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Weekend Reading: The UU Edition (Part II)

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As promised, here are some of the Unitarian Universalist-flavored links that have held my interest lately:

  • In UU parlance, an “elevator speech” is the short spiel you give when someone asks you what it means to be a UU.  Mine—which, as always, needs a little polishing—emphasizes that we’re a non-creedal, purposefully diverse theological community that provides support for developing and living out our individual worldviews.  We’re allies, I say, who agree on the ground rules of mutual love and respect but not necessarily on religious substance.  We work together—in spite of and because of our religious differences.  Anyway, Matt Tittle, a UU minister in Houston who blogs for a site affiliated with the Houston Chronicle, recently devoted one of his posts to elevator speeches.  I enjoyed reading Rev. Tittle’s elevator speech as well as the various elevator speeches, from UUs and non-UUs alike, posted by commenters.
  • I grew up in northeastern Oklahoma, and the nearest UU church was well over an hour away.  Maybe that’s why I was particularly interested in this UU World article on how some established UU churches are establishing off-site locations.  These branch locations enable the geographically isolated to attend church, frequently with a recent sermon captured on DVD at the main site, without the worries of maintaining separate finances and bookkeeping.  For instance, First Unitarian Church of Albuquerque, New Mexico, now has two branch locations, one 70 miles away in Socorro and another 30 miles away in Edgewood.  What a good idea!  I hope this catches on in other sparsely populated places.
  • Meadville Lombard Theological School, one of the two U.S. seminaries affiliated with the Unitarian Universalist Association, maintains The Journal of Liberal Religion.  If you’re looking for more theologically “scholarly” treatment of UU topics, you’ll definitely want to check it out.  The current issue, for instance, contains two articles addressed to the New Atheism of Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris.  Unfortunately, I can’t really recommend either article to you.  (One of them, Jason Giannetti’s critique of Dawkins, struck me as particularly flawed—as more of an angry legal brief against Dawkins’s atheism than anything else.)  I can recommend a third article, Kennan J. Pomeroy’s “Going Beyond God, and Discovering a Religion,” but be forewarned that I’m particularly sympathetic to his goal of sketching out an atheistic approach to being religious.  I also enjoyed, but did not entirely agree with, Marlin Lavanhar’s piece about UU uses and misuses of the Seven Principles and Six Sources of UUism.  (If I can find the time, I may have more to say on Lavanhar’s essay.)  Regardless, when there’s a new issue of JLR, it gets my attention.
  • Since a couple of the JLR articles didn’t treat the New Atheism with the respect it deserves, let me attempt to balance things out a little bit by linking to The Eloquent Atheist, a delightfully quirky site that explores the “positive aspects of Atheism and Humanism through various types of the written arts.”  Some of my favorite recent pieces: “Five Poems” (including an argument for theism, monotheism, polytheism, dystheism, and atheism) by Benjamin Nardolilli; “Truth in Free Will Advertising,” short fiction by Jan Steckel; “Prodigal,” a poem by co-editor Marilyn Westfall; and “Missionary Impossible,” a UU letter carrier’s account of his encounter with a proselytizing patron.  It’s good stuff, and I have to remember to keep up more often with The Eloquent Atheist.
  • Finally, there are so, so, so many good UU-oriented blogs out there right now.  We’re a blogging people!  A couple of UU blogs—Philocrites and The Chaliceblog—are already in my blogroll.  But if you’re interested in UUism, there are many others to explore.  Two good ways to find UU blogs are by visiting UUpdates and Discover UU, two (rather different) aggregators.  After a long day at work, I really enjoy sitting down at my computer and seeing what’s on everyone else’s mind.

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P.S. The chalice-graphic I used here was designed by George Milburn for the UU Church of Sarasota, Florida.

Written by Jimmy

August 3rd, 2008 at 4:48 pm

Posted in Links,Religion

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