Monday, August 13, 2018

UUAWOL Ministries - Understanding our covenant: What does it mean that every person has worth and dignity?


We will begin to focus on the first principle which is the inherent worth and dignity of every person. Using the triad of knowledge, skills, and values, the first task is to articulate the knowledge requirements. The first requirement is a 500 word description of what "inherent worth and dignity of every person means." Where did this idea come from? Has it always existed in human cultures? What is the basis for this assertion? How is this principle manifested?

Please submit your essays to davidgmarkham@gmail.com. Please submit your name and address along with your essay.

There is no right or wrong. In the search for truth and meaning each person must come to his/her understanding of what is meant by this first principle. How does one affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person?

To get you started here is snippet from Sarah Lammert's essay in "The Seven Principles In Word and Workship" edited by Ellen Brandenburg

“Historically, the affirmation of the inherent worth and dignity of every person was first articulated in the American Unitarian context as a direct attack on the Calvanist orthodoxy of the nineteenth century. William Ellery Channing and other Unitarian ministers of his day protested the idea that human beings are fundamentally depraved. Instead Channing presented a vision of the perfectibility of the human mind and spirit.” Lemmert in Brandenburg p.6

Does Unitarian Universalism offer the world hope?

The major benefit of Unitarian Univeralism for individuals and communities is that it offers hope. UU teaches that there is a better way.

In the age of Trumpism when people identify with the Trumpistic code which is;

  1. Be mean and nasty and bully to get one’s way
  2. Cheat and lie to get ahead
  3. Embrace greed as the path to personal worth and aggrandizement.
  4. Hate the other to protect what’s ours and one’s own.
  5. Exploit others to attain pleasure and satisfaction
  6. Practice moral and ethical behavior relative to one’s desires and preferences.
Unitarian Universalism offers a different code articulated in their seven principles around which they covenant to affirm and support.

In the age of Trump, not only in the United States but around the world, hope in a better future for humanity and the planet is in short supply. A political solution will not change the hearts and minds of human beings. That change must come from a different narrative of mythic proportions which inspires living in new ways.

The old narrative of a judgmental, wrathful, punishing Yeti in the sky no longer resonates with educated more enlightened human beings. Current humans aren't willing to sacrifice and martyr themselves for a place of peace and joy after death. Contemporary humans want peace and joy now on earth as it also is believed to be in heaven. The question is how to attain that peace and joy here and now. When the Trumpistic code does not work, and old time religion does not work, what other options are there? Unitarian Universalism offers one option.

Unitarian Universalism asks people to covenant together to affirm and promote
  1. the inherent worth and dignity of every person
  2. justice, equity, and compassion in human relations
  3. acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth
  4. a free and responsible search for truth and meaning
  5. the right of conscience and the use of democratic process
  6. the goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all
  7. respect and love for the interdependent web of all existence
Comparing the Trumpistic code with UUs seven principles which do you think offers humanity the greatest prospect for health and happiness. Unitarian Univeralism offers the world in the darkness of Trumpism, the light and hope of heaven on earth in the here and now.



Sunday, August 12, 2018

How does UUAWOL ministries facilitate the development of sainthood?

The mission of UUAWOL ministries is to sanctify the world by facilitating the development of sainthood by its members through engagement in a covenantal relationship based on UU's seven principles.

This mission contributes to the formation of several goals. The first goal is to develop a methodology, a strategy, for developing sainthood among members of the covenant.

A possible methodology is threefold: to educate by providing information, to train by providing practice in skills, and to clarify by articulating values about what behaviors should be chosen for a good life to be enjoyed. This methodology will be applied to the development of sainthood by focusing on the seven principles of Unitarian Universalism.

Using this methodology there will be requirements that will have to be met to demonstrate mastery of the knowledge, skills, and values necessary for the holy enactment of the principle under focus.

