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Dude Abides
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Hmmm. I thought I knew what I wanted to say until I saw this empty white block looking back at me. :rolleyes:

 

To introduce myself: I'm in my late 40s, married, three kids (16 year old son, 14 year old twins: boy and girl). For over a decade now I've been a Unitarian Universalist, but there is a long and winding theological road leading up to becoming a UU.

 

For the first decade of my life, I remember going to church maybe twice back when I visited my grandparents when I was maybe 4 years old. So I never really understood all those movies about Jesus I saw on TV when I was growing up. For me, my most perplexing theological question I had at the time was what did all of that have to do with chocolate bunnies and that queasy sugar high I got on Easter morning.

 

In th mid-'70s, my family had a lot of difficult times and we got into a non-denominational church that rented out a meeting room at a local lumberyard and handed out those bizarre JT Chick tracts. We eventually joined a rural United Methodist church for a while. I became quite a little born-again true believer and even thought I wanted to be an evangelist when I grew up. The kind of literalistic Christianity I embraced really was something of an anchor for me in stormy waters; however, in my adolesence, the reassuring answers that kind of faith gave me couldn't address the increasingly complex questions I was beginning to have.

 

So I left Christianity from about high school through my early 20s and even tried to be an atheist for a brief while, but it didn't do much for me. It was around this time that Bill Moyers did his show on the power of myth with Joseph Campbell (which really resonated with me on a very profound level). It was also at this time that I found a certificate studies program on theological studies at Georgetown University that promised to provide participants with an overview of the current scholarship on the New Testament. It was around this time, too, that I read Bishop Spong's book on saving the Bible from fundamentalism.

 

Ironically, learning about the historical Jesus and the origins of the Gospels as faith documents (and not literal historical accounts) ended up reviving my faith and, as a result, I experienced something on such a profound level that it transformed my life dramatically.

 

Unfortunately, when I joined a mainline church, I found that what I had learned (and more importantly, had experienced) while at Georgetown was not what was valued and preached in the church. For awhile I thought there was room for me in the church, but eventually, I began to feel embattled as a wave of neo-orthodoxy (and homophobia) rose in the denomination.

 

That wave (among other things) ended up pushing me away from the Christian church and into UUism. Because of my positive experience at Georgetown, I never rejected or became angry with Christianity (as some UUs are), but I liked the openess and freedom UUism encourages.

 

I've already gone on for too long ( so much for that empty white block looking back me :( ), so I'll just finish up by saying as much as I enjoy the freedom in UUism, I also am feeling the need to re-engage Christianity again, especially after I gave a lay sermon on Jesus at the UU fellowship I attend on the Sunday before Christmas last year. I'm considering starting a UU Christian lay group there, if anyone is interested; even if they're not, I'm still interested in reconnecting with progressive Christianity.

 

Which is what brings me here, I suppose.

 

Looking forward to getting to know you.

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Thank you, Joseph.

 

Yes, the experiential part of religion is what is most important to me. That's why I love what Jesus says about loving something beyond yourself (God) with everything you are, as well as loving others (especially others outside your comfort zone) as you love yourself, being more important than the Law and the Prophets.

 

I'm really glad I found this place. I just wish I could find an offline version of it in the "real" world. :) Maybe that's what will happen if I manage to get a UU Christian group going.

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Hi Dude!

 

If you don't mind me asking a personal question, I would like to know more about your family. Are they also part of UU or belong do a different religious group.

 

I ask because my wife is a traditional Christian, and I think it bothers her that I don't accept Jesus as God. I go to church with her and pray with her, but it is difficult to converse on spiritual topics as she draws authority from the bible, whereas I trust my God given moral compass and life lessons. We also have a baby daughter, and while I don't mind her having a traditional Christian upbringing, my wife worries that my differences (such as not peppering my prayers with Jesus) will confuse her when she gets older.

 

If you have gone through a similar situation, I would of course like to hear your thoughts.

Edited by Karlfischer
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Hi Dude

 

Nice to meet a fellow UUist who also misses the Christian focus at church. I'm happy to keep attending, as the people are welcoming and pretty open-minded, and the services challenging and encouraging. But it's also nice to hang out at here, where there's more god-talk going on:)

 

Annie

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Hi Dude!

