The UUA offers a series of pamphlets that provide a condensed summary of common UU perspectives on various faith issues. These summaries are intended to provide a quick reference for newcomers as they begin their own exploration of what it is to be in fellowship with UU's. They can also serve as a starting point for a discussion between members within the UU community, to broaden and possibly deepen our understanding of the many ways UU's think about issues of spiritual practice and faith.

This blog has been created to support a monthly discussion group based around these pamphlets. Each month one topic will be selected to discuss. A link will be provided on this site to the contents of the pamphlet, which is made publicly available on the UUA Bookstore site, so it is not necessary to purchase anything to be able to read the information contained in the pamphlet. I have printed copies, so see me if you want one to read the old fashioned way - on paper!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Theism

Have you read the post that deals the the UU Perspectices of a Theist?  Look back a few posts and you will find the link, or ask me for a copy of the brochure that contains it.  It is a both a statement of a personal journey of faith, and a strong statement of the value of persisting in pursuing the path of personal questing for an explaination.  The author is honest and open, and her story is compelling.

What is theism?  It migh be said that it means that there is a god, but only one, and a god that cares about each of us.  The link shares an experience where the author experieces that connection, that unique and perhaps universal presence where the one god talks to each and every one of us, if we are open to recieve the message.

Deists and theists may be two sides of the same coin.  Thomas Jefferson was famous for his deist/theist beliefs when he cut out the references in the bible of all but the references to what we might call God the Father, preferring to see god as one, not two or more.  The Jefferson Bible is still available to read, if you are interested.  It is much shorter than the version you may have kept on the shelf when you grew up.

Many UU's profess a belief in an infinite sort of power of the universe that they call god, which may be the same as this theist god.  Sometimes it comes through as a sort of Force of Nature, or perhaps an Infinite Power.  But sometimes it can be a personal, caring god that looks after each and every one of us.

Our next topic is Theism.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Late Notice Cancellation

I am sorry for the short notice, but I need to cancel the meeting for Friday, Feb. 20.  I have been called away to attend to some urgent family matters.  I will be back shortly.

I have loved the research I've been doing on Paganism, and I really want to have this discussion.  It is likely that I will re-arrange the topics so we do Paganism next, in March.  Check back here for Calendar Updates!

Des

Thursday, February 12, 2015

What is it to be Pagan - Additional Info and Resources

Pagan:  a person holding religious beliefs other than those of the main world religions.

This is one definition you can find for Pagan.  In fact, it is one of many.  How many can you find?  What is common in their definitions, and how do they differ?

The branches of Paganism are many, and it would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with as many as you can ahead of our meeting on Feb. 20.  To start, here are some web resources to check out:

 Pagan Federation with straightforward descriptions of pagan beliefs.

 An academic discussion of the basics of paganism, with historical references.

 A British perspective on Paganism.

I'd suggest using Wikipedia to look up the following terms, and at least skim the information you will find there.  (There is a lot of writing on these topics, and the Wiki Editors have flagged much of it as "not being up to the Quality Standards of Wikipedia."  What does that mean?)

Paganism
Polytheism
Pantheism
Animism
Idolatry
Nordic religions
Germanic Paganism
Neopaganism
Wicca

As you read through these try and pick up on a couple of key elements:
1.  When did this particular religion start?  What are the earliest records of it?  (Hint: several started quite recently.)
2.  Are any of these compatible with modern Christian beliefs?
3.  When did the word "idolatry" first show up in the lexicon?  What was it intended to mean?  Who used it, and why?  Are idols a part of paganism?  If yes, what to they represent?
4.  Is any pantheistic religion pagan?  How about polytheistic?  
5.  Would a person from the ancient world who saw gods in everything around them call themselves pagan?

Were the Greeks pagan, with the gods living on Mount Olympus, and Zeus as their leader?  How about the Romans, with Jupiter and his panoply of minions?  

Is the phrase Pagan just a big bucket into which we can dump a lot of religions that don't fit into modern Christian thinking?


Sunday, January 4, 2015

Source Materials and Local Groups - Humanism

I was looking up some additional resource info for those who like more.  Links to relevant websites are listed here.  If you want access to some source materials, and like to look at the written roots of Humanism, these will provide you some great insights.

Humanist Manifestos I and II

Humanist Manifesto III
  
WikiPedia Reference to Humanism and the Humanist Manifesto

American Humanist Association

The Humanist Society


Our local Humanist Association chapter, in Mt. Vernon.

See you soon!

Des and Judy

Friday, November 28, 2014

Humanism In January

Thank you all for visiting this new site.  I hope we can generate some interest for the several topics here.

I have not heard from any of my "regulars" about getting printed copies of the brochures.  If you are interested, I have them and would be glad to supply them.  Leave a comment below, or send me an email directly.

For the first meeting in January there seems to be some interest in looking into the Humanist topic.  So, let's set that as our intent.  I will seek someone to attend and serve as a our connection to the Humanist Movement, or at least to play the role. I am looking for volunteers if anyone feels the calling.

In my next email I will provide additional connections and information on this topic. The Humanist Manifesto is always a good place to start, either the original one, or the second issued in the 1960's.  And there is the Humanist Society, or whatever.  I will look these up and report back.  Start with the UU Pamphlet, and that will be enough to participate in the discussion.  These other points of contact will be background info.

Cheers,

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Preview of Topics

The titles of the pamphlets we will be using in our discussions are, in no particular order:

Each of these titles is linked to the text, so click on them to read the contents.

It would be best if we can get a member of the fellowship who professes to be an adherent of each of these faith traditions to be present as a resource when we discuss each one, if not acting as the discussion leader.  In the past we have had active and occasionally vocal groups who are Pagan, or Buddhist, or Humanist, or Theist, or Christian.  Let's draw on these people's insight and experience in our discussions here.

All the participants should read the information in the pamphlet so everyone starts with at least the same basic level of understanding of the topic.  Additional information is welcome, of course, but should be made somewhat available to everyone attending.  If you bring reference material please be prepared to summarize it, or to keep your comments about it brief.  We don't want the conversation to be side-tracked.  Most people will have come to talk about what is in the pamphlet.

These topics are each deserving of a full semester's course in any college environment.  Our intent here is to offer an introductory discussion to each topic, and possibly to help answer questions about them, and to expand a person's understanding about them.  Additional reading is always available, both through resources available at the EUUF Library or the public library, and/or through the UUA Bookstore.  The only limit to the amount of information you can pursue on any of these topics is your own time to pursue it!

Desmond