Tag Archives: God

I hold my church to a higher standard…

I would say generally people are more wiling to put more of their time and energy into the thing and the places that have been a positive in their lives. I would say also generally that folks are leas likely to want to invest much of their time and energy into the places and things that are a drain or negative influence in their lives. If a place say school has been a negative influence or drain on your life it may be a place you want to avoid. On the other hand say if church is a place you have always felt you could be accepted and nourished in, it may be a place and thing you hold to a higher stranded. And wen one is holding something to a higher standard it can often appear as if they are highly dissatisfied with it or an aspect or aspects of it. That could not be farther from the truth. I know that wen I am holding something to a higher slandered or standards I am expressing my trust and confidence in it and belief that it can be even better then it is already. For if I had little trust in something it would definitely not be something I would want to spend much time one.

The thing I hold to a higher standard is my church. Not specifically my local church which is currently the Universalist Unitarian Church of Halifax located in Halifax, Canada but rather, the wider spiritual and religious community to which it belongs which is the Canadian Unitarian Universalist (UU) community and UUism in general. I spend lots of time thinking and reflecting on how it can be made better. I don’t just hold it to a higher stranded as an institution or organization but as a place and a thing that can nourish and continue to nourish folks like it has and continues to do for me. So wen I express my ideas about my church I am only expressing my desire for it to become something for more amazing than it already is. And I think it already is something wonderful. Jut not as wonderful as it could be. Has it lived up to what I thought it would be the first time I experienced it in Ottawa wen I first entered the First Unitarian Congregation of Ottawa back in the Fall of 1990 as an 8-year-old? Well for the most part it has far exceeded it. Dose that mean I’m fully satisfied with it? No not in the slightest. For me to be fully satisfied with it, it would have to become something so deep and so moving that it would leave my skin tingling wen I leave it after a good time had and have me jumping up and dawn with anticipation of the next good time to be had there.

I think for my church to begin to be a place that I could be fully satisfied with it would have to start to do the fallowing:

  • actively in cloud discussion, worship and ritual focused one God as part of what makes up the regular church fare,
  • strive to have the adult spaces of the church be not just laid out to meet the needs of the adult joiners but in ways that attempt to serve the needs of all of its adult members, both raised and joiners,
  • be a place that recognizes that some of the adults members may not have grown up in and been hurt by a Christin denomination and may actually be looking for some of the comforts one can get from the Christian message,
  • bring more diversity of style to the worship services, in clouding looking to the youth and young adult communities for inspiration in this area,
  • move away from seeing church as something that is mostly all about Sunday mornings at the locale congregations to, something that is seen as spanning from Monday to Sunday wherever UUs happen to be,
  • actively in cloud discussion and practice of Christianity as part of what makes up the regular church fare.

This list is just some of what would move my church, the UU Church to becoming more wonderful in my eyes.

So yes I do hold my church to a hire stranded. And at times it can seem like I am just unsatisfied with this or that aspect or aspects of it. That could not be farther from the truth. I know that wen I am holding something to a higher slandered or standards I am expressing my trust and confidence in it and belief that it can be even better. I remember back wen I was in grade 4 I had this teacher named Mrs. Howell. She had me write a creative writing story. I had to start of by putting together an outline indicating what it was to be about. I think it was to be about initially road hockey. I say initially about road hockey because after I had started writing it I gout this idea to turn it into yes still a road hokey story but now one that in clouded UFUs and an alien encounter. I think I only argued and pleaded with my teacher to make this change because I trusted in the wonderful teaching ability she had. On the other hand if I had seen her as a not so good teacher then I think I would have not even attempted to get the ok to make this change in the story. Did I get the ok as far as I can remember I did not. Do I still have the story? I think not. The point here is we as people, we strive and work at making the things and places that have been a positive in our lives better, far more often than we do the once that are a drain or negative on our lives.

