Hi folks! Some of you may remember me. I've been here at Beliefnet for ages, but rarely jumped in to chat much. Longtime "UU cheerleader" and occasional small-group organizer. I was raised in largely rural, small-town South Georgia...in a Southern Baptist family and culture. My "free-thinking, naturalistic" religious tendencies were already there as a child, but had no organized religious outlet. As a young adult I sat down at a library (Atlanta area) for several days comparing the world's religious faiths side-by-side to find the one(s) that I could accept and support without any reservation. I finally narrowed them all down to where only Unitarian Universalism was left, and have been a UU ever since (although, like right now, not always connected with any particular congregation). Before moving to South Carolina's "Lowcountry" (job move) I was in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where I was a member of the large and wonderful All Souls Unitarian Church. Really miss being a part of a well-developed UU congregation that knows its mission and role in the larger community.
Thoroughly spoiled by my experience with UU in Tulsa, and by my personal chats with now-retired minister Dr. John Wolf there, I continue to yearn for that level of liberal-religious community that is just not offered here. Still read UU books, magazines, etc. and have been a member of Church of the Larger Fellowship on and off as well. I even tried to start a local UU congregation here in the Charleston suburbs but it just didn't have the level of support it needed and finally disbanded after a year or two. (Had no tangible support from UUA...which is an ongoing pet peeve I have with them, by the way.) My recent UU activities have been on the internet: I have a little message board called "Faith of the Free" where I at least entertain myself and can clarify my views on various subjects. (Haven't been able to get much real conversation going there, either.) I also have set up chat groups at Myspace, Facebook, Yahoo and Google. In other words, still looking for those "deeper levels" of liberal-religious community to be a part of, and to be able to offer to others.
I've been in the "weather business" for about 40 years now, and retired from the National Weather Service about five years ago. Still work part-time on contract with the Federal Aviation Administration providing weather reports for airport operations. Married (35 years), have a "cat house" currently staffed by five of the fur critters...all of them wonderful, though they just don't seem to live long enough. I like gardening, progressive politics, some tv and silly movies, and listening to music and progressive talk on satellite radio. You can also find me at a number of other message boards under the names "uufreespirit," "freespirit," and "Unrepentant Unitarian."
My little UU message board, by the way, is at http://faithofthefree.informe.com. Please do drop by and visit there if you get a chance, OK? I'll leave the chalice light on for you.
P. S. No, I'm not strangling the cat in that picture! Little Lexie's the "star of the show" at our house these days.