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uufreespirit
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Joined: 16 Apr 2007
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2009 4:58 pm    Post subject: Misc. If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

In the first centuries of the Christian era, Christians held a variety of beliefs concerning the nature of Jesus. In 325 CE, however, the Council of Nicea promulgated the doctrine of the Trinity-God as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost-and denounced all those who believed differently as heretics.

Historic Unitarians believed in the moral distinction, but not the deity, of Jesus, and rejected the concept of the trinity. Unitarians are often historically characterized as free thinkers and as spiritual reformers who have seen the "Reformation process" as incomplete, unfinished and still ongoing.

Historic Universalists were also vilified and persecuted as heretics for their refusal to accept that a truly loving and compassionate God would condemn any of "his own children" to eternal punishment, no matter what their "sin" or their personal religious beliefs. Their "gospel" of love, brotherhood and inclusion held that all of us-- as "children of a common creation" -- are born with inherent worth and are universally connected (...sharing even a common destiny).

The two churches merged in 1961, recognizing their common religious purposes and priorities in an ever-shrinking, deeply divided world. True to both our movement's "Radical Reformation" roots and an "Age of Enlightenment" spirit of critical thinking and questioning, today's Unitarian Universalists continue to insist that the religious quest is both intensely personal and still unfolding. We continue to believe that people should be free to think for themselves and to ask their own heartfelt questions...to even express their own honest doubts without fear of condemnation, and to do so in an atmosphere of support and encouragement.

Our paths are many, and our truth-sources as wide as the universe...from the sacred literature of the worlds many religions, the discoveries of science, the first-hand witness of our life-experiences, and the deepest promptings of the inner voice of conscience. We walk together, not in "conformity to the letter" of an unquestionable dogma, but in a "unity of spirit" -- of shared ethical concern and commitment to service, grounded in mutual respect and freedom.

Although deliberately lacking an official creed, our congregations typically honor the Principles and Purposes of the UUA:

1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person
2. Justice, equity and compassion in human relations
3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations
4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning
5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large
6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all
7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

-- WELCOME EVERYBODY! Whether you're a longtime UU, a "kindred spirit," or just plain curious, we're glad to have you with us! Here are several links that may be of interest to you;

-- A little "QUOTE OF THE DAY" feature , at...
http://z3.invisionfree.com/Faith_of_the_Free/index.php?showtopic=1

-- Also, there's a "KEEPERS OF THE FLAME" section, which offers tributes to special people and events in the history and continuing legacy of the liberal spirit;
http://z3.invisionfree.com/Faith_of_the_Free/index.php?showforum=4

-- If you're "new to UU" we're glad to know of your interest, and will try to answer any questions you may have! Here are links to the UU Association's "VISITORS PAGE" -- and to several INTRODUCTORY VIDEO CLIPS;
http://www.uua.org/visitors/index.shtml
http://faithofthefree.informe.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1245

(This group is not affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association or any other organization or institution.)

----------------------------------------------------------

-- Welcome everybody! This group is dedicated to "progressive religion in the Unitarian and Universalist tradition" -- and especially to the articulation and respectful sharing of its timely message of utmost liberation, inescapable connection and radical inclusion for a faster-moving, ever-shrinking, deeply divided world. We celebrate the rich and colorful -- and still unfolding -- heritage of a "religion that says freedom"...an approach to religious faith which is deliberately non-dogmatic and ethically driven -- which (respectfully) holds that if "ultimate truth and meaning" are to ever be discovered, it most likely occur in freedom and through humble, open inquiry. We're called to a mode of faith which is centered more upon unity than uniformity -- or (as Daniel Webster passionately proclaimed almost two centuries ago,) upon "liberty and unity, one and inseparable."

We're delighted to have you with us, and hope you'll make it a regular destination! If you have any discussion topics, links or pictures that you'd like to share with us please do so! (We hope you'll also consider inviting your friends! We'll try to make it worth their while.)

Here are several links that may be of interest to you;

-- First, a little "QUOTE OF THE DAY" feature , at...
http://z3.invisionfree.com/Faith_of_the_Free/index.php?showtopic=1

-- Also, there's a "KEEPERS OF THE FLAME" collection, which features tributes to special people and events in the history and continuing legacy of the liberal spirit;
http://z3.invisionfree.com/Faith_of_the_Free/index.php?showforum=4

-- You might also be interested in this link to a little explanation of the term "Faith of the Free"; http://z3.invisionfree.com/Faith_of_the_Free/index.php?showtopic=7

(This group is not directly affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association or any other organization or institution.)


