelessness brought to them, without their choice, by death's power to take away.
- November 17, 1996 - Uprooted and/or Transplanted. In an afternoon ceremony on the same day, Rev. Dr. Robert J. S. Manning was formally ordained and installed as the minister of the Quincy Unitarian Church. In his morning talk, Rob pledges to resist becoming "settled."