Unitarian Universalist flag design challenge

I would like to challenge all of my fellow Unitarian Universalists (UUs) to come up with and design a Unitarian Universalist (UU) flag. Not a flag of the UUA or the CUC or any other UU organization, but a flag that represents UUism as a whole. I would say at minimum it ought to contain a flaming chalice, but besides that it would be up to you to add more or not. It would be up to you to decide the design of the flaming chalice used in your flag design. I would however suggest not to using a flaming chalice design that is used as the official logo of any UU organization like the UUA, CUC or even other ones like the UU-UNO for that mater. I would like you to include a sort description describing the dimensions, colour choices and other design elements used in our flag design including your reasoning for your choices. And once a significant amount of designs have come in I will put out a call for final submissions and then we can start the process of narrowing dawn the designs by a process of online instant-runoff-voting lasting for a week or two fallowed by a second vote on the top say three or fore designs. So what do you my fellow UUs are you up for my challenge? Looking forward to seeing what you all come up with and the final results. I think I may even try my hand at a design myself. You can send me your flag designs by e-mail at realm_dee@yahoo.ca, and do include the words “UU flag design challenge” as the subject of your e-mail so I know that it is a submission for this challenge. I will include a link to all the flag designs so you can have a look and comment and vote once the time comes for that.

My Spiritual Belief System Selector Quiz results…

This is what staff at SelectSmart.com say about the Spiritual Belief System Selector Quiz. “”IMPOSSIBLE!” you say. How could a simple quiz that includes just over 2 dozen belief systems possibly work for everyone? Well, given that there are thousands of nuanced religions and faith groups and countless individual beliefs, you are right – it is impossible. That said, we took our research for this selector seriously and strived to be as accurate as possible. Most visitors have found it fun, informative and often surprisingly revealing. Note: When doctrine wasn’t available, we looked at the predominant views of the belief system’s adherents.”

So what do my results (listed bellow) say about my religious beliefs. It says my compatibility with Unitarian Universalism, my childhood and current religious home has fallen from 77% in 2010 to 66% today. It also indicates that Orthodox Quaker is still 100% the best chose for me to go check out. I would go check out an Orthodox Quaker community if their was one in me aria (Halifax, NS), and I believe there is not one. Also I believe one of the reason Unitarian Universalism was only 66% a good fit for me in my results was the questions asked leaned to much to things that where not all that impotent to me and left out ones that I would have marked as highly important to me.

So here are my Spiritual Belief System Selector Quiz results:

1. Orthodox Quaker – Religious Society of Friends (100 %)
2. Seventh Day Adventist (75 %)
3. Liberal Quakers – Religious Society of Friends (74 %)
4. Mainline – Liberal Christian Protestants (73 %)
5. New Age (69 %)
6. Neo-Pagan (67 %)
7. Unitarian Universalism (66 %)
8. Mainline – Conservative Christian Protestant (65 %)
9. Eastern Orthodox (58 %)
10. Roman Catholic (58 %)
11. Taoism (57 %)
12. Islam (49 %)
13. Orthodox Judaism (49 %)
14. Hinduism (49 %)
15. Jainism (48 %)
16. Bahai (46 %)
17. New Thought (43 %)
18. Reform Judaism (43 %)
19. Jehovahs Witness (40 %)
20. Mahayana Buddhism (38 %)
21. Sikhism (38 %)
22. Secular Humanism (37 %)
23. Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) (31 %)
24. Christian Science Church of Christ, Scientist (29 %)
25. Theravada Buddhism (29 %)
26. Scientology (25 %)
27. Non-theist (18 %)

And here are my 2010 and 2008 results. (It should be noted I used the Belief-O-Matic quiz a very similar quiz from Beliefnet to determine my 2010 and 2008 results.)

Originally posted on Lyricsofmylife:

I am going to pause for a moment from posting my poems to bring you an announcement. Don’t worry I will be posting new poems of mine right here real soon. What is this announcement? Well I can finally say that my debut album called “Alien Landscapes” will be available for free streaming and free download starting Wednesday September 5 at 9am Atlantic Daylight Time on my new Bandcamp page. What kind of album is Alien Landscapes? No it is not a poetry album. In fact it is a soundscape album. If you are unfamiliar with what a soundscape is Wiktionary describe it this way:

1. An acoustic environment, a virtual/emotional environment created using sound.
2. A soundscape composition – an electroacoustic musical composition creating a sound portrait of a sound environment.