There are many roads to Rome, and may ways to skin a cat. There are many paths up various sides of the mountain to attain the peak of awakening. The method outlined is but one way being offered for your consideration.

If you have further ideas about the creation of a methodology for sainthood please share them with us in the comments.



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, August 11, 2018

What is the mission of Unitarian Univeralism: A Way Of Life ministries?

The mission of Unitarian Universalism: A Way Of Life ministries is to sanctify the world by facilitating the development of sainthood among its members through engagement in a covenantal relationship based on UU's seven principles.
Sainthood is holiness. Sainthood has many components of holiness. The components of sainthood are honesty, empathy (sometimes called compassion), kindness, awareness, peace, and joy. The overriding component of sainthood is the abiding faith in Spirit and the eradication of the ego.
Sainthood is a state of being described as "awakened" or some use the word "enlightened". The saint has tuned into their innate divinity which is experienced as Oneness with the All. The saint has removed the blocks and obstacles to their awareness of Love's presence which is our natural inheritance. The saint is realized, no longer sleep walking through the ego plane.
Unitarian Univeralism helps people achieve sainthood by providing an opportunity for participation in a covenant to affirm and promote seven basic principles the most important of which is the love of the interdependent web in which we all exist and participate sometimes with awareness and most often without awareness because we think our separation as egos from the interdependent web is real. Unitarian Universalism encourages us to covenant together to reflect on the error of our belief in the separation and to remind us of our dependence on the ground of our being.
The calling of embarking on a life as a participant in, and contributor to UUAWOL ministries, is challenging. All are called but few listen and respond. How about you? Will you join the UUAWOL ministry?

What is a Unitarian Universalist Republican supporter of Donald Trump to do?

One of the questions that underlie human behavior concerns what sociologist call "reference groups." To what groups does an individual aspire to belong? With what groups do they feel bonded and secure? Who will be there for me when I am in need and/or distress?

The primary reference group is the family. Beyond the family comes the peer group, work group, community, church and other organizations. It is from these groups that we create our identity. We say, "I am one of them." "I want to be like them." "They are my people and I am there for them and they are there for me."

How strong is your identity with Unitarian Universalism. How strong is your identity with a political party? How strong is your identity with a sports team? Sometimes our identification with groups can create dissonance, conflict, distress. For example, what is more important to you being a Republican or a Democrat or a Unitarian Universalist? How do you resolve the conflict when your identification with a political party comes into conflict with your covenant to affirm and promote Unitarian Univeralism's seven principles. Which identification takes precedence. Are you first and foremost a UU or a Republican?

This dilemna comes immediately to light with the Presidency of Donald Trump. Donald Trump's values, opinions, beliefs, and practices conflict highly with the principles of Unitarian Univeralism. Can a person be both a Unitarian Universalist and a Republican? How does the individual and the church resolve such dissonance and conflict?

Jesus tells us that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to get into heaven. Jesus also tells us to give to Caesar the things that are Caesar's and to God the things that are God's. And so what is a Unitarian Universalist Republican supporter of Donald Trump to do?


Wednesday, August 8, 2018

How does a person become a member of UUAWOL ministries?

The mission of Unitarian Universalism: A Way Of Life ministries is to sanctify the world by facilitating the development of sainthood among its members through engagement in a covenantal relationship based on UU's seven principles.

The first step in answering the question about membership in UUAWOL ministries is studying and applying the seven UU covenantal principles in one's life. The product of this study and application will be a written and/or oral description of the course of study and application, the results and benefits accrued, and demonstration of the understanding of the seven principles and how they can be enacted in personal and communal life. This paper and/or interview will be provided to a committee of three current members of the ministry who will decide on acceptance, or require further study and application for acceptance.

The second step to membership is the public vow of commitment to the covenant.

The third step to membership is enacting a role in the ministry which will uplift, encourage, and contribute to the mission of the ministry in an effective and satisfying way. This involves a commitment of time, talent, and treasure to the operation of the ministry.