Milwaukee soccer-playing minister The Reverend Andrew (“Drew”) Kennedy is going to retire in June.
Retire from active ministry, that is. Not from playing soccer.
For 28 years, Rev. Kennedy has been the senior minister at First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee. During his tenure, the congregation has tripled in size, making it one of the largest Unitarian Universalist churches in the country. All this, as he points out, without the downtown church having a single parking space of its own!
As part of his farewell activities, he’s collected 28 of his best pieces of writing into book form.
Playing Soccer with Buddha is an insightful collection of Kennedy’s thoughts on world religions, personal spirituality, and social justice, from a Unitarian Universalism perspective.
Subtitled: Unapologetically Progressive Views from 25 Years in the Pulpit, the book tackles some thorny issues that Drew has spoken on over the years, from global warming to the use of unmanned drones in warfare to economic inequality in the U.S. today.
Other essays touch on personal spiritual growth and a consideration of the diverse views of God in world religions and philosophical approaches like Humanism or Atheism. Throughout runs a strong thread of Unitarian Universalism, with its eclectic, non-dogmatic, and often very personal approach to these complicated issues. Kennedy will tell you what he believes, not what you must or should believe. That’s up to you. (But he does lay out some persuasive suggestions and a lot of factual and historical information that clearly he hopes will lead you to a good decision, to something that’s right not just for you but for your local community and for the world.)
The book’s title is that of one of the essays in the book, “Playing Soccer with Buddha in the Kingdom of God.” It’s a good example of Kennedy’s approach, in which he takes personal reflections (such as a memory of playing in a Sunday afternoon pick-up soccer game with his son and friends) and combines them with insights from philosophers and religious leaders and poets and storytellers about times when we come in touch with a brief moment of transcendence, a moment of being fully present, of “touching the sun” in our lives, of complete satisfaction in the here and now.
To see the full Table of Contents or to order a copy for you or your library, here’s more about Playing Soccer with Buddha at the Crickhollow/Crispin Books website. (The Milwaukee editor/publisher, Philip Martin, is also a member of the First Church congregation – and also happens to play soccer with Drew in a Milwaukee recreational league.)
For church members (and Sunday visitors, who are welcome to attend), Drew will be doing a signing of his book Sunday, May 4, at the First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee, after each of the two services (services start at 9:00 and 11: 00 respectively, and last under an hour).
For more on Crickhollow/Crispin Books, a Milwaukee-based indie press, sign up for its E-newsletter mailing list.
Playing Soccer with Buddha:
Unapologetically Progressive Views
from 25 Years in the Pulpit
by Drew Kennedy
Trade Paperback • $19.95 • 286 pages
Pub date: May 4, 2014
Essays / Spirituality & Religion / Unitarian Universalism