And like my grade 4 teacher Mrs. Howell how I held to a high stranded I now hold me church to a high standard. I listed some things that I think if my church where to implemented would, take it in my eyes in the direction of becoming a more wonderful place. Will it be an easy road to go in getting these things don in my church. No, not at all. Dose that men I should not try and get some of them implemented? It just means some of them will take a wile to see manifested into a reality and, some will never be come a reality. This is because others how also hold my church witch is also their church to a higher stranded have a differing idea as to what that stranded aught to look like once manifest.

Should I just sit around and bemoan the fact that my church is not going in these directions. No, definitely not. Insisted I think the wise course of action for me to take is to start crafting and articulating a plan that would help to bring some of the things on this list into a reality. And then rallying folks to help me see the plan is implemented. Will this be a easy thing to do? Well it will be a herd road to go dawn. But it will be a road that once walked will bring me and I hope those who come after my more satisfaction with and willingness to work at doing the hard work need to make this our church a more wonderful place to call our home.

Five things I would implement if I was in charge of starting a new UU church

This is not the post I promised about how my beliefs in God are moving my spiritual beliefs inline with Christian beliefs. That post will come next week.

I have already left a comment on the post Say no five times (sure to irritate everyone) over on fellow Unitarian Universalist Scott Wells’ blog Boy In The Band but I thought I would also come up with a list of the five things I would implement if I was in charge of starting a new Unitarian Universalist (UU) church. Here is my list just keep in mind that this list only reflects what I would ideal like to see in my dream UU church if I had complete control over things. This is a list of the five things in addition to what you could most likely expect to be included in a UU church. So here is my list.

  • It would have Sunday worship services that would be experientially focused rather than head centred. This would mean the form that the worship cervices would take would be one that resembles greatly the one that is used by UU youth at their youth conferences and young adults at their camp weekends. These would be ones that are facilitated by the minister but put on by members of the church community interested in worship and its elements (ritual, music and readings ect). This worship service would be one that would leave the worshipers with a sense that their souls had been touched and that they had been moved spiritually.
  • We would have an environment that encouraged lots of exploration of God. This exploration of God would happen in the Sunday worship services, the children’s RE classes, the youth group and the adult learning classes just to name a few. The mane porpoise of this exploration of God would be to bring the church goers closer to God as well as to make the church a place were his love over flows.
  • Music would be a key part of the church. Not just through a church choir and the singing of a few hymns every Sunday in the worship service but, through music being a part of the full religious life of the church by being a central part of each of it’s attendees own spiritual lives. Loud and emotionally focused stiles of music would also be come part of the everyday mix including rock and modern country music songs plus other song don in thees styles, yes ones with lyrics that call the worshipper to be closer with God and be remind of his ever available love for them.
  • The church would have church goers that put their religious life at the centre of their lives. That means ahead of spurts and other extracurricular activity like Scots ect.
  • The church would be a central hub for the wider community it is located in. Yes the wider local community members would feel comfortable coming and hanging out at the church.

I will summarize what my church will be all about. It will be a God centred church. One with church goers who’s lives are centred on religion, their religious home and the spiritual growth and spiritual maturity of their fellow spiritual seekers. Thy will use ecstatic worship and loud emotional music to help them get closer to God and to help have his love pore all over them and their church. They will work at making their church a safe and loving place for them to hang with their fellow humans from the surrounding community.

Why I believe the spiritual things I believe

I feel it is my duty as a religious seeker, especially as one who was raised as and is currently a Unitarian Universalist (UU) to examine what I believe regarding spiritual things. For one so I don’t just blindly believe in my spiritual beliefs without first taking a good look as to why I believe in them. This examination process I would say will help me to see if they are healthy or destructive to me and whether or not I truly believe them in my deepest core or if I only believe them because many of my fellow UUs believe them. I am not saying that I shouldn’t ever holed spiritual beliefs that are the same as my peers but, rather only if I feel them to be true in the deepest cure of my being. I also believe if I ever wont to grow more comfortable living a life that is in line with the spiritual beliefs I do holed, a good place for me to start is for me to do the examination of them in the open with others who are also examining their own spiritual beliefs. I will begin be examining why I believe the spiritual things I declared as my spiritual beliefs in my personal credo statement. In my personal credo statement I said I believe the following.

