Tag Archives: principles

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.

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My suggested statement of shared principles and sources

The Catholics have the Vatican which is the head quarters of their faith and it is kind of like what Canadian Unitarian Universalist have in the Canadian Unitarian Council or simply the CUC, well not quiet the same. You see the CUC is an organization of all the Unitarian Universalist congregations in Canada, which are mad up of their members who decide thing by the democratic process or even sometimes by consensus, unlike the Vatican which makes decisions from only the opinions of some select influential men. And like all Christians who have the 10 commandments which where handed dawn to them from God himself to help guide them in righteous living, Unitarian Universalist have a statement of shared principles and a list of sources. The sources represent influences which Unitarian Universalist feel have helped them in crafting their principles, principles which are periodically revised to reflect the changing viewpoints of Unitarian Universalist. And the CUC is currently in a process of possibly revising the version of the Unitarian Universalist statement of shared Principles and sources that it uses. And the am of this is to better represent the views held be Canadian Unitarian Universalists to which I am on. And what fallow is a version of the statement of shared Principles and sources to which I am suggesting for adoption be the CUC as its new version. It can be contrasted with the CUC’s current version fond in my last post.

The Shared Principles and Sources of Our Religious Community

Principles

We, the member congregations of the Canadian Unitarian Council, covenant to affirm, practise and promote:

· the inherent worth and dignity of every person;
· compassion, generosity and integrity in all relations;
· the celebration of the diversity of human gender, sexuality, sexual preference, ethnicity, ability, nationality and life stages;
· a free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
· spiritual growth and learning at all ages and stages of human development;
· the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process;
· the fostering of fair, diverse and sustainable local and global community;
· respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Sources

The living tradition that we share draws from many sources:

· the Unitarian challenge to Church doctrine;
· the Universalist belief in unconditional divine love;
· direct experiences of transcending mystery and wonder, which moves us to renew our spirit and our connection with the forces, which create and uphold life;
· prophetic words and deeds which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
· wisdom from the world’s religions, which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life, and which call us to love our neighbours as we would love ourselves;
· Humanist teachings, which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit;
· spiritual teachings of Earth-centred traditions, which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live harmoniously with the rhythms of nature;
· and the legacy of those who have served and will serve this, our living tradition.

The fourth principle

This past summer, I along with many of the other members of my church’s young adult group, The Young Adults(AKA The Noble Birds), put on a Sunday morning worship service. It was on the seven Unitarian Universalist principles and their sources,

The Principles and Sources of Our Religious Faith

Principals

We, the member congregations of the Canadian Unitarian Council, covenant to affirm and promote:

· the 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 a part.

Sources

The living tradition which we share draws from many sources:

· direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life;
· words and deeds of prophetic women and men which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
· wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
· Jewish and Christian teachings which call us to respond to God’s love by loving our neighbours as ourselves;
· Humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit;
· spiritual teachings of Earth-centred traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature.

Grateful for the religious pluralism which enriches and ennobles our faith, we are inspired to deepen our understanding and expand our vision. As free congregations we enter into this covenant, promising to one another our mutual trust and support.”

and was called “The Passion of The Principles”a play one the name of the Mel Gibson film “The Passion of The Christ”. I spoke on the fourth principal “a free and responsible search for truth and meaning”. And this is what I said:
“Erroll J Bailey’s elderly character “Junior” from his novel “Mr. Dream Merchant” said it best when speaking to his young teenage student “Chase”, and I quot “You see, in this world, all of us are born human beings. Yet unless we are also deeply rooted in spirituality, our gift is lost. We then fall into the state that I chose to call human doing.” He was referring to a relationship with God and his holy work but I think this can be said for all things to which one may encounter in life to which they may find to bring them a feeling of spiritual, ah, reevaluation or incite. But I would also advise that people watch out fore how they go about this being spiritually aware because if not careful they can inhibit others from folly exploring what they may derive spiritual benefit from, whether that is a physical place, a phenomenon or object, like a mountain, hosing subdivision, a sunset, or even a piece of writing. Junior also gos on to say to his young teenage student, “Tomorrow, you must observe-watch people. Listen. Be aware of how many people are occupied with doing, doing, doing. People are obsessed with the doing of the journey, not the being of the journey. They have all forgotten how to be.” I Would like you all here today to try over the next few days to watch the folks around you and I think you will find this to be trow. And further Chase responds by saying “Mane, this is some deep stuff”. Yes this is some deep stuff, but listen to how Junior responds to Chase. Yes he instructs Chase to. “Listen and observe. You will find that most people think that growth in life is acquiring material possessions. It is sad that they are controlled with such an obsession. As well if you would as you observe people doing instead of being also try to be aware to the fact that many are also in a rush to have the next big fiscal item like a flat panel plasma TV, thus giving them little time, to be spiritual beings, and thereby casing the world to be filed with many more unsatisfied, as Junior would say “human doings”. So I will end with this poem I have written, one entitled “Life, Death And Living”, which is all about the act of living life and its eventual end.

People are born with the inevitable fact that they will die hanging over their head
Some of them try to prolong life
Others seem to have no respect for those living it
Still others go throw it with out even experiencing its full potential
And wen the time comes for death people die whether their willing or not
Some are remembered but must are slowly forgotten
People are born with the inevitable fact that they will die hanging over their heads