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6 years ago  ::  Jul 30, 2008 - 6:42PM #21
enlightenme1011
Posts: 3
Jamlawken,

First, I'm very happy to hear this person is the "now former minister."  Being relatively new in my UU church, I've heard about all the different former ministers, and each one brings a very different "flavor" to the environment.  And then what you get is one group of people saying "This person is perfect for this congregation," and others saying "Their style doesn't suit us so we're going to resist all we can."  Makes church interesting, for sure!

But back to spirituality:  Please look into the Spirit of Life curriculum.  We did that in our congregation -- our pastor is in agreement that, in his words, we need to get more "woo-woo" into UU.  The course was a lot of fun and really helped to bring us together as a group.  The small-group ministry concept was much more readily accepted after that, and the only thing blocking it right now is all the scheduling conflicts.  But we still think about the others in the group and consider them special friends, so please give it a go.
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 30, 2008 - 6:59PM #22
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833
For anyone who may be interested in considering the Spirit of Life curriculum, here's a link to the overview of it on the UUA website:  Spirit of Life curriculum

< sigh > I obviously spent way too many years having to write goals and objectives as a public high school teacher and curriculum developer. I'm not sure I sympathize much with the feeling that a religious workshop's format needs to ape that of formal education. I was afraid to look further to see what types of testing were suggested to assure that the goals and objectives had been met. ::::shuddering::::

Anyway, my feeble objections aside, perhaps the information provided will enable someone to determine that this curriculum would be helpful for hir congregation.
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 30, 2008 - 6:19PM #23
RevDorris
Posts: 1,813
This has been an interesting thread to read. 

It has pointed out many of the problems within the membership of the UUA.  These problems are not just confined to the UUA but to most all religious institutions that are not truly open to an exploration of the many faiths and the Spiritual nature that is within each of us.

We do need to know our religious tradition and heritage, but cannot be locked into a tradition to the exclusion of all others.  There is a rich wealth of information and guidance contained in them all.  We cannot "throw the baby out with the bath water" and expect to have a vibrant and growing faith.

The lack of "God Talk" and Spirituality in religious services is a problem that can be overcome.  The UUA and Unitarian Community members on Belief Net can be instrumental in turning the whole back to a more Spiritual path.  Many of you are active in your churches and can raise the awareness in those churches.  You can be like a flea on a dog's back, that will not go away.  Be the squeaky wheel that gets attention or it becomes a major nuisance.

Neither I, nor the AUC have a lock on the Unitarian Heritage or God Talk.  We are small but vocal fleas or squeaky wheels.  We do not go away.  At present the AUC and the Unitarian Community lack the churches and fellowships in each city where people of like minds can go to learn and grow in strength.  Some might say we are just a ripple in a large pond, but that ripple will grow and become a wave.  The more attention we get, the more people seek to explore, and the more dissatisfied they are with their present organizations, the more the wave will grow.

If you want to prime the pump so to speak, tell your minister or worship committee that you want them to invite me or someone like me to be a speaker at your church.  See what happens. 

With love,

Rev Dorris
With love,

Rev Dorris
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 30, 2008 - 6:42PM #24
enlightenme1011
Posts: 3
Jamlawken,

First, I'm very happy to hear this person is the "now former minister."  Being relatively new in my UU church, I've heard about all the different former ministers, and each one brings a very different "flavor" to the environment.  And then what you get is one group of people saying "This person is perfect for this congregation," and others saying "Their style doesn't suit us so we're going to resist all we can."  Makes church interesting, for sure!

But back to spirituality:  Please look into the Spirit of Life curriculum.  We did that in our congregation -- our pastor is in agreement that, in his words, we need to get more "woo-woo" into UU.  The course was a lot of fun and really helped to bring us together as a group.  The small-group ministry concept was much more readily accepted after that, and the only thing blocking it right now is all the scheduling conflicts.  But we still think about the others in the group and consider them special friends, so please give it a go.
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 30, 2008 - 6:59PM #25
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833
For anyone who may be interested in considering the Spirit of Life curriculum, here's a link to the overview of it on the UUA website:  Spirit of Life curriculum

