A Calm Before the Storm

Great discussion by Daniel Sherwood at UUCMC.
Hopefully successful resulting in some Christmas wishes come true for some dogs at Petco Middletown with the AHS-TF Outreach.
Requested Missy’s second level of adult training with my favorite trainer there.
Then the work. ShopRite which I am boycotting until like Thursday it was so crowded, then Ulta where all my coupons I had been saving were all useless anyway. The checkout line went fast but stretched out to the back of the store.
Then a walk with Missy and some wonderful spaghetti with pesto courtesy of Jim Grazide who was looking for me at one point.
And the week hasn’t even begun!


March 16 Small Discussion Group

Here is the discussion of 3/16. It was attended by only two of our four CoA-ers, and two of us mentors. But we covered a lot of ground.

We went around the group and shared an experience we’ve had explaining our religion and/or spiritual beliefs to another person.

  • Did I tell them I am UU?
    • I have told people I am UU, and stress that it represents “God is Everywhere, God is Love.” Then I have to explain that I only use the term “God” as an easy way for someone else to relate.
  • Did I talk about my beliefs regarding God. an afterlife, fate, or good and evil?
    • Sure. People talk about that all the time, if they are close enough. But I don’t push the issue.
  • How did the person/people respond?
    • Because I seem to be a reasonably sane person, at least sometimes, people take me as I am. This is because adults usually just shake their heads, and can walk away.
  • Did I feel prepared?
    • Of course!
  • Was I proud of my religious convictions?
    • Totally, absolutely, very.
  • Was there anything I wish had been different about the conversation?
    • I wish that people would be more open-minded and willing to “try” my congregation. There is nothing threatening about an all-encompassing, loving group of people joined together to work for social and religious justice and peace.

Here is how I would present my faith to someone in a tiny short time:

  • What parts of this religion are most important to me?
    • Our 7 principles and the sources of our tradition.
  • Which aspects of my spiritual beliefs do I think do I think a person will have the toughest time understanding and the easiest time understanding?
    • Toughest call is the ability to hold many positions, not a single one. Easiest is that at least I acknowledge some kind of other out there. Or do I?
  • What do I like best about participating in this community, and how do I talk about that to someone who isn’t a part of it?
    • I love the camaraderie between services, being able to walk over to almost any one and start a meaningful conversation. I love having a minister who is friendly and talkative and who is willing to listen. I talk to people about it with a sense of awe that I found this place.
  • If I wanted to convince this person to consider UU (or just my church) for themselves, what would I say?
    • I would point out that there is a place where anyone can be free to follow their own truth.
  • If I only had 30 seconds to describe UU, what would I say?
    • We are a faith that accepts the universal truth that there is something above us, that runs through all our endeavors, and that is love. It comes from the Earth, our Mother and permeates all we are and can be.

Small Group Discussion Thoughts

People often have many feelings, sometimes conflicting, when a loved one or acquaintance dies, what did you feel?

There is sadness, but a feeling for me, that somehow, it’s not over. I seek ways to remember the person, to keep their memory alive, as I would all the ancestors.

What thoughts or ideas about death comforted you at the time of that person’s death?

I never considered this thought, but I keep the memory alive and hope that my memory will live on somehow. I think of them in peace and love.

What did that person believe about death? Did he or she believe in an afterlife? Do you?

I don’t think my Uncle Jim and my Grandma thought much past what their faith, Roman Catholicism told them. That is, there would be a heavenly reward awaiting them. But what sense does that make when you are a non-practicing Catholic like Uncle, who had the audacity to marry a Jewish woman and was thereby ostracized anyway, or Grandma, who left this world in a state of mental and physical incapacitation, unaware of what was happening, at least to the observer.

How did this person’s death change your life? How did it change your ideas about death and what death means?

Both events made me want to make preparations, leave something meaningful. I also feel that we should leave the world better or at least the same as we found it. But that’s just me. These deaths did not change anything for me.

In what ways do our UU values help us when someone dies? Do the seven principles (for example) address death and what happens when we die?

I don’t find any clear advice about this, except that we are a part of the web of all creation, and as such, return to it or morph into another way of being a part of that.

After thinking about death and remembering the death of someone you knew, what gives you hope?

I want to be remembered, and I want to remember all those who went before.


Trip to NYC

I’m really looking forward to our CoA trip to All Souls in NYC. We’ll get a chance to visit, and I’ll get a chance to photograph a beautiful building. It will also be fun to spend time with the CoA kids; I’m sure some of them have never been to the Big Apple.
Well, there’s always a first time.
Whoops, our trip was cancelled. Will keep you posted on the new date.

Great Company

Today was one of the first of I hope many gatherings of the full group of mentors and mentee’s, as we call them. It was great listening to the ideas and thoughts of the young members of our group, and also the adults.

I really enjoy hearing about these issues from another point of view, and I hope it will lead to further deep thinking on my part!

Stay tuned…