Alien Landscapes will be made up of 41 tracks. Each track will be an individual soundscape. Theses…

View original 80 more words

Announcing the release of my “Unitarian Universalist Christian Community – Prospectus”

I recently released previews of my “Unitarian Universalist Christian Community – Prospectus” right on this blog Realmdee here and here. Now I am pleased to announce its official release. If you are interested in reading it click here.

Wen you have a crisis of faith, who walks with you?

The following tweet by fellow Unitarian Universalist (UU) twitterer J.F. Crawford has got me thinking.

Indeed, wen you have a crisis of faith, who walks with you? Who helped you interpret and deal with the events? What about your feelings? Your brother or sister? Maybe only if you have one and are close to them. Even then your sibling may not be the right person to turn to in this kind of situation. Maybe your parents? Well possibly only if you are vary close to one or both of them. Even then not likely. Lets face it most of us just don’t share thing this deep with our parents regardless of how good the relationship we have with each other is. Maybe then it’s your minister, assuming you go to church and your congregation has a minister. Not all congregations have a minister. This can be do to many factors. Such as the congregation being in transition from an old minister to a new one. The congregation’s decision to be lay lead. Lay lead congregations are commonplace in UU circles. And if you go to church, and your congregation has a minister they may still not be the right person. This may be do to your crisis revolving a new found belief in God and the fact your minister is an atheist. Yes in UU circles many of the ministers are indeed atheists. So who is the right person to tern to in this kind of situation? It may well be determined by many factors. Is this crisis of faith a crisis of new fond belief or is it a loss of belief? Is this crisis causing you to hold beliefs different then those held by your community, family?

If you are having a crisis of faith, the best thing for you may be to take time to read some of your favourite religious/spiritual bloggers. If you do not have any then it may be a good time to find some and to start following them. Also finding some music that reflects your new state of beliefs and listening to it I would say would be another good thing to do. Also reflecting on what these blogs and songs have to say and why it is you find yourself drawn to their ideas and opinions, would be in my opinion a good next step. It may take you several years to come to terms with your new beliefs, but I would say it is not a good idea to run from them. The best cores of action is to start to posses your new found beliefs. Some people as a result of their crisis of faith find themselves going into the ministry. Going into the ministry can be a wonderful and right next steep for some folks. For many others who also have a crisis of faith it may not be the right chose.

So if you have don some reading, listening and reflecting, and have found someone you can talk to about your crisis of faith, what next? For some it is of to become an ordained minister. What if ministry is not right for you? Lets face it, it’s not right for the majority of people who go through a crisis of faith. What then is the right next cores for these folks? Well I will say for my brother the answer seems to have been the ministry. For me however I know the answer is definitely not ministry, at lest traditional ministry. By traditional ministry I mean becoming a parish mintier. If not traditional ministry then what? Well some have decided to become community ministers and serve folks in hospitals and other medical settings. I feel this kind of thing suites even less folks then parish ministry dos and lets face it the process of becoming a hospital chaplain is just as long and debt ridden as it is to become a parish minister. I would say for some the answer is simply they wont to from now on live a life that is more spiritual/religiously grounded. For UUs this can be the hardest thing to grapple with. I would say in UU circles it can be even harder for some then the process of becoming a minister. This is do to unlike those on rout to becoming a minister who have resources and a clear path to follow, those seeking to live a more spiritual/religiously grounded life having little to no UU specific resources geared to their particular spiritual/religious needs. What then should we do about this? The answer has been to help them have a personal spiritual search. For most of theme they are past the stage of simply needing to be supported in undertaking an individual search for spiritual truth and meaning. What they need is a community that will walk with them as they try to live a life guided by their new found beliefs. This can often be hard for a UU congregation as they feel that making the changes that will help folks in this situation, things like deepening the Sunday services and adult religious classes can lead to an environment that is to intimidating to possible newcomers. I would say the answer for us as UUs and as spiritual and religious folks is not to just let these folks go it alone, but to start to take their needs into consideration wen we as congregations and as UUs more broadly go about planing our activities. For it is only by having activities geared towards people in all stages of their spiritual/religious walk that the likelihood that folks who are going through a crisis of faith will be able to find some one appropriate who can walk with them on this journey of theirs.

More previews of my “Unitarian Universalist Christian Community – Prospectus”

Yesterday I previewed both the table of contents and the introduction from my soon to be released  “Unitarian Universalist Christian Community – Prospectus”. Today I will share with you the motto, mission, vision and values. I think theses sections will give you a bit more of a fuller glimpse as to what kind of community I am looking to help start. And as always I do appreciate positive and constrictive comments and feedback. So don’t be shy and instead be bold and let me know what you think.

