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Saturday, August 25, 2007

A QUEST FOR TRUTH! UNITARIAN UNIVERALIST CHURCH AND RELIGION


"free and responsible search for truth and meaning."

For the last few days I have been thinking about the Unitarian Universalist Church, as I have been a UU member in different cities since I was 16 years old. Recently I did a blog about my 23rd year wedding anniversary, where our wedding vows were administered by a UU female minister, and I found myself missing the UU church and the beliefs of a UU congregation. The little rinky dink town that I live in of only 500, does not have a Unitarian Church, but I have been happy to discover that there is one within 30 miles of here.

Many people balk, especially Christians, on the UU religion and belief, yet statistics have proven that the membership is still growing in leaps and bounds. The controversy is that UU's is not a true religion and there is no creed within the church. The lack of formal creed has been a cause for criticism among some who argue that Unitarian Universalism is therefore without religious content. Although lacking an official creed or dogma, Unitarian Universalist congregations respect the Seven Principles and Purposes of the Unitarian Universalist Association as noted below.

"We, the member congregations of the Unitarian Universalist Association, covenant 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 in our congregations;
4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all;
7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

So, yes Unitarian Universalism is a faith with no creedal requirements imposed on members. It values religious pluralism and respects all diverse traditions within their movement. Many times it is seen as as a syncretic religion, as personal beliefs and religious services draw from more than one faith, tradition or belief.

I personally, think it is an excellent religion , and one where I personally draw much hope and faith within our ever changing world.

Why do I personally feel this way? Because UU religion is a liberal religion, and as members we keep our minds open to the religious questions people have continuously struggled with through out history and now. UU's believe that personal experience, conscience, and reason should be the final authorities in religion. In other words, religious authority of our personal beliefs lies not in books, other people, or institutions, but in ourselves. The UU religion is a free religion, and UUs believe people should be encouraged to think for themselves, and that should be honored and appreciated for their own individual thinking, regardless if we differ in these opinions.

UU's believe in responsible freedom of speech, thought, belief, faith, and a great deal more. We also proudly believe that each person is free to search for their own personal truth, concerning issues such as the existence, nature, the meaning of life, creation, and afterlife, and that is just naming a few. UUs can come from any heritage, have any sexual orientation, and hold beliefs from a variety of cultures or religions.

The following excerpts are from First Unitarian Church of Baltimore, and in this blog I will talk more about the UU church in Baltimore.

"We uphold the free search for truth - we will not be bound by a statement of belief, nor do we ask anyone to subscribe to a creed. We believe that religious wisdom is ever changing; human understanding of life and death, the world and its mysteries, is never final. Revelation is continuous. We celebrate unfolding truths known to teachers, prophets, and sages throughout the ages.

We seek to act as a moral force in the world, believing that ethical living is the supreme witness of religion. The here and now and the effects our actions will have on future generations deeply concern us. We know that justice, equity, and compassion should govern our relationships with one another, with diverse peoples, races, and nations."

The two paragraphs above say so much to me, as it describes so much of how I think and feel, which is why I choose the UU church and religion.

I found a survey where the Unitarian Universalist in the United States were asked which provided term or set of terms best describe their belief Below are the top choices.

Humanist - 54%
Agnostic - 33%
Earth-centered - 31%
Atheist - 18%
Buddhist - 16.5%
Christian - 13.1%
Pagan - 13.1%

On my journey of researching the Internet about the UU religion, I wanted to make sure that I found a link to the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore as I have memories of a Religious Education Director(RE for children) member attending a seminar in Birmingham Alabama in efforts to help RE directors, ( I was a RE director for the church in Huntsