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Thread: Uu q&a

  1. #21
    Sr. Member Gunnarr's Avatar
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    Re: Uu q&a

    Quote Originally Posted by thalassa View Post
    It is system of practice and belief that relates to the place and role of humanity in a greater cosmos which informs and is informed by a particular worldview and set of values and uses a common language of symbols and rituals among its members. The only difference between some other religions is that the UUA is open about allowing its followers to determine the role of divinity in a greater cosmos and the way in which it is manifested for themselves.
    Ok that to me that makes it a religion, thanks for that. How does this conundrum of individual belief structures impact on collective worship? Are there things during service that you find difficult to say?

    ---------- Post added at 08:57 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:53 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by DeseretRose View Post
    Gunnarr, I'm going to step in with my mod had on for a moment...in case you aren't aware, the rule about Q&A threads are a little different then the rest of the forum in that the beliefs discussed in them are to be treated with respect, and are not open for debate. At any time, the person hosting the thread can choose to not answer a particular question, as well.

    Please show Thalassa courtesy, as you are, essentially, a guest in her home on this thread.


    So many rules, I was not aware of this, I do however like the idea, so firstly I will apologise to Ms Thalassa for any inpropriety in my post. But will know post my own.
    Gunnarr Sandisson
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  2. #22
    The Gaze of the Abyss B. de Corbin's Avatar
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    Re: Uu q&a

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnarr View Post

    It reminds me of Friedrich Nietzsche’s "God is dead, long live the ubermensch (superman)", a theology that is used in UU websites.

    http://www.uuworld.org/ideas/articles/27168.shtml
    That was interesting on two counts:

    A. I did a search for UU and Nietzsche, and got a lot of hits - they seem to deal mostly with Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra. That's pretty impressive - Any group that is serious about religion and laying claims to openmindedness in a post Nietzsche world had better be looking at Nietzsche. I'd call it a plus that they are able find something useful in Zarathustra.

    B. The use of Nietzsche's name is an automatic bad thing in religion. For some people. Have you actually ever read Nietzsche, Gunnar? Got any idea what he was saying in Zarathustra? Or Beyond Good and Evil? Or Man and Superman? Or Ecce Homo? Or even what he meant when he wrote "God is dead" (you'll find it in The Gay Science, and as one of the the aphorisms - can't remember the number off hand...).
    Those who have suffered understand suffering and therefore extend their hand.

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  3. #23
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Uu q&a

    Quote Originally Posted by Gunnarr View Post
    How does this conundrum of individual belief structures impact on collective worship?
    For the most part, for me, it doesn't (though I would imagine this depends on the individual and the congregation--someone of a theistic opinion in a mostly Atheistic congregation, or a person with a Christian world view in a mostly Pagan congregation might be uncomfortable from time to time). Moments of worship tend to be left to the individual--moments for "reflection, meditation, or prayer" for example, where something is said and left to the individual on how it it interpreted and directed. Always the idea is left to the individual to accept of reject, though the expectation is there that it is something to learn from and be touched by.

    In the 70's a group of ministers and lay leaders got together and created a document of essays and such which was published in the early 80's that has the following to say:

    Just as worship is an act of the entire community of faith, so it is an act of the whole person—intellect, esthetic sense, body, emotion. Literal truth is too confining: We would lose Beethoven, Rembrandt, Shakespeare and maybe even Emerson with a creedal test. Many important decisions—such as choosing one’s spouse—are not made simply by intellectual calculation. Pure emotional appeals are too transitory to reorder one's vision with clarity. The liturgy demands our presence as whole persons involved with one another, and thus reconnects us.

    This sometimes means singing or saying something we may not literally believe but which, from another perspective, informs our experience. Many of us left Christian churches that required literal acceptance of creedal statements, and offered few alternative modes of expression. What is important is not so much the words but rather the experiencing of legitimate religious moods and modes, no one of which can be taken as final and completely comprehensive.

    We find it easy to enjoy different kinds of people and viewpoints. We can rejoice in many languages. We can love Dante even if we cannot accept his cosmology; we can sing the Beethoven Credo even if we cannot subscribe to it; we can feel and revere the 1905 Symphony of Shostakovitch though we abhor communism; we can participate in a Hindu chant without compromising our own mythologies; we can enjoy Christian communion without patching it up to fit our own prejudices; we can teach "Silent Night" to our children though we disbelieve the Virgin Birth; we can be moved by Hamlet while we deny the existence of ghosts. We can sing, we can dance, we can rejoice without censoring any honest hallelujah or plea for help. Our genius is being able to see God, the Void or Whatever, working in every person and place.

    from The Congregation of Abraxas Worship Reader
    Some people come to a UU congregation's services and find its not their cup of tea--they like the principles, they like the idea of it, but it just doesn't speak to them. Which is perfectly fair--we have members *and* non-members that only participate in small group fellowship, that only work with EarthRising or the Goddess Circile, that only come to bellydancing or drumming or the Atheist/Humanist discussion group, etc. The UU congregation we attended prior to this had a yoga group, a Buddhist meditation group and a meditative walking group (they also had a labyrinth *to* walk, and a fantastic view from the bluffs of the Mississippi river)...and offered multiple types of services at different times--including one modeled after Quaker services.