MOTTO
Worship, learning, community.

MISSION
To be a vibrant home for today’s and tomorrow’s Unitarian Universalist Christianity.

VISION
We will achieve a vibrant home for today’s and tomorrow’s Unitarian Universalist Christianity by engaging in:

  • worship that is authentically Unitarian Universalist, deeply Christian and truly contemporary;
  • learning, that will include Bible study, sexuality education, scientific education and group prayer;
  • fellowship and community building.

VALUES
We will draw our values from our life experiences, our search for truth and meaning, and in particular, from our examinations of the teachings of Jesus and the principles of Unitarian Universalism which are:

  • inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  • justice, equity, and compassion in human relations;
  • acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  • a free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  • the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  • the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  • respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are apart.”

Previewing my “Unitarian Universalist Christian Community – Prospectus”

I know I have not posted here in quite some time. What are the reasons for this? Well, I have been engaged in a lot of thinking and reading on the subjects of Christianity within today’s Unitarian Universalist (UU) community, UU growth, the future of UUism and UU identity. Also I have been listening to a lot of Christian rock and pop music and examining my spiritual beliefs. All this thinking, reading, listening and examining has led me to the feeling I need to bring about the formation of a new UU Christian community. And this feeling has spurred me to write a prospectus for this new community. I would say it is all the time I have devoted to crafting this prospectus that is the real reason I have not posted here in quite some time. As this prospectus is still going through the final editing and proofreading stages it is not quite ready for full release. But some sections are I would say ready enough for me to share in preview form.

So below is the table of contact from the prospectus.
Unitarian Universalist Christian Community – Prospectus TABLE OF CONTENTS

And here is the introduction section.

INTRODUCTION
Dear Friends —

As one who grew up attending Canada’s largest Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregation, the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa, I have been witness to, as well as personally experienced the transformative and life changing effects that UUism and its communities can have. That said, as one who is still active in, and committed to, seeing the UU world continuing to be such a place for its current members and its future generations, I feel UU communities would do well to engage in a sea change. What kind of sea change, you may ask? Well, one that would help to shine a light on the fact that it is time UU communities worked harder to keep their babies and bathwater, and realized that it was the bathtubs that needed changing. The bathtubs, in this case, represent all the forms of worship UUs hold onto that are no longer working for us, as well as all the new and innovative ones we hesitate to try, including the ones that come from within our own tradition. The bathwater is the roots and traditions of UUism. The traditions that UUism was founded on were Christian in nature, and for too long now it has been these founding Christian faith traditions of ours that we have cast aside as if they were dirty old bathwater that had past its usefulness. When, in fact, I believe it is these founding faith traditions, albeit seen through modern eyes and modern understandings and expressed in modern ways, that will be the very thing that will enliven UUism and its communities to a new state of glory and prosperity.

To help bring about this sea change and to usher in this new state of glory and prosperity, I am seeking interested and committed UUs willing to use their talents, ideas and time to help found a new UU community here in Canada; a UU community that will be authentically UU and also deeply Christian. If this sounds like the kind of work you or someone you know would be interested in, do read on.

Devin Murphy
realm_dee@yahoo.ca

And more previews to come in the next few days.

Ramblingsofmylind is now Realmdee

This blog of mine was up until today called Ramblingsofmymind. But Today I have renamed it Realmdee. The first reason for this change was I rarely write posts that are truly rambling in nature. The other reason is both my Facebook page and my twitter account are at realmdee, and so is my Gravatar profile and my Polldaddy account among others. What then is the meaning of this new name “Realmdee”? Well Realmdee stands for the realm of D. D being the first letter of my first name witch is Devin. So again what is the meaning of Realmdee? Well Realmdee stands for the realm of Devin who is me the writer of this here little blog.

As I have changed the name of this blog to Realmdee, I feel a change in address is now also in order. So in the coming days this blog will be moving from ramblingsofmymind.wordpress.com to hopefully realmdee.wordpress.com. So you do not miss any of my soon to come posts do head on over to Twitter and fallow me (@realmdee) if you are not already doing so. And I will be tweeting this blogs new address as soon as it has been made official.
———-
Update: This blog (Realmdee) is now official at http://realmdee.wordpress.com/.

