Thursday, November 24, 2022

A Search for Truth and Meaning

 





Other than fanatically seizing upon whatever coincidence that occasionally comes my way, I'm not a religious person and attend no church. However, if I were to attend a church, I suppose the Unitarian Universalist Church would be as good as any. Actually, it would be better than any. Case in point: the All Souls Unitarian Universalist Church in downtown Colorado Springs held a vigil this past Sunday for the victims of another downtown Colorado Springs institution, Club Q, where the day before a gunman entered and opened fire on patrons, killing five and injuring 18. (BREAKING NEWS: A Wal-Mart in Virginia just got its own massacre...At least six dead...Now back to your regularly scheduled program.) So many people showed up, including by virtual means Colorado's openly gay governor Jared Polis, that two more vigils were held the same day. Obviously, it's not every church that asks that tears be shed over a gay bar shooting, but then Unitarian Universalists are known for their inclusiveness, an inclusiveness that nowadays even extends to non-Christians, in the belief, if I got it right, that there's some all-faith encompassing spirituality out there that can only be grasped at.

 


So where did the Unitarian Universalist Church come from? Well, for starters, a 1961 merger between the American Universalist Church and the American Unitarianism Association. The first goes back to the late 18th century, the second to the early 19th. Universalists believe no soul is damned, not even an LGBTQ soul. Unitarians believe in rational spirituality. That might sound like a contradiction in terms, but one notable and still influential offshoot of early Unitarianism was New England Transcendentalism--you know, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Brooks Farm, etc. Speaking of New England, I found out an ancestorial strain of the Unitarian Universalist Church came to these shores aboard, of all things, the Mayflower! I'm having a bit of a hard time getting my head around that, but if it's true, that Club Q vigil may be puritanism in the best sense of the word.




20 comments:

  1. A blog mate, a professional historian, mentioned about a church she visited. From what I knew about her, that seemed strange and I felt a little disappointed that was church goer. She went on to tell me it was the church you mentioned and after a little research by me, I felt relieved.

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    1. Please forgive me, Andrew, but I chuckled a bit at your comment. It's a reminder of how just the mention of the word "church" can send shivers down some people's spine (including mine, though, living in a heavily Roman Catholic area, I DO like the architecture.)

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  2. Hi, Kirk!

    I see that you elected to publish my follow-up comment on your last post, and I trust you watched that horror film. Let me know.

    FIRE AND BRIMSTONE

    Now, I have another homework assignment for you on this Thanksgiving Day 2022. I saw this article last night. Please read:

    https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/ex-trump-lawyer-slammed-as-a-monster-after-vile-take-on-club-q-shooting/ar-AA14tM4b?cvid=60f090fcf90f4e0aa7a65d37bd6c6974

    Thanks for telling us about the Universalist Unitarian Church, a denomination that isn't home to rigid, narrow-minded zealots and haters, a church that doesn't advance an "us and them" philosophy damning and condemning non-believers and labelling LGBTQ+++ persons as hopeless lost sinners who actually deserve to die. As a boy, I regularly attended a UCC church. The teachings to which I was exposed were all about inclusion, not exclusion, all about love, not hate. I am proud of my experiences in the church. They helped shape the values by which I live today. Today, the Christian church in America is big business. It is all about preserving the status quo, maintaining white male supremacy and denying women, minorities, gays and lesbians of their rights and opportunities for advancement.

    That's all I got.

    I wish you a happy Thanksgiving, good buddy Kirk.

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    1. Shady, whenever I see your name, I usually click on the check mark before I even read the comment, so you could be calling me all kinds of four-letter words and it would still get published (I wouldn't advise it though, because you won't get published the NEXT time.)

      I'll respond to the horror film on the post you left the comment on. Now, about this new thing you left me.....

      ........OK, I'm back. If Jenna Ellis is the kind of person you meet in Heaven, then I'll VOLUNTARILY go to Hell. And anyway, it's God that supposed to do the punishing, not some male ex-porn star's son.

      Pleasantly surprised that you attended a UCC church as a child. It makes me even more curious to attend one sometime (though I doubt their stained-glass windows, assuming a UCC church even has stained-glass windows, can beat those of a Roman Catholic church. NOBODY does stained-glass windows better than those Roman Catholics. If nothing else, it's a very aesthetically pleasing religion. Maybe if they had sent artisans instead of soldiers to the Middle East, those Crusades would have worked out in their favor.)

