UU News

Religious Leaders Embrace Cause of Immigrant Children

UUA Top Stories - Tue, 2014-08-05 01:00
The New York Times reports that leaders from a broad range of religious traditions—from the Southern Baptist Convention to the Roman Catholic Church to the Unitarian Universalist Association—are leading a 'backlash to the backlash' against undocumented children who came to the U.S. this year on their own.
Categories: UU News

Social Justice Push Marks Minister's Retirement

UUA Top Stories - Tue, 2014-08-05 01:00
UU World shares how the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington, IN used social justice work as a way to mark the retirement of its co-minister, the Rev. Bill Breeden. It reads, 'People were encouraged to volunteer at a food pantry and a shelter that provides services for people who are homeless.'
Categories: UU News

When pigs fly

UU World - Mon, 2014-08-04 01:00
LIFE: Do we try too hard to grasp joy when it comes?
Categories: UU News

Social justice push marks minister’s retirement

UU World - Mon, 2014-08-04 01:00
NEWS: More than 100 hours volunteered in honor of the Rev. Bill Breeden
Categories: UU News

Responding to hate in New Orleans, and other UUs in the media

UU in the news - Fri, 2014-08-01 14:07

UU minister discusses the violation of a New Orleans church

In a segment on The Rachel Maddow Show, the Rev. Deanna Vandiver of First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans, La., offers a firsthand account of the hateful attack on the congregation’s Sunday worship service by right-wing anti-abortion activists. (MSNBC – 7.29.14)

Related stories include:

“Time, space for worship sacred” (New Orleans Advocate – 7.29.14)

“Why did anti-choice activists harass Unitarians in New Orleans?” (RH Reality Check – 7.28.14)

“Choice Vigil: Group responds to anti-abortion protestors at Duncan Plaza rally” (Nola Defender – 7.24.14)

Remembering Hiroshima and Nagasaki victims

With the hope of abolishing nuclear weapons and bringing awareness to the issue of climate change, the social justice committee of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock in Manhasset, N.Y., will hold a special commemoration for the victims of the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in conjunction with the Great Neck chapter of a pacifist nonprofit organization. (The Island Now7.25.14)

More news from UU congregations

After the Unitarian Universalist Association voted to divest from fossil fuels earlier in June, First Unitarian Society of Milwaukee joined the growing movement to divest ownership of fossil-fuel stock, along with many other faith groups, colleges, universities, and businesses. (Wisconsin Gazette - 7.24.14)

A meditation group was cancelled earlier this week at First Unitarian Universalist Church of San Antonio, Tex., after thieves stole copper wiring from the building. Local police report a string of similar break-ins in the area. (mysanantonio.com - 7.28.14)

Categories: UU News

Life in American Christendom, remembering Margot Adler, and more

News from Far Off UU Congregations - Fri, 2014-08-01 11:37
Life in American Christendom

The Rev. Dawn Cooley makes a provocative statement about the relationship between Unitarian Universalism and Christianity.

Unitarian Universalism may or may not be a Christian denomination, depending on who you ask. But we are a part of Christendom, because we have not disassociated ourselves from Christianity. Nor should we—it is an important part of where we come from and who we are today, and, I suspect, an important part of where we are going. (The Lively Tradition, July 30)

The Rev. Dr. David Breeden suggests that UUs not worry about reinventing Christianity, but rather focus on being a big tent, in which each congregation, and each individual “brews” their own faith.

[Mainstream] Christian denominations are scrambling to survive. I don’t doubt that they will do a fine job of brewing the new Christianity. A much better job than can Unitarian Universalism, except in very specific locations and boutiques. . . . I think the future of Unitarian Universalism lies in micro-breweries. Boutique congregations, each with a recipe of their own. (Quest for Meaning, July 31)

Tina Porter wonders if some Christians “opt out” of the concept of grace.

Here’s my dilemma about the concept of grace: . . . . if grace is the gift we did not earn and do not deserve, wouldn’t that, in essence, make us all more tender-hearted toward those in need of that unearned gift?

. . . . I’ll ask in another way: is it possible to follow Jesus, claim him as your Savior, and then be hard-hearted to those who not only don’t have bootstraps but wouldn’t know how to wear a boot if it was handed to them? (Long Thoughts, July 31)

Co-existing with fundamentalist religion

Responding to Operation Save America’s harassment of a UU congregation in New Orleans, the Rev. Tom Schade wonders how progressive and fundamentalist religions can exist together in the same community.

Can the Tolerant and the Intolerant Co-exist?

Yes, but only if the Tolerant have the power to preserve the structural arrangements which protect them.

It is a question, ultimately, of power. (The Lively Tradition, July 29)

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum believes that the Operation Save America incident was, indeed, “religious terrorism.”

Terrorism is defined as “the use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.” . . . . This act in Louisiana didn’t include violence. So why is it terrorism? Because it’s done by a terrorist group that has included violence in the past. (The Lively Tradition, July 30)

Thank you, Margot Adler

Thalassa expresses her gratitude for the work of Margot Adler, who died this past week.

Margot Adler was my impetus to take the idea of being Pagan seriously. Not just to take myself seriously, but to demand (nicely, of course) that I should expect my religious beliefs to be taken seriously, regardless of how unorthodox they might seem to others.

Margot Adler is the reason that I never thought that I had to live “in the broom closet.” (Musings of a Kitchen Witch, July 29)

Patrick Murfin gives an overview of Margot Adler’s life.

Despite her status as a priestess, Adler never considered herself as a witch or had a particular interest in magic. “Most people, when they think of witches and witchcraft, think of power and magical abilities,” she told a reporter three years ago. “I’m not a particularly occult-oriented person. I’m not into astrology. I’ve never felt I had magical abilities.” Instead, Adler focused on the power of ritual to connect a community and on the spiritual connection to the whole natural world. (Heretic, Rebel, a Thing to Flout, July 29)

This world’s hell

When NFL player Ray Rice gets off easy after committing domestic violence, Colleen Thoele can’t keep silent.

Do you know how hard it is to try and help a person feel safe and take steps to walk free from violence when we know that our system sets her up to fail and is complicit in making her life more dangerous than if she never left the abuse in the first place? (Adventures of the Family Pants, July 30)

After the Minnesota Multiphasic Personality Inventory told Kim Hampton that she had a paranoia-persecution complex, she consulted a friend who works as a psychologist for the Indianapolis Police Department.

[She] said, “They told you you were paranoid, didn’t they?” I said yes. She then told me, “Don’t worry about it. It’s because you’re black.” She then went on to tell me that, without fail, every black person who takes the test as part of the entrance to the IPD academy comes out as paranoid. The funny part of the conversation came a little later when she said, “Of course you’re paranoid. You’ve been followed around in stores. People make assumptions about you just by your very appearance. There would be something wrong with you if you weren’t paranoid.”

. . . . What does it say about this country that paranoia is the way that black and brown people have to think in order to stay reasonably sane? (East of Midnight, July 28)

Answering the question, “Why Universalism?” the Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg traces Universalism’s history and shares its current relevance.

So, “Why Universalism?” Well, whereas Unitarianism has sometimes lead down a road to extreme Emersonian individualism (of caring mostly about one’s own isolated spirituality), the Universalism calls us out of ourselves and into the world to love the hell out of this world—into a world filled with far too much hell that desperately needs the life-saving message that we are part of one another, part one human family. (Pluralism, Pragmatism, Progressivism, July 31)

Attending church helps Justin Almeida combat compassion fatigue.

Religion provides me with a community, sanctuary and covenant that is focused on peacemaking. It reminds me that I am not alone in working to build a more just world. It cures my compassion fatigue because it restores my faith in people. When peace and justice work becomes too heavy, it is my church that lightens the load. In a space filled with atheists, believers, agnostics, questioners and religious refugees, our attendance shouts to the universe: “We will continue the work! We will not give up! We crave peace!” (What’s My Age Again?, July 31)

Categories: UU News

From dormitory to transformational community

UU World - Mon, 2014-07-28 01:00
NEWS: Bethany House, a Universalist-founded boarding house for young women in Boston, adds transitional housing mission.
Categories: UU News

Seminary 3.0

UU World - Mon, 2014-07-28 01:00
IDEAS: Meadville Lombard has transformed its approach to theological education.
Categories: UU News

Detroit’s water crisis, worshippers harassed in New Orleans, and more

News from Far Off UU Congregations - Fri, 2014-07-25 14:34
Water, water everywhere

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum writes about the water crisis in Detroit.

If you scratch below the surface of the call for individual responsibility in this case, it’s easy to see a level of demonization below it, and that demonization has some ugly, racist roots. This water issue isn’t really about self-reliance, it’s about “othering” the people of Detroit, about race, and about class. It’s about making the most basic human need into us-vs.-them. (The Lively Tradition, July 23)

Circle round for freedom

This past Sunday, anti-abortion protesters disrupted the worship service at First UU Church of New Orleans; the Rev. Deanna Vandiver, who was preaching that morning, shares a first-hand perspective on the congregation’s response.

Beloveds, I have never been prouder of my faith community. The youth led the way in circling the congregation together, forming a ring around the sanctuary and singing sustaining songs. Soon it became clear who was choosing to be beloved community and who was trying to destroy it. (Quest for Meaning, July 22)

Bart Frost, the congregation’s DRE, tells how he experienced the incident—and how he calmed his nerves afterward.

I spent the rest of the afternoon as I normally spend my Sunday afternoons, listening to music, writing and reading. The music leaned a little more towards punk sometimes, and Unitarian Universalist hymns at others. I reminded myself that there is good in this world, as I savored the sweetness of ice cream, good that is more powerful than hate and bitterness. (Vive Le Flame, July 22)

The Rev. Krista Taves suggests that other UU congregations can learn from this, and be prepared.

Most of our churches will never face this kind of sacred violation, thank the spirit, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen. In fact, given the increasing legal challenges to reproductive justice, and the fact that many Unitarian Universalist leaders are publicly active in the women’s reproductive justice movement, we need to be ready. (And the stones shall cry, July 22)

For the Rev. Marie DeYoung, calling this “religious terrorism” is inflammatory language.

There is no question that the behavior of Operation Save America was outrageous, disrespectful, and a harassing form of public speech.

But, while their behavior as described most certainly was disruptive, it clearly was NOT terroristic. We should not inflate the meaning of fundamentalist intruders’ pesky drama to a level that only improves their odds of achieving media celebrity. (About Our Inherent Worth, July 24)

In memoriam

The Rev. Scott Wells remembers a colleague, the Rev. Jennifer Slade, who died last week of an apparent suicide.

I want to express my sympathy to her family, and to her congregations. I am praying for you and her, and for others—including a number of ministers—shaken and feeling vulnerable by her death. (Boy in the Bands, July 19)

For the Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein, this tragedy renews her commitment to reach out for help, and to ask her colleagues “Are you OK?”

The work of religious leadership is especially demanding in this time of closing churches and anxious laity. . . . We are “making it up as we go along” in a way that previous generations of ministers may be able to relate to culturally or theologically or organizationally, but not institutionally to this extent. The pressure is fierce. This is to say nothing of other life stresses of health, finance, family, community. (Beauty Tips for Ministers, July 18)

Lessons written in stone

Faced with a vocational setback, Claire Curole gets reacquainted with her rock collection, and relearns needed lessons.

I am being slowly reminded of things I used to know—the complex relationship between purity and perfection and beauty and fragility, how the things which are most interesting are not always the strongest or most flawless—and how those which are strong or flawless are not always the most interesting or beautiful. If I can learn from these stones the admiration of complexity, of fragility, of quirky individuality then perhaps I will eventually learn to apply these lessons more broadly.

The other thing of which I have been reminded is that, given enough time and the proper conditions, even shattered stones can mend, become whole—not that which they were, not exactly, but something more, something different. (The Sand Hill Diary, July 21)

Tim Atkins remembers a similar lesson about imperfection—from his days as a geology student.

One of the early lessons I learned in my first geology course? How minerals get their color. The answer surprised me then, and it gives me hope today. It’s the flaws—the impurities.

Impurities are what make rubies red. Flaws are what make emeralds green. And flaws are what make each of us beautiful, too. (Loved for Who You Are, July 21)

Faith and belief

For Andrew Hidas, skepticism began in childhood.

Believing in a heaven where my mother was denied entrance required suspension of every shred of rationality and native reason my mere 8-year-old brain was already manifesting. I would have had to take it “on faith,” but that was so absurd and impossible given the reality of my actual mom and her actual great big heart that faith didn’t stand a chance.

Notably, anything that has required similar “faith” on my part hasn’t fared too well since. (Traversing, July 21)

The Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg answers the question, “Why Unitarianism?”

Although there are certainly many other vital religious traditions in our world, at least for me, Unitarian Universalism is the path that I have found the most helpful for navigating a 21st-century world in which we humans have been radically de-centered from the exalted position some of our ancestors believed that we held. (Pragmatism, Progressivism, Pluralism, July 24)

The Rev. Dr. David Breeden considers falling church attendance.

People today are looking for connection and service. They want to gather together and heal our broken world. The don’t want the same ‘ol same ‘ol.

The building is burning. Even those who remain Christian are fleeing. And those who wish to explore other paths?

Well, I can send you the address of my church . . . (Quest for Meaning, July 24)

Categories: UU News

Anti-abortion activists invade UU worship, and other UUs in the media

UU in the news - Fri, 2014-07-25 11:48

Right-wing activists disrupt moment of silence in New Orleans UU church

A national anti-abortion group interrupted Sunday worship at First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans, La., during a moment of silence for a recently deceased member to advocate their pro-life stance. The Rev. Deanna Vandiver, guest speaker at the Sunday service, encourages the community to stand on the side of love. (Think Progress - 7.23.14)

Related stories include:

“Anti-abortion fanatics invade a church service. Where’s the outrage?” (LA Times - 7.23.14)

“Anti-abortion group harasses Unitarian church during moment of silence for dead member” (Raw Story - 7.23.14)

“Benham group disrupts ‘Synagogue of Satan’ Unitarian Universalist worship services, receives proclamation from mayor” (Right Wing Watch - 7.4.14)

UUA, other faith communities urge Congress to halt deportations

The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) and other national religious organizations are expressing concern for unaccompanied children on the U.S.-Mexico border. Opposition to proposals for expedited deportation of migrant families was expressed in a letter to Congress to address what some are calling a growing moral crisis. (New York Times - 7.23.14)

Supporters call for unity in welcoming unaccompanied minors and refugees

A Massachusetts community has come out in support of unaccompanied minors after city officials voiced concern over overwhelming numbers of refugees in the local school system. The Rev. Victoria Weinstein of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greater Lynn stood on the City Hall steps in support of the city and her neighbors who speak many languages. (ItemLive.com - 7.23.14)

More news from UU congregations

First Church in Jamaica Plain, Mass., is taking steps to fully divest itself of stock holdings in fossil fuel companies. Last month the Board of Trustees unanimously passed a resolution to immediately remove all investments in fossil fuels and prohibit the purchase of any new fossil fuel stock. (Jamaica Plain Gazette - 7.18.14)

A social justice project of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Indiana, Pa., is helping to fight hunger by taking part in a county-wide program to meet the needs of elementary school children at risk. (Indiana Gazette - 7.7.14)

UU youth from congregations in Texas, Louisiana, and Oklahoma came together for the second annual local service project at UBarU camp and conference center near Kerrville, Tex. This year’s project had youth working with the organization Southwest Llama Rescue. (news-journal.com - 7.1.14)

Categories: UU News

Evolution Camp celebrates science, and other UUs in the media

UU in the news - Mon, 2014-07-21 09:39

Evolution Camp offers summer programming unique in area

First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church of Springfield, Mo., sponsored an Evolution Camp organized by religious education director Jennifer Lara, who created the program from others used in UU churches. Parents throughout the area took advantage of the opportunity the camp offered to kids who love science and filled the roster in just a few days. (Springfield News-Leader - 7.11.14)

Other evolution camp stories:

“Vacation Evolution School? This Unitarian Universalist Camp May Shock You” (Charisma News - 7.14.14)

“Ken Ham Criticizes Unitarian Church’s ‘Evolution Camp’ for Children; ‘Shocked’ at Assemblies of God Presence” (The Christian Post - 7.14.14)

Read more about UU summer camps for children: “The only place I can really be” (UU World – Summer 2013) 

UU retreats and conference centers highlighted

The Unitarian Universalist conference center Star Island, located off the New Hampshire coast, is installing enough solar panels to power nearly 30 homes. They hope to be a model for the future of sustainable energy use on the mainland. (New Hampshire Public Radio - 7.14.14)

Members of GAYLA, a program of the Ferry Beach Park Association’s Retreat and Conference Center in Saco, Maine, reflect on how the organization has spent years offering a safe space for gay men to relax and rejuvenate themselves once a year. The Association has a proud historic connection to Unitarian Universalism. (Sun Monthly - 7.13.14)

More news from UU congregations

A group of more than 300 members of All Souls Unitarian Church in Washington, D.C., gathered in front of the Supreme Court steps to call attention to the need to strengthen voter protections nationwide. The flash mob event included a musical medley of justice songs. (HRC Blog - 7.11.14)

Volunteers from the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Silver City, N.Mex., have joined other local churches to support the children involved in the humanitarian crisis at the U.S. border with Mexico. The group is taking donations of a variety of goods, including food and clothes, to help care for the immigrants on a short-term basis. (Silver City Sun-News - 7.15.14)

The Unitarian Universalist Church in Chattanooga, Tenn., was named an early adopter in the community of environmentally sustainable initiatives. The congregation has installed solar panels, which enable them to sell the electricity they do not use to the Tennessee Valley Authority and supplement their income. (timesfreepress.com - 7.13.14)

Work begins this month on renovations at First Parish Unitarian Universalist in Arlington, Mass., to expand its buildings to accommodate the growing number of members and non-members using the space. Congregation members raised $2 million for the upgrades. (The Arlington Advocate - 7.14.14)

 

Categories: UU News

Preparing for a hike

UU World - Mon, 2014-07-21 01:00
SPIRIT: Imagine your way through the good route / and also the other route.
Categories: UU News

Meet our readers

UU World - Mon, 2014-07-21 01:00
NEWS: UU World's readership survey also offers an updated profile of the UUA's membership.
Categories: UU News

Singing our faith, post-theism, creating new worlds, and more

News from Far Off UU Congregations - Fri, 2014-07-18 14:17
Singing our faith

The Reeb Project flash-mob video made by All Souls Church in Washington, D.C., found its way to Upworthy this week. Enjoy the singing!

‘Infidelity’ and post-theism

The Rev. James Ford marks Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Divinity School address as the moment when “the ‘new infidelity’ was brought home to the institution of Unitarianism.”

While Unitarianism had rejected the trinity and focused salvation on “character,” on the actions of the individual in her or his life rather than through a vicarious atonement achieved by Jesus’ death, it was nonetheless deeply rooted in biblical Christianity. . . . Emerson . . . explicitly [rejected] the necessity of scripture as divine revelation. Instead he declared that the intuition of the individual was sufficient to find one’s way.

This created a firestorm within Unitarianism. A fire that has not yet burned itself out. (Monkey Mind, July 15)

The Rev. Dr. David Breeden explains why he is a “post-theist.”

I bought a new Ford truck, not a Model T. Why? Because a Model T, even though it revolutionized the automobile industry, is no longer an efficient mode of transportation in the contemporary world. . . .

This is how I view “god.” It’s not that I don’t believe in the god concept. It’s that I don’t think the concept is good transportation in our contemporary context. (Quest for Meaning, July 17)

Love, love, love

The Rev. Amy Shaw suggests that the word “because” should not follow the words “I love you.”

Loving you because implies that there is an alternate world in which I could not love you, because. Or a world in which my love for you would change as you drew nearer to some select goal that you and I shared. (Loved for Who You Are, July 14)

The Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern objects to the word “bromance.”

In our culture, we don’t need a special name to describe the relationship between two women who love each other, love to spend time together, and are not romantically involved together nor seeking to be. We already have a term: friendship. What disturbs me about the embrace of the “bromance” term is the shunning of the obvious, available word.

Is there something so extraordinary about a close, loving, non-romantic relationship between men that we need a cute, arch term for it? (Sermons in Stones, July 14)

Liz James writes about loving beyond the bounds of committed relationships.

in the complete stretch of history i can see how
every time i felt this pull
to join with someone
it was because there was some part of them that i needed
to learn by heart (Rebel with a Label Maker, July 16)

Wholly interdependent

The Rev. Dr. Cynthia Landrum criticizes religious language about “brokenness.”

One of the most radical things we can do in the face of oppression is to counter messages of brokenness with proclamations of wholeness: I am whole; I am loved; I am worthy; I have inherent worth and dignity; You are whole; You are loved: You are worthy; You have inherent worth and dignity. You are loved — just as you are.

This doesn’t mean that we are perfect. It doesn’t mean that we never do harm. But we are still loved. We are whole, just as we are. (Loved for Who You Are, July 16)

Katy Schmidt Carpman writes that babies remind us our own interdependence. (Remembering Attention, July 14)

Creating new worlds

The Rev. Scott Wells notices that there was only one new congregation welcomed at this year’s UUA General Assembly, and wishes there were more.

