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My Journey to the Unitarian Universalist Church
March 21, 2017
It is true that the religious belief one is born to is most often his or her religious belief for life. Early on it appeared inevitable that I would follow the path of the Evangelical fundamentalist church I was born to. We lived across the street from the fundamentalist church where my family and relatives were members. In addition when I was very young my girlfriend was the ministers daughter.The first harbinger of things to come was when I was 4 or 5. My girlfriend - the ministers daughter- and I were caught playing doctor in her play house. That ended that romance. According to my sister the subsequent meeting between the minister and my parents and me was a real come to Jesus meeting.
The next few years I was active in Sunday School, Christmas pageants, Summer bible school. When I was 13 I attended Confirmation (catechism) classes. At the end of the classes we were expected to give a personal testimony and have a full immersion baptism. I refused. I would like to say it was because I fully understood why I refused but I just knew there was something in the church dogma I could not accept.
I spent the next 16 years wondering in the religious wilderness. When I got married my first practice wife and I tried several different protestant denominations but we were not comfortable with the dogma of any of them. Then in 1971 we discovered the Unitarian Universalist fellowship in Ames, Iowa. My neighbor,Dale Ross, was an English Professor at Iowa State University. One day he told me he was going to speak at Sunday morning services at the UU fellowship. His topic:Radio Soap Opera of the 1930s. I thought that any church that had that for a Sunday morning Service had to be interesting.
My religious/spiritual journey really began when we joined the Thomas Jefferson UU Church in Charlottesville, VA 2 years later. It was then that I began to full understand what UUism was all about. Among other activities the church had many members involved in Social action issues .
Our next stop was Williamsburg, Virginia where I served as Sunday School teacher, Program Chairman and President of the UU fellowship. I also taught the UU human sexuality course.
On to San Antonio where I led discussions on the UUA resolutions as chair of the Denominational Affairs Committee. I also served as chair of the Social Action Committee.
While reading about the history of Christianity, and the historic Jesus I began understand why I had difficulty with the dogma of many Christian Churches and began to slowly move away from a the concept of a personal god. I also began to read about the history of Unitarian/Universalism and began to appreciate that importance of the values of UUism in our world.
Chet Raymo writing in the book When God is Gone Everything is Holy said “Any religion worthy of humankind’s future will have these characteristics:
It will be ecumenical.It will not imagine itself as “truer” than other religions.It will be opening and welcoming to the best & holiest of faith traditions.
It will be ecological. It will take the planet and all its creatures into its commandment of love.”
Although we have not reached Chet Raymo’s vision of religion I believe this is what Unitarian Universalism aspires to.
Fast forward to 2007 when Jayme and I discovered the Unitarian/Universalist Church of Washington Crossing (UUCWC). Not only did I find a spiritual home I found many friends.
I have known several ministers and friends who have helped guide me on my journey including members of the Natural Cosmology group who have helped me understand that taking time to appreciate the beauty of the natural world is a spiritual experience.
So I believe:
-In the inherent worth and dignity of all humanity.
-In the interconnected web of all life.
-In the beauty of the Universe.
-In the spiritual experience of viewing a flower or watching the graceful motion of a bald eagle in flight.
-In the lonely beacon of truth sent to the world by the UUA.
-In the friendship and love of my chosen family at UUCWC.