Post Reply
Page 1 of 3  •  1 2 3 Next
Switch to Forum Live View I can't seem to shake my anti-Unitarian prejudice - HELP!
4 years ago  ::  May 12, 2011 - 12:30PM #1
Seamuffin
Posts: 2
My wife, daughter and I have been attending First Parish UU church here in Portland, ME for a couple of months now. My daughter loves it - loves that there's singing, loves her Sunday School class - and my wife finds the people friendly and outgoing and the pastor's sermons thought-provoking. So we're considering becoming members.

But I can't shake a strong anti-Unitarian prejudice I seem to have... I am skeptical about everything about it - I find it superficial and smug, I can't stand the New Age gurus quoted as authorities on things, the Golden Bough archetypes tossed around as truth, the buffet of spirituality presented as deep thought - please understand, I'm telling you what goes on in my head, not trying to attack decent Unitarians directly - the list goes on. And I can't seem to get past it. There's nothing wrong with this church, with the people in it, with their mission and attitudes - but I can't seem to stop finding fault with EVERYTHING about it. I don't want to be the annoying know-it-all family curmudgeon. HELP!
Quick Reply
Cancel
4 years ago  ::  May 12, 2011 - 3:23PM #2
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833

Do you or your wife have some objection to your attending another church or none at all?


I can empathize somewhat with all the difficulties you mentioned having with the UU approach to religion; to some extent, I share many of them myself as a result of the experiences I had having been affiliated with UUism for nearly 30 years. In trying to offer something for everyone, IMO, UUism often fails to provide anything substantive for anyone--what I refer to as being about as inspiring and lifechanging as a greeting card.


Seems to me that the obvious solution is for you to find a church congenial for you, possibly alternating attendance as a family.


I don't see any good reason to become a member of any church that you find objectionable although I can understand your quandary if it's important to either of you that you all belong to the same church.


Guess I really can't help you overcome your problems with the UU church you've been attending.

Moderated by Beliefnet_community on May 31, 2011 - 09:34PM
Quick Reply
Cancel
4 years ago  ::  May 12, 2011 - 4:08PM #3
Jupiter6208
Posts: 2,383

I wish i could help as well but I'm just starting to learn about UU  i will be checking out another UU Church This weekend but what is it about the church  i mean Aren't all UU'S like that? something for everyone?

"A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person."  Dave Berry



You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. Buddha.

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
Eleanor Roosevelt
Quick Reply
Cancel
4 years ago  ::  May 12, 2011 - 5:16PM #4
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833

I don't know why it didn't occur to me earlier to ask as many UU churches as there typically are in New England states, is there another within a reasonable distance that you could try?


UU churches can vary dramatically in service content. One may be unappealing while another in the same city or nearby is somewhat different and suits you far better.


Perhaps a different UU church would be your solution if practical. If not, you might consider the UU Church of the Larger Fellowship, the online church intended for those unable to attend a "bricks and mortar" church for whatever reason even though it was formed for people too far from a church or fellowship to make attendance workable. With materials you get from CLF, you do church for yourself which might work well for you.  


Considering your Golden Bough reference, I'm guessing that you're somewhat bookish. As far as I'm concerned, membership in CLF is well worth it even if you are also a "bricks & mortar" church member. CLF has a marvelous lending library, far better than the church library in any UU church I've attended. You can take a look at its catalog on the CLF site linked below as well as investigate what both the 3-month trial and full membership involve. Click on "Join CLF" on the top toolbar of the homepage for the latter details.


CLF site: www.clf.uua.org


 

Quick Reply
Cancel
4 years ago  ::  May 13, 2011 - 1:39PM #5
JCarlin
Posts: 7,058

You could try my late father's solution.  He played mental golf during the sermon.  He would complain if he only got a few holes played because of an interesting sermon.  


I am not sure I understand your issue.  Is new age offensive, or just too shallow. You say it is presented as definitive.  Are you sure you just don't like it.  Do you need an awful God to tell you what to do? 


I find the new age spirituality too shallow as well, but it certainly can be thought proving if only to explain what it needs to be meaningful.  Or if you will why it is meaningless and what can be substituted for it for meaningful spirituality. 


UU is a do it yourself religion.  It sounds like your church has a pretty nice smorgasboard, but you will have to bring your own mustard and hot sauce. 


