Showing posts with label Principle 5 right of conscience. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Principle 5 right of conscience. Show all posts

Friday, November 1, 2019

Faith in practice - Impeachment and democratic principles.

The fifth principle of Unitarian Universalism is to affirm and promote the right of conscience and the use of democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.

What is at stake in the impeachment of the United States is the core beliefs in our constituion of the United States. All Americans, but especially Unitarian Universalists have a duty to educate themselves and inform others about our values and support for democratic processes.

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Does your leader lead from a place of humility?

A good leader is the steward of hundreds of individual visions.
A good leader knows the expectations and requirements of the followers.

A good leader does not get too far out in front of the people.
A good leader leads with humility knowing the proper place.

Competition breeds resentment and animosity.
Collaboration breeds appreciation and harmony.

Unitarian Universalists covenant together to affirm and promote the right of conscience and the use of democratic process.
UUs know that all participants deserve a voice and input.
Final decisions are made with diplomacy and kindness.

Sunday, November 4, 2018

As a Unitarian Univeralist is it my religious duty to vote?

Unitarian Universalists covenent together to affirm and support seven princples the fifth of which is the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.

So, the correct answer is "yes." It is not only your civic duty to vote, it is part of our religious covenant as well.

One of the more significant social injustices perpetrated throughout U.S. history has been voter suppression. It has been especially virulent and malicious in the last 40 years. Disenfranchising large segments of what the political party in control considers to be undersirable voters has led to systemic, institutional injustices throughout the country. Therefore, it is encumbent on UUs not only to vote themselves but to encourage others to vote as well. This encourgement of others to vote is based on UUs second principle which is justice, equity, and compassion in human relations.

Here is a video giving a good overview of the mid-terms which comes, interestingly, from Australia.

Vote on this coming Tuesday, November 6, 2018.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

"You're not the boss of me; I can do it myself!"

Leadership is a curious thing not well understood by people walking on the path of the ego. The highest and best leader is often unrecognized. This leader is helping, facilitating, organizing, recruiting, deploying, coordinating all behind the scenes.

The second type of leadership is visible, out front, the PR person of the movement or organization. If charismatic, everyone loves him/her. Praises are sung and celbrity swells. Emulation, devotion, inspiration, and motivation are evident.

The third type of leadership instills compliance and insistence on involvment in tasks and coerces to get the job done. Followers are afraid of failure, of disappointment, of criticism, even shaming and guilt.

The fourth type of leadership is hated, despised, mocked, and thwarted either by attack or by resistence. Sabatoge is the effort and dethroning is the goal.

Leaders who do not trust, respect, and collaborate with followers will not be likewise trusted, respected, and collaborated with.

With the best type of leadership which is facilitative and nurturing, the followers will take pride and satisfaction in what they are accomplishing and think they are doing things all on their own.

Unitarian Univeralists covenant together to affirm and promote the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within their congregations and in society at large. Democratic processes though require designing, cooperation, coordination, recruitment, implementation, and evaluation. Democratic processes are developed and implemented based on certain policies and values with activities, resources, and intentional direction. Developing, implementing, and evaluating democratic processes is challenging, at times difficult, and requires talented and competent leadership. Without the effort to create, maintain, sustain, and retain democratic processes it is very easy for some form of authoritarianism to emerge and take control of groups.

The only thing we have to fear are the people who tell us to be afraid

Sunday, September 16, 2018

UUAWOL ministries - Freedom of the press

  • percentage of Americans who say that freedom of the press is critical for democracy = 85%
  • percentage of Republicans who say that the press is the enemy of the people = 48%
  • percentage of Republicans who say the President Trump "should have the authority to close news outlets engaged in bad behavior." = 43%
Unitarian Univeralists covenant together to affirm and promote a free and responsible search for truth and meaning and the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and within society at large.

Monday, September 3, 2018

UUAWOL Ministries Index - Days to the midterms

number of days to mid term elections in the United States on November 6, 2018 = 62

Most of the Trump administration's values, beliefs, policies, and actions are contradictory to the seven principles of Unitarian Universalism. It is imperative that Trump's supporters and allies be voted out of office so that there is a chance of the United States getting back on the right track to creating a better life for all here in the States and around the world.