-------------------------------------------------------------------

-- There are several special links that may be of some interest to you. (These are parts of another UU message board that the administrator here also manages);

-- A little "QUOTE OF THE DAY" feature , at...

http://z3.invisionfree.com/Faith_of_the_Free/index.php?showtopic=1

-- Also, there's a "KEEPERS OF THE FLAME" section, which is updated regularly and offers tributes to special people and events in the history and continuing legacy of the liberal spirit;

http://faithofthefree.informe.com/forum/keepers-of-the-flame-df84.html

-- If you're new to Unitarian Universalism, we're delighted to know of your interest! Our "welcome mat" is out for you, literally, down in the "Discussion Board" section, and we'll be happy to try to answer any questions you may have. Also, here are several INTRODUCTORY VIDEO CLIPS that also may be helpful;

http://faithofthefree.informe.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1245

-- And, finally, you might be interested in this link to a little explanation of the term "Faith of the Free";

http://faithofthefree.informe.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=2869#2869

-- Again, thanks so much for your interest and support! We welcome your feedback and suggestions for improvement.


--------------------------------------------

-- Greetings! This Facebook group is devoted to bringing together all Unitarian Universalists -- all "UU's at heart" and curious seekers -- around the Peach State, for online fellowship, mutual support and whatever else may follow. Regardless of whether you're from Alto or Zebulon, Tybee or Ty Ty, Sparks or Sparta, Hahira or Enigma -- or whether you're currently a member of a UU congregation or going it alone -- we invite you to come and join us here! (This group is not affiliated with any particular UU organization or institution.) Welcome y'all!

UU Fellowship of Athens Inc.
http://www.uuathensga.org

Atlanta Northwest UU Congregation
http://www.nwuuc.org

UU Congregation of Atlanta
http://www.uuca.org

First Existentialist Congregation of Atlanta
http://www.FirstExistentialist.org

UU Church of Augusta
http://www.uucsra.org

UU s of Coastal Georgia (Brunswick area)
http://www.uuacg.org

Canon UU Church

UU Fellowship of Columbus
http://bellsouthpwp2.net/u/u/uucolga/

Georgia Mountains UU Church (Dahlonega)
http://www.gmuuc.org

Mountain Light UU Church (Ellijay)
http://www.mluuc.org

UU Congregation of Gwinnett
http://www.uucg.org

High Street UU Church
http://www.highstreetchurch.org

Emerson UU Congregation
http://www.emersonuu.org

UU Congregation of Rome
http://tinyurl.com/cwccld

UU Metro Atlanta North Congregation (Roswell)
http://www.uuman.org

UU Church of Savannah, Troup Square
http://www.uusavannah.org

UU Fellowship of Statesboro
http://www.uustatesboro.org

UU Beloved Community (Tybee Island)
http://tinyurl.com/c6f37r

Unitarian Fellowship of Valdosta GA
http://www.geocities.com/uuvaldosta/

-- UU Young Adults and Campus Ministry: http://faithofthefree.informe.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=3151#3151

-- UU Military Ministry (SC) http://faithofthefree.informe.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=3152#3152

-- A CLOSER LOOK: UNITARIAN UNIVERSALISM IN GEORGIA, PAST AND PRESENT:
http://faithofthefree.informe.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=3174#3174

-- GEORGIA-AREA UU CONGREGATIONS on FACEBOOK:
http://faithofthefree.informe.com/forum/facebook-pages-of-ga-area-uu-congregations-dt2175.html

-- OUR "BORDER" NEIGHBORS:
(Links to UU congregations in Aiken, Auburn, Chattanooga, Hilton Head, Jacksonville, Tallahassee)
http://faithofthefree.informe.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=3140#3140

-- OTHER "LOCAL UU POSSIBILITIES" in our state:
(Albany, LaGrange...or any other local networks/possible meetups that you'd like to see listed here, and we'll set up a web page for each.)
http://faithofthefree.informe.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=3139#3139

-- UUA HEADQUARTERS AND DISTRICT OFFICES that serve our area:
... Unitarian Universalist Association: http://www.uua.org
... UUA Mid South District: http://www.msduua.org/home/
... UUA Thomas Jefferson District: http://www.tjd.uua.org

-- A BRIEF HISTORY OF UNITARIAN UNIVERSALISM:
http://faithofthefree.informe.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=2953#2953

------------------------------------------------------

-- Greetings! This Facebook group is devoted to bringing together all Unitarian Universalists -- all "UU's at heart" and curious seekers -- around the Palmetto State, for online fellowship, mutual support and whatever else may follow. Regardless of whether you are in Cowpens or Goose Creek, Liberty or Union, Round O or Ninety Six... or whether you're a currently a member of a UU congregation or going it alone, we invite you to join us here! (This group is not affiliated with any particular UU organization or institution.) Welcome y'all!