That there is a purpose to this life: Us human being we have a desire that some say is ingrained in us to feel a need to learn why thing are the way they are. We have used religion and we continue to use religion but know we also use science to help us to do this. Some say this desire is our life purpose. Others have said it is our desire to constantly better ourselves that is our purpose in life. I would say it is not clear if we are all born with the same purpose but it is evident that we are all born with a purpose or if you prefer a desire to which we are compelled to strive for that is if we can find out what it is and don’t get thwarted by forces with other aims before we can discover and achieve them.

All the things to which we experience or will eventually experience are not predestined: This is evident in the fact that we human beings can make choices as to the future outcomes of our lives. We can pick which choices to chose even if the only choices we can make are between continuing to try to live life or to let ourselves die. We all have choices we can make sometimes they are between greater number of options then they are at other times but, we always have choices.

The mere fact that us human beings are living this collective thing we call life must be in someway not an accident: This one some may not find so self evident. I would say this dos not make it any less true. In noway am I suggesting that the way things have gone is the way they where planed to go but rather the creation of life and the setting into motion the proses we have boded evolution was no mere accident. And yes I do along with the overwhelming majority of scientist believe that it is indeed evolution that has brought us human being to living this collective thing we call life.

A force or creature that’s greater then us must have had a hand in this collective thing we call life. This force or creature I choose to call it God because that is what we humans have daubed it for millions of millennia: So yeas I do believe in God and I would say I believe that God is the one who set evolution into motion which as I said above is the process I believe that lead to the creation of us human beings and the collective thing we call life that we are all experiencing on this planet of ours that we call Earth.

I believe that God has three parts, God the creator, God the redeemer and the spirit of God: About the three parts of God I said this in my personal credo statement; “The first being God the creator, i.e. that part of god which put evolution into motion. The second being God the corrector or redeemer, i.e. that part of God, which tries to bring its creatures, back from destructive ways as well attempting to assist them to never be destructive again. So the third and final part of God I believe it to be the spirit of God, i.e. that part of good that is within all of us. And I believe that God the spirit gets put in us by us coming into contact with the results of either God the creator or God the corrector.”.

That there is another force, one working against the forces of God as well as those who have been touched by it’s spirit. I call this evil force the Devil seeing that’s what we humans have daubed it for many billions of generations: I believe the devil is one, which feeds us lies and deceit in order for us to help it destroy us and this beautiful creation to which we find ourselves living in. And those who give into this force become its agents or henchpeople going around putting dawn others, the other animals and even this world to which we inhabit.

That we all have a soul of our own. And they are something which gives us our individual easiness: Basically this means that what we human beings have boded the soul is something which I believe all of us human beings have within us kind of like how we all have a heart or liver. I believe these souls are unique to each of us and not part of some greater thing such as a universal soul. I also believe that our souls are what makes all of us different from each other in more ways then just physical ones like or skin colour, hight and eye colour etcetera.

That wen we cease to live this life thing our bodies they decompose becoming fertilizer for this planet of ours. And then out of us comes our souls: I believe that wen we cease to live this life thing our bodies return to the earth and become fertilizer for the Earth’s life to flourish and that our individual souls leave our bodies and go on into the afterlife. And like I said in my personal credo statement “…if we tried to be good in our life our soul goes to live for eternity in God’s home, the place we humans have daubed Heaven. And if we were not good then it goes and toils forever in the Devils realm, yes the place we humans have dubbed Hell.”. But do I believe God sens human soul to hell no not in the slightest. So then how do some human souls end up going to Hell instead of Heaven wen we cease to live this life thing? Well it is because during our time on this planet we call Earth some of us human being have so deeply given in to the Devil and his fores that wen our souls are leaving our bodies at the end of this life on Earth thing they are so full of hurt and anger that they can’t see God inviting them to join him in Heaven but only the Devil calling them go to Hell. That is why it is so impotent for us to be kind and loving towards our fellow human beings wile we all are still living on this planet we call Earth.

