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Topic: Unitarian Universalism

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Date Posted: 1/9/2009 12:48 PM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2008
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You make a good point, Tom, about UU also not being a religion by the definition I gave.  Your distinction between professed values and professed beliefs makes sense to me as well.  But I do think that having certain professed values can occur outside of any religion, which may or may not be similar to those of a certain religion or other organized group.  However, most religions require you to accept certain beliefs "on faith alone". 

It does sound as if the differences between EU and UU might mainly fall into the catagory of semantics.  (My mother in law said that the NYC Ethical-Cultural Society used to sing songs where the tunes were taken from familiar hymns but secular words were substituted.  She recalls asking her sister, "What are the real words to this?" in many instances <G>) and, like you, I probably would be fairly comfortable in both settings unless someone actively brings up a theistic theme.  It's not that I require complete unity in my communities, or mind being challenged, it's just that the theists are so numberous in all my other institutions, that I just seek a haven from them.  It would be wonderful for me to be in a place where humanistic values can be discussed without the usual  religious accompaniments like "Everything happens for a reason" or "Seek help from a higher power" and such like. 





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Date Posted: 1/9/2009 3:59 PM ET
Member Since: 3/25/2006
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Last Edited on: 2/3/15 8:36 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 1/13/2009 1:36 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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Tom wrote:  I should probably disclose to you that there are some UU congregations that lean one way or another theologically due to a majority of members, or the personal leanings of a long-term minister.  I have on occasion visited a UU congregation where I would feel tolerated but not really affirmed, if you know what I mean.  If that happens, just try another one.

I second this.  I will never forget walking in to a new UU church and being sort of taken aback at how Christian-oriented it was.  They talked quite a bit about God and creation and I was not used to that at all, as my "home" church was a lot more universal in approach.  One thing we do have is all different "flavors" and that's one thing I really like about the UUA. :)

Date Posted: 2/10/2009 5:07 AM ET
Member Since: 1/1/2009
Posts: 1,924
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UU Pagan here!  We spent three wonderful years in a UU church in TX but then moved and just can not get into the new church here. Very different. It is hard not having community like we did before. I miss it badly. Going back to visit this coming weekend though! :)

Date Posted: 2/10/2009 5:07 AM ET
Member Since: 1/1/2009
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Oh, it is only a 5 hour drive! :)

Subject: UU Jokes and natter
Date Posted: 4/3/2009 10:47 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2009
Posts: 80
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What do UUs do when they get really mad at you ? They show up and burn a big question mark in your front yard !

How many UUs does it take to change a light bulb? We will refer that to the subcommittee for light bulb evolution of the committee for building improvement and get back to you after the potluck next Sunday.

If you really want to read something funny about UUs, google the phrase "Unitarian Jihad." It is a mock press release that a newspaper writer came up with and it will make you laugh your hinney off, if you have a sense of humor about being a UU.

My wife and I were married in the basement of a Baptist Church by a UU minister (the church, which had a very "progressive" rep for having the only female minister in the Southern Baptist churches in Memphis and for various non-Baptist groups that they rented space to, including the UU Fellowship, would not let us get married in the chapel as we were not members of that church). Later, we followed the minister to her church (Neshoba UU Church) and joined it. These days, we rarely make it to the services, but keep up with the doings of the congregation via the email newsletters, website and the chat list which I created and moderate on yahoogroups (neshobatalks@yahoogroups.com).

Having been raised Baptist myself (my wife was raised Army Brat, so they attended various churches), I found the Christian-style services comforting. The too-frequest quotes from Buddhist Thich Nat Hahn (or however it is spelled) were a bit off-putting, but mostly I drifted away from regular Sunday services after I became full-time self-employed and found Sunday was my best chance at sleeping late at least 1 day a week. My wife has never been a big attend-the-meetings person, so I was surprised she went with me as long as she did. We renewed our wedding vows at Neshoba UU Church a few years ago during their show of solidarity over human rights for gay couples who want to marry.

I have known many UUs before I joined the UU Fellowship (and later Neshoba UU Church) and the one thing that seems to unite them all is a refusal to accept spoon-fed beliefs. They don't want to argue about their non-acceptance of precooked dogma, but their lack of a defined denominational belief statement should not be misconstrued to mean they believe anything or nothing -- each has beliefs, some more easily articulated than others, many in transition from one system to another -- or to a wholly personal, original and unique combination of beliefs.

For myself, I tend to use the labels UU Christian Discordian, where the last is the core belief and the others are progressively broader filters. What separates UUs from others who have faith is that they do not automatically accept revealed religion as the final authority. Each revealed religion (Christianity, Judaism, Islam, etc) has a fundamental belief that theirs is the One True Religion. UUs start from the belief that this cannot be true, as there is wisdom and beauty and Truth in all things. This grows from the historic roots of Unitarian (belief in a single diety, not a trinity of semi-autonomous beings) and Universalist (the diety must be merciful enough that all are saved from their sins or it is not worthy of worship).

I will say one final thing -- those UU congregations without an active Pagan or Wiccan presence are usually so because the pagans and wiccans don't know about them or they are too busy with their own stuff to come play in our space. We have had very active P/W groups within Neshoba at various points in the past and the core people in them were pulled away by the need to make time for participation in P/W-specific events and training. I spent some time in the neoPagan community myself back in the 1980s, and read a bunch on it during and after, so I have a hard time taking it seriously, as I see how much obviously-made-up stuff and wishful thinking was injected into it -- but I will not deny that some folks find it appealing and helpful for their lives. My own Discordianism, while it is associated with neoPaganism in some minds, is really postmodern-postsuburbanist, IMO.

Anyway, that's all IMHO and FWIW -- enough nattering.


Date Posted: 9/30/2014 7:07 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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One of the names for U-U's that I have liked  (since I first heard it years and years ago) is "the conversational Quakers".  To me, that's really rather complimentary, although I believe it was not intended that way!

I'd be curious to hear the "20-second elevator speeches" of some of the rest of you participants in this thread.   I', referring to the quick reply that it's recommended we  have ready for that same old question---"What do Unitarians believe?" (as if ALL U-U's subscribe to a cut-and-dried  creed )

A while back, I was talking with a casual friend who knows  I'm a U-U but still doesn't understand it.  "Prayer" was mentioned, and I had a little fun explaining to her that while I personally don't hold with the idea of 'word magic', there are some occasions upon which as a U-U I go down on my knees---to help a small child, to dig out weeds from the flower or vegetable garden, to locate a fugitive contact lens, or maybe even to scrub a floor!

Date Posted: 10/4/2014 7:22 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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And---- a whimsical thing about U-Uism----there is a U-U "sign", a gesture such as the "sign of the cross" made by Roman Catholic and Russian Orthodox adherents.  The "U-U sign" is made by tracing, in the air, with a forefinger, a large question mark.

Last Edited on: 1/24/15 6:13 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 1/24/2015 6:00 PM ET
Member Since: 10/17/2006
Posts: 1,427
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Dave: there are a handful of (goofball) U-U jokes.   Decades ago, there was one about how floodwaters were threatening a town and the residents were advised to take their valuables and head for  high ground.  The priest grabbed the wafers and wine for the Holy Eucharist, the rabbi seized the scrolls of the Torah, and the U-U leader gathered up the mimeograph machine and ran for the hills.

(That one dates from the time when little U-U fellowships kept in touch with mimeographed newsletters, besides meeting in  schools, or private homes, or coffee shops, etc.)


Last Edited on: 1/24/15 6:12 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 2/13/2015 1:02 PM ET
Member Since: 9/1/2012
Posts: 115
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