Truly Deep UUism – A Lifelong UU’s Vision

(Here’s the download link to the audio recording of the the below sermon of mine. This recording is of me giving it at my home church the Universalist Unitarian Church of Halifax on March 18, 2012)

If the members of Unitarian Universalism were to engage with it in a truly deep manner, I believe this would change its very nature for the better. This changed nature would become visible in the shifted emphasis and different style that this truly deep engagement would bring about. This shifted emphasis and different style would be most apparently felt in what I believe is the central activity of its communities, its Sunday morning worship. This change of style and focus would not just affect UU Sunday morning worship, but all the community building undertaken by the varying UU communities, be they national organization or local church.

What do I mean when I say “engaging with it in a truly deep manner”? I mean not being afraid to delve into theological concepts such as God, heaven, hell and savour. We as UUs, I believe, would do well to rid ourselves of the need to have any sacred cows, i.e. things we will not touch for the fear of offending others. Some of the things we have avoided engaging with have been things like Christ and Jesus. Other things we have been afraid to really engage with have been our UU heritage of Unitarian and Universalist Christianity. We as UUs I belive would do well to heed these words from the Rev. Dr. Victoria Weinstein;

“We have thus far in our post-merger existence as Unitarian Universalists treated our theological legacy with white gloves: as fragile, faded archival material to be handled as lightly as possible and then filed respectfully away in an attic or basement file cabinet, or as historical curiosities to be peered at curiously over the top of our spectacles, smiled fondly over, and left in the church library to be studied by the few UUs who ask for a key to the locked stacks.”

I am not saying we UUs need to believe all the teaching and doctrines of the ancestors of our religious tradition, but to cut ourselves off from them, or only get them out when we want to smugly pat ourselves on the back and say to ourselves, “few thank goodness we have moved past these silly old no longer relevant beliefs and have become more diverse and open”, will serve us no good. Neither is I believe cutting ourselves off from the teachings of our ancestral religious heritage, which in my case is Anglicanism and Christian Science on my mom’s side and on my dad’s side it is Catholicism. I acknowledge that many of us have come here from other churches of the Christian variety and are in the process of healing. But what I am saying is this avoidance has become something that is crippling. Crippling us from learning from the past and from being open to seeing the truths that I feel are to be found in these heritages. Truths that I believe are still relevant here for us in the 21st centry.

I believe it is this renewed engagement with theological concepts and with our religious heritage that will become the new focus for us. That is, if we will have the courage to make it so. I pray we will find the courage to make it so. This new focus on theology in general and the theology of our ancestors, more specifically, will lead us to needing to embrace a new style or way of doing things. This new style of doing things I feel will be needed because this engagement with theology will awaken in many of us feelings and desires that won’t be well served by intellectually reasoned discussion alone. To further these points of mine let me tell you two storys.

This first story happened at the young adult pre-con that took place last May at Neighbourhood Unitarian Universalist Congregation in Toronto, just prior to the Canadian Unitarian Council’s Annual Conference & Meeting. We had all gone off to partake in our varying workshops. One group was a planning and information group for a young adult camp taking place later this summer, one was a knitting and light discussion group and the other one was a play group. It was this play group I opted to join. All of us in this play group went to the congregation’s playground to play on the play structure. But it didn’t take long for us to find ourselves sitting on the play structure instead and talking. What were we talking about? Well we ended up talking about theology, ritual and communion, more specifically Holy Communion. We were recounting our experiences with Holy Communion and how wonderfully spiritual and moving they had been for us. And for those of us that had grown up attending a UU congregation, which was most of us in the group, we were expressing how we wished we had learned more about these things in our childhood congregations. We all thought it would be wonderful if our churches did Holy Communion and actually discussed theology instead of avoiding it most of the time. I should note that most of us in this workshop were raised UU and we had nearly all the raised UUs at the pre-con, say for a few others.

