Checking out a new church

Tomorrow we are going to try a new church for the first time. While I don’t miss the drama or politics of our last church, I very much miss the community, the friendship and the weekly chance to slow down, reflect and feel like I was striving towards something better and more meaningful in my life.

Most of our readers (there must be 2 or 3 of you by now!) probably don’t know much about our denomination – Unitarian Universalist – but the gist of our beliefs are that there is no “one” path to truth and that all paths are equal as long as they take into account certain principles, the chief of which is the inherent worth and dignity of every person. UUism is basically anti-dogma.

Our denomination has grown out of the joining of two separate but similar denominations in 1961 – the Unitarians and the Universalists (thus our catchy name!) both of which are several hundred years old. Originally, all Unitarians were Christians who didn’t believe in the Holy Trinity of God (Father, Son, and Holy Ghost). Instead, they believe in the unity, or single aspect, of God. Unitarianism eventually began to stress the importance of rational thinking, each person’s direct relationship with God, and the humanity of Jesus. Universalists are Christians who believe in universal salvation. They don’t believe that a loving God could punish anyone to hell for eternity. Instead, they believe that everyone will be reconciled with God eventually. Although UU’s no longer strictly adhere to the tenets of either faith, we draw heavily on their teachings.

I think one of the things that makes many of our WASPy friends and family feel a little weird about it is that UU’s are not necessarily Christians (although many do identify as Christians). In fact, the UU church is heavily populated with people in “mixed marriages” – often Jewish and Catholic – who don’t feel comfortable going exclusively to Mass or Temple, but want to bring their children up in a spiritual environment. In our last church, we also had people from Hindu, Buddhist, Humanist, Pagan and “color me uncertain” backgrounds.

Lars tends toward a pretty staunch agnostic bent, while I consider myself a Christian, although not in the traditional Baptist sense (sorry, Great Granddad – a classic Southern Baptist minister). But the UU church feels comfortable and safe for both of us, and I really hope we like this new church tomorrow (we had gone to another church a few times, UUCA, and we liked it, but at 40 minutes each way, it was just too far).

So, for those of you who are curious, I thought I would give you the names of some of the more famous people who have been UU’s. Read on!….you’ll probably be surprised at how many you know! (and this is a much-condensed list)

Charles Dickens
Louisa May Alcott
Nathanial Currier (Currier and Ives)
Abigail Adams
John Adams
John Quincy Adams
Benjamin Franklin
Thomas Jefferson
Thomas Paine
Paul Revere
Adlai Stevenson
Daniel Webster
Alexander Graham Bell
T. Berry Brazelton (the new “Dr.Spock”)
Isaac Newton
Florence Nightingale
P.T. Barnum
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Nathanial Hawthorne
Oliver Wendell Holmes
Beatrix Potter (that one’s for you, Mom)
Christopher Reeve (Superman)
Susan B. Anthony
Frank Gannett (USA Today Publisher)
James Drummond (Dole Pineapple)
Edward Bursk (Harvard Business Review)

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