Living our faith, sharing our faith, what really matters, and more

Imagine if we lived our faith

The Rev. Andy Pakula, who serves a Unitarian congregation in London, England, has developed a program for those who want “a more rigorous way of living as a Unitarian (or Unitarian Universalist),” composed of eight teachings and twelve practices.

One of the concerns often heard in such diverse communities [as ours] is that it can be hard to find a deeper, more rigorous path—that the diversity has a tendency to keep people at a broad but somewhat superficial level. U+ is intended to address that specific concern and provide a deeper, more disciplined path for those who desire it. (Throw yourself like seed, September 15)

In a similar vein, “UU pew sitter” asks us to “imagine if we lived our faith.” (Thoughts from a UU Pew, September 17)

What really matters

A death in the family sharpens Elizabeth’s awareness of beauty in the details of daily life.

I want to go to the people streaming in and out of this McDonald’s and stop them and hold their shoulders and look into their eyes and say, “Don’t forget. Don’t forget dear, beautiful person that this is fleeting. Nancy Jo has died and Bill has died and we will not be far behind. Kiss your babies and your dog and your wife and sip your bitter coffee more carefully and lick all that salt off your fingers because this is all we fucking have.” (Elizabeth’s Little Blog, September 16)

A bed-bug infestation is only the latest of Liz James’ troubles; blogging has become a survival technique.

I am not Tragic Infested Hero of Great Courage. I am just Infested—and making the best of it because trying to think of what was funny or good about my day is part of what gets me through. And it reminds me how many funny or good parts there are. (Hummingbird Homemaker, September 16)

Rosh Hashanah

The Rev. Alane Miles, a UU who calls herself “spiritually Jewish,” shares her thoughts on the meaning of Rosh Hashanah.

Life is benign. There will be tragedy. There will be wild success. We have control over some of it but almost always less than we think. What we do have control over year in and out is how we will be with others. How we will get up and brush ourselves off. How we will honor those we have loved and lost. How we will forgive and ask for forgiveness. (Auspicious Jots, September 16)

Christine Organ offers an interfaith reflection on Rosh Hashanah, including five ways she incorporates its traditions into her spiritual practice.

An intensely reverent religious holiday, Rosh Hashanah traditions focus on introspection, accountability, and respect—something that we all can appreciate, regardless of religious affiliation. Whether gentile or Jew, theist or atheist, Muslim or Buddhist, Rosh Hashanah offers something for us all. Its solemn reverence reminds us of the importance of acknowledging and respecting the impact that our actions and inactions can have on others. And its joyful celebration remind us to enjoy the sweetness and harmony of our existence. (Random Reflectionz, September 17)

Sharing our faith

Sarah MacLeod has been defending her UU faith—or at least explaining it—to a new friend who is a “devout non-theist.”

This ongoing process has left me wondering what brings some nontheists to our doors while so many see no need for that community. . . . In our busy lives, Sunday morning can seem like just one thing to do. But somehow, I keep finding the time, so there must be something there. So I’m welcoming the questions and continuing the conversation regardless of my own consternation and occasional quiet. (Finding My Ground, September 17).

Peter Bowden announces the formation of a new UU outreach project on Facebook, the UU Media Collaborative.

The UU Media Collaborative is a space for Unitarian Universalists to collaborate on the production of freely available and sharable visual graphics, images, videos and other resources. We hope to encourage collaborations between UU graphic designers, photographers, videographers, graphic artists and other creative minds. (UU Growth, September 19)

Forty-seven percent

The Rev. John Cullinan is frustrated with the response of both the right and the left to Mitt Romney’s “47%” remarks.

Both ends of the political spectrum . . . make their arguments based on myths about poverty in this country that (dammit!) refuse to die. Romney’s remarks have provided us with an opportunity to have a fresh, honest conversation about poverty and “the poor.” And we’re dodging the conversation. (Your Life Is a Gospel, September 20)

The Rev. Peter Morales focuses his response on the damage income inequality does to all of us.

Ironically enough, the rich pay a huge price for inequality. Many studies show that the very wealthy are not happier. Their great wealth isolates them. They become deeply afraid. They become wary. They fall prey to ideologues who tell them they deserve what they have because they are morally superior. (Beyond Belief, September 20)

Bill Baar points out that some people who are financially dependent on government are actually quite well-off.

A Chicago Teacher earns on average $75k. They’re stakeholders in government and can be very militant about a salary they consider a right. They have clout.  Their Unions donate heavily to both Democrats and Republicans and the Teachers expect payback.

The average income in Chicago is [about] $36k. Not every person in this city has clout and patronage. If you don’t you’re quite powerless and quite poor. That’s how a Patron Client political system works. (Pfarrer Streccius, September 20)

Around the blogosphere

In light of recent events in the Middle East and North Africa, the Rev. David Pyle reflects on free speech, responsibility and religious violence.

Freedom only has meaning when it is practiced in community. To be free and alone is simply to be alone. All freedom has limits. . . . What this means is that in the political and cultural system of the United States, there is no such thing as absolute freedom. There are limits, both governmental and cultural, upon all of our freedom. Those limits are not only necessary, but beneficial to our having a society that allows us any freedom at all. (Celestial Lands, September 14)

UUA President Peter Morales discusses the work of Unitarian Universalist military chaplains.

Military chaplaincy is an important and essential ministry today. I am proud of the work our UUA is doing. You should be proud, too. (Beyond Belief, September 14)

In the ongoing polity debates, Kim Hampton argues for getting rid of our “pseudo-creed,” the seven principles. (East of Midnight, September 18)

Like Hampton, Tom Wilson also objects to the seven principles and suggests using a revised Micah 6:8: “Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly on the earth.” (Musings and Essays, September 15)