So there you have it some expanded thoughts on my personal credo statement. In the next week or two I will bring you some beeper thoughts I have about my beliefs in Good and who they are moving me towards an ever grater alignment with Christian beliefs.

I have been thinking about religion and my beliefs…

I have been thinking the last few years about religion and my beliefs. This religious thinking off mine it has really intensified over the summer. I have been working on a farm for the summer in BC as some of you who read this blog of mine already know and, If you read some of my other blogs including my poetry one (Lyricsofmylife) and my strictly Unitarian Universalist (UU) focused one (UU Quest) this thinking of mine will be even more obvious to you. Yes this summer I have been working on a farm and most afternoons including must Sundays (my day off) have been spend engaged in this thinking. This thinking has been accompanied by me reading my favourite UU blogs (primarily Sunflowers & Spirituality) and listening to Christian rock acts like Superchick, BarlowGirl and Kristal Meyers. Also those who read this blog will remember that I tried to read the whole Christian Bible both, the Old Testament and New testament last summer. I never got past the part in the Old Testament ware God tells this chosen people (the Israelites) to commit genocide against their enemies and steal their land for use as their new home land. The reason I could not get past this was I detest violence of all kind and find its promotion reprehensible. As well last winter I tired studying the New Testament in University but I could not take the historical and literary approaches that my teacher she had us use wen looking at it (mostly the Synoptic Gospels). In addition to all this I have had for a few years the feelings that Trinitarianism makes so much sense for me. not to mention I have Benn having great feelings of needing God more in my life. This Trinitarian feeling of mine and my great feeling of needing of God in My life are aliening with my emerging agreement with the sentiments that are expressed in some off the Christian rock songs I have been listening to such as; I Belong To You, Enough, The Beauty of Grace and In Your Hands. In addition the last two times I tuck the Belief-O-Matic quiz which is intended to help you determine which religion or spiritual philosophy is most compatible with your beliefs Christianity came up on top of the list and Unitarian Universalism my current religion and religious home was also near the top of the list. So What is this all saying? Well I think firstly it is saying I need to live a more God centred life and, secondly I think it is saying I need to explorer Trinitarian Christianity more and, thirdly I think it is saying I need to do this within a UU setting.

A UU Theists’ Weekend?

My religious beliefs have shifted towards theism, more particularly in the detection of trinitarianism and even possibly towards Christianity of some undefined bent starting most profoundly about three or so years ago. But as one who was raised in and is still deeply connected to Unitarian Universalism’s (UU’s) places of communal gathering and deeply a fan of its ways of approaching religion this has resulted in me having what you could say is a religious quagmire of sorts. My religious quagmire is this; is the joy I get from being involved in UU including the wonderful feelings I get as a result of being a religious exploration teacher for the junior youth at my church the Unitarian Church of Montreal plus, the nourishing feeling I get from hanging with my fellow UU young adults whether, that be locally in Montreal, more regionally at the young adult weekend at Unicamp (Ontario’s UU Camp) or nationally with young adults at the Canadian Unitarian Council’s Annual Conference and Meeting worth the sacrifice it seems to in tale for me? This sacrifice is me not having my need to live a God centred life fulfilled. I was thinking about all this last week and a possible solution came to me. It was this; holed a retreat weekend for UU theists at Unicamp next summer. Why a retreat weekend? Well because it would be I think a great way to gather together this minority among a minority. At this weekend retreat their could be discussions on things such as; the roll of music in our personal religious practices as well as on prayer, and maybe even the bible. We could even talk about how these things and others as well relate and work or don’t so much within UU. So is any one or dos anyone know of UU folks who would want to go or benefit form a weekend like this. Yes a weekend full of lots of worshiping, good food and of cores good company as well. I would of cores take the lead in organizing it including booking the place and spreading the word. I would make it open to any UU not just Canadian UU’s. I could come up with a poster of cores with the impute of those interested in coming. So if you are interested in this or something simpler or, if you know of someone who may be then do leave a comment and we can go from there.

