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Switch to Forum Live View Ramblings of a prospective newbie...
7 years ago  ::  Jan 24, 2008 - 12:42PM #1
FRG
Posts: 11
Hi. This will be all over the place. I apologize in advance.

  I've been lurking here for a while, and finally decided to join. Yay me.

  Down to business.

  I've alway's been uncomfortable with the concept of religion per se'. In one sense... I'm curious. I do believe spirituality is important, and that the quest for your own personal spiritual truth is just as valid and just as important as the quest for any other truth... but it's very hard to find an environment where you can discuss spirituality in a way that makes any logical sense... without bias. You can see why I might find the UUA interesting. I think I actually found out about the UUA while searching for liberal churches in my hometown. Anyway... in the past, whenever I've tried to sit down and really explore religion and all of that I've alway's gotten to a place where I just have to laugh at myself. I mean, it feels like shopping for a car... except in this case your shopping for someone to tell you what to believe. I don't need that. It's the very same reason I'm registered independent. I may lean overwhelmingly left, but I'm not selling my soul to the democrats. Same concept. I hope you understand where I'm coming from. The religous community here is overwhelmingly Evangelical Christian, and my experience has been that they have tended to be a very divisive and destructive force in the community... but I'm finally reaching a point in life where I'm willing to look at it objectively and open my mind to the idea that evangelicals are generally good people just trying to live the best way they know how. Even if that means creatively and culturally stifling the community and inflicting untold pain on the GLBTQ community, which I am a member of.

  Generally speaking I find the UU church fascinating because it appears from the outside like a place where a group of diverse people can get together and respectfully discuss spirituality in an academic forum. I feel like that is what I am looking for at this point in my life. Some of the threads I've seen here so far have concerned me... I don't want to get myself involved in a christian movement that is portraying itself as something else.
  I absolutely understand that some people will take offense to what I have said, and I'm working on opening my mind to Christianity and more specifically Evangelicals... but what I'm really looking for is rational, academic dialogue about the issue of spirituality without the underlying judgement and condemnation that comes with mainstream christianity, or feel like I have to subscribe to a one size fits all idealogy that doesn't allow me to form my own opinions.  I recognize the hypocrisy in my words.


  There are two UU churches here, I'm thinking of checking out the one downtown. It is a designated welcoming congregation and often flies pride flags, so that's encouraging. Given the politically and spiritually divided nature of this community, I wouldn't be surprised to learn that it serves as a stark liberal alternative to the conservative/evangelical majority.

  At this point I consider myself a borderline athiest/agnostic. Deep down I don't believe in a god, but I don't pretent to be god either... therefore, I can't say for certain that there isn't one. No one can. I refuse to believe any god that does exist is as vengeful and narrow minded as the one I've been told about all of my life. I'm not going to worship a hate monger. I feel like I'm coming from the position of an open minded athiest with somewhat of a humanist view point.

  Now that you have a general idea of where I'm coming from.... have at it.

  Might UU be right for me, or am I barking up the wrong tree.
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 24, 2008 - 2:27PM #2
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833
Much depends upon the makeup of the individual congregation.

My standard suggestions apply:  Pick a church/fellowship. Attend worship several Sundays in succession, preferably at least a month's worth, so as to get a good overview of how service themes change from week to week.

If the church's website archives the minister's sermons, read through some past ones to give you a sense of what sort of minister serves the congregation, which in turn may give you a feel for what the majority believe. Some ministers will mention their personal beliefs in sermons every so often, although what the minister believes isn't necessarily reflective of what the majority of the congregation do, of course. My previous church was composed primarily of atheists, agnostics and humanists, but the minister was a Pagan. Nevertheless, if the congregation chose this minister, there's something to be gleaned from examining what the minister has to say, if only whether or not it's likely to bore you. ;)

I suspect that you may well feel within a Sunday or two that you've found home.
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 25, 2008 - 12:00AM #3
Jcarlinbn
Posts: 7,052

FRG wrote:

Might UU be right for me, or am I barking up the wrong tree.

I think you have done as many UUs have and discovered you are a UU.  The only question remaining is which congregation is the right one for you.  Don't worry too much about the dominant religious paradigm, Christian or pagan or something in between almost all UU congregations cherish an adherent to a One Person Religion as a welcome diversifier in their religious lives.  Expect lively conversations if you are willing to discuss your spirituality, not because people want you to join theirs, but to see if you have something to contribute to theirs. 