      As for how my Thanksgiving, I'm probably going to end up running late to a family gathering because I'm sitting here responding to comments on my compute, but that's my own fault. I hope your Thanksgiving is a happy one, Shady.

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  3. SG had ancestors that arrived aboard the Mayflower with those NON-Puritanical beliefs. I’m also not a religious person but do respect the Universalist Unitarian movement.

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    1. That NON- intrigues me, Mitchell. Were SG's ancestors sailors?

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    2. No, but some Unitarian Universalists did get into the colonies. Although maybe they weren’t the ones on the Mayflower.

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    3. Mitchell, I was being tongue-in-cheek when I said I couldn't get my head around an ancestral strain of the Unitarians arriving on the Mayflower. I just said that because nowadays "puritans" and "prudes" are synonyms, but they weren't synonyms back in 1620. Historical Puritans were people with complex beliefs who challenged the concept of the divine rights of kings and wrote the first anti-slavery tracts. Puritanism eventually evolved into New England Unitarianism (though there were other influences as well), and that's what I was getting at.

      Because of what happened in Salem, Puritans are also thought of as witch-burners, but at the time both Catholics and Anglicans (but not Jews) were also executing people they fingered as witches. When the British authorities finally put the kibosh on the Salem trials, it wasn't because they didn't believe in the existence of witchcraft, but because TOO MANY people were being accused of witchcraft and suspected that it had as much to do with the grinding of axes as it did with sightings of old women flying over town on broomsticks. And anyway, why would so many magical beings waste their time on some Massechutess backwater? At least the witches in Rosemary's Baby chose Manhattan.

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    4. I almost forgot to ask, is SG a Universalist Unitarian?

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    5. SG was brought up Lutheran, but he’s a non-believer, like me. However, he DOES believe in ghosts and has awakened me on occasion to give them a talking to (or something; I don’t really know what he thought I was going to do).

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  4. I belonged to the UU church in Winnipeg in the 1990s and was part of its team to make it an "affirming congregation" to welcome and celebrate LGBTQ+ people. I agree that, if you want a non-Christian, tolerant-of-all, progressive spiritual community, then definitely check out the jewel that is Unitarian-Universalism. Back in the 1800s, Unitarians believed in a Deity but denied that Jesus was also "God" -- they believed in one god only (therefore, "unitarian") not three-gods-in-one like traditional Christianity. The rest of Christianity therefore rejected UUs as non-Christians. In the 1900s, there was a very strong atheist strain of secular humanism among UUs. These days, UU churches celebrate many spiritual paths and ideals, but do not require members to literally believe anything except what their own conscience tells them. The UU's main principle is tolerance and an emphasis on a personal and responsible search for truth.

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  5. Thank you for all that, Debra. You described it much better than I could.

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    1. I should add that, like Mitchell, I've respected the UCC from afar. I might poke my nose through its doors one of these days.

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  6. We (my wife) go to an Episcopal church (Advent Episcopal) that is an OASIS church. Meaning it's welcoming to anyone and everyone. When the church was declared OASIS there were some "Christians" that left for other churches.

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  7. Yet you didn't leave, Mike, and that's great.

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  8. Kirk, I am not religious either. I don't like how close-minded most religions are. In a modern world, we need to be open-minded. The way things are going, the planet ain't gonna last much longer! And religion certainly won't save us!

    First I've heard of The Universalist Unitarian Church too.

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    1. Fastest growing church in the United States, Ananka. I don't know about Scotland.

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  9. Nobody called me on it, for which I'm grateful, but I made the mistake of referring to the religion as the Universalist Unitarian Church when in fact it's actually called the Unitarian Universalist Church. The word "universalist" just jumped out at me for some reason. Maybe it's what comes from being an old Star Trek fan.

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  10. Oh, and I've since corrected my mistake. Mister Chekov, warp factor six.

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  11. The Hollywood studio may also have been another reason. It's a good thing the religion is not called Methodist-Goldwyn-Mayer or Unitarian Artists. Or that there's a monastery with the Warner Brothers order.

    Cut!!!

    CUT!!!!

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In order to keep the hucksters, humbugs, scoundrels, psychos, morons, and last but not least, artificial intelligentsia at bay, I have decided to turn on comment moderation. On the plus side, I've gotten rid of the word verification.