Aiken UU Church
http://www.aikenuuchurch.org

UU Fellowship of Beaufort
http://www.uubeaufort.org

UU Congregation of the Low Country (Bluffton)
http://www.UULowcountry.org

Unitarian Church in Charleston
http://www.charlestonuu.org

UU Fellowship of Clemson
http://www.uufc.org/

UU Fellowship of Columbia
http://www.uucolumbia.org/

UU Congregation of Florence
http://uucflorence.blogspot.com/

Greenville UU Fellowship
http://www.greenvilleuu.org

All Souls Waccamaw (Myrtle Beach area)
http://www.aswuu.org

Clayton Memorial UU Church (Newberry)
http://www.cmuu.org

UU Church of Spartanburg
http://www.uucs.org

-- UU Young Adults and Campus Ministry (SC):
http://faithofthefree.informe.com/forum/uu-young-adult-and-campus-ministries-dt2191.html

-- UU Military Ministry (SC):
http://faithofthefree.informe.com/forum/uu-military-ministry-south-carolina-dt2190.html

-- A CLOSER LOOK: UU in South Carolina, Past and Present;
http://faithofthefree.informe.com/forum/a-closer-look-images-of-uu-in-south-carolina-dt2065.htm

-- SC-AREA UU CONGREGATIONS on FACEBOOK;
http://faithofthefree.informe.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=3055#3055

-- OUR UU NEIGHBORS in GEORGIA --
http://www.facebook.com/groups.php?ref=sb#/group.php?gid=62821697065

-- And, OUR UU NEIGHBOR CONGREGATIONS in NORTH CAROLINA --
http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=2204865162

-- SOME ADDITIONAL "LOCAL UU POSSIBILITIES" in our state (...Fort Mill, Rock Hill, Mount Pleasant, Summerville, West Ashley...any other local networks/possible meetups that you'd like to see added here? Please let us know!) --
http://faithofthefree.informe.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=3137#3137

-- UUA HEADQUARTERS AND DISTRICT OFFICES that serve our area:
... Unitarian Universalist Association: http://www.uua.org
... UUA Thomas Jefferson District: http://www.tjd.uua.org

-- A BRIEF HISTORY OF UNITARIAN UNIVERSALISM --
http://faithofthefree.informe.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=2953#2953

-------------------------------------------------------

-- Arthur Powell Davies, (June 5, 1902-September 26, 1957), best known for his high-profile ministry in Washington D.C.'s All Souls Unitarian Church, was arguably the most influential figure in the defining and shaping of American Unitarianism in the 20th Century. Many people believe that, had he lived to become a leader in the newly merged Unitarian Universalist Association (1961), his presence and vision of an (unapologetically) freedom-oriented, honesty-affirming and openly questing faith community -- "as American as apple pie" and universalistic to its very core -- may have become even more pivotal.

A. Powell Davies was a Methodist minister who emigrated to the United States from Great Britain in 1928 seeking greater theological freedom. While serving a Methodist congregation in Portland, Maine he was "converted" by a friend to Unitarianism, began his career as a Unitarian minister in 1933 in Summit, New Jersey, then in 1944 accepted a call to be minister of All Souls Unitarian Church in the nation’s capital. His outspoken ministry, together with his emphasis upon childrens' and music programs became a model for the planting and growth of new congregations throughout the Washington suburbs. His sermons were routinely heard by thousands, including political leaders and Supreme Court justices. His guest editorials in magazines and newspapers reached a nationwide audience.

-- Here are some good sources for additional information about Dr. Davies, his life and ministry;

http://www.harvardsquarelibrary.org/unitarians/davies.html

http://apowelldavies.org/index.htm

http://www.dmuuc.org/message_davies.html

---------------------------------------------------

-- This group seeks to honor and continue the rich tradition of Unitarians, Universalists and other caring religious progressives who -- like philanthropist Henry Bergh (1811-1888), philosopher Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832), the Reverends James Freeman (1759-1835) and Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882), and theologian Charles Hartshorne (1897-2000) -- have fought so hard in every generation against neglect, abuse and torture of animals, and against those human attitudes, policies and practices that foster and perpetuate it.

-- Our focus here will be primarily upon that heritage and ongoing movement in religion, and on local projects that continue that legacy of compassion and caring...including animal rescue, responses to the widespread problems of overbreeding and overpopulation, and cruelty to animals for the purposes of sport and pleasure, etc.

-- Animal neglect and abuse are ultimately a human problem which, if not bad enough already, can often lead to other kinds of abusive or neglectful behavior as well...against children for example. It's no coincidence, therefore, that Mr. Bergh's founding of the ASPCA in 1866 was soon followed by his organizing of the SPCC, the nation's first offensive against cruelty, neglect and abuse of children.

-- This group is not currently affiliated with any organization or institution. --

-- Links to more information about Henry Bergh;

http://www25.uua.org/uuhs/duub/articles/henrybergh.html

http://www.wihumane.org/aboutus/HenryBergh.aspx

http://monkeymindonline.blogspot.com/2009/04/recalling-animal-rights.html

--------------------------------------------------

-- Theodore Parker (August 24, 1810 – May 10, 1860) was an American reformist minister and Transcendentalist. His influence as a clergyman and his passionate advocacy for the abolition of slavery made him one of the leaders in the soul-searching process of "redefining, reformulating and broadening" of American Unitarianism (which continues even today). Thousands came to hear his sermons at the Boston Music Hall, including William Lloyd Garrison, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Julia Ward Howe, Samuel Gridley Howe, William C. Nell, and Louisa May Alcott. His 1841 sermon "The Transient and Permanent in Christianity" stands as one of the major milestones in American Unitarianism (now Unitarian Universalism). Rev. Parker's words and sermons have continued to inspire and influence many people over the past two centuries, including Abraham Lincoln, who used his phrase "government of all the people, by all the people, and for all the people" in the famous Gettysburg Address...and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who adopted (or adapted) Parker's words "I do not pretend to understand the moral universe; the arc is a long one, my eye reaches but little ways...And from what I see I am sure it bends towards justice."

