Message from Rev. Richard ‘Bud’ Murphy, UUJF President

Leonard Cohen’s lyrics speak to me in the song There is a War in these times.  Cohen asks plaintively in his final stanza, ”….can’t you hear me speaking?” Here is more than poetry, here is truth, here is urgency. 

We’re at war with a COVID 19 virus, but we’re distracted by the many other wars across our planet: between the rich and the poor, men and women, between those who say there is a war and those who say there isn’t.  There is a battle raging for our minds, for the version of reality that will occupy our minds, for a version of reality that has the potential to stir us to transformative action.

Cohen’s  “…come on back to the war” refrain is not a call to arms, but a call to responsibility to take up our “tiny burden”, our piece of the common cause, to renew our stake in the outcome, not to succumb to an insane conflict of all or nothing resulting in extinction, “let’s all get even”, not in a vengeful sense, but in a sense of equity, to resolve a version of reality in which everyone has enough life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

There are many sophisticated versions of reality that paint a dramatically different vision.

There’s the version of reality subscribed by James Buchanan as told by historian Nancy MacLean. “Meet the Economist Behind the One Percent’s Stealth Takeover of America”

There’s the compatible version of reality laid out by Milton Friedman and chronicled by Naomi Klein summarized here:

As much as we visualize or dream about a different more equitable and most importantly sustainable vision of the future, getting it done means that multitudes must defy the stereotypes created by these brilliant minds and come back to the war with a new form of engagement. We must align with nature and be steadfast in our belief that together we can create a world where everyone has enough, divided we all lose. (from Wikipedia)

Just Saying

One of Leonard Cohen’s songs is titled “There is a War” I’ve pasted the lyrics below.

There is a war between the rich and poor,
A war between the man and the woman.
There is a war between the ones who say there is a war
And the ones who say there isn't.
Why don't you come on back to the war, that's right, get in it?
Why don't you come on back to the war, it's just beginning?
Well I live here with a woman and a child,
The situation makes me kind of nervous.
Yes, I rise up from her arms, she says "I guess you call this love"
I call it service.
Why don't you come on back to the war, don't be a tourist?
Why don't you come on back to the war before it hurts us?
Why don't you come on back to the war, let's all get nervous?
You cannot stand what I've become,
You much prefer the gentleman I was before.
I was so easy to defeat, I was so easy to control,
I didn't even know there was a war.
Why don't you come on back to the war, don't be embarrassed?
Why don't you come on back to the war, you can still get married?
There is a war between the rich and poor,
A war between the man and the woman.
There is a war between the left and right,
A war between the black and white,
A war between the odd and the even.
Why don't you come on back to the war, pick up your tiny burden?
Why don't you come on back to the war, let's all get even?
Why don't you come on back to the war, can't you hear me speaking?


Source: LyricFind

Songwriters: Leonard Cohen
‘There Is A War’ lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
Watch and listen on YouTube



Reflections on COVID-19 and UUJF

We wish you, your families and members of your congregations the very best as we attempt to ascertain what will most likely become the ‘new normal’ in our lives.  How will we minimize social distancing while maintaining physical distancing?  How do we balance functionality in the workplace, congregational life and community with concerns with for the health, safety and well being for ourselves, those close to us and those in the community at large?  There is no doubt in my mind we must maintain a ‘shelter-in-place’ posture until new vaccines are developed and prescribed and/or we develop ‘herd immunity’ to this pandemic.

This will be a significant challenge for those of us who are involved in UUJF social justice efforts to achieve environmental sustainability, disaster relief, racial and social justice, meetings with our elected representatives and planning for 2021 Legislative Days.

To maintain our momentum, we invite you to consider serving on the UUJF Board or volunteer to help with communications, strengthening liaisons with our congregations and/or program planning. Send your inquiries, suggestions, thoughts and comments to us at

David Johnson, UUJF VP and newsletter co-editor



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UUA General Assembly

JUNE 24-28, 2020
Rooted, Inspired, & Ready!


This year’s General Assembly will be a 100% virtual event.  The theme is Rooted, Inspired, & Ready! We are in touch with our theological roots, we are engaged in transforming our faith and we are fired up to take action in the wider world. Naomi Klein has been chosen to give the historic Ware Lecture.

Click here for 2020 Virtual Registration Information




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