Faith of the Free
"The Church of Tomorrow will not be of uniform doctrine or of identical organization. There will be unity of spirit, but not uniformity of creed or rite or polity. There will be variety, but not intolerance. There will be cooperation for holiness, but not conformity of theological opinion. There will be identity of ethical enthusiasm but diversity of administrations." -- Florence Kollock Crooker (Universalist minister, from "The Church of Tomorrow," 1911)
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Just wanted to let everybody know that our little “all-UU message board,” formerly located at "choosingfaith.informe.com" has moved to a new address.
As always, thanks so much for your help!
Thursday, February 08, 2007
Thursday, January 18, 2007
It's nothing fancy, of course, but we're off to a pretty good start I'd say. (My first such venture last year never got beyond 10 members.) It's still very much a work in progress.
To make it go, however, we need to get the word out and to have more people routinely checking in and (ideally) participating. That's where my brothers and sisters "of kindred spirit" here in the UU blogosphere can help. I'd appreciate anything you can do to spread the word---maybe a few mentions here and there, or maybe adding links to it---so that we can make this a true "community board" for Unitarian Universalists.
Again, the message board can be reached at...
Thanks in advance!
Thursday, January 11, 2007
I believe that modern Unitarian Universalists everywhere should all know at least a little something about the life and works, eventual imprisonment at Dachau and tragic death (in a Dresden gas chamber), of Norbert Capek. I believe that all of us who truly want this liberal movement to grow should consider his example of building a "new kind of church" in a "patriotic context"—a reclamation project of sorts aimed at embracing what he, too, perceived as his country's spiritual heritage of personal freedom, diversity and integrity--and of unity more than uniformity--extended even to matters of religion. I believe that Rev. Capek's enormously successful example of what can happen when people set out to grow such a "Faith of the Free"--upon an unapologetically patriotic premise and heritage—is well worth our consideration, even here and now, in our own "Land of the Free."
Friday, January 05, 2007
Therefore, I am hereby announcing the formation of "Our Choosing Faith" forum, and you are all cordially invited to join me there. You can find it at the address below, and please do consider bookmarking it for future use. (I'll also add a link to it here from this page.) "Our Choosing Faith" can be found at...
Please feel free to jump right in and post new topics for discussion there, or to make format suggestions, OK? We'll see how this little experiment works, and if it fails to take off, then at least we will have tried. In the future, I expect that much of what I'll be posting here (in this blog) will also get cross-posted over at this new forum for further discussion.
Tuesday, January 02, 2007
Some additional reflections on my "small-town deep-Southern" upbringing, some forty to fifty years ago (--and, yes, I promise to get over this very soon and move on). I was recently watching that old “Blues Brothers” movie, and hearing that line from the bartender at “Bob’s Country Bunker”--that we "play both kinds of music here...country and western"-- has brought back some pretty strong and vivid memories. As I’ve already mentioned, my hometown was largely Southern Baptist, with much smaller populations of Methodists, Presbyterians, etc. It was not until I joined the military, as a young adult, that I ever (knowingly) got to know any Catholics, Episcopalians or Lutherans, or had the pleasure of being friends with someone of Jewish faith.
The religious (and to a large extent social) makeup of my hometown was similar to the selection of barbecue sauces at a local restaurant—mild, hotter and torrid. (Yes, they played all three kinds of music.) My parents and I attended the “relatively mild” First Baptist Church, but others in our family belonged to those “hotter and more torrid” congregations…with no disrespect (that I know of, at least) we called them “holy rollers.” I remembr quite well how their congregations would dance and scream, and the ministers would slam their Bibles down on the pulpit in their sermons. I never heard of any of them actually “picking up poisonous snakes” as a show of their faith, but I guess it could have happened. Perhaps some of you will recognize some of what I'm talking about here. For better or worse, the environment in which I was raised was definitely one of "variations on the same theme."
In another post, I talked about “positive liberty” and “negative liberty,” and I suppose my eventual migration to liberal religion came from a need for both. There was definitely a “negative liberty” component—I had seen, first-hand, the hypocrisy that grew under the surface in that “Godly” community. The same people who made such a fuss about how evil it was for a person to mow his lawn on a Sunday saw no problem with their “Klan rallies” (which took place in a field behind my house. Though I kept my distance, I can still recall the glow of those big bonfires and the blaring loudspeakers on a crisp winter night).
On the other hand, there were also far more pleasant memories, of caring, and compassion, and friendships, and I did like being a part of the church's music program (in a children’s choir), and those church summer camps were pretty enjoyable as well. I certainly wouldn't want anybody to think that it was all bad. (OK, I'll admit, however, that I probably could have done without some of that seemingly endless preaching…Sunday mornings, Sunday evenings, Wednesday evenings…and, if that was not enough, there were those out-of-town trips during the week to multi-night “revivals” in other churches. )
While reflecting on all of this, I saw a news story, in the past week or two , about a U. S. Congressman from Southern Virginia (I believe his name is Goode), who was warning of the dangers of allowing more immigration of Muslims into the United States, and of more Muslims being elected to public office. As it turns out, the Congressman’s statements---and his steadfast refusal to retract or apologize for any of them---were met with overwhelming support from the voters back home, in the small towns which he represents. (Stories like that tend to make me want to scream from the rooftops "can't we all just get along?" )
As the years have gone by, I have become all the more convinced that we UU’s--and religious liberals in general--represent an attempt at creating and growing something ultimately far healthier and wholesome than dogmatic provincialism—not just an exercise of “negative liberty,”for breaking free from those aspects of religion that seem so objectionable to us, but also the “positive liberty” to use our precious freedom as a "means, rather than an end"---as a sort of “enabler” to help us to do whatever we can to grow a less brutish and more loving, a less provincial and more open and accepting, less self-righteous and more respectful, peaceful and civil world...a home to many different rhythms and melodies.