-- Much more about this phenomenal American spiritual leader can be found at these links;

http://www25.uua.org/uuhs/duub/articles/theodoreparker.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theodore_Parker


=========================================

In the first centuries of the Christian era, Christians held a variety of beliefs concerning the nature of Jesus. In 325 CE, however, the Council of Nicea promulgated the doctrine of the Trinity-God as Father, Son, and Holy Ghost-and denounced all those who believed differently as heretics.

Historic Unitarians believed in the moral distinction, but not the deity, of Jesus, and rejected the concept of the trinity. Unitarians are often historically characterized as free thinkers and as spiritual reformers who have seen the "Reformation process" as incomplete, unfinished and still ongoing.

Historic Universalists were also vilified and persecuted as heretics for their refusal to accept that a truly loving and compassionate God would condemn any of "his own children" to eternal punishment, no matter what their "sin" or their personal religious beliefs. Their "gospel" of love, brotherhood and inclusion held that all of us-- as "children of a common creation" -- are born with inherent worth and are universally connected (...sharing even a common destiny).

The two churches merged in 1961, recognizing their common religious purposes and priorities in an ever-shrinking, deeply divided world. True to both our movement's "Radical Reformation" roots and an "Age of Enlightenment" spirit of critical thinking and questioning, today's Unitarian Universalists continue to insist that the religious quest is both intensely personal and still unfolding. We continue to believe that people should be free to think for themselves and to ask their own heartfelt questions...to even express their own honest doubts without fear of condemnation, and to do so in an atmosphere of support and encouragement.

From its beginnings over four centuries ago, ours has been an increasingly -- and intentionally -- diverse and inclusive religious tradition which (respectfully) holds that "ultimate truth and meaning" are most likely to be discovered in freedom...through humility and open inquiry. Our paths are many, and our truth-sources as wide as the universe...from the sacred literature of the worlds many religions, the discoveries of science, the first-hand witness of our life-experiences, and the deepest promptings of the inner voice of conscience. We walk together, not in "conformity to the letter" of an unquestionable dogma, but in a "unity of spirit" -- of shared ethical concern and commitment to service, grounded in mutual respect and freedom. We espouse an approach to religion that strives to be loving, compassionate, justice-seeking, life-celebrating, boldly questioning...and (of course) never-settled.

-- WELCOME EVERYBODY! This group is dedicated to "progressive religion in the Unitarian and Universalist tradition" -- but we reach out to include ALL people (regardless of labels and backgrounds) who value abundant freedom, utmost personal honesty and a generous, compassionate spirit in matters of religion and conscience. Whether you're a longtime UU, a "kindred spirit," or just plain curious, we're delighted to have you with us!

-- There are several special links that may be of some interest to you. (These are parts of another UU message board that the administrator here also manages);

-- A little "QUOTE OF THE DAY" feature , at...

http://z3.invisionfree.com/Faith_of_the_Free/index.php?showtopic=1

-- Also, there's a "KEEPERS OF THE FLAME" section, which is updated regularly and offers tributes to special people and events in the history and continuing legacy of the liberal spirit;

http://faithofthefree.informe.com/forum/keepers-of-the-flame-df84.html

-- If you're new to Unitarian Universalism, we're delighted to know of your interest! Our "welcome mat" is out for you, literally, down in the "Discussion Board" section, and we'll be happy to try to answer any questions you may have. Also, here are several INTRODUCTORY VIDEO CLIPS that also may be helpful;

http://faithofthefree.informe.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1245

-- Again, thanks so much for your interest and support! We're delighted to have you with us, and hope you'll make it a regular destination! We also welcome your feedback and suggestions for improvement. (This group is not affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association or any other organization or institution.)
_________________
"Beyond the ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing there is a field. I'll meet you there." -- Rumi
"The Reformation Must Continue!" --- Friedrich Schleiermacher

____________________


Last edited by uufreespirit on Tue May 19, 2009 2:01 pm; edited 5 times in total
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uufreespirit
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Joined: 16 Apr 2007
Posts: 2296


PostPosted: Wed Apr 15, 2009 8:16 am    Post subject: Favorite Liberal-religious Quotes If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

-- This is a sort of "top twenty list" (turned out to be about 25) that I put together from my archive of hundreds of liberal-religious quotes and short readings. Please feel free to add any of your own favorites;

--------------------------------------------------

"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)

----------------------------------------------------

"Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must approve the homage of reason rather than of blind-folded fear. Do not be frightened from this inquiry by any fear of its consequences.... If it end in a belief that there is no god, you will find incitements to virtue in the comfort and pleasantness you feel in its exercise and in the love of others it will procure for you.