Jcarlinbn, community moderator
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 25, 2008 - 5:22AM #4
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833

jcarlinbn wrote:

Expect lively conversations if you are willing to discuss your spirituality, not because people want you to join theirs, but to see if you have something to contribute to theirs.



Good point. It's out of curiosity and a desire to learn what someone else believes that sparks such queries from UU's ordinarily.

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7 years ago  ::  Jan 25, 2008 - 2:32PM #5
metachosis
Posts: 53
Good luck with your search. I have discovered I am indeed UU even though I am no longer a member of the church in my community.

I really fell in love with UU when I first started attending the church and still appreciate the freedom to choose my own spiritual path  I hope you find the right church for you.
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 26, 2008 - 3:31AM #6
lexa_blue
Posts: 327
FRG, I agree with the other posters.  Go to a church and really get a feel for it--that's how you figure out of you belong there, regardless of the religion.  Also study the Principals fo Purpose--if you can agree with all of those, then congratulations, you're a UU. 
As for the rainbow flag, all UU churches will be welcoming, at least in the official policy.  The "Welcoming Congregation" business has to do with a specific training from the UUA, and probably some sort of monetary something or other.  What I'm getting at is, all congregations are probably welcoming; just not Welcoming.  There's also a thread around on this.

Jack, are you aware that proselytizing is against Beliefnet policy?  If you would like to debate, there is a forum for that, but it's not here.  Hence, no further response from me.

Blessings,
Lexa
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 26, 2008 - 8:31AM #7
AintKatie
Posts: 1,657

One-eyed Jack wrote:

http://www.landoverbaptist.net/



wikipedia...
Landover Baptist Church is a web site that serves as the home of a fictional[1] Baptist church based in the fictional town of Freehold, Iowa. The Landover Baptist site and its associated Landoverbaptist.net forum are a parody of fundamentalist Christianity and the Religious Right in the USA, and of Westboro Baptist Church in particular. The site was created by Chris Harper[2], who obtained his Master's Degree in English Literature from George Mason University in 1993 after being expelled from Liberty University in 1989 for producing a satirical radio show which Liberty's administration found offensive.[3] The site is owned by a company called Americhrist, Ltd.

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7 years ago  ::  Jan 26, 2008 - 8:43AM #8
AintKatie
Posts: 1,657

FRG wrote:

Anyway... in the past, whenever I've tried to sit down and really explore religion and all of that I've alway's gotten to a place where I just have to laugh at myself. I mean, it feels like shopping for a car... except in this case your shopping for someone to tell you what to believe. I don't need that.



I'm an atheist/agnostic with no background in religion. I was moving to a new state, totally unfamiliar surroundings, and looking for ways to express myself freely, learn, be around like minded folks, etc. I found several interesting things to pursue..among them, a UU congregation. I checked out the website for the local church, then the district and national level websites. I concluded that a UU church was one place where I would NOT be told what to think or believe. And it was clear that UU's are into diversity, welcoming, etc. So, I decided to go for it.

I visited the congregation nearest to my home and, within a few weeks, joined. In the past, I'd never joined anything that quickly, if at all...but I felt so comfortable with the group that I decided to commit and see what happened. I'm still there and still happy after nearly 3 years.

Shopping for places to spend your valuable time is not a silly thing, actually. It's the word that troubles you most, probably. The reality is, you're making educated and sensible choices about what you do, how you live your life and the people with whom you associate. Sounds reasonable to me. Check out everything, find what best for you.

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7 years ago  ::  Jan 26, 2008 - 12:16PM #9
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833
Satire is fine stuff used appropriately.

Why did you post that here in response to what seems to be an honest inquiry, I'm wondering?
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7 years ago  ::  Jan 26, 2008 - 12:35PM #10
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833
Okay, so all that the UU's are is a social club that could easily be replaced by any number of more interesting things to do in a group, probably more of them when a couple of weeks of penicillin would cure whatever ailed you than currently.

I'm guessing that thought has occurred to a good many UU's more than once. You give yourself a great deal of credit it seems to me, Jack, for what the late Howard Cosell referred to as "belaboring the obvious."

Seems to me an honest question was asked that deserved equally honest answers.

Goes to show you never can tell what might constitute an honest answer.
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