Spiritual practice, spiritual community
For the growing number of people who call themselves “spiritual but not religious,” the Rev. James Ford suggests two things: get a spiritual practice, and consider joining a UU congregation.
The human ego is not a pretty thing to behold in isolation. We need each other. We need our rough edges bumped against, and worn down a little. And little does this as well as throwing one’s self into a spiritual community. And, again, of Western spiritual communities, it’s the UU ones that I find most congenial to actual spiritual growth. (HuffPost Religion, March 7)
The Rev. Meg Riley reports on the Wisdom 2.0 conference, which emphasized individual spiritual practice, and ignored the role of spiritual community.
The only spiritual community lifted up, in fact, was the workplace. Apparently on the job meditation and yoga cuts down on absenteeism and lifts productivity, while also providing health benefits for practitioners. Pardon me if I don’t think workplaces really qualify as spiritual community. (Quest for Meaning, March 3)
Working for justice
The Rev. Tom Schade urges us to “wake up about Detroit.”
Detroit did not “decline” or “suffer hard times” or any such euphemism. Detroit was divested; all forms of capital withdrew from Detroit because there they faced a sophisticated, experienced, industrialized and militant African American population. Detroit is one of the largest abandoned places of the Empire. (the lively tradition, March 2)
The Rev. Dawn Cooley plans a creative response to Kentucky’s proposed HB 279, which states, “Government shall not burden a person’s or religious organization’s freedom of religion.”
As soon as this bill passes into law, I will officially begin conducting weddings and signing marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples, as is standard practice in my religion. It will be my right to act in this manner, in accordance to my faith. (speaking of, March 1)
The Rev. Dan Harper remembers participating in an action against the Seabrook nuclear power plant, twenty-three years ago; in the end, he wonders, “if we had done more damage than good.” (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, March 7)
Reproductive rights and sexuality education
When the Rev. Ellen Cooper-Davis visits her state legislators to express her support for full reproductive rights, the staffers she meets with have a different religious agenda.
I was subjected to what I can only call a sermon by these staffers. People should practice abstinence if they don’t want children. Sex for its own sake is part of our sinful world. Single people should be celibate. My morality was questionable. And they “just don’t want to pay for other peoples’ sinful behavior.” (Keep the Faith, March 7)
In Alabama, the Rev. Fred Hammond speaks out against his state’s “Religious Liberty Act,” also known as the “Hobby Lobby bill,” because it would allow businesses not to cover certain medical benefits.
Imposing our religious beliefs on a woman who is struggling with an unwanted pregnancy is spiritual violence. . . . Yes, by all means offer counseling, offer education, offer alternative options but do not tell her her decision is wrong when she makes it. (A Unitarian Universalist Minister in the South, March 2)
The Rev. Dan Harper writes that we still need Our Whole Lives (OWL), even in progressive communities that offer sexuality education in public schools.
Recently, the student newspaper at Mountain View High School (which also serves Los Altos) ran a spread on sex and relationships that aimed to supplement and fill out what is not taught in health classes—and some very vocal parents objected. . . .
Too much pressure can be brought to bear on school boards for us to be certain of comprehensive sexuality education in the public schools. Indeed, I would argue that we need to expand our OWL programs so we can offer them at no charge to people outside our congregations—and doing so might be the most important social justice effort we could take on right now. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, March 4)
Though her children now attend public school, Mandie McGlynn and her children still pursue educational projects at home—including a recent investigation into genetics, sex and gender.
Jude, who sometimes decides he’s a girl, thought that maybe his chromosomes change periodically. Quentin wondered what would happen if someone had two Y chromosomes, either together with an X or without any X. Then he wondered about having three Xs or just one. (Mandie McGlynn’s Blog, March 7)
As she adapts to a new role as a seminarian, Jordinn finds that those closest to her have their own adjustments to make.
The thing is, I’ve been a pretty prolific curser for my entire adult life. . . . Past a certain age, the f-word, standing on its own, just isn’t that funny anymore. Except that it suddenly is, right now, in my house—at least when it comes out of my mouth.
After weeks of snickering and sympathetic pats on the head, I finally pressed my husband on this point . . . and the explanation he came up with was “holiness juxtaposition.” (Raising Faith, March 4)
The Rev. Amy Zucker Morgenstern considers some of the difficult things she has accomplished in the past decade.
I didn’t take them on for the sake of the challenge itself, but in pursuit of some other goal, but along the way I had to, in Eleanor Roosevelt’s words, do the thing I thought I could not do. They have built on each other, the knowledge of having done one giving me courage to do the next. (Sermons in Stones, March 6)
This Lenten season, the Rev. Tony Lorenzen gives up his silence about his struggle with anxiety and depression.
The irony embedded in this is I believe my depression is responsible for much of my spirituality. I am introspective and reflective. I feel both pain and joy deeply. My first major depressive episode began a lifelong spiritual journey that still continues. During that episode, the pain was so great, I found myself in the heart space of the psalmist, crying out to God for comfort and release. (Sunflower Chalice, March 2)
On the UU Collaborative Media Works Facebook page, Tim Atkins shares this reminder about Daylight Savings Time: