Unitarian Universalist Readers Message Board
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I'll start by saying that the single thing that most got me started as a UU was going to my first or second worship service and hearing the minister, Rob Eller-Isaacs, quote from Cat's Cradle by Kurt Vonnegut, Jr., citing the author as a "prophet."
Turns out Vonnegut is a UU, among many other writers.
But it's the assumption in his being cited as a prophet that made me sit up and take notice: a religion for which the sacred texts are still being written! Yay!
Most of what I read I don't catalog on LibraryThing, because I don't buy books much, working in a library and all...
I'm not a UU, but I've been, um, thinking of becoming one? That doesn't sound right. It's more like, I've been thinking that maybe I already sort of am one, and just don't know it yet. If that makes any sense to you, I was hoping you might have some recommendations on reading about UUism. I see that "A Chosen Faith" is popular among the group, and that's the only book I've heard of so far that seems to match my request, but I also heard that it was very disparaging toward non-theist UUs, so I was wondering if any of you knew of any other pertinent books?
(Disclaimer: I know the better way to figure all this out is to meet some UUs in a fellowship type setting, and that's on the menu, but not possible for the next month or so due to travel plans)
Having grown up in a small rural town where diversity happened to be what Protestant denomination you belonged to, I didn't even hear about Unitarian Universalism until a few years ago in undergraduate school.
I found 100 Questions That Non-Members Ask About Unitarian Universalism> to be very helpful.
I've also read Being Liberal in an Illiberal Age: Why I am a Unitarian Universalist by Jack Mendelsohn. Although I remember it vaguely, I think I found it to be useful as well.
My congregation had an adult Religious Exploration group that read some Emerson essays. These proved to be challenging, but highly worthwhile...if you're feeling ambitious. Travel plans might work well with this kind of reading! Then yes, I'd say visit some nearby congregations. My first minister, Rob Eller-Isaacs, was very inclusive of theist leanings, and included a prayer in his weekly services.
We're now back in Madison, WI, attending a Methodist church - a compromise between my UU preference and my husband's Catholic Church preference!
Good grief--1630! Hard to fathom. I'm a cofounder of the Unitarian Universalists of Petaluma (California), and we're about to celebrate five years next January. Maybe you could offer some tips on what we should be thinking of in anticipation of being around for 450 years! What do you wish the founders of First Parish had saved for you?
Hello werhane, and likewise, welcome. I will be interested in hearing more about how the Methodism compromise works out for you and your husband!
Bags, piles and stacks of children's books graced the entrance to the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Salem on Sunday, where more than 200 people attended a memorial for Charlene Andrews.
Andrews, known internationally for her support of Oregon's Death with Dignity law, wanted to keep helping people even after her death. In lieu of flowers, Andrews had asked people to bring children's books to donate to a library she created while serving in the Peace Corps in Belize.
The full story is at
This may only be a very partially-related idea in terms of books on the subject of the sexual as sacred, but the UUA cooperated with the United Churches of Christ to write a curriculum on sexuality called Our Whole Lives, which I taught to middle schoolers (I notice that the only component of the series owned/cataloged on LibraryThing is a companion volume for the section for grades 4-6. I'll add my middle-schoolers volume when I get home tonight).
And welcome, lilypadma--what a great handle! When I got tired of commuting to the nearest UU congregation, I linked up with some others to start one in my own town. That was almost five years ago, and we're going strong.
Also, just in case anyone's interested, I'm including a blog entry of mine here that describes my vision of life and faith quite well, and which my sister once told me sounded like a UU sermon. (Somehow, without knowing it, both my sisters and I all gravitated towards the UU at the same time. We were raised Methodist, so I can't explain why we all chose the UU as adults. Must have been something about the way we were raised.)
Things Themselves: Apologetics of an Agnostic Poet, in Prose
Anyway, we have a group of "parents of younger children" at the church (kids up to and including second grade). Last summer (2005), we put together a very subjective and abbreviated list of kids books that embody UU principles. I'd be happy to post it here if anyone is interested.
Glad to be here!
Welcome to the crowd. You are lucky to have Rev. Buehrens. Wow. My little congregation hopes to be able to afford a minister some day. Maybe he'll be looking to move to California....
Yes, please do post the list of kids book embodying UU principles. I know several folks in my congregation who would love to have that.
23jim.mcfarland Første besked:
I attended a wedding yesterday where John Buehrens was one of the celebrants. I talked with him a little bit afterwards about the UUA and life in general and came away very impressed. You're lucky to have him as a minister.
Thought I'd publicly acknowledge one milestone for the group--we have more than 50 members! (ey, if we all took a vote and paid fair share, we could probably be a virtual congregation of the UUA.)
Another milestone approaching is that our combined library is nearing the 30,000 volume mark. Woohoo!
