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Switch to Forum Live View Pagan vs. Christian UU
7 years ago  ::  Apr 15, 2008 - 6:24PM #1
rideronthastorm
Posts: 5,861
Many people who have read about the Pagan and earthbased rituals of my UU church and the way we celebrate hollidays the Pagan ones, and say how strange it is for UU to do that and how different of my UU to do that.

I have a major problem with that.Under my  Membership costs thread you guys are talking about getting people in the spirit of getting up and worshipping to Christian music, and Ive seen many of you guys talks about the fact that your church leans towards christianity and the Christian rituals of your church, why is that any better or different then the Pagan style, Paganism is a religion just like  Christianity is, the last I checked, at our last service, they stated UU is open and embracing of all religions and lifestyles, ALL. Why is it so strange and odd for UU i dont get it. UU is not strictly for Christians, its for everyone regardless of religion.
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7 years ago  ::  Apr 15, 2008 - 6:24PM #2
rideronthastorm
Posts: 5,861
Many people who have read about the Pagan and earthbased rituals of my UU church and the way we celebrate hollidays the Pagan ones, and say how strange it is for UU to do that and how different of my UU to do that.

I have a major problem with that.Under my  Membership costs thread you guys are talking about getting people in the spirit of getting up and worshipping to Christian music, and Ive seen many of you guys talks about the fact that your church leans towards christianity and the Christian rituals of your church, why is that any better or different then the Pagan style, Paganism is a religion just like  Christianity is, the last I checked, at our last service, they stated UU is open and embracing of all religions and lifestyles, ALL. Why is it so strange and odd for UU i dont get it. UU is not strictly for Christians, its for everyone regardless of religion.
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7 years ago  ::  Apr 15, 2008 - 9:24PM #3
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833
Rider, I certainly don't mean my comments about how unusual it is for a UU church to do lots of Pagan rituals to be taken as criticism.

As I've said on other threads, it's simply still quite out-of-the-ordinary for a UU service to have Pagan rituals regularly. Once in a while, that's more customary. However, since more and more Pagans are joining UU fellowships and churches, such rituals may become much more common in UU services in general.

A good many UU churches or fellowships likely have very few or no Pagans as yet. In addition to me, I know of only three other people in my church of about 135 members who identify as Pagans, witches or something like that. There might be a few more who just haven't said anything about their beliefs that I've heard, but I wouldn't be surprised if we four and maybe one or two others are the only people into occult practices in my church.

There definitely isn't anything at all wrong with your church's using Pagan rituals often, particularly not if it satisfies the spiritual and educational needs of its members.

I'm guessing that the others who've remarked about this are simply expressing surprise and indicating that it's unusual rather than expressing the opinion that your church shouldn't be doing things that way.
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7 years ago  ::  Apr 16, 2008 - 2:13PM #4
Thaklaar1
Posts: 493
I have to say that I'd likely be uncomfortable in a church using a lot of Pagan ritual in it's service.  This isn't to say that I want more Christian ritual however.  I think we UU's need to work toward building ourselves a new language of worship.  The ecclectic mish-mash of rituals we have in our services is a sympom of our lack of an over-arching UU identity.  Without that, I see a slow disintegration of our membership in the future. 

Will the Pagan UU's keep coming to church when the new Pagan center opens up across town?  Will the Buddhist UU's keep coming after the new Buddhist temple opens up down the street?  In many cases, of course they will, but I get the feeling that a lot of people are UU largely because there's nowhere else for them to be.  We can't go back to the austerity of New England Protestantism because, well, most of us aren't New England Protestants.  But we're desperately in need of an identity *as UU's*. 

We have a symbol in the Flaming Chalice, and that's great.  But the most important thing we have is our Seven Principles.  I think that rather than the ecclecticism we see a lot now, with a mish-mash of rituals from many traditions being plastered willy-nilly across the slowly mouldering corpse of New England Protestantism, we need to work together and take all of those traditions and, interpreting *through* our Seven Principles, synthesize a new body of UU ritual.  It'll be difficult.  There'll be arguments and fights and no-one will agree (we *are* UU after all) but I think that it's necessary to keep us from withering away in the next 50 years.
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7 years ago  ::  Apr 16, 2008 - 4:35PM #5
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833
I'm inclined to agree with you, Thaklaar, that one of the more significant problems UU churches have is a lack of commitment to genuine diversity. The larger difficulty, I think, is what Thaklaar alluded to...that UUism has become largely a refuge for people of varying beliefs who would have nothing resembling a quasi-religious community otherwise.

But then, about twenty years ago, UUism went through a phase of being terrified that whatever was done might offend someone...and consequently, most "services" were so generic that a person couldn't distinguish what was occurring from a placid social club meeting. In quite a few "churches," you still can't.