To keep from shrinking, we need new congregations, and one isn’t enough. We need leaders with experience to foster new congregations, and one isn’t enough to found them.

So, again, I’m happy for Original Blessing. I only wish it had some cradle mates. (Boy in the Bands, July 15)

The Rev. Elizabeth Curtiss says it’s not too late for the UUA to move to Detroit. “Detroit has replaced Silicon Valley as the place where pioneers will create the real 21st century. Religion is about creating new worlds out of old chaos: let’s pull up our stakes and get busy.” (Politywonk, July 14)

Categories: UU News

Book group brings Muslim and UU women together

UU World - Mon, 2014-07-14 01:00
NEWS: Women from Unitarian Universalist and Muslim congregations in Silver Spring, Md., meet each month.
Categories: UU News

Remembering Pete

UU World - Mon, 2014-07-14 01:00
SPIRIT: To be honest, I still want to grow up to be like Pete Seeger.
Categories: UU News

Religious opposition to religious exemptions, and other UUs in the media

UU in the news - Fri, 2014-07-11 14:21

Hobby Lobby opinion is not the opinion of all religious people

The Rev. Emmy Lou Belcher, retired minister of DuPage Unitarian Universalist Church in Naperville, Ill., joined clergy and others for a protest outside a local Hobby Lobby store. The effort, which included handing out condoms, was intended to show that not all religious people support the U.S. Supreme Court’s position in the recent Hobby Lobby case. (Daily Herald - 7.3.14)

Other Hobby Lobby protest stories include:

“Activists Hand Out Condoms at Hobby Lobby to Protest Supreme Court Decision—Their Profession Though Might Surprise You” (The Blaze - 7.4.14)

“Even Clergy Are Against the Hobby Lobby Decision—And They’re Protesting in an Unexpected Way” (News.Mic.com - 7.4.14)

“Culture War Notes From All Over” (The American Conservative - 7.4.14)

“Small protest held outside Naperville Hobby Lobby over Supreme Court decision” (Naperville Sun - 7.2.14)

The Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) joined over 100 other faith leaders and groups in signing a letter urging President Obama to oppose religious exemptions as he considers anti-discrimination policies in federal contracts. (Religion News Service - 7.8.14)

News from UU congregations

Unity Temple in Oak Park, Ill., named a UUA Breakthrough Congregation in 2008, shares how giving away the money they collect each Sunday has increased their pledge drive by 14 percent. One member said the practice has shifted the congregation’s way of thinking from one of poverty to abundance. (OakPark.com - 7.8.14)

When the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Somerset Hills in Somerville, N.J., moved into their new building, they purposely delayed dedicating it until renovations were completed that made it welcoming and accessible to all people. Each Sunday, they light a candle and acknowledge the progress they have made toward this goal. (centraljersey.com - 7.7.14)

After deciding as a congregation to take steps to be more environmentally sustainable, members of the Unitarian Universalist Church in Bloomington, Ill., learned that they could do even more if they became certified as a Green Sanctuary congregation by the UUA. They are actively completing a number of projects to achieve that goal. (pantagraph.com - 7.9.14)

The Shelter Neck Unitarian Universalist Camp in Burgaw, N.C., is a summer camp and retreat center with a rich historical connection to early Universalism in North Carolina and the Unitarian Universalist faith movement today. (StarNewsOnline.com - 7.4.14)

Categories: UU News

Evangelism, sweetness and love, religious bullying, and more

News from Far Off UU Congregations - Fri, 2014-07-11 13:38
Evangelism, elevator speeches, and innovation

Justin Almeida’s first attempts to explain UUism to his new classmates were “a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey stuff,” so he worked out a more formal elevator speech.

Unitarian Universalism is rooted in liberal Christianity and developed out of the reformation. It is now a pluralistic, non-creedal religion that believes truth resides in the individual as informed by experience, tradition, family, culture and history. We have seven principles which guide our congregations, all of which boil down to ‘there is one love and nobody is left behind. (What’s My Age Again?, July 9)

For Gracia Walker, simple loving presence is a form of evangelism.

I think to show love doesn’t mean you tell people where to go to church or if they should go to church. It just means you spend the time you have with them in a loving way. (Loved for Who You Are, July 9)

The Rev. Dr. David Breedon reminds us that a culture of loneliness is the context for our evangelism.

