Showing posts with label Dear Dave. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Dear Dave. Show all posts

Monday, September 6, 2021

Dear Dave: How do you make decisions?

Dear Dave:

What was a decision you’ve had to make which was one-of-a-kind?  Marriage, job, relocation, retirement, divorce, major vacation - etc.   Did you actually think it through, weighing the pros and cons of all sorts ?  Did you ask the advice/opinion of friends and family? Did you just go with the flow and take the first job, proposal, house, or whatever? 


Dear Becky:

Most of the important decisions I have made in my life I made alone. I asked for advice, opinions, thoughts, feedback and most of it was wrong.image.gif Several of the more authoritative people giving me advice not only were wrong, but dead wrong in retrospect which goes to show me that decisions made by groups often are wrong.

In his book Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche wrote, “Insanity in individuals is something rare – but in groups, parties, nations, and epochs it’s the rule.” In other words, wisdom can go out the window when individuals form groups.  When we’re solo, we’re usually rational: en masse, not so much.

Reading the current news should give one pause. Was it a good idea to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq? Were there weapons of mass destruction? Was Covid-19 over in the Spring of 2020 when the weather warmed up. Is it lifesaving to get the Covid-19 vaccine? And I'm sure you can come up with examples of your own when you and your family, community, state were led astray by the group.

I agree with Nietzsche that alone people make better decisions than when they are in groups. Have I ever been wrong when I made a lone decision? Yes, many times, and I always learned from it and made better decisions the next time I was in similar situations.

The Solomon Asch experiments and the Stanley Milgram experiments, two classics in Social Psychology, are very instructive.

Once again I was wrong to say that I usually make important decisions alone. 

I pray about them. 

I attempt to discern God's will for me and for the world.  I ask myself, if I do this or that, is it more likely or less likely that I will become the person that deep down in my heart I believe God has created me to become. Further, if I do this or that is it more likely or less likely that I will do with my life what God is calling me to do?

Lastly, to keep it simple, I ask the question "What would Love have me do and then go from there."


David Markham

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Dear Dave: What is the role of the wise elder in our contemporary, digital age?

 Dear Dave:

What is the role for the wise elder in our contemporary, digital age?

Thanks for your consideration and attention,


Dear Jerimiah


The question you ask has always been important for societies, but it is especially important in our contemporary age when the world faces such challenging circumstances.


There is a model of epistemology that teaches there are three kinds of knowledge: knowing what, knowing how to, and knowing what is wanted for people. Knowing what is ontology. Knowing how to is technology or some call it pragmatics,  and knowing what is wanted for people is values. It is this third area where the role for the wise elder is the most beneficial. It is the wisdom accumulated over the years of experience in being able to discern bullshit from what really matters. 


As Osho taught, there is a difference between growing old and growing up. Ken Wilber teaches the same idea. Unitarian Universalists affirm and promote the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. Where is this search to take place, and when, and how? It is the role of the wise elder to inform, guide, mentor, encourage, and point to resources.


Does Unitarian Universalism have anything unique to offer? 


It does. What UU offers is its encouragement to turn to the six sources for perennial wisdom. Unitarian Universalism is unique in its worldcentric view which is moving currently to integral. 


However, only a very small percentage of UUs and the earth’s population have yet to develop  an integral view. But there are a few. Look for them. They are around. A good place to start is right here on UU A Way Of Life. Other sources are the work of Ken Wilber, Steve McIntosh, Charles M. Johnston, and a few others. Currently, there are a few wise elders in UU, but they are few and far between and don’t seem to be playing significant roles in the UUA.


Are there wise elders that you look to for education, inspiration, encouragement, and guidance?


Keep the faith moving forward.




David Markham

Sunday, February 21, 2021

Dear Dave - What's the deal with covenant in UU?

The covenant of UU.



Dear Dave,

Why does Unitarian Universalism say they are a covenantal religion and then do so little with this concept?





Hi John,


The answer lies in the realm of commitment. A strong covenant cannot be experienced without commitment through thick and thin, good times and bad, health and sickness, richer and poorer, until death do us part.


The lack of commitment among UUs to a covenant is well known. It doesn’t take much to join the covenant and it takes nothing to leave. In fact, many people leave and they are never missed or inquired about.


UUs don’t do well with conflict because of their governance model which is consensual and not hierarchical. The root word of “religion” is religare which means “to bind,” “to tie together.” There is very little binding UUs together especially in the face of conflict so they just leave..


Therefore any covenant referred to is very weak to the point of essentially being nonexistent. UUs use the idea of covenant to affirm and promote their seven principles and this affirmation and promotion is rarely referred to and lifted up in any meaningful way in their communal life together.


It is interesting to note that the weakness of Unitarian Universalism is based on its lack of commitment to its basic principles. Some say this is a shame because these principles would improve the welfare of humanity if they were lifted up and practiced more conscientiously. The lack of commitment in any substantive sense to each other in the promotion and affirmation of these principles is the death knell of what might have been a very robust religion.


The bottom line answer to your question John is fear. UUs are afraid of commitment because unconsciously they are afraid of obligations and responsibilities to each other. Therefore they eschew any governance structure that would bind them together in a more meaningful way.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Dear Dave - Where's the spirituality in Unitarian Univeralism?

 Dear Dave

I have been looking for a UU church that emphasizes spiritual growth and development. Are there any?


Dear Linda,

I have the same question and have been engaged in the same search. Sadly, the answer I have so far is no. If anything, UU has been captured and derailed into social justice issues. I am not sure why this is and would be interested in any ideas you have. My guess is that Social Justice issues are easier to address and attempt to gather some energy around, but these efforts are short lived, usually come to nothing, and interest peters out until the “next big thing comes along.”

Trying to organize a spiritual support system around social justice issues is misguided and doomed to failure because it is focused on the world of the ego instead of the world of the Spirit. As such social justice issues are illusionary and a distraction from what is real.

For the time being, the best that I can offer is what we are trying to do here on UU A Way Of Life. It is good to have you here and I hope you will continue to contribute you time, talent, and treasure in any way you can.

We offer spiritual reading discussions and are beginning to form the mystic circle of Unitarian Universalism. We also are studying A Course In Miracles which is perhaps the greatest manual for spiritual development in our contemporary age, but, of course, it’s teachings are timeless.

Please let us know what nourishes your soul.

All the best,

David Markham

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