-- Thomas Jefferson, to nephew Peter Carr, August 10, 1787
(...original capitalization of the word god is retained per original)

------------------------------------------------------

"If we agree in love, there is no disagreement that can do us any injury, but if we do not, no other agreement can do us any good. Let us endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit in the bonds of peace."

-- Rev. Hosea Ballou

------------------------------------------------------

"Long ago it seemed so simple. The universe was a three-storied apartment house, with heaven on the top floor, full of gods and stars; earth in the middle, full of people and animals and plants; and hell in the basement, full of terrible and scary things. God had nothing else to do but sit up there watching us. We were the center of attention.... Then came Copernicus. He said that the sun did not move around the earth at all, but was a fixed star. He said it was the earth and us on it that did the moving, and, worse, that the earth was just one of the planets that so moved, one among many, and not at the center of anything at all.... Well, it was difficult but God moved. Packing up his seraphim and cherubim, his angels and thrones into a cosmic U-Haul, he moved somewhat farther away, just where, no one could really say anymore...So God changed under Copernicus...Our role too was to be enormously changed."

--- Rev. Judith Walker-Riggs

--------------------------------------------

"I think that one of our most important tasks as Unitarians is to convince ourselves and others that there is nothing to fear in difference; that difference, in fact, is one of the healthiest and most invigorating of human characteristics, without which life would become lifeless. Here lies the power of the liberal way—not in making the whole world Unitarian; but in helping ourselves and others to see some of the possibilities inherent in viewpoints other than one's own; in encouraging the free interchange of ideas; in welcoming fresh approaches to the problems of life; in urging the fullest, most vigorous use of critical self-examination. Thus we can learn to grow together, to unite in our common search for the truth beneath a better and a happier world"

-- Adlai Stevenson, Jr.
(...twice nominated for U. S. Presidency by Democratic Party)

"I believe I can offer one important testimonial; and that is, that having spent the last twelve years in public life, I've become more and more conscious of the importance of Unitarian groups, Unitarian communities. I don't mean just our church services, just our worship, but Unitarian people--who appear in my life constantly. They're the sort of people who do the advance thinking, who are, for the most part, rocking the boat, who are cutting the furrows, who are ahead of the procession in contemporary thought in our country about our great social and political problems, as well as our theological discussion. This is the active agent in the body politic that is most necessary."

-- Adlai Stevenson, Jr.

--------------------------------------

"There is a faith within democracy drawn from the best of all religions. It is a faith in the victory of truth in free and open encounters, and in the triumph of liberty over servitude, and of the universal over the provincial, and of brotherhood over exclusiveness, and love over fear. Whatever may separate us in conviction, ritual, or devotion, let this unite us. Without it we are lost---and so is the hope of the world."

--- Rev. A. Powell Davies

(...from a speech delivered April 24, 1952)

----------------------------------------------

“The oneness of the world is an astronomical reality... [And just] as the idea of one world is an astronomical reality, so the concept of one humanity is a biological reality. On that level it is unarguable, even though the racists and fascists may disclaim it. We are a biological family, mutually fertile, intercommunicative, interdependent. We cannot escape this fact and the necessities it places upon us."

— Rev. Kenneth L. Patton

-----------------------------------------------

"It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people."

--- Giordano Bruno

-----------------------------------------------

"But above everything one must insist that [religious] liberalism is first of all a spirit, an attitude, a state of mind, rather than a body of ideas. [Religious] liberals are not known by their conformity to a set of views, or by their fidelity to a system of thought. They are known, rather by their loyalty to the unending pursuit of truth, and by their obedience to the enlarging vision of mind and heart."

--- Rufus Jones

(American Quaker leader. Emphasis added here by Ron)

------------------------------------------------

"Freedom is the ground of all vital activity. Faith without freedom is dogma. Love without freedom is an illusion. Justice without freedom is oppression. In every instance, freedom is the factor that sustains and completes the other goal. It is the oxygen of the human spirit, the indispensable element for growth and wholeness."

--- Rev. David O. Rankin

------------------------------------------------

Ours is a church which aspires to be catholic, to take into account all religious insights. Ours is a church which desires to be inclusive, to feel the challenge of varied opinions.

Ours is a church which holds the dead in sacred memory, and the living in a caring fellowship. Ours is a church which brings freedom to the young, and security to those who are old.

Ours is a non-creedal church, not because we have no beliefs, but because we will not be restrained in our beliefs. Ours is a church of conscience, not because we hold that conscience is infallible, but because it is the crucible of experience.

Ours is a church of reason, not because the mind is free of error, but because the dialogue of idea with idea refines religion. Ours is a church of moral application, not because morality is all sufficient, but because it is the tangible expression of love.

We dare not fence the spirit, or close off the quest for truth, or force upon people the jacket of conformity. As others have their ways of religion, so do we have our faith; and with joyful hearts, we enter into this community.


