Re: [NOVA-Atheists] UU churches

From: user 1.
Sent on: Thursday, December 13, 2012 9:55 AM
I would agree with you completely.  I am not ascribing anything mystical at all to this phenomenon, just recognizing it is there and I am happy nurturing it in me and those I am in community with.  That is why I added the clarification (in another email) "My spirit is not supernatural nor eternal. It is a quirk of neurological evolution and will die when my body dies. For the time I have it, I am blessed."




From: Michael Shapiro <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Thursday, December 13, 2012 9:51 AM
Subject: RE: [NOVA-Atheists] UU churches

But in the same vein that we challenge the religiously impaired, I can explain everything you said below as the part of you we call emotions and mental health.  No mystical intangible called spirit needed.
 
From: [address removed] [mailto:[address removed]] On Behalf Of Janelle
Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 8:19 PM
To: [address removed]
Subject: Re: [NOVA-Atheists] UU churches
 
I have a spirit.  It is that place in my brain that laughs for joy at a beautiful sunset and weeps at the pain of a loved one.  It is moved by a symphony and delighted by an well-written novel.  It is comforted by my relationships with people and grows when I can give comfort.  My spirit is within me and I choose to nurture it and help it become more expansive.  This is why I do not have a problem with this principal.
 
JK
 

From: Kathryn Brooks <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 8:05 PM
Subject: Re: [NOVA-Atheists] UU churches
 
One of the seven principals of which Jannelle spoke gives me cause for concern; that of "...encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations." I don't believe in spirits, unless they are filling my glass. Also, a congregation is typically a group gathered for religious purposes.

On Dec 12, 2012, at 7:37 PM, Ellen Wingrove <[address removed]> wrote:
When we started up Beltway Atheists in 2005, one of the guiding principles was to provide a secular social outlet, recognizing that churches provide this. We didn't want to have lectures as a focus, like WASH or CFI, but to provide a different communal experience. For those who ARE interested in a lecture or formal discussion experience, WASH and CFI do a fine job of providing this. We also are quite involved in activism, so among these groups, you have a pretty well-rounded secular community experience.


On Wednesday, December 12, 2012, Janelle wrote:
My fellowship is led by a part-time minister.  He speaks twice a month and his sermons generally deal with issues of social justice, equanimity, aesthetics, etc.  Then 2 or three times a month we have a guest speaker who might speak on a topic of homelessness, mental health, the writing process, history, etc.  THe only requirement for a topic is that it touch on one of our seven core principals.  
 
In some UU fellowships, they throw around the G and J words quite freely, but not in ours.  
 
Janelle  
 

From: Michael Shapiro <[address removed]>
To: [address removed]
Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 5:02 PM
Subject: RE: [NOVA-Atheists] UU churches
 
Has anyone explained what is discussed in a non-religious church gathering?  Is there a leader with a sermon or is there a topic of the week or what?  I can understand the longing for joining a group gathering, but what binds the conversation without bowing and chanting and praying to the almighty?
 
From: [address removed] [mailto:[address removed]] On Behalf Of Anna
Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 4:59 PM
To: [address removed]
Subject: Re: [NOVA-Atheists] UU churches
 
I've found that most call themselves congregations or fellowships, rather than churches.

Sent from Anna's iPhone

On Dec 12, 2012, at 1:10 PM, Lela <[address removed]> wrote:
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, 2012 12:57 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, 2012 11:57 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, 2012 11:46 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: NOVA-Atheists-
Meetup, PO Box 4668 #37895 New York, New York 10163-4668 | [address removed]




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