Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Morning meditation - What the world needs now: World Days of conscience

"I am finding that our unique Christian path of transformation is indeed much narrower than I once imgagined. It demands death, the death of the small self. How will we ever make that attractive or popular?"

Richard Rohr, A Clandestine Christian, in Contemplation and Action, p. 133

I like Richard Rohr. His heart seems to be in the right place and he is a smart guy. However, his claim that the death of the small self is a "unique Christian path" is bogus unless I misunderstand him. The death of the small self is part of the perennial wisdom and is part of all the significant religious traditions. Even psychology recognizes the problems which the ego creates and the need to "rise above it", i.e. transform our narcissism and egoism into a transcendent awareness that recognizes the interdependent web and the illusion of the individual self.

Does Unitarian Universalism help us in this transformation? We have the history of the transcendentalists and guys like Emerson who talked about the "oversoul".

There is a deep spiritual hunger in the world today and especially in the United States for purpose, for a sense of something greater than self to give one's life to. This impulse often gets corrupted by chauvanism, idiotic yellow ribbons that say, "Support the troops", "My country right or wrong", and by sports and celebrity synchophancy.

It would be very constructive if Unitarian Universalism could channel this impulse into the amelioration of the individual and the society in which he/she lives. The challenge is how to do this effectively.

Recognition of the perennial wisdom and interfaith collaboration in worship, education, and service would be a good start.

I think Robin Edgar's attempt to raise planetary awareness with a World Day Of Conscience at the times of the solar eclipses is a great idea. Unfortunately, he was labled as the leader of a "cult" and "psychotic" by people in the Unitarian Universalist leadership. Perhaps, his idea is ahead of the times, but I think he is on to something and the UUA leadership would be wise to give his idea thoughtful consideration.


  1. The UUA would also be wise to see to it that they formally acknowledged the wrongfulness and harmfulness of effectively endorsing Rev. Ray Drennan's intolerant and abusive, to say nothing of hostile and malicious, labeling of me as "psychotic" and my inter-religious activities as a "cult" of the "manipulative and secretive" "Solar Temple" variety by pretending that it was/is "within the appropriate guidelines of ministerial leadership." In spite of my repeated demands that the UUA review and overturn this stunningly incompetent, unethical, immoral, hypocritical and thus quite untenable position it has abjectly failed and obstinately refused to do so for more than a decade now. This in spite of the fact that I have clearly warned Unitarian*Universalists that as long as I have to live with that harmful cloud of slander and defamation hanging over my head I will be telling some "less than pleasant" truths about the Unbitarian*Universalist religious community. When I poked my head out of my virtual "hole" in Montreal a couple of days ago on Groundhog Day I saw that shadow still hanging over me and this look forward to six more weeks, or six more months, to say nothing of six more years. . . of the corpse-cold "winter" of U*U indifference to that slander and defamation.

    "This impulse often gets corrupted by chauvanism, idiotic yellow ribbons that say, "Support the troops", "My country right or wrong", and by sports and celebrity synchophancy."

    How about an idiotic UUA Love Letters Campaign that calls upon U*Us to shell out $25.00 per "Love Letter" to ostensibly "support the work of the UUA in welcoming, nurturing, and sustaining every person who seeks a liberal religious home within Unitarian Universalism" when you and I both know that the UUA is guilty of doing the exact opposite of welcoming, nurturing, and sustaining my own and other people's seeking of a liberal religious home within Unitarian*Universalism aka the U*U World? Certainly the attitude of the UUA and too many foolish U*Us seems to be the U*U World right or wrong. . .

  2. Hi Robin:

    I wish I could do something that would help with the injustice that has been done to you.

    If nothing else, I can help to give you a voice and help promote your good ideas, and as a Unitarian Universalist, tell you that I am sorry for the way you have been treated.

    How the UUA and other Unitarian Universalists could ever make it up to you for the harm that has been done, I am not sure. Do you have ideas about what it would take?

    I know that you would like a fair hearing and acknowledgement from the UUA but if they continue to refuse is there anything else that others of us could do?

    All the best,

    David Markham

  3. Hi David,

    Believe it or not you have already done quite a bit more than the vast majority of your fellow Unitarian*Universalists have done to help try to remedy and redress the various injustices that have been done to me by other Unitarian*Universalists. To the best of my knowledge very few other U*Us have ever contacted the UUA and/or Unitarian Church of Montreal and made enquiries about these injustices even though I have in the past asked U*Us to do just that.