What are you going to do about it all?

You went into the trailer that you are staying in for the summer the other day. It was Friday evening if memory serves right and you got down on your knees and knelt over the bed and you prayed to God. Well what’s so remarkable about praying knelt over your bed, many do it regularly. Well it’s just not how you normal pray. You normally do pray, but not like that. It was a desperate prayer, the kind one dos when they feel it is their last resort. You prayed for direction and you rambled a lot. You seem to recall telling God that ware you are is inhibiting you from being fulfilled in all the areas you need to have tended with nurturing care if you want to not get sick. Areas like your religious and spiritual practice and expression, your sense of self, and your diet. Speaking of your diet you have continued to order soymilk tea lattes when stressed and off the farm and near a coffee shop. It’s not like you are being asked to do a lot of outrages tasks on the farm of anything like that, its just your mind wont let you not deal with things, hard to deal with things like your parents split (still need to write a response to your moms response to your letter), your lake of spiritual fulfilment and your deep need for a God centred life. So what are you going to do abut it all well… what are you going to do about it all?

A personal journey to loving God – God loving UUs and a need for acceptance in the UU fold

As I’m a strong Unitarian Universalist (UU) identifying person who grew up and is still active in the UU religion, it might come as quit a shock to those of you who know anything about UUism that, over the past at least seven years or so I’ve come more and more to believe in God. As you might know it’s ok for all those involved in UU community, be it official member UUs or just mere friends of UU to openly give praise and show support for the gays and lesbians within the UU fold and their right to live as who they are within UU community. But do the majority of UUs show the same courtesy for anther of the minorities within UU, the God loving UUs (of which I’m now one myself)? I would say not. To borrow a phrase often expressed by the gay and lesbians in our society at large, I would say sometimes I feel I have to hide in the closet, well my belief in God and my need to honour and praise him from my fellow UUs that is. I say this ought not to be so seeing as my fellow UUs like to loudly proclaim that they respect and even welcome those who have different beliefs from them into the UU fold (so long as they don’t impinge on their right to express what they individually believe, or intentionally heart anyone, which I think is only fair).

So how did I come to this belief in God? One only has to look at the forth principle of the UU list of seven principles which is as fallows “a free and responsible search for truth and meaning”. Yes it was through a search for truth and meaning, well more accurately, a need to find truth and meaning, that has led me to this belief. But I have always kept in mind the other parts of this principle as well. For one my responsibility to have a responsible search. By responsible I interpret it in great UU fashion as my responsibility to not assume that what I find to be truths that work for me (that include my belief in God) to be truths that will work for others or even things to which I should impose on them. But then there’s the last part, the free part. This part of the principle is the part that I fell some UUs don’t fully grasp. To me it doesn’t just mean allowing someone the space to search and seek for their truths, but also the space needed to tryout what is being discovered or may have been discovered as a result of this search and seeking.

So why would they have a problem with us, the God loving UUs trying out we have discovered and are discovering? Well one reason for this is likely the fact that many UUs came to UUism fleeing Christian denominations, like Roman Catholic and Anglican, and as a result have negative associations linked to the concept of God, to which many who come from a different back ground, take me for example, who was raised UU may not have. Well one of the things they may have observed is people in authority using the concept of God to justify harsh or restrictive rules or actions, those leaving their faith in God shaken. I for one never have observed this. In fact it wasn’t until I was having a sever crises of faith that I really started giving the concept of God any real consideration.

