|Rev. Darrell Berger
“Unplug the Christmas Machine”
by Rev. Darrell Berger
I am suggesting a Christmas present, especially for parents with children, for whom the holidays can be overwhelming. It is a book titled “Unplug the Christmas Machine” by Jo Robinson and Jean Staeheli, published in 1991. It helped me, and many others. It is useful to Unitarian Universalists, whose celebration of the holidays may differ considerably from other members of their families.
The fundamental question Robinson and Staeheli ask is “What do kids want most for Christmas?” They answer: “Time with their parents!” More than the current cool computer game or princess doll, children want family time. If parents and other caregivers pack so many activities into the holidays, the special days pass without sharing our greatest gifts: each other.
I encourage Religious Education programs to go easy on themselves over the holidays. Family and other obligations often weigh heavily. A church need not add to already busy, near burnout, schedules.
This book is also great on holiday travel, new families configurations, and those relatives who are just plain difficult over the holidays, due to alcohol, unrealistic expectations or diverging values.
Copies can be found on line or in bookstores. If you are struggling to create holidays that have meaning and sanity, this is the book for you. I hope, also, this is the church for you. If you have issues like those I have mentioned, please give me a call or an email. Maybe I can help you create the holidays you need in your life.
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Rev. Berger was born in Toledo, Ohio and attended Vanderbilt University and Divinity School. He has over 25 years experience as a UU minister, mostly serving on a full-time basis. He has served churches in North Carolina and Massachusetts.
Closer to Staten Island he has served the Fourth Universalist Society in Manhattan and until now as a Halftime Consulting minister at the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Essex County in Orange, NJ. He has experience with smaller congregations and historical buildings.
"This will be the fourth congregation I've served with an historic church building," Rev. Berger said. "The task of ministry to the building and the congregation is the same: carefully maintain what still works and renovate what doesn't."
He enjoys preaching and his topics range widely, always returning to the central themes of social justice equality. "Theologically, I'm a Transcendentalist," Rev. Berger said. "Emerson used Buddhism and poetry to help realize an American spirituality that bends toward justice. I try to follow that path."
He is also an expert on baseball history and memorabilia and has co-written books with former players Roy White and Mitch Williams. He has been a featured speaker at the New York City Chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR), speaking on "Baseball Players as Human Beings."
He lives in Jersey City with his wife, two dogs and two cats.
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Rev. Berger's Sermons
Rev. Berger's sermons from past services can be found here >
Contact Rev. Berger:
Church Office: 718-447-2204
Email: minister -at- uucsi.org
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