At bottom, I don't think UU's have ever quite figured out how to incorporate diversity into services without weighting them heavily to one particular belief system or another. In fact, I'm still not sure that you can incorporate diverse beliefs without ending up with a meaningless amalgam of dribs and dabs.

The point is valid, IMO, that in borrowing from various spiritual traditions those elements that seem likely to appeal to churchgoers, we are simply dabbling and never achieving any real understanding of the context within which those rituals or ideas have meaning.

As a UU minister of my acquaintance once put it, "More than half the time, we haven't a clue what the hell we're doing."
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7 years ago  ::  Apr 21, 2008 - 12:24PM #6
rideronthastorm
Posts: 5,861
well i also think it depends on where you live too. Thanks for the comments.being in Texas, Mesquite Tx, this area of east dallas, garland mesuqite and Balch springs, theres no pagan centers out here and the UU church and the Zen Budhist center out here is the only thing in the East dallas community that is not Evangelical Christiaity. So the fact is that out here we have to have both of these facilities, without them we have no choices.

Also in the city of dallas, most of our Spiritual drum jam sessions have moved out to Fort WQorth because our few Pagan centers we did have closed down and most have moved so.

So In dallas we have a need for Uusto be particularly open to pagns because w ehave no place for Pagns out here except UU. also, Dallas has good Hindu and Buhdist Temples, but not near a smany of course on the grande scale of Christianity, so we have huge needs for any kind of centers outside of Christian and Judeo
cenetrs to be open in Texas so, we need more out her eof all the cultures.
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7 years ago  ::  Apr 21, 2008 - 1:12PM #7
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833
I have an idea of what it's like, Rider.

I lived in far southwest Kansas for about 20 years. Out there, I was veeeery careful not to talk  about my beliefs with anyone I didn't know well and trust. Geez, I actually had people, when I'd tell them I was a Unitarian Universalist, commonly confuse that with the "Moonies" (Unification Church)! In all the years I lived out there, I never met another person who'd heard of the UU's.

Needless to say, with the "storefront" cults in that area and in my own city currently, I'm still pretty hesitant to talk about the occult practices I'm into.

Sadly, I can't talk about them with any but a few people in my UU church. I'm working on that though with a few Pagans interested in getting us out of the closet at church and incorporating some references and rituals into services. So far, services conclude with a "Blessed Be" on the list along with "Amen, Namaste" and such, but that's about it. It's a token is all.
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7 years ago  ::  Apr 21, 2008 - 8:47PM #8
Wulf
Posts: 109
The UU Church I attend has about 20+ members that are overtly Pagan.  I dont know how many are secret Pagans.   The church honors the Major Christian, Jewish and Pagan holidays although the Christian ones are the only ones that are celebrated as the subject of a service.   We have had the Pagans lead some services.    The Pagans I know have created a mix of Celtic, Goddess, Egyptian and American Indian elements.
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7 years ago  ::  Apr 22, 2008 - 8:27AM #9
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833
Lucky you, Wulf!

As I said, the reason for my and the Pagans' wanting to work on getting ourselves and our beliefs out of the closet is that the only services we've had in the almost one full year I've been attending my church were two that only marginally referred to Pagan and other occult beliefs. One was a "share something of what you believe" hodgepodge where anyone who wished could go to the pulpit and talk about what you believed and how you came to hold those beliefs. The other was a sermon given by a member into a combination of witchcraft and shamanism, but she talked primarily about her religious background and how incorporating elements of other spiritualities had enriched her life with very little that would inform or educate congregants about her beliefs.

In short, there's been nothing much beyond a few very brief explanations prior to major Pagan holidays.

As for any references or rituals that would give the congregation a sense of how and why a given holiday is observed, not a thing.

Now, there is a Pagan group within the church that meets regularly for rituals, holiday feasts and such, but it's entirely separate from regular services.

I'm sure hoping that we can find a way to combine efforts to bring about gradual change.
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6 years ago  ::  May 01, 2008 - 12:05PM #10
bob2
Posts: 179
In my small lay led congregation we celebrate 8 Sabats (Pagan holy days) in the church on Sunday, and we also celebrate Christmas and Easter. The Bible is probably read in about 10 services  per year.

While there are definately disadvantages to choosing to be lay led, variety is one of the advantages. If someone wants a Pagan/Christian/Atheist/Taoist/New Thought service , they simply sign up and  volunteer to do it. During the course of a year, members of the congregation are exposed to all the practices and beliefs of the different members. Some people  are uncomfortable putting the differences out for everyone to see but many of us like it.
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