As the Beatles knew, denizens of post-industrial countries may exist in utter isolation. We often shop in anonymous supermarkets rather than bustling markets. We buy clothing off a hanger, not from the source of the craft. As Robert D. Putnam pointed out, many of us bowl alone. (Quest for Meaning, July 10)

Katy Schmidt Carpman notices that many programs that support innovation are cropping up within UUism.

It’s a ripe time for innovation.
What’s your big idea?
How will you change the world? (Remembering Attention, July 3)

Enough already

While shopping in Target, Colleen Thoelle has a flash of insight about accepting the person she is right now, letting go of regrets and fantasies about the past.

Should the goal be to not go back and dig up but to walk forward and look straight ahead? Should I leave “her” behind me and just be who I am right now? What in the hell is wrong with who you are right now?

Bam! Lightbulb. (Adventures of the Family Pants, July 10)

During a stressful summer of “mothering from afar,” Jordinn Nelson Long also struggles with the question of doing and being “enough.”

My faith tells me there is no hell, but amazingly, that doesn’t touch the fear of damnation here, on this earth.

Not by others. . . .

What I’m afraid of is bigger and deeper, a theological matter for our time. The final judge will be the limits of each 24 hour day and the reality of opportunity cost and the truth that to love is on some level to leave your heart lying helpless. (Raising Faith, July 4)

Religious freedom, religious bullying

The Rev. Marti Keller, responding to the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby decision, writes that “We need to find ways to talk about the ripples of oppression and harm that may inevitably stem from this ill-considered verdict while not losing focus on the women in this country who were originally targeted.” (Leaping from Our Spheres, July 10)

After a thorough examination of the court’s decision, Doug Muder concludes that Pandora’s box is open.

[Any] clever person can find a link of some sort between whatever they don’t want to do and the commission of some act they consider immoral by someone else. Alito is encouraging Christians to develop hyper-sensitive consciences that will then allow them to control or mistreat others in the name of religious liberty. . . .

I focus on Christians here for a very good reason: Given that this principle will produce complete anarchy if generally applied, it won’t be generally applied. (The Weekly Sift, July 7)

The Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern wants Unitarian Universalists to work for a more substantive conversation about abortion.

We wish to talk with others who struggle with these issues, not in order to concede to intolerable positions nor make peace with every opponent, but because they matter to us, and it is the duty both of a government and a civilization to grapple honestly with such questions. (Sermons in Stones, July 3)

John Beckett believes Americans too often confuse religious freedom and religious bullying.

Religious freedom means you are free to believe, worship, and practice as you see fit. It means you are free to advocate for your religion in the public square. It means you are free to live your life by your values and to encourage others to do the same.

It does not mean you are free to coerce others to believe, practice, or behave as you would prefer, nor does it mean you are free to ignore your obligations to our wider society.

That’s not freedom. That’s bullying. (Under the Ancient Oaks, July 3)

Sweetness and love

The Rev. Dr. Carl Gregg reflects on this year’s General Assembly theme.

Perhaps the biggest take away for me from General Assembly was the emphasis that “Love Reaches Out” means partnering to create social change with those whom you may in many ways differ from politically or theologically. (Pluralism, Pragmatism, Progressivism, July 8)

The Rev. Scott Wells objects to overly sentimental views of Universalism.

In the last generation, I’ve seen a revolting amount of ecclesiastic “mansplaining”: condescending depictions of Universalism, out of a Unitarian lens, to re-cast my tradition as something sweet, loving, emotive, poor, rural and homey. The whole thing reeks of Victorian sexual politics. (Boy in the Bands, July 6)

Categories: UU News

T-shirt Evangelism

UUA Top Stories - Wed, 2014-07-09 01:00
Meg Riley, senior minister of the Church of the Larger Fellowship, shares how a t-shirt can be a tool for evangelism. She wrote, 'I put it on when I have something to say or do, to bring more love where love has been violated.
Wearing it grounds me when I’m afraid, helps me remember that I’m not
alone, and tells the world, including me, what I stand for.'
Categories: UU News

Area Churches Pursue a Social Media Ministry

UUA Top Stories - Wed, 2014-07-09 01:00
Offering curious 'nones' the chance to look inside a UU service, congregations are now turning to digital media to attract new visitors. In this story, the Rev. Ann Marie Alderman of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Greensboro talks about how her congregation puts their mobile devices in worship mode.
Categories: UU News
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