Please encourage your family, neighbors, co-workers, and friends to register to vote and to vote on November 6. The well being of our country and the world depends on it.

The fifth principle of Unitarian Universalism is to affirm and promote the right to conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large.

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Why do UU congregations fail?

There is something wrong with the operation of the Unitarian Universalist denomination.

The three churches that I have attended over the last decade have been through pastors like shit through a goose. These churches range from one of the largest to the smallest so it is not a matter of size. Size is not the problem. The problem is the governance model. UUs have overdone this idea of democracy.

The fifth of the seven principles, "to affirm and promote the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process with our congregations and society at large" has caused big problems and cripple the denomination.

In Unitarian Universalism every person seems to think (s)he has the right to run the show. It seems that if (s)he doesn't like something (s)he gets to complain, withhold operating support, and the congregation collapses or is seriously wounded.

Where is the pastor in all this? Where is the bishop? Where is there some higher organizational authority to help resolve these conflicts? There isn't any. The mob rules. The church is screwed.

To be accurate and honest, this kind of democracy doesn't work will in sustaining organizations. Management by consensus is a disaster.

Where is the pastor in all this?  Often there isn't one. UUs love "pulpit fills" and temporary pastors. There is no consistent pastoral presence to sustain congregations for any period of time and no good method of succession. What congregants need is a pastoral presence they can count on who they know will be there for them in good times as well as bad, but that pastoral presence is often contaminated by critics and the fight is on with no recourse to a higher authority and so battered and beaten the pastor is forced out and the congregation again is befert of leadership until they can find another pastor to find fault with.

Most UU churches I have observed like to play games albeit unconscious ones called, "What will be wrong with this one" and "Our problems are because of her/him and we'll be better off when (s)he is gone." Unitarian Univeralists play games with one another rather than focus on implementing the principles of their faith.

The vetting process for new pastors is a process of idealization and once arrived, the de-idealization and demonization sets in because pastors, after all, are human and imperfect and do things not to everyone's liking. With this frame of reference, the question can be asked, "How does the Unitarian Universalist denomination deal with the idealization and de-idealization of pastors?" The answer is nothing. They leave the process to the individual congregations themselves. This is a model for failure, distress, suffering, and deadly disillusionment leading to organizational failure.

The purpose of the Unitarian Univeralist faith is to facilitate the covenant  to affirm and promote the seven principles so that saints can be developed. This mission is much more important than congregants liking of the pastor. Many UU churches, in order to better carry out the mission, need to change, and change is hard and often resisted. In such situations, without higher administrative support the pastor is a sitting duck ripe for skewering.

Let's change the way pastor's are called to congregations. Pastors should work for the Association, the big church, and not for the local congregation. Their assignment to congregations should be decided by the association with input from the congregation. With this model, the UUA could grow and congregations could better carry out their mission with higher quality leadership.

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Do we have an authority problem?

Unitarian Universalists don't like authority. They not only don't like it, they rebel against it every chance they get. In my whole life I have never found such a large group of passive aggressive people. It's in their blood and DNA.

UUs justify their passive aggressivity under their principles of free and responsible searches for truth and meaning, and their love of what they call democratic process, but behind this facade is a fear and hate for authority and their intention to serve themselves and their own desires.

In the great Paul Newman movie, Cool Hand Luke, the primary line, repeated as the warden was beating him, was, "What we have here is a failure to communicate."

In A Course In Miracles, it is stated as clear as day that what we humans have is an "authority problem." It is written referring to symptoms of distress, "I have spoken of different symptoms, and at that level there is almost endless variation, There is, however, only one cause for all the them: the authority problem. This is the "root of all evil."" T-3.VI.7:1-3

Just as Cool hand Luke had a communication problem, we have an authority problem.

We humans think, and we have been told, that we have created ourselves. As 2 years old we say , "No! You're not the boss of me!"

And we insist as adults that God is not the boss of us and even that there is no God only myself to count on.

We can be silly, silly people. "Ridiculous!" as my 13 year old nephew, Caleb, tells me.

Indeed, ridiculousness abounds.

At our death, if not before, we will have to submit to a force far greater than ourselves from which we emerged and unto which we return.

