Finding Unitarian Universalism (and Forrest Church) in unexpected places
I subscribe to The Listserve, which delivers a single email a day from a randomly selected list member. On July 9, a subscriber named Yasmin wrote about growing up “in a family of muslims, catholics and atheists,” giving her an appreciation for universal life experiences and emotions. She summarised the “cathedral of the world” metaphor from the Rev. Dr. Forrest Church.
I love the idea of one true light simply shining through different windows, making it appear different based on where you are perceiving it. This is one of my core beliefs—I think believing in the unity of all things one way of making sense of the multicultural/ethnic experience. Most importantly, hatred, oppression, and intolerance based on religion, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or any other “difference” simply do not make sense when you see the world in this way. (The Listserve Archive, July 9. Sign up at The Listserve)
(See essays and articles by Church at UU World)
In other Church-related happenings this week, the Rev. Dan Harper draws attention to a comment left on a years-old post reviewing Being Alive and Having to Die: The Spiritual Odyssey of Forrest Church by Dan Cryer. Church’s son, Frank F. Church V found the review and comments “two years too late.”
Guess what? The Rev Forrest Church should be remembered as a seriously flawed man who found the courage through love to correct himself. But the 45+ years before he found that courage can’t be washed over because it makes some gutless people nervous. He didn’t love my mom more than he loved himself, but he did find a true soulmate in Carolyn Buck Luce and she did truly provide an arena for him to face his demons and then publicly and with humility share it with everyone else. (Yet Another Unitarian Universalist, October 19, 2011; 24th comment left July 6, 2013)
Who’s in charge here?
Several bloggers have responded to the UUA Commission on Appraisal’s new report, Who’s in Charge Here? The Complex Relationship between Ministry and Authority.
The Rev. Dr. J. Carl Gregg casts his response in the context of shared ministry.
Shared Ministry is about partnership—and power-with instead of power-over. The approach of shared ministry says that we are together in this work of transforming ourselves and of transforming this world. (Pluralism, Pragmatism, Progressivism, July 11)
The Rev. Tom Schade has a series of posts about the historical context of the document.
One of the most common disputes over ministerial authority is over who has authority over the worship service. The Cambridge Platform could not be more relevant to those disputes. It is not simply a statement that congregations get to ordain and fire their ministers. The Cambridge Platform says that congregation ought to choose someone through a democratic process to lead them in worship, and that they ought to let that person do so. If the phrase “most willingly submit to their ministry” sounds too subservient to you, then try this phrase: ‘grant the minister authority over the worship life of the congregation.’ (The Lively Tradition, July 10)
All sorts of families and homes
Andy Coate knows he needs to “move on” from his home, but is also “scared to leave.”
I joked on facebook that if I had to title my first year of seminary it would be, “I have the kids for the night, Elizabeth is in the ER.” Elizabeth, my housemate, was diagnosed with breast cancer last May and I continued to live with them and help out with the kids over the course of the year in exchange for a room. Not that anybody has a particularly good experience with cancer and I suppose her outcome, that is “not being dead,” means that in many ways she had a better outcome than most but she ended up in the hospital a lot with scary high fevers and things that just didn’t feel right. Many nights I ended up unexpectedly watching the kids while Elizabeth hung out at Mass General. (thoughts on, July 8)
The Rev. Debra Haffner’s Religious Institute has a new tumblr to bring “the love and the joy on the faces of same-sex couples” to 700 Club host the Rev. Pat Robertson following his comment that Facebook needs a “vomit” button for such pictures. (Show Pat Love!)
The Rev. Lee Richards invites us to “grow in spirit and love together” even if we’re not a “church family.”
I sometimes make the mistake of referring to my congregation as a church family. I forget that sometimes the term “family” is a negative one—that we did not all grow up in Ozzie and Harriet, or Cliff and Claire Huxtable, households. (Pullman Memorial Pastor’s Blog, July 10)
Jacqueline Wolven had the courage to be “about as vulnerable as you can get” when she spoke about her relationship with her mother. (Jacqueline Wolven, July 10)
Around the internet
Crystal St. Marie Lewis says “we should no longer talk about the topics of religion, atheism and humanism as if they exist alone, each in an individual vacuum.”
The truth is that we already cannot utter the words “atheist,” “agnostic,” or “humanist” without talking about religion and/or the absence of God. (Crystal St. Marie Lewis, July 6)
“The natural world is not enough” for John Beckett.
Deities are another center of the modern Pagan movement. For me, they are the most important center. My early Pagan explorations kept getting stalled because I wanted to keep the vague deistic universalism I had adopted after I left fundamentalism. After my defining moment I began concentrating on Goddess and God, and then on goddesses and gods. That put me firmly on the path I follow today. (Under the Ancient Oaks, July 10)
Not enough time to read UU World‘s excellent coverage of General Assembly 2013 or to peruse the photos on Flickr? Never fear! YouTube user soozarty has compiled “a small selection of photos . . . set to the Shinichi Osawa’s Remix of Phogo’s Digitalism”: UUGA 2013 in 3 minutes.