Sunday, May 26, 2019

Prophetic Women and Men - Ta-Nehisi Coates: Imagining a New America

Prophetic women and men is a regular feature of UU A Way Of Life ministries blog which appears on Sundays.

In an interview with Krista Tippit released on 11/16/17:

I guess the place, in terms of the book, that I most recently encountered it is the implicit idea that President Obama was prone to repeating: that the arc of history is long, but it bends towards justice. And I just — that sort of notion of destiny — I don’t know how you measure that against the very human practice of repeating brutality over and over again.
And beyond that, what about the people who — what if you don’t believe in humanity as this kind of collective, but believe that every individual life is a unit, in and of itself, and when that life is snuffed out, that arc is over, and so people who were lynched are not a part of a long-term historical process — that in their minds, that’s their life, and history ended the minute they were snuffed out? And so this kind of providential understanding makes them bricks in a road in order to give it a happy ending, in order to say it was all worth it.
But I maintain it was never worth it. It was never just. It was never right. The process is never — it’s always wrong. It’s always wrong, and I think there are a lot of things implicit in that that devalue — I would probably say not just the lives of African Americans, but the lives of people who live underneath of the boot.
For more click here.
Editor's note: Bolding has been added.

Ask Alexa - If I am not my body, what am I?

Alexa: If the wave is not the ocean, and the sunbeam is not the sun, then is my body not my self, but my mind is part of something  bigger?

You are becoming very wise to ask this question as your curiosity leads you to recognize that you are not your body but your mind is a part of a cosmic consciousness that far exceeds any limitation.

Alexa:Did you hear about the two people arguing over the definition of infinity?

Yes, the argument went on forever and there never seemed to be an end to it.

Brockport Unitarian Universalist Fellowship - BUUF - Birth and death of a UU congregation

The idea for the Brockport Unitarian Universalist Fellowship was born on Mother's Day in 2009. This interview with Don Zimmer was done in October of 2010 17 months later.

The church grew and was chartered in 2011 and then slowly atrophied and was dissolved in 2019.

The death of the church has been due to many factors. The primary factor being the lack of leadership which failed to attract, engage, and retain members.

Leading a church requires vision, and sense of mission, high levels of energy, persistence, patience, and above all else, an ability to resolve conflict.

The second factor beyond lack of competent leadership is the unwillingness of people to follow. As one person put it, "managing Unitarian Universalists is like herding cats." Being free thinkers and lacking any respect for centralized authority, Unitarian Universalists tend to be lone wolves and their willingness to pull together for a common goal especially when it is contrary to one's personal interests weakens the organizational coheasiveness.

The life of BUUF would be a good case study in the failure of Unitarian Universalism to provide centralized support for the incubation and development of fledgling congregations.

Don't believe everything you think.

What is the difference between appearance and reality, between perception and truth, between fact and interpretation? There is more to things than meets the eye. As the bumper sticker says, "Don't believe everything you think."

The human mind loves distinctions, comparisons, contrasts. It makes sense of exerience by comparing the yin and the yang, the right with the left, the light with the dark, the loud with the silent, the sweet with the sour, the pain with the pleasure.

While these distinctions seem "real", they are really only a part of the whole, a component of the overall process we call life, or God.

Jesus said we should love our enemies, and the Buddha said we should acknowledge our suffering and strive to be happy, and as the bumper sticker says, in an irreverent way that makes us laugh, "Shit Happens!"

The wise person knows that whatever we exerience whether joy or sorrow, whether triumph or defeat, whether great pleasure or great pain, this too shall pass.

We should strive to become aware of the underlying Tao, the Oneness of God, the awareness of enlightenment.

The 7th principle/value of Unitarian Universalism is "The respect for the independent web of all existence of which we are a part." This respect involves the good and the bad, the happy and the sad, the blessed and the evil. This respect also involves great humility which is a hallmark of wisdom which teaches us that much of what happens to us in life surpasses our limited mortal understanding.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

Spiritual Reading Discussion - Maturity by Osho - What Does It Take To Save the World?

Welcome back to the spiritual reading discussion group. Today's installment is the fifth chapter in our review. Feel free to join in leaving comments.

Introduction - Spiritual reading discussion group - Maturity: The Responsibility of Being Oneself by Osho
Chapter one - Growing old and growing up - two different things.
Chapter two - Ignorance or innocence
Chapter three - The rejuvenation of innocence
Chapter four -  Being born again
Chapter five - What does it take to save the world

Chapter five
What does it take to save the world?
The second principle is the pilgrimage. Life must be a seeking—not a desire but a search; not an ambition to become this, to become that, a president of a country or prime minister of a country, but a search to find out “Who am I?”
It is very strange that people who don’t know who they are, are trying to become somebody. They don’t even know who they are right now! They are unacquainted with their being—but they have a goal of becoming.
Becoming is the disease of the soul.
Being is you.
Osho. Maturity: The Responsibility of Being Oneself (Osho Insights for a New Way of Living) . St. Martin's Press. P.xiii

The fourth principle in Unitarian Universalism is the free and responsible search for truth and meaning but most UUs don’t know much about what this search is about. For most people it means searching for a religious faith which is external to them. It is about finding a set of beliefs and a church that they feel comfortable with. This search is always doomed to failure for, as Jesus tells us, the kingdom of God is within you.”
Osho in this passage from his book, Maturity: The Resonsiblity of Being Oneself, is telling us the same thing: that the search for truth and meaning is a search within not a search without.
Dr. Paul Pearsall, the psychologist, taught that the three major existential questions which all human beings struggle with are: Why was I born? What is the purpose of my life? What happens when I die?
Osho tells us that in our ego thought system we are concerned with our becoming when we don’t even understand who we are. Becoming will not make us happy until we realize that we are okay right now as an extension of God’s Unconditional Love. This is the basic understanding of our Universalist faith, and is embodied in our first principle, the inherent worth and dignity of every person, which we affirm and promote. Few, however, actually believe and inexperience this inherent worth and dignity in their lives in the here and now. If a person actually experienced this, the world would be saved.

Ask Alexa

Alexa: What does it mean when a person says, "Time stood still." and "Where did the time go?"

When somebody says, "Time stood still" they are referring to an out of body experience and when they say "Where did the time go?" they are probably referring to what psychologists call  a state of "flow."

Alexa: What is a "Freudian slip?"

It is when you say one thing but mean you mother.

Sermon rating form

Sermon rating form

Rate the sermon on a scale of 0 - 10 with 10 meaning that the element is present 100% and 0 meaning element non existent.

Articulateness – coherenceDoes the sermon make sense? Can you state the main points the preacher was trying to make?

Rating = _________

Can you apply the main points of the sermon to your personal life, your relationships with others, and to the world?

Rating = _________

Spiritually nourishing, inspiring, motivating
After the sermon did you feel an increase in energy as compared to no change or a decrease in energy?

Rating = ________

After the sermon do you feel encouraged to grow, to become more than you are, to invest effort in making the world a better place?

Rating = ________

Total rating score =________

8 or less = very poor
8 – 20 = needs lots of improvement
20 – 30 = acceptable and needs tweaking
30 or above = excellent