In the meantime, we can continue to entertain our illusions.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

What is your interior spiritual life like? The fourth principle of UU

The question arises when people say they are spiritual but nor religious what is meant by this phrase, "spiritual but not religious?"

It seems to mean for most people that they recognize that there is a Higher Power and that they are not alone or even the most important creation in the universe. However, organized religions, churches, do not facilitate and expand this awareness in a way that the cost of membership provides resources for spiritual growth in sufficient benefits to be worth those costs.

A further question could be asked about whether this response is flippant or said in an intentional and sincere way. Assuming that it is a sincere statement, then the person saying they are spiritual and not religious might be asked to explain what (s)he means by this and how does he/she pursue his/her spiritual growth? In our Unitarian Universalist tradition we covenant to affirm and promote the free and responsible search for meaning in our fourth principle and the right of conscience in our fifth principle.

I, as a psychotherapist, sometimes ask my client's "What is your interior spiritual life like?" I have never had any client object to this question. The usual response is for the person to become pensive, quiet, and then attempt to formulate an articulate statement which is usually meaningful and somewhat difficult to put into words.

Luke was 17 and a senior in high school. Luke was very bright, came from a middle class family who were pillars of the community, who his parents said, "is going down the wrong road." Luke, college bound, was not abiding by his curfew, drinking and drugging, having promiscuous sex, and being disruptive in school. His parents brought him to see me when he was arrested for shop lifting.

Luke acknowledged his parents' concerns but stated they were over reacting and "boys will be boys." It was his senior year in high school and he was doing what he thought he was supposed to be doing which was "sowing my wild oats" and "having fun." Luke was willing to see me  in counseling to placate his parents and make a good impression on the legal authorities as he was dealing with his legal charges.

I had met with Luke three times and we had gotten to the bottom of his situation, and we had developed some rapport in our relationship, and at the end of our third meeting not knowing where to go next, I was prompted my an inner intuitive voice (which I call the Holy Spirit) to ask him, "Luke, what is your interior spiritual life like?" He looked at me solemnly for a change and paused. Instead of his usual glib and ironic response he said to me, "Interesting question. I'm not sure. I like nature." There was a palpable change in his demeanor and there was a deepening of the rapport I liked but didn't understand. I said to Luke, "Well that sounds good. Can we talk more about it next time?" He agreed and left as thoughtfully and at peace as I had ever experienced him.

When Luke returned for our fourth meeting he said to me, "I really liked your question. I have been thinking a lot about it." We talked further about his inner yearnings, meaning making, hopes, dreams, and aspirations. I only saw him one more time. I have learned subsequently that Luke graduated from college, went to law school, and now is a practicing attorney living for the time being with his parents.

There is a deep spiritual yearning in our society which is not being addressed adequately by our mainstream religious institutions. They are failing while the interest in Buddhism, Yoga, humanism, mindfulness, and the Perennial Philosophy is on the rise. We all have an interior spiritual life if we pay attention to it. Perhaps the two most important questions we can ask ourselves, and people we care about, are "What is your interior spiritual life like?" and "How do you nurture it?"

Monday, August 7, 2017

The path to peace of mind.

The fifth principle of Unitarian Universalism is to covenant to affirm and promote the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large. The right of conscience is a key idea in the fifth principle, and it is often taught that the right of conscience is based on an "informed" conscience. The right of conscience does not refer to an unrestrained individual willfulness, but a conscience that has been informed by interaction with others. The key to an informed conscience is an open hearted willingness to listen to the Spirit of Life as it communicates with us through our lived experience and inner examination and reflection.

The Dali Lama when asked what the purpose of life is replied "happiness." Good answer but it begs the deeper question, "What will make me happy?"

A Course In Miracles gives the answer over and over again in its text. In section VIII of of chapter 15 in paragraph 2 it is written: "Hear Him gladly, and learn of Him that you have need of no special relationships at all. You seek in them what you have thrown away. And through them you will never learn the value of what you have cast aside, but still desire it with all you heart."

Jesus tells us in Matthew 22:37  "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind."

What we crave, deep down, is the oneness with God's creation of which we are a part. As is taught in 12 step problems in step one, we recognize and acknowledge that our lives are unmanageable, in step two that there is a power greater than ourselves that can restore us to sanity, and in step three we make a decision to turn our will and our lives over to our Higher Power as we understand it.

In the Christian prayer, the Our Father, we pray, "...Thy will we done on earth as it is in heaven." What do we understand God's will for us to be? This understanding is the benefit of discernment. We live our lives in open hearted ways forgiving our trespasses as we forgive others their trespasses against us. This is the path to a happiness better named joy and peace.

Bringing our will into alignment with what we believe is the will of the Spirit of Life for us is to know peace.

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Democracy has its limitations

Ted said, “I was taught in graduate school that there is three kinds of knowledge: knowing what, knowing how to, and knowing what is wanted for people or knowledge, skills, values for short.” The first two types of knowledge having nothing to do with individual conscience or democracy. You can’t arrive at scientific knowledge democratically any more than you develop skills and competencies democratically and yet everyone on this freaking committee things that their opinion is as valuable as everyone else’s or their idea of how to proceed is as good as everyone else’s and that’s just nonsence.”

“Absolutely, right!” said Harry. “I’m sick of this. I can’t take it anymore. These meetings are a waste of time. I’m resigning. I don’t want to waste my time arguing with people who are ignorant and incompetent.”

Ted said, “You’d think some of the executives at the UUA would know what to do, but they just come in and do touchy feely workshops and sing cum by ah. We never get anything decided and can’t move ahead. I don’t know why we pay our dues every year because we don’t get much from them that will save us.”

“This consensus model is no way to run a congregation or any organization which aspires to success for that matter,” said Joan. “The sweet Reverend wouldn’t call a spade a spade if her life depended on it. Sometimes I wonder if she even knows what she’s doing?”

Barb said, “Being sweet and having a good pastoral bed side manner is comforting in times of distress, but she doesn’t seem to know where we should be going and she doesn’t want to offend or alienate anyone so she won’t take a stand even if she has one.”

Ted and Joan, and Harry and Barb continued their discussion, some in the congregation called it “whining” but they were on the verge of dropping out of the church. It had gotten too stressful and unfulfilling. Barb had told David when she met him in Wegman’s, “We couldn’t do it any more. They just don’t know what they want or where they’re going. We are looking for something else where our investment of time and energy will be more productive.”

David said, “Yeah, they’re losing members and money, and they’re not going to meet their budget next year. Something’s got to go. They can’t keep on like this. You know what they say, ‘If you don’t know where you’re going,  any road will take you there.’”

“So,” said Barb, “if you were king of the world what would you do?”

Thursday, October 2, 2014

"Democracy" is not a good management strategy

The fifth principle of Unitarian Universalism is the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large." The very thing that the founding fathers of the United States feared about democracy, "mob rule," is what has shackled the growth and success of Unitarian Universalist churches.

Not only "mob rule" but mediocrity is the result of democratic processes which are captured by special interests. All you have to do is look at Unitarian Universalist congregations which are very small by comparison with other denominations and the congress of the United States today which has devolved into grid lock.

No successful corporation or business is run democratically for the simple reason that a business run this way would go bankrupt and not be successful.

I have watched a UU congregation which I helped start founder and now is on the brink of dissolution because of its democratic processes which means than no one is in charge and nothing gets done to manage the organization effectively. 80% of UU congregations are under 100 members. This observation is directly related to adherence to the democratic process which often degenerates into poor conflict resolution with repeated schisms or dropping out of the congregation because of no clear leadership and contentiousness.

Unitarian Universalism will never be successful as a "movement" as some people call it because of its reliance on democracy for its governance structure. It is time, perhaps, to reflect on the fact that democracy doesn't work very well in the operation of a successful organization.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Iraqi Christians on the run - counter to UU principle of right of conscience and the use of the democratic process

It is the ultimate irony for Former President George W. Bush that Christians were much safer in Iraq under Saddam Hussein than they are under United States occupation.

Unitarian Universalists value the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and society at large. President George W. Bush kept changing the rationale for invading Iraq from to eliminate WMD to bringing freedom and democracy to Iraq. Cheney said Americans would be welcomed as liberators. Both men lied to the American people. Iraqi Christians have fled Iraq in fear of loosing their lives for their religious beliefs. Iraq is anything but a free and democratic nation.

What have Americans fought, died, and been injured for? Certainly not for the freedom to practice one's religious faith in peace and freedom.
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