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.
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.
Worship, learning, community.
To be a vibrant home for today’s and tomorrow’s Unitarian Universalist Christianity.
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.
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.”
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.
And here is the introduction section.
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.
And more previews to come in the next few days.
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.
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.
I have started a sister blog to this one. But unlike this blog, this new one of mine it will have a more focused reason for being. And that reason for being will be to serve as the online home of my new Unitarian Universalist (UU) journey, which I am dubbing UU Quest along with the blog itself. And this new journey in brief will seek to understand the needs of raised UUs wen it comes to them being full and active members of UU communities. It will also be seeking to help strengthen the aspects and components of UU, which are authentically unique to it. And this blog will be the repository of the stuff-gathered throughout this journey.