As far as formal church-going UUism, I'm rather lapsed (not helped by currently living in a place where the nearest congregation is an hour away). But I feel that the spirit of being UU infuses my life most days.
So it's nice to hear from some fellow travelers! :)
And hey--our combined UU Readers library just broke 30,000 books!
I hadn't, David, though it's not a bad idea. (The town is small, very conservative, and we're moving away from it in a year.)
Just thought I'd introduce myself. I'm Kieren, and did not really know much about Unitarian Universalism other than it existed. As I went abroad to do my post-grad studies (in Austria) I started to think this was already the religion I had, though I thought myself at the time as a Humanist-Buddhist-Atheist and had been raised a Catholic. On returning to Portugal my interest was (is) still great and I have recently joined the CLF as my nearest physical group/congregation is in Barcelona I think (2000 Kms round-trip/1500 miles) so I feel rather isolated here as there are a million things I would like to talk about with other UUs. I am now on a couple of mailing lists based on Europe but it's still not the same. Surely there must be other UUs in Portugal even if they are American or British expats...
Anyway - post is now too long and too personal and not really of any interest, so sorry about both that and the many inadequacies of my english :)
I think I probably speak for many of us when I say that your post was not too long, and was very interesting. I really know nothing about the state of UU in Europe, except that there doesn't seem to be much TO know. Glad to hear that the Church of the Larger Fellowship provides you with some sense of community.
This is developing into a theme of our group--isolated UUs without congregations nearby. Let's turn this UU Readers group into a place to have the conversations that we all seem to want to have: "a million things to talk about," as Kieren says!
PS Any ministers out there who want to take on any of the responsibilities of "professional leadership" for this group?
We're about to break the 30,000 volume mark for our group. What title will be book number 30,000?
That's such a huge question, and one that a lot of us look at every day, I think. There is a range of principled approaches--I am reminded of the story about Thoreau in prison, when asked "What are you doing in there," replying, "What are you doing out there?" (He was in for tax resistance--certainly a valid form of civil disobedience when you think your government is spending your money in the wrong way.) Personally, I keep in mind something along the lines of what your grandmother's advice was. There's even a new book called Getting Out: Your Guide to Leaving America, which I keep meaning to buy. And then there's what most of us do: try to lead decent lives and try not to do so at the expense of others. I'm sure there is a point at which you have to say: I won't be party to any of this any more--but it's a hard point to see, given that we can, theoretically, change things in this country.
I will shut up now and let others chime in. Thanks for asking the hard questions.
It's available online only--if you'd like to support Darfur relief but don't want the book, you can certianly do that, too. The two relevant websites are The Lulu online bookstore at http://www.lulu.com/content/629387, and Deadheads for Darfur at http://deadheadsfordarfur.blogspot.com.
This group turned one year old yesterday. Thanks, everyone, for joining--here's to another good year.
I prefer not to believe in the supernatural, but I cannot avoid belief in transcendental things. I need the comfort of prayer and, so, have uttered a belief in God, although, carefully, without a commitment to his existence. I see the principles of the UUA to be pretty much right, although I have lapses regarding respect for my fellows; regardless of those lapses I participate in a small subgroup at my church that holds as its organizing principle the great commandment.
Spiritual explanations that work for me rely a whole lot on Tolstoy, James Luther Adams, and The Whys of a Philosophical Scrivener by Martin Gardner, but I have deep faith that explanations will never be complete.
I am glad to be here.
I joined the Unitarian/Universalists about seven years ago. I speak from their pulpit about 8 times a year. Emerson and Thoreau were the ones who drew me to the congregation as I got turned on to them back in '89. I'm just delighted to be in company with a group of inclusive readers and engaged conversationalists.
I'm Curtis from First UU in Chicago where I have taught a Tai chi chuan class for 20 or so years. I grew up in the urban ghetto a few miles west of the church and first came to Hyde Park to hear poetry in the 50's, and blues in the early 60's. Although I considered myself an Atheist, I listed my religion as Neo American when drafted in '68. I have been very impressed with the role, played by Unitarians in the Civil and Human Rights movements. By the 80's I had studied enough to no loner feel, Atheist. But, I had and still have too many questions for most churches. I May be a Unitarian because they (you) are the only people who will put up with me. I am mostly drawn to the Earth Based (pagan) aspects of our traditions since Earth is where most of us started out. I have been a member of the Church for over 20 years, although not always attending. I try to do better these days.
Great to have you here! You can link to the UU Readers group with the lin http://www.librarything.com/groups/unitarianuniversali
Good idea. I should try that.
So, I'm about to head off for UU family camp in Mendocino Woodlands, and while I'm away, this group will celebrate its second birthday.
123 members! Over 80,000 books in our collective library!
Thanks, all, for joining, and I hope the discussions continue in may and varied directions for years to come.