    Unlike many U*Us who have tried to silence me, especially those U*U leaders at the UUA and Unitarian Church of Montreal, you have already helped to give me a voice and have helped to promote my good ideas, to say nothing of my "bad ideas". . . ;-) Your bona fide* help and assistance is genuinely appreciated. You are not the first or only Unitarian*Universalist who has told me that they are sorry for the way I have been treated but you are none-the-less amongst a relatively small handful of U*Us to have done so, especially in a public forum. Needless to say, as much as I appreciate you and a small number of other Unitarian*Universalists expressing sorrow for the injustices that I have been, and still am. . . subjected to by other U*Us the only apologies that really count are the official apologies that the Unitarian*Universalist Association of Congregations and the Unitarian Church of Montreal, to say nothing of a fair number of implicated individual U*Us, have owed me for over a decade now.

    :How the UUA and other Unitarian Universalists could ever make it up to you for the harm that has been done, I am not sure.

    Neither am I. . . In fact, as I pointed out elsewhere on your blog, some forms of harm can never be "undone" as you and I both know very well. The UUA and other Unitarian*Universalists cannot change the past. They cannot undo the harm to me, or indeed themselves. . . that has so far been caused by their ongoing abject failure and apparent obstinate refusal to genuinely "honor and uphold" the Seven Principles of Unitarian*Universalism in their rather inhuman human relations with me.

    :Do you have ideas about what it would take?

    Yes I do have a variety of ideas about what Unitarian*Univerversalists can and should do to provide as much genuinely *restorative* justice to myself and other victims of U*U clergy misconduct and diverse other U*U injustices and abuses that have never been properly redressed. I would prefer to keep some of them to myself for now but you have hinted at one thing that the UUA could do in this blog post. *After* responsibly acknowledging the injustices that I have been repeatedly and almost continuously subjected to by the UUA and Unitarian Church of Montreal the UUA *could* take your good advice and give thoughtful consideration to helping to promote World Day of Conscience and provide a level of support for WDC that compensates for all the lack of support, to say nothing of damage to my ability to "affirm and promote" WDC, that U*Us have caused to date.

    :I know that you would like a fair hearing and acknowledgement from the UUA but if they continue to refuse is there anything else that others of us could do?

    I believe that there are indeed a variety of other things that individual Unitarian*Universalists, concerned U*U clergy, and individual U*U congregations could do if indeed the UUA continues to refuse to responsibly acknowledge the injustices that it is most certainly responsible for. I am hoping that the UUA will come to its senses in the coming months, let's say by the 2009 UUA GA at the latest, but if it fails or refuses to do so I may propose things to U*Us more generally. I could list a variety of things that U*Us could do here, I have already put out a variety of ideas in the past, but how about if you and other U*Us come up with some of your own ideas about what U*Us who are not directly implicated in this conflict can and perhaps should do to try to resolve it and/or provide the restorative justice that the UUA has so far refused to provide to me and other people who have been harmed by the incompetent, negligent, and effectively complicit responses of the UUA to clergy misconduct complaints and/or complaints about other U*U injustices and abuses.

    One small thing that you and other U*Us could do right now is display on your blogs, distribute via email, or even print out and display in your local U*U church the "AdBusted" UUA propaganda that I have PlagU*Urized in recent weeks. As you may know I have been permanently banned from participating in UUA email lists. You and other U*Us could call attention to my situation in various UUA email lists. I would suggest the Civil Liberties list, Free Speech U*Us list, UU Community to be a few UUA email lists where you could legitimately raise questions about my situation. Heck, maybe as my Vice President Reject and my "manipulative and secretive" Dick Cheneyesque svengali you could get on the UUA elections-L email list and officially announce The Emerson Avenger's candidacy as a late coming "Dark Horse" candidate for President of the UUA. I am not sure how much U*U trouble that would get you into though. . . You might end up being banned from UUA email lists yourself, albeit probably not on the basis of a handful of "inappropriate" postings. You would probably be temporarily suspended a few times first before they totally banned you.

    I may chime in with more suggestions later. Be assured that I do have other suggestions for how U*Us can work towards restorative justice for myself and other victims of the various internal injustices of the U*U Movement.

    * as in every sense of the phrase "good faith"

    P.S. You might want to replace your somewhat murky total solar eclipse image with this Wendy Carlos composite photograph which is closer to what the human eye actually sees during totality.