    Like...if I were to draw a map of a congregation, it would probably look something like the attached photo, with the main congregation as the big circles, and the others, groups within (mainly councils and governance committees) and overlapping (groups that include non-members).


    Are there things during service that you find difficult to say?
    How do you mean?




    So many rules, I was not aware of this, I do however like the idea, so firstly I will apologise to Ms Thalassa for any inpropriety in my post. But will know post my own.
    Thank you...in some ways, its just about keeping the thread on track. In other ways, its about keeping the educational spirit of the Q&A format--it doesn't mean that you can't comment on an answer, ask for further clarification, or that a discussion can't pop up...or even that you can't ask the "hard questions". Sometimes its about maintaining the fine line before its abusing the person hosting the thread (like when we every so-often get a Christian willing to post in the 'Ask a Christian" thread...sometimes people tend to forget that a) there are thousands of Christianities and b) this guy (or girl) isn't responsible for the Inquistion, the Puritains, etc and every religion's history has a dark spot somewhere.
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    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

  4. #24
    Sr. Member Gunnarr's Avatar
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    Re: Uu q&a

    Thanks for a great reply, it is appreciated.

    What I meant by difficult things in service was covered by your post in regards that there is less of a sermon and more of a self reflection that to me makes sense considering people may approach from any number of directions.

    Although this is not for me i can see the attraction over more conventional dogmatic faiths.
    Gunnarr Sandisson
    "A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be." Albert Einstein
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  5. #25
    Honorary Supporter Dez's Avatar
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    Re: Uu q&a

    Gunnarr, here are some other reasons for attending a UU congregation that might interest you. I attend a local UU congregation as well, although I only have for less then a year. It's not my husband's cup of tea at all...he prefers privacy in religion, and is not as social as I am. Since I live in a very conservative place, though, where the majority are devout to one faith, it is very political for me to have a specific church I attend. It helps my children build a sense of community, and helps convince my extended family that their moral education is not being neglected. In a place where most heathens are white supremacists, and the handful of local pagans I've met are rather odd, it also gives me a sense of community and family when my blood kin and I are, unfortunately, no longer on speaking terms.

    The fact that I can get these things out of the experience, combined with time for personal meditation and a thoughtful message about more general ideas such as respect or valuing the earth makes it a very positive experience in a place with very few resources outside of what I can generate myself.

  6. #26
    Sr. Member Gunnarr's Avatar
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    Re: Uu q&a

    Deseret Rose,

    I hear that, I can only try to understand the isolation that you are experiencing, not only is there a what I call nazitru element, it is also heavily male dominated. This aspect was not the way of our ancestors two books for you to read, these links are to the American amazon..

    Judith Jesch/ Women in the Viking Age, http://www.amazon.com/Women-Viking-A.../dp/0851153607

    Jenny Jochens/ Women Norse Society, http://www.amazon.com/Women-Norse-So...d_bxgy_b_img_b

    Both are fantastic books, and will be an asset, to any hoard.

    ---------- Post added at 02:34 AM ---------- Previous post was at 01:24 AM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by B. de Corbin View Post
    That was interesting on two counts:

    A. I did a search for UU and Nietzsche, and got a lot of hits - they seem to deal mostly with Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra. That's pretty impressive - Any group that is serious about religion and laying claims to openmindedness in a post Nietzsche world had better be looking at Nietzsche. I'd call it a plus that they are able find something useful in Zarathustra.

    B. The use of Nietzsche's name is an automatic bad thing in religion. For some people. Have you actually ever read Nietzsche, Gunnar? Got any idea what he was saying in Zarathustra? Or Beyond Good and Evil? Or Man and Superman? Or Ecce Homo? Or even what he meant when he wrote "God is dead" (you'll find it in The Gay Science, and as one of the the aphorisms - can't remember the number off hand...).
    I agree that Nietzsche's name is slandered, I have read his work and have a to hand Human all too Human, great maxims, but we know what he says about that. a Heathens approach would do well in its investigation by Thus spoke Zarathustra.

    P.S, I was not using it to undermine, infact the opposite, his approach was theological, as is the UU, so it is quite appropriate.
    Gunnarr Sandisson
    "A man should look for what is, and not for what he thinks should be." Albert Einstein
    Five Boroughs Hearth

  7. #27
    Honorary Supporter Dez's Avatar
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    Re: Uu q&a

    Thanks, I'll take a look!

  8. #28
    Newbie Danial McCoy's Avatar
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    Re: Uu q&a

    Warmest Greetings!

