Re: [NOVA-Atheists] UU churches

From: user 1.
Sent on: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 1:48 PM
Lela, 

Yes, the world can indeed be lonely and, even when I was married, I needed something bigger than "us."  As I mentioned, we do not call ourselves a "church."  We are a "Fellowship."  Each UU affiliated organization is self-governing and can determine what they call themselves, how churchy they are, whether they have mostly secular or non-secular services, etc.  Many of the older UU's in the Northeast are rather religious.  Here in the south, where many of the fellowships were founded during the 50's and 60's by humanists, they are pretty secular.  

But as an atheist, I do pick and choose which services I go to out of respect and the preservation of my sanity.  I learned this lesson after I giggled uncontrollably when a guest speaker talked about the "healing energy of Labyrinths."  I actually had to leave the sanctuary when she said, "there is even evidence that surgeons use labyrinths before surgery to calm themselves and focus."  I just had a mental image of a team of Sherlock Holmes-type characters in a labyrinth finding a surgical glove and shouting "Eureka!"  For a long time, it was a joke my former partner and I use that threw us into convulsive laughter.  So now, I stay away from the rare obviously religious or new-age spiritual services.  

Janelle


From: Lela <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Wednesday, December 12,[masked]:10 PM
Subject: [NOVA-Atheists] UU churches

First of all, I renamed the thread as this has nothing to do with my initial question regarding inauguration balls :)

Second, I have not been to any UU church yet although several people several times suggested that to me. The thing is, I do not like that they are called churches! The word "church" to me is associated with a place where you go to worship a diety. Why can't we substitute this word with any other non-religious word, I don't understand.

Even though I have a loving immediate family (husband and two kids), I too am very lonely sometimes as I have many friends and relatives very far from here, the other side of the world. I often long for a group of people / organization / society to belong to where I would feel cared and supported like someone else pointed in an email today. Nevertheless, I am reluctant to go to UU as long as it is called church. Oh well...


                                                                      

From: Gloria Chepko <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Wednesday, December 12,[masked]:57 PM
Subject: Re: [NOVA-Atheists] Question to all regarding Inauguration Ball

I don't either. I have found this discussion really eye-opening. I had no idea there were churches around here hat were basically secular until I talked to David at Festivus. And I agree with Janelle, Or society is really a lonely place for people with no or very little family. Having an active support group is absolutely essential even for peace of mind. Thanks to everyone for this discussion.

On Wednesday, December 12, 2012, Stephanie Ragusky wrote:
I agree, Linda. This was interesting.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless Phone

----- Reply message -----
From: "Linda" <[address removed]>
Date: Wed, Dec 12,[masked]:57 am
Subject: [NOVA-Atheists] Question to all regarding Inauguration Ball
To: <[address removed]>

Thanks, Janelle – I don’t think you hijacked the thread.  We freethinkers are all about learning and this discussion about UU has been very educational.  The two UU groups I’m familiar with are too “spiritual” for me and tend to sidestep the issue of nonbelief, but they are filled with good people who actively support many of the same causes that secular groups support.



From: [address removed] [mailto:[address removed]] On Behalf Of Janelle
Sent: Wednesday, December 12,[masked]:46 AM
To: [address removed]
Subject: Re: [NOVA-Atheists] Question to all regarding Inauguration Ball



My UU "church" is actually a "Fellowship," the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Fredericksburg.  We were founded by a group of atheists and agnostics and, though the spiritualists have come in, we still have a strong atheist presence.  



I go not to "wean" myself from religion, I never had a religion to wean myself from, but for community.  About 15 years ago, we had the Lisk/Silva murders here in Spotsylvania.  In the midst of that tragedy, I found myself a little envious of the Lisk family.  One of the minor threads of that story was the way the community enfolded this family and protected them.  This went far beyond what I had ever seen any sort of secular community do.  I thought I'd never have that type of a community for myself.  I mentioned this to some people and several recommended I check int the UU's.  I resisted, but then about six years ago, I attended a First Night event at the UU.  I was impressed by the quilt that hung in the fellowship hall (sanctuary) behind the speaker's podium (altar) that had the symbols of many religions, including an atheist symbol (the Darwin fish).  I then read the literature that was there and finally, about three weeks later, I wandered in on a Sunday morning.  



I have found more loving acceptance there than anywhere else.  After the talk (sermon) there is about 15 minutes where we are able to question and even challenge the speaker.  If a "sermon" is too religious, I or another atheist are welcome to stand and respectfully offer a differing opinion.  This is a very different experience from some of the atheist groups I have belonged to where, if I have disagreed with o some of the members, I have been told to not discuss certain topics or not to come (I was defending a woman's choice to be sex-positive and even to choose to participate in sex-work if she was an adult and was participating consensually - the woman with whom I was disagreeing was using some horrible slurs that were really offensive about sex-positive women and sex-workers.  And yes, I have had this conversation with many at the UU, have led discussions on the subject at a UU sponsored group, and my pastor knows all about it and still thinks I am groovy.).  Sadly, some of my experiences with atheists have been more ideologically intolerant than any I have had at my "church" or even with many of the religionists I have known.  Luckily, that has not always been the case and I value my atheist groups as well.  But still, they do not give me the totally accepting, supportive, and ethical community I have found at UU.



So no, my UU membership is not a purgatory.  It is not a substitute religion.  It is a place where, as a middle-aged single woman with no family that I can rely on in a time of crisis, I feel safe and loved and cared for.  And I also recognize that it is not for everyone.  



I apologize if I have hijacked this thread.  Back to defending the separation of church and state!



Respectfully,



Janelle




 _____  


From: Woody Lipinski <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Wednesday, December 12,[masked]:06 AM
Subject: Re: [NOVA-Atheists] Question to all regarding Inauguration Ball



I think and I see now that UU churches can be used for "purgatory" purpose for many people who gradually can be liberated from obsession of any religion or churches.



What do yo think?

On Wed, Dec 12, 2012 at 7:25 AM, Anna <[address removed]> wrote:

My parents are both atheist and raised me and my brother in the UU church, because they wanted us to belong to a progressive community, since we were in rural blue collar Michigan.  I've been a member of the Unitarian Churh of Evanston (IL), the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia (even teaching children's religious education - although the books talk about civil rights, rather than god), and the Alexandria UU Church because it is a good host for community activities and a good organization for my daughter to belong to.  However, around here, there are plenty of alternatives, so I haven't been as active as I used to be.  Even for a church where atheist and agnostics are the majority, it still was a bit too religiou





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