-- Rev. Wallace W. Robbins

----------------------------------------------

"The religion of most people is what they would like to believe, and very few people stop to examine its foundation underneath. The idea that a good God would send people to a burning hell is utterly damnable to me--the ravings of insanity, superstition gone to seed! I don't want to have anything to do with such a God. I am a lover of man, and of Christ as a man and his work, and all things that help humanity; but nevertheless, just as he was an infidel (in his own time), I am an infidel today...Let us have one world at a time, and let us make the journey one of joy to our fellow passengers."

-- Luther Burbank (1925)

------------------------------------------------

"When a liberal style of religion is being served with honesty and courage - both are required - you don’t have to check your brain at the door; you don’t have to check your heart at the door, either. You can bring all of you inside, including your doubts and your flaws. Since it is honest, it need not fear questions. And in no liberal religion on earth are you expected to be perfect. They aren’t about saving you from sin; they’re about recognizing your innate blessings, and helping you to become more whole, to live a life of greater integrity and authenticity, by showing you the fairly narrow and hard path of integrity and authenticity."

-- The Rev. (Dr.) Davidson Loehr
(...from his 2005 sermon, "Liberal Religion, Part One")

-----------------------------------------

"Virtue is no local thing. It is not honorable because born in this community or that, but for its own, independent, lasting beauty...The soul breaks scornfully these barriers, these webs of spiders, and joins itself to the great and the good...Establishing the true bond of union between man and man, the soul is to be regarded with a religious reverence hitherto unfelt. This is the bond of the Universal Church; no man can be excommunicated from it but by the death of goodness in his own breast."

--- Rev. William Ellery Channing

------------------------------------------

"Let no one say that it is difficult to know what Unitarianism is, or that it contains no areas of agreement. It is the most affirmative of all religions, the boldest in its claims, and the widest in its outreach and inclusiveness. Instead of a creed, it agrees to follow the living truth, and it sets its people free to do so. Instead of ritual pieties, it asks devotion to the deeds that make the world more righteous and its people more just. It separates itself from no company of believers, whether Christian or otherwise, except as they deny its claim for freedom. It asks no wide dominion for its institutions; only a liberty of access for its faith. It trusts that, in the years before us, Unitarian freedom will be claimed in all denominations, all communions; and meanwhile, it must humbly do its best to lead the way."

-- Rev. A. Powell Davies

----------------------------------------

"What is a man born for, but to be a Reformer, a re-maker of what man has made; a renouncer of lies; a restorer of truth and good; imitating that great nature herself, yielding us every morning a new day, and with every pulsation a new life?"

--- Ralph Waldo Emerson

(...from his essay, "Man, the Reformer")

----------------------------------------

"I call that mind free which masters the senses, and which recognizes its own reality and greatness: Which passes life not in asking what it shall eat or drink, but in hungering, thirsting, and seeking after righteousness.

I call that mind free which jealously guards its intellectual rights and powers, which does not content itself with a passive or hereditary faith: Which opens itself to light whencesoever it may come; which receives new truth as an angel from heaven.

I call that mind free which is not passively framed by outward circumstance, and is not the creature of accidental impulse: Which discovers everywhere the radiant signatures of the infinite spirit, and in them finds help to its own spiritual enlargement.

I call that mind free which protects itself against the usurpations of society, and which does not cower to human opinion: Which refuses to be the slave or tool of the many or of the few, and guards its empire over itself as nobler than the empire of the world.

I call that mind free which resists the bondage of habit, which does not mechanically copy the past, nor live on its old virtues: But which listens for new and higher monitions of conscience, and rejoices to pour itself forth in fresh and higher exertions.

I call that might free which sets no bounds to its love, which, wherever they are seen, delights in virtue and sympathizes with suffering: Which recognizes in all human beings the image of God and the rights of God’s children, and offers itself up a willing sacrifice to the cause of humankind.

I call that mind free which is cast off all fear but that of wrongdoing, and which no menace or peril can enthrall: Which is calm the midst of tumults, and possesses itself, though all else be lost.”

-- William Ellery Channing
(...from "The Free Mind")

---------------------------------------------

"To a remarkable number of people, religious faith is synonymous with conformity...A church which advocates freedom of belief is in their minds a contradiction of terms... They cannot understand how you can have faith and freedom....Faith and freedom is not---or should not be---a contradiction."

-- The Rev. John B. Wolf

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"The religion of the mature liberal is a religion kept vital by fresh contact with the central stream of life. The befitting frame and temper of mind for a [religious] liberal is that attitude now so characteristic of a great scientist, the determination to be free from prejudices, to seek, to find, and not to settle down."

--- Rufus Jones
(American Quaker leader)

----------------------------------------------

"For myself, I wish to be regarded as belonging, not to a sect, but to the community of free minds, lovers of truth. I desire to escape the narrow walls of any particular church, and to love under the open sky, in the broad light, looking far and wide, seeing with my own eyes, hearing with my own ears and following truth meekly, but resolutely, however arduous or solitary be the path in which it leads."