    I have read through this thread and love the sound of UU. It sounds very familiar to a church I attended briefly in Ottawa Canada. Serendipity led me there during a time of turmoil in my life and the experience was quite enlightening, and something I had not expected. The one notable thing that differed from all other christian based churches I had attended previously was that there were several mediums in the congregation that would channel various messages to individuals during the service. This leads me to my question, as I have always wondered what kind of church group or religion it was as I would love to return to a service now with much more open eyes.

    Is it common to have mediums and the like actively taking part in the service of the congregation that you attend? And how does UU address and accept the gifts of the spirit or does it?

    Peace and Love,
    ~Danial

  9. #29
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Uu q&a

    Quote Originally Posted by Danial McCoy View Post
    Is it common to have mediums and the like actively taking part in the service of the congregation that you attend? And how does UU address and accept the gifts of the spirit or does it?
    I've been trying to think about how to answer this...the first part would be "not really", but the second part is a bit more complex..and a big "it depends". It would really depend on the congregation and the individual. There is a sizable number of UU's that are atheist, humanist, etc...many of whom would likely reject (or rationalize) it. There are others who are not that would likely be more open minded, but officially there is not a real position on the matter.

    While I don't precisely agree with this in its entirety, this statement is probably one that you could find the most overall agreement with:

    Unitarians and Universalists are not known for what we typically think of as having gifts of the Holy Spirit. Though as individuals, some of us may have belonged at one time to charismatic Christian churches, we usually leave behind practices such as speaking in tongues, handling poisonous snakes, frenzied prophecies, and faith healing or other miraculous powers. UU’s don’t seem to be possessed with this kind of Holy Spirit.
    What Spirit do we possess, Holy or otherwise? I suspect that the Unitarian and Universalist Transcendentalists of the 1900’s and those Transcendentalists today, who believe in a theology of passionate engagement with life, are the closest that we have to religious folk among us guided by what is traditionally known as the Holy Spirit.
    What else but a wild, unmanageable spirit could have infused Walt Whitman to announce, “I sing the body electric!” Or Margaret Fuller to exclaim, “I accept the universe!” Or the spirit filled Emerson, known as the “Oracle of Concord,” call himself a “professor of the joyous science.”

    (source)
    With that being said however, being that there is a sizable Pagan presence within UU, I wouldn't be surprised to find that there are some groups in which it is accepted, or people that would be interested
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

  10. #30
    sea witch thalassa's Avatar
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    Re: Uu q&a

    So...today's service featured three songs, that I think (in a way) sum up the overall UU philosophy--in terms of who is welcome, what we ascribe to in terms of belief, and how we feel about our place in the world, and I thought I'd share.

    The first was a song based on (what may or may not be) from a poem attributed to Rumi.

    Lyrics: "Come, come, whoever you are; Wanderer, worshipper, lover of leaving, Ours is no caravan of despair, Even if you have broken your vow a thousand times, Come, yet again, come"

    The second was sung by our choir (the video is not of our choir, we aren't that technically cool), with the recitations done by our minister and RE director, from the last part of a 3-part work, Sources: A Unitarian Universalist Cantata


    And the third, I couldn't find with music, just the lyrics:
    Hymn# 159 This is my song
    This is my song, O God of all the nations
    A song of peace for lands afar and mine
    This is my home, the country where my heart is;
    Here are my hopes, my dreams, my holy shrine;
    But other hearts in other lands are beating
    With hopes and dreams as true and high as mine.
    My country's skies are bluer than the ocean,
    And sunlight beams on cloverleaf and pine;
    But other lands have sunlight too, and clover,
    And skies are everywhere as blue as mine.
    O hear my song, thou God of all the nations,
    A song of peace for their land and for mine.
    “You have never answered but you did not need to. If I stand at the ocean I can hear you with your thousand voices. Sometimes you shout, hilarious laughter that taunts all questions. Other nights you are silent as death, a mirror in which the stars show themselves. Then I think you want to tell me something, but you never do. Of course I know I have written letters to no-one. But what if I find a trident tomorrow?" ~~Letters to Poseidon, Cees Nooteboom

    “We still carry this primal relationship to the Earth within our consciousness, even if we have long forgotten it. It is a primal recognition of the wonder, beauty, and divine nature of the Earth. It is a felt reverence for all that exists. Once we bring this foundational quality into our consciousness, we will be able to respond to our present man-made crisis from a place of balance, in which our actions will be grounded in an attitude of respect for all of life. This is the nature of real sustainability.”
    ~~Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

    "We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes--one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way."
    ~~Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life: The Burgess Shale and the Nature of History

    "Humans are not rational creatures. Now, logic and rationality are very helpful tools, but there’s also a place for embracing our subjectivity and thinking symbolically. Sometimes what our so-called higher thinking can’t or won’t see, our older, more primitive intuition will." John Beckett

    Pagan Devotionals, because the wind and the rain is our Bible

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