 

If you don't mind me asking a personal question, I would like to know more about your family. Are they also part of UU or belong do a different religious group.

 

I ask because my wife is a traditional Christian, and I think it bothers her that I don't accept Jesus as God. I go to church with her and pray with her, but it is difficult to converse on spiritual topics as she draws authority from the bible, whereas I trust my God given moral compass and life lessons. We also have a baby daughter, and while I don't mind her having a traditional Christian upbringing, my wife worries that my differences (such as not peppering my prayers with Jesus) will confuse her when she gets older.

 

If you have gone through a similar situation, I would of course like to hear your thoughts.

Hi Karlfischer,

 

My wife and are pretty much on the same page (or at least in the chapter) when it comes to what we believe. We go to the UU fellowship together, though she and I also had gone to a Christian denomination together as well. Like me, she's interested re-exploring Christian teachings, but we're not interested in joining another Christian church for various reasons.

 

Our kids have been involved at the UU fellowship as they grew up, but unfortuntely there's not a very good teen program there. My wife and I talk with them about our beliefs and ask them about what they believe (and we help them develop their interests and find ways to be engaged in the community), but we're not imposing any overtly religious belief system on them.

 

I think our philosophy as a couple and as parents is to love each other for who we are (our authentic selves) and to encourage/support each other in developing our deepest potential.

 

I hope this makes sense. It's early in the morning and I'm still waking up. :blink:

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Hi Dude

 

Nice to meet a fellow UUist who also misses the Christian focus at church. I'm happy to keep attending, as the people are welcoming and pretty open-minded, and the services challenging and encouraging. But it's also nice to hang out at here, where there's more god-talk going on:)

 

Annie

Hi Annie,

 

We have a fairly inclusive UU group, but "god-talk" and Christianity can be a little touchy. I've given a couple lay sermons (one inspired by Sara Miles' book Take This Bread about her communion experience and another near Christmas last year on whether Jesus is still relevant to UUism *spoiler: I argued he is*) and they were generally well received with one exception (I remember one person bristling at the communion sermon where I said I was still hungry for the communion experience and wondered if there were new, non-ritualistic ways it could be infused in UU food-related activities).

 

However, there have been a couple rare occasions that have frustrated me. One involved someone complaining about a quote by Emerson (Emerson of all people!) that someone had hung over the door. The complainer was offended that the quote had the word "God" in it (the quote was taken down) and another involved someone who was a bit more traditionally Christian than I am feeling insulted when someone (rather rudely imo) dissed his Christian beliefs (he ended up leaving the fellowship soon after, unfortunately).

 

As I mention, I'm considering beginning a small group at the fellowship for people interested in exploring progressive Christianity. I suspect there will be some who won't like that, but I'm confident the community in general will be supportive

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Welcome Dude - I love the Big Lebowski!

 

Looking forward to getting to know you more and your fellowship here.

 

Cheers

Paul

Hi Paul,

 

Nice to see The Big Lebowski is abiding in the Land Down Under!

 

I guess that's how the whole durn human comedy keeps perpetuatin' itself across the sands of time...

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Hi Karlfischer,

 

My wife and are pretty much on the same page (or at least in the chapter) when it comes to what we believe. We go to the UU fellowship together, though she and I also had gone to a Christian denomination together as well. Like me, she's interested re-exploring Christian teachings, but we're not interested in joining another Christian church for various reasons.

 

Our kids have been involved at the UU fellowship as they grew up, but unfortuntely there's not a very good teen program there. My wife and I talk with them about our beliefs and ask them about what they believe (and we help them develop their interests and find ways to be engaged in the community), but we're not imposing any overtly religious belief system on them.

 

I think our philosophy as a couple and as parents is to love each other for who we are (our authentic selves) and to encourage/support each other in developing our deepest potential.

 

I hope this makes sense. It's early in the morning and I'm still waking up. :blink:

That makes perfect sense, and I think that is the way it should be in a family.

 

Sadly, my wife is probably afraid that I am going to be in a bad place after this life, and so to her she must see it as a loving thing to try push me into traditional Christian beliefs.

 

For now she is quite patient with me maintaining a 'seeker' position, as she probably thinks eventually I will 'see the truth'. I worry though when her patience runs out and she realizes I am hopeless in the eyes of her religion.

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