J'Carlin
If the shoe doesn't fit, don't cram your foot in it and complain.
Quick Reply
Cancel
4 years ago  ::  May 13, 2011 - 3:02PM #6
Seamuffin
Posts: 2

Hee hee! No, I really don't need a big mean old God telling me what to do - I was raised a sort of atheist Lutheran, and have since moved into the confirmed atheist column. No, my problem is that I end up analyzing the whole thing too much - [here is where I overstate the case] I get to thinking about how the pick and choose approach is so... so Western, both fetishising and minimizing the beliefs systems that have sprung up in other cultures... since we smart modern people can just do a little Buddhism here, a little Sufi there, a little bit of Wicca here and get the benefits of all of it. I'm automatically suspicious of anything that claims to be universal, like it's the Esperanto of religions - and I think Esperanto is a horrible idea - I feel like if we were all Unitarians, there'd be nothing for Unitarianism to draw from, just "traditions" made up on the spot with no depth, no history. The whole thing feels so smug and white and generic to me... [end overstatement]

Part of the problem is definitely that my grandparents were Unitarians - Ayn Rand Unitarians - and their church circle was full of upper-middle-class free thinkers who were, if you scratched the surface, status-seeking and racist. So I bring that baggage to this encounter. They wanted Church but not God, so this was the answer.

I appreciate the advice about finding my own spiritual home - a different church -  but I'm not sure there's a better one for an atheist like me. And I really *believe* in church as a place for a community to get together once a week and think about higher things - which *should* make me a perfect candidate for Unitarianism, right? And I appreciate having been raised in a church, even if it didn't make me a believer. But I just get hung up on my anthropological take on the whole enterprise. Is there a Unitarian out there who can make me lighten up?

Quick Reply
Cancel
4 years ago  ::  May 13, 2011 - 5:14PM #7
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833

May 13, 2011 -- 3:02PM, Seamuffin wrote:

The whole thing feels so smug and white and generic to me... [end overstatement]



Weeellll, I honestly must say that I don't think this bit is overstated at all. In fact, I think the only thing you might've added was "comfortably well-off but too cheap to donate more than 1-2% of their net income," and you'd have nailed it. Never could understand why the average UU household income is well above the national average but so many churches are barely scraping by due to a paucity of contributions.


What about the Ethical Culture Society? There's a chapter of it that meets in my city on Sunday mornings so as to offer an alternative for the non-churchy. Or do you really want something churchish?

Moderated by Beliefnet_community on May 31, 2011 - 09:37PM
Quick Reply
Cancel
4 years ago  ::  May 13, 2011 - 6:44PM #8
Jupiter6208
Posts: 2,383

May 13, 2011 -- 5:14PM, DotNotInOz wrote:


May 13, 2011 -- 3:02PM, Seamuffin wrote:

The whole thing feels so smug and white and generic to me... [end overstatement]



Weeellll, I honestly must say that I don't think this bit is overstated at all. In fact, I think the only thing you might've added was "comfortably well-off but too cheap to donate more than 1-2% of their net income," and you'd have nailed it. Never could understand why the average UU household income is well above the national average but so many churches are barely scraping by due to a paucity of contributions.


What about the Ethical Culture Society? There's a chapter of it that meets in my city on Sunday mornings so as to offer an alternative for the non-churchy. Or do you really want something churchish?



LOL That was the first description i heard about the UU'S Wealthy and White.


I'm going out here to this Church this weekend just your impressions if you don't mind  i know it's hard gowing by a website but any thoughts would be appreciated.


uucfl.org/

Moderated by Beliefnet_community on May 31, 2011 - 09:42PM
"A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person."  Dave Berry



You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. Buddha.

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
Eleanor Roosevelt
Quick Reply
Cancel
4 years ago  ::  May 14, 2011 - 3:21AM #9
DotNotInOz
Posts: 6,833

Since any church's website puts its best foot forward, you're correct that you can't tell much at all from its website.


However, take a close look at the photos of churchgoers.  Notice how few darkskinned people there are? I'd bet they assembled every one they could get to be able to show that many. You're probably looking at all the minority group members that church has unless I miss my guess. Source:  uucfl.org/newcomers/index.shtml.


Very few UU churches are less than 80% white. The ones I've belonged to were nearly 100% white even though the population of the city of the last one was about 25% black. In that church, only  one multiracial family came to church regularly. As far as I know having gone to service nearly every Sunday for a full year, the few other blacks attending were visitors--who never returned.

Moderated by Beliefnet_community on May 31, 2011 - 09:46PM
Quick Reply
Cancel
4 years ago  ::  May 14, 2011 - 7:47AM #10
Jupiter6208
Posts: 2,383

Yes i agree kind of disturbing if you ask me, Is the UUA working  on this Problem that you are aware of? this is just a shot in the dark but do you think the reason of not many Minorities in UU Churches is that not many are not Humanists,Atheists etc.. and are more inclined to be believers in God or the like?

"A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person."  Dave Berry



You will not be punished for your anger, you will be punished by your anger. Buddha.

Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.
Eleanor Roosevelt
Quick Reply
Cancel
Page 1 of 3  •  1 2 3 Next
 
    Viewing this thread :: 0 registered and 1 guest
    No registered users viewing
    Advertisement

    Beliefnet On Facebook