< sigh > I obviously spent way too many years having to write goals and objectives as a public high school teacher and curriculum developer. I'm not sure I sympathize much with the feeling that a religious workshop's format needs to ape that of formal education. I was afraid to look further to see what types of testing were suggested to assure that the goals and objectives had been met. ::::shuddering::::

Anyway, my feeble objections aside, perhaps the information provided will enable someone to determine that this curriculum would be helpful for hir congregation.
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 31, 2008 - 1:38AM #26
Ursyl
Posts: 462
[QUOTE]Dabbling and ignorance of the context of various rituals is a problem, IMO, when we try to perform those of other faiths without the background that gives them reverence and meaning. I'm not sure how we get around that. Possibly by only talking about them or seeing movies showing those of the faith doing the rituals and not attempting to replicate the rituals ourselves, since we can only produce a semblance that doesn't really give more than a smattering of what the ritual is within its context.[/QUOTE]I don't think we should be trying to DO the rituals and such of other religious faiths.  It's one thing if a member of a particular faith shares and teaches a particular ritual, quite another to co-opt another religion or culture's ritual without any of the context (like culture or belief) of that ritual.

That's why the education focus in Sunday services for all, and actual ritual at other times.

At other services, we've done rather than discussed, but not stuff from other cultures, not without a guide from that culture anyway.
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 31, 2008 - 7:17AM #27
jamlawken
Posts: 75
Thanks to all of you for your writings; what you say in this forum makes a difference in the wider UU community.  Last night at the worship committee meeting the chairperson proposed to "import" an entire Hindu service sometime during the fall.  When I said that some UUs feel that co-opting another faith's rituals out of context is inappropriate there was a reply of "yeah, we're UUs, and we should incorporate Hindu teachings into a UU service."

Sincerely
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 31, 2008 - 12:06PM #28
Ursyl
Posts: 462
[QUOTE]"yeah, we're UUs, and we should incorporate Hindu teachings into a UU service."[/QUOTE]Wow. I read that and hear: "we're UU, and we can be as rude and disrespectful as we want."

Might not go over well to say so in a meeting, but that's what I hear in that statement.  It's imperialism and privilege in the spiritual setting.

Yes, we have the right to learn about any and every faith, but no, we do not have the right of rip their practices out of their cultural context.

I consider that to be intellectually dishonest too, as there is a meaning to those practices that is lost when ripped out of the contextual understanding.

What we would do at our UU is to invite someone of that faith to teach us, and if that speaker (member or guest) chose to share a practice for us to use, that would be his/her option.

If you have any doubt, go over to the Native America forum and ask what they think when people do that.
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 31, 2008 - 12:08PM #29
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833
As is evident from my earlier remarks, Jamlawken, I think using the service in its entirety is highly inappropriate. Inviting a Hindu to demonstrate portions of the service and explain their context, fine. Going to a Hindu temple to observe this service (if permitted), definitely fine as that would give an even better idea of what the service is like in context.

So, as Ursyl alluded, I have no objection to incorporating teachings of various faiths into UU services as long as it's done in a "learn-about" context rather than an attempt to reconstruct.

I'm sure others will disagree, feeling that such replication provides a valuable learning experience, but I have deepseated reservations about co-opting rituals wholesale and thinking that we UU's can simply perform them as if they're merely a play.
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6 years ago  ::  Jul 31, 2008 - 1:26PM #30
jamlawken
Posts: 75
[QUOTE=Ursyl;660015]Wow. I read that and hear: "we're UU, and we can be as rude and disrespectful as we want."  Might not go over well to say so in a meeting, but that's what I hear in that statement.  It's imperialism and privilege in the spiritual setting.[/QUOTE]

Such a reaction suggests that I may not have expressed myself clearly.  The suggestion was made to have a Hindu service done in its entirety and some at the meeting thought it would be disrespectful to Hindus to do so in a UU church.  Another suggestion was made to incorporate Hindu teachings into (better to say include Hindu teachings as part of?) a UU service, much as one would include teachings from other faith traditions.  Doesn't "incorporate (include) teachings" (not practices) imply a a "learn-about" context?  Perhaps not.  If incorporating (including) teachings from other traditions is disrespectful we're gonna have to stick with our Judeo-Christian roots (to the chagrin of many, I'm sure).
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