When the Unitarian/Universalist Congregation of Monmouth County started its current Coming of Age program, I happily volunteered, excited to be one of the chosen to menor and sponsor a youngster into young adulthood at my congregation.
I’ve been a member since about 2001, and thought, ah ha! Here is an excellent chance for me to explore what it means to belong to U/U, and how I can continue to evolve as a spiritual person.
I do have a spiritual path, and I am afraid that I have quite an Internet presence, between my websites and blogs that are already out there. I have a MySpace page, a FaceBook page, a Flickr photo collection (no nudes!) and many features here on my Google account. And of course, a YouTube account.
My biggest problem has been, actually, Not having any more accounts online, becuase it gets to be a hassle over what to use for a particular task.
Let me get on with some of the issues and questions we will be exploring:
* Think of someone you know who believes in God. What does he or she believe? What is God to that person? I don’t believe in “God.” I do believe that we are responsible for the health of our planet, and are children of a higher power, but that power is within, not something that comes from outside. Although it is manifested through our experience of life on earth.
So my “God” is our Mother, the earth, only in the sense that we are responsible as individuals to respect and care for her.
* Think of someone you know who is an atheist. What do you suppose he or she thinks God is? What is it he or she is saying doesn’t exist? Well, I guess I’m an atheist. I think the conventional, traditional God we hear about just is a product of people’s imagination. People need something to look up to, and I don’t believe that’s necessary. Nature is enough of an inspiration. What does not exist to me is an otuside power of any kind. Our power comes from within.
* How can we Unitarian Universalists worship together if we do not all believe the same things about the divine or God? What are we worshipping?
There’s the rub! We must remember the ultimate reason we come together and join in prayer, meditation and community. We are caring for each other, and helping to direct each other’s path, no matter what it may be. All roads lead to self-realization, to borrow a term. We mustn’t let small words and poems and songs come between us. We are worshipping each other’s path and energy, something that comes from within each of us and overlaps all other things when we are together.
* Some might say that we are not worshipping on Sunday mornings. If not, then what are we doing? How is our Sunday service different from the meeting of a social or political club?
That’s the best thing about us. We are “worshipping” in the sense of directing our energies together to bouy us up to a higher plane. This plane is one of togetherness, love and tolerance. We are centering, and devoting ourselves to our congregation once again.
* Our congregation is just beginning the search for a new minister. Does it matter what that new minister believes about the divine? Why or why not?
Brief anser – yes! Brief anser – no! But our new minister must be someone who is not afraid to engage us, and to include smaller groups as well as the larger groups in services. Diversity is paramount!
* How do our beliefs about divinity (God or a lack of one or many) affect our daily lives?
Thinking about our congregation or about friends we have there always makes me feel good. I can reliably expect support when I’m feeling spiritual, or when I’m not. My daily life needs my goddesses, becuase I may feel that I need to connectg with that aspect of the “goddess” or not. Havng a pagan tradition is great, because your goddess may morph as you need her, showing you different sides of “spirit.” It’s all the same, so I can be very tolerant of others’ beliefs, havng my own safe and sound within me.