Please peruse the first part of this journey posted on January 1st, 2012. I have explored different aspects of the search in myriad entries during 2011.
During the past few years I started probing the religious landscape again. I would visit a faith-based gathering and sneak in just before the service began. I quickly learned not to give out more than just my first name. Otherwise, I would be deluged with calls and literature. Proselytizing groups focused on witnessing and conversion were rather frightening. If the service was appealing I would return a couple times and stay longer to chat with the members. I would check out information on the Internet and books from the library. Seeking faith is not a flippant pursuit. According to Pew Research 44% of Americans change from one religious ideology to another. It’s wonderful that we have the freedom to make that choice. Democracy in action!
At heart, I am an Animist, I believe that if there is a Supreme Being(s) it’s not a separate entity but in everything. The problem is locating a religious order that would let me keep my Animistic views. I decided to drop by a few of the places that I thought were interesting 20 years ago. I found a group that was friendly and I mostly agreed with their viewpoints. I almost cried during one of the services because I didn’t feel isolated anymore. They welcomed intellectual debate, theological examination, and were okay with my Animistic beliefs. They offered a variety of programming and worked in practical efforts to better the community. I decided to check it out further but held back my heart. It took a while to open up to the possibilities.
After thirty years of wandering in the desert and several dozen visits I finally found a spiritual oasis. Ironically, I had dismissed them as “weirdoes” during my high school Religions of the World class. They don’t have a creed or a doctrine but logical guidelines. They encourage questions and question answers in a respectful manner. Technically they are Christian but are extremely broadminded and actually fall into the Open To All end of the spectrum. Its not a willy-nilly kumbaya organization, you are expected to be a good person and help others. I joined the Unitarian Universalists also known as the UUs. For more information contact www.uua.org
Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion that celebrates diversity of belief. The congregations are places to nurture every person’s spirit and put faith into action through social justice work in the community and the wider world. Individual UUs are allowed the freedom to search for truth on many paths. While the congregations uphold shared principles, individual Unitarian Universalists may discern their own beliefs about spiritual, ethical, and theological issues. Yeah, I could be Anamistic and UU!
The seven UU principles include:
* The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
* Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
* Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
* A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
* The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
* The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all; and,
* Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.
I keep bumping into people that I know from previous jobs, political activities, and social interactions at UU events. I found out that a friend of mine has attended my congregation for nearly forty years. She never formally joined but considers herself a member. Actually, that is very common. Probably half the people who regularly attend services and UU events don’t officially become a member. Perhaps it is because UUs emphasize freethinking and don’t force brain washing. No group is perfect but I really feel comfie with these folks. The congregation is diverse, inclusive and represents the economic strata of society. They accept me for who I am, flaws and all.
Happy to shake off the sand.
© 2012 Ima B. Musing