Now here is the second story. This story took place in Montreal durning the 2011 Christmas session. It centres around the young adult group at the Unitarian Church of Montreal that was just getting going again after a period of downturn. As I was living in Montreal at the time I was a member of this group. We were all sitting in the youth room in the downstairs of the church. After we had decided on which days and how often we wanted to meet, we set about deciding what we ought to do for our first meeting and who should host it. As it was approaching the Christmas season we thought; wouldn’t it be nice if we had a holiday party. That is when one of our members eagerly offered to host the first meeting at her apartment. She had grown up with Jewish traditions along with attending a UU church and was eager to share here tradition of Hanukkah with her fellow UU young adults. She was going to make the traditional Hanukkah food of latkes and the rest of us were to bring drinks and snacks to share. On the day of the party we all trickled into here place staring at 6:30. The earlier arrivals helped her to make the latkes. Once we all had arrived and most of the latkes had been cooked we sat dawn to eat. After we had finished our meal of latkes topped with apple sauce we listened to a recording of one of the traditional Hanukkah prayers she had on her computer and we lit the menorah. We lit all the candles of the menorah as if it was the last day of Hanukkah and this would be the last time we would see most of us until the new year. After she had explained abit more about this holiday we all went and sat on comfy furniture for conversation. We talked about all kinds of things including how sharing of tradition like we had just done was something we would all like to do more of. After a little while our host got out a children’s picture book she had grownup being read to her by her parents durning her Christmas celebrations. It was a French book about Saint Nicholas’ evil brother Pere Fouetchard who punished the noughty children on Christmas be stealing their gifts and whipping them. She read it to us just like she would regularly read books to the young children she taught religious education at the church to. After the story we had a little more conversation. And when it was time for us to go, we all left knowing we had partaken in something really special.

What are these storys telling us? The first one has in it an expressed desire by my fellow UU Young adults and I for more engagement with theology and ritual in our local UU churches. The second indicates a wish again by my fellow UU Young adults and I to celebrate and explore our ancestral religious traditions more with our fellow UUs. These stories are, I feel, an indication, if only anecdotally, that this new focus on theology and our religious heritage that I am calling us to undertake will be first embraced by my fellow UU young adults and I as we are already expressing a desire and I would say a need for this in our churches and UUism more broadly. I also believe if this new focus on theology, our religious heritages, and their accompanying rituals is to be fully embraced, we as individual UUs and collectively as local churches, will need to embrace a new style or way of doing things within our local churches and more broadly at a national organizational level within groups like the CUC here in Canada.

What will this new style look like? It will be one that encourages and makes room for moments designed to stir the soul, move the heart and invigour the body, as much, but not more so than the mind. It will be a style that continues to value intellectually reasoned discussion as part of its offerings while, at the same time striving to offer more opportunity for us to add components geared towards experiential experiences into the mix. Where will we find what we need to help us shape and mold this style into being? I think we have to look no further than to our UU youth community and its more than fifty years of history. What are some of the things this community has to offer us that will help in this endeavour? The major thing I feel it has to offer us is what it has to say on worship. The style of worship that is most commonly done by our UU youth at their youth conferences and sleepovers is one that is known as “UU Circle Worship”. UU Circle Worship has at its core, feeling. Its aim is to get its worship attendees, through the use of ritual, to feel a topic, idea or theme, rather than to think on or analyze it, which is what is usually the goal we have for our Sunday morning worship. It has also been described as a kind of communion by longtime UU Sharon Hwang Colligan. And it is this communion that we need to embrace if this new focus on theology and the theology of our religious ancestors is to take hold and be come our saving grace. I will leave you with this poem of mine called Finally Time, that I wrote earlier this year.

Finally Time

Going to unleash the
Big one this time
‘Cause its finally time
For us to mature
This thing we’ve now
In this sacred space
We’re just being spiritual
Spiritually oh so adolescent

Going to unleash the
Big one this time
‘Cause its time for
Us to be able
To say this thing
In this sacred space
It’s our own spiritualities
That are now maturing

Going to unleash the
Big one this time
‘Cause its finally time
For us to mature

Finally time
For us
To mature
This thing
In our
Sacred spaces
And it’s
Our spiritualities

The Church of The Flaming Chalice

The Church of The Flaming Chalice is the working title of an idea I have for a Unitarian Universalist (UU) TV show or miniseries. The idea would be to explore a fictional UU church and UUism more broadly. The program would be set in a reality that is like ours but slightly off. This would be so the program could fully explore themes, subjects and events without having to worry if it got all the minutia of this or that theme, subject or event rite. The program would take place in the present day and have many flashback scenes. It would explore such themes as, local UU congregational life, what it is like to grow up UU, convert to UUism, be a UU minister, UU youth culture, and what UUs believe ect. It would touch on such historic UU events as the coming together of Unitarian and Universalism, the disbanding of LRY and the formation of YRUU. It would I think be targeted at UUs themselves and be made available for download online. I think if made it would be a wonderful program for congregations to screen for their member to watch together. But for now it is just an idea of mine. But if this kind of project would be of interest to you do leave me a message in the comment box below and I will get back to you. And who knows what will ultimately happen to this idea? In fact it may just have lags. We will have to wait and see what comes of it.