My belief in God came from a crises of faith. Well actually to be more accurate I have always been on the brink of taking the God belief plunge and it was only this crises that pushed my to certainty in Him (God). So why did it take me 20 years and a crises to start to believe in God. The reason for this I would say was the fact that as a child I had mostly secular humanist and atheist for Sunday school teachers, who in my children’s religious exploration classes told me more about human sexuality and things about science then what they believed about religion (all worthy thinks to teach to children). Sure they did encourage me to search for my religious beliefs, but it was only through brief and as I now know insufficient glimpses of what others believed in, and rarely what UUs believe and never what they believed abut religion. I guess even if the concept of God was something that I needed, it was always going to take a crises for me to believe in Him. Well ‘cause I knew no UUs that believed or at least expressed openly a belief in God as a child. But I could never fully go join them in their rejection of God. And with this crises of faith I began to come to my belief in God over the past seven years or so.

The crises of faith of mine was precipitated by the fact that I had bad thing don to me as well as hearing of bad thing having been don to others. Things like bullying and the divorce of parents. All things that I could not and still can not accept as having happened for no reason. I felt and still feel they most have happened for some divine reason, either to teach use some lesion or to move our lives in a better direction. Also the fact that I could not accept the fact that evolution to which I did and still do believe in, just some how spontaneously started to happen and evolve over time. I still believe this about evolution.

So why do I believe in God? Because I believe that creation was not something that just spontaneously started to happen one day and the fact that bad things to which we experience must be brought to be for some useful reason. And ‘cause I believe in God I feel the need to honour Him and yes even praise Him. Yes all things to which leave many of the former Christians within the UU fold uneasy.

Well how do I know this to be true? – Devin Murphy’s credo statement

Believing there is a purpose to this life is one of the things that keeps me going on. Well wen I say I believe that there is a purpose to this life I am in no way saying that I believe that all the things to which we experience or will eventually experience are predestined. But rather that the mere fact that us human beings are living this collective thing we call life must be in someway not an accident. And to me it’s only logical that if it’s not an accident that we humans are living this life then a force or creature that’s greater then us must have had a hand in this. I say force and creature not forces and creatures because I can’t imagine a set of somethings greater then us agreeing on the creation of such a being as us or even just a process which ultimately led to us. Yes it must have been a process not an end result that led to us. And the evidence which we have had to date has led most of us to believe in this thing to which we have dubbed evolution. And yes evolution is just the work of this creature or force unfolding. And this force or creature I choose to call it God because that is what we humans have daubed it for millions of millennia. And yes I would say that God has three parts. The first being God the creator, i.e. that part of god which put evolution into motion. The second being God the corrector or redeemer, i.e. that part of God, which tries to bring its creatures, back from destructive ways as well attempting to assist them to never be destructive again. So the third and final part of God I believe it to be the spirit of God, i.e. that part of good that is within all of us. And I believe that God the spirit gets put in us by us coming into contact with the results of either God the creator or God the corrector. But I also believe that there is another force, one working against the forces of God as well as those who have been touched by it’s spirit. And this force is one, which feeds us lies and deceit in order for us to help it destroy us and this beautiful creation to which we find ourselves living in. And those who give into this force become its agents or henchpeople going around putting dawn others, the other animals and even this world to which we inhabit. And I call this evil force the Devil seeing that’s what we humans have daubed it for many billions of generations. So what happens wen we cease to live this life thing? Well, our bodies they decompose becoming fertilizer for this planet of ours. And then out of us comes our souls. Yes I believe we all have a soul of our own. And I believe they are something which gives us our easiness and wen we die I believe they get judged. And if we tried to be good in our life it goes to live for eternity in God’s home, the place we humans have daubed Heaven. And if we were not good then it goes and toils forever in the Devils realm, yes the place we humans have dubbed Hell. Well who do I know this to be true? Well I don’t know if it’s really true. So then why do I believe this? Well because I just have a feeling I must.