-- William Ellery Channing

----------------------------------------------

"Religious liberalism began (in earnest) with the scientific method. It began when we began to individually search the world for the facts, rather than taking them as authoritatively given by supernatural revelation or by the Church. It took us hundreds or thousands of years to reach that point. A new era came into being for mankind and life in the universe when we began to ask for the truth. "

-- Rev. Duncan Littlefair

-------------------------------------------------

"To me, religion should include everybody and be concerned with everybody. The more I learn about the actions of human beings, the more sure I am that any activity that pits one individual, one group, one nationality or one race against another is wrong, and is not good religion."

-- Haynie Summers
(...American Universalist lay-leader, former editor of The Universalist Herald)

------------------------------------------------

The great end in religious instruction is not to stamp our minds upon the young, but to stir up their own;

Not to make them see with our eyes, but to look inquiringly and steadily with their own;

Not to give them a definite amount of knowledge, but to inspire a fervent love of truth;

Not to form an outward regularity, but to touch inward springs;

Not to bind them by ineradicable prejudices to our particular sect or peculiar notions, but to prepare them for impartial, conscientious judging of whatever subjects may be offered to their decision;

Not to burden the memory, but to quicken and strengthen the power of thought;

Not to impose religion upon them in the form of arbitrary rules, but to awaken the conscience, the moral discernment.

In a word, the great end is to awaken the soul, to excite and cherish spiritual life.

-- William Ellery Channing

-------------------------------------------

"It Matters What We Believe"

"Some beliefs are like walled gardens. They encourage exclusiveness,
and the feeling of being especially privileged.

Other beliefs are expansive and lead the way into wider and deeper
sympathies.

Some beliefs are like shadows, clouding children's days with fears
of unknown calamities.

Other beliefs are like sunshine, blessing children with the warmth
of happiness.

Some beliefs are divisive, separating the saved from the unsaved,
friends from enemies.

Other beliefs are bonds in a world community, where sincere
differences beautify the pattern.

Some beliefs are like blinders, shutting off the power to choose
one's own direction.

Other beliefs are like gateways opening wide vistas for exploration.

Some beliefs weaken a person's selfhood. They blight the growth of
resourcefulness.

Other beliefs nurture self-confidence and enrich the feeling of
personal worth.

Some beliefs are rigid, like the body of death, impotent in a
changing world.

Other beliefs are pliable, like the young sapling, ever growing with
the upward thrust of life."

-- Sophia Lyon Fahs

---------------------------------------

"Then let us be about it. Let us set the flame of freedom in religion before this believing world. Let us no longer exhibit the supreme irony---that of a church in doctrinal paralysis because it believes in freedom. Let us show by what we do what we most deeply believe---that full religion can be achieved in freedom, and that only in freedom can full religion be achieved."

-- Rev. Duncan Howlett

--------------------------------------

"The church which did for the fifth century, or the fifteenth, will not do for this. It must have our ideas, the smell of our ground, and have grown out of the religion of our soul...The church that is to lead this century will not be a church creeping on all fours, mewling and whining, its face turned down, its eyes turned back. It must be full of the spirit of the day, keeping also the good of times past."

--- Rev. Theodore Parker

------------------------------------------
_________________
"Beyond the ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing there is a field. I'll meet you there." -- Rumi
"The Reformation Must Continue!" --- Friedrich Schleiermacher

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 24, 2009 6:57 pm    Post subject: On growing a Facebook "group culture"...how practi If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

I saw an interesting post at another Facebook UU group in which a person commented that she loves the potential of FB group sites, but that it seems we have yet to really develop that potential...that "online group culture." I've noticed that as well. We do pretty well in connecting on our personal home and profile pages, but in the groups we can have literally tens of thousands of members...or, should I say, names...but little if anything going on in the way of actual conversation and interaction. (I suspect that the vast majority of people/names are seldom if ever at that group's page, and especially so if nothing new and interesting is being posted.) Anyway, it got me to thinking about how so many Facebook groups really do seem to be underachieving, and what can be done to, as the original poster described, begin to live up to that "online group culture"?

Several things came to mind as possible solutions:

1 -- These online groups need "facilitators" (at least one) to keep things moving...to try to ensure that there is new content at most any time that a person comes by for a visit. Without that, the person will likely stop by less and less often. Facilitators can bring up possible topics of interest, and sometimes even serve as "devil's advocate" -- by posing questions to see if anybody would like to discuss them. Having that steady flow of new content--even if not all of equal value-- avoids the otherwise inevitable situation where there are months of no activity, with people posting things like "awfully quiet around here" and "is this group still active?" (I sense that when a group is allowed to hit one of those dry spells, many of the members will seldom if ever return, and the member list then becomes more of a collection of names instead of supportive people...just a theory.)

2) -- Facebook should give the groups greater flexibility on how to display the wall and discussion board...over how many topics can be seen at any one time, for example. (In this particular group I think I can speak for the other Administrator in saying "please feel free to wear those walls and boards out" from overuse...we'll just build us some new ones. )

3) -- The discussion boards should have more options built into them...underlining, italics, fonts, highlighting of quotes, embedded videos, bold print, highlighting of key words as "links" within sentences. Even the ability to have internal polls within the groups to occasionally survey the members on various issues. (It would be great to poll the members on such things as whether to have the "principles and purposes" in the group description, or to have the links that we currently have -- that would be nice to know.) Such additions as these in the discussion boards could make the groups a little more lively and "human," seems to me.

I guess the question in regard to the viability and possibilities of an "online group culture" ultimately becomes one of a person feeling welcome and at home, and in turn becoming more willing to participate as part of the "community." What do you think?
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"The Reformation Must Continue!" --- Friedrich Schleiermacher

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2009 3:23 pm    Post subject: When free expression collides with religious diversity... If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

This, I think, has long been a concern for Unitarians, Universalists and UU's. It's about where majority rule and minority rights come together. I've just set up a new Facebook group to advocate for a more inclusive and interfaith approach to the annual "National Day of Prayer and Reflection" observance in the USA...or to not have it at all in any officially-endorsed manner. Any such event must be understood to be highly respectful of our nation's religious and spiritual diversity. If you're interested, the website is...

http://www.facebook.com/groups.php?ref=sb#/group.php?gid=113698080224

In a related matter, I see that Americans United (for the Separation of Church and State) is hoping to block the state of Florida from mandating the issuance of in-yer-face "crucifixion" auto license plates. (No mention of what these fanatics want to do to show their respect for religious pluralism, or for people of other faiths, or lack thereof...but I can guess.) Here are links to this story;

http://www.au.org/site/News2?abbr=pr&page=NewsArticle&id=10417

http://www.au.org/site/DocServer/2009-04-26_-_FL_Crucifix_Plate.pdf?docID=4141

What do you folks think about such ongoing attempts at "government by the noisiest, the most presumptuous and sometimes the most obnoxious" in a free society?
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"Beyond the ideas of right-doing and wrong-doing there is a field. I'll meet you there." -- Rumi
"The Reformation Must Continue!" --- Friedrich Schleiermacher

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 29, 2009 1:09 pm    Post subject: If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

The two churches merged in 1961, recognizing their common religious purposes in an ever-shrinking, deeply divided world. True to both our movement's "Radical Reformation" roots and an "Age of Enlightenment" spirit of critical thinking and questioning, today's Unitarian Universalists continue to insist that the religious quest is both intensely personal and still unfolding. We continue to believe that religious and spiritual wisdom grow best in freedom...that people should be free to think for themselves, to ask their own heartfelt questions and to even express their own honest doubts without fear of condemnation.


======================================
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"The Reformation Must Continue!" --- Friedrich Schleiermacher

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PostPosted: Fri May 01, 2009 12:31 pm    Post subject: Draft response: "Do Unitarian Universalists Drive Drunk If a post contains some illegal issues you may abuse on it - just click Abuse and fill the form Reply with quote

I think the answer to it may lie somewhere in whether we actually do consider Unitarian Universalism to be "a way of life." I've postulated on many occasions that the particular mode of liberal religion, that to a considerable extent, carries the name of "Unitarian Universalism" is indeed best understood, at its very core, as more attitudinal than doctrinal. In other words, a way of life, informed and defined by principles of ethical behavior, by priorities...more than by any common "liberal" ideology. Through the centuries our prevailing theologies and stances on issues have changed, but this attitudinal focus, seems to me, remains a constant.

What does any of this have to do with drunk driving? As a Unitarian Universalist, I am simply unable to see my own public behavior outside of a larger context (or web) of connectedness. I know that I can't go around throwing nails in the road, or running red lights...not just because the police might come and take me away but because my internal priorities and ethical values bar me from doing so. So, for me at least, the answer would be "no, this Unitarian Universalist" couldn't and wouldn't, in so far as it's within my power as a fallible human being, drive drunk." I wouldn't knowingly or negligently subject other people to possible injury or death due to my own irresponsible behavior. To me, that's an article of faith...a radically free and highly respectful mode of faith which happens to be commonly called Unitarian Universalism.

However, I'm not so sure that I could "prescribe" that response to others who also consider themselves Unitarian Universalists. I'm not sure how repeated the pattern of drunk driving would have to be that would justify he/she being effectively excommunicated from our "communion of the free spirit." There are many personal, medical, emotional issues that may contribute to such behavior into which we have no insight or dominion. We can offer our support, our compassion and empathy, our experiences, but at exactly what point does that person become a "hopeless case," I'm not so sure.

In our tradition, there do appear to be practical circumstances that justify turning people away for various kinds of socially-harmful behavior, and there is a general understanding that people may well "excommunicate" themselves" by what Channing called "the death of goodness in their own breast." By simply saying that "all are welcome here," we fully understand that not everyone will always feel at home here. Again, to me, that's about attitude, and I do believe that people who really do NOT share our principles and priorities will indeed exercise that option to "remove themselves" from our "fellowship and communion" long, long before any destructive behavior on their part might cause us to ask/tell them to leave.

Do any of you have any thoughts on this...about the original topic (drunk drivers), or the circumstances and kinds of behavior in general that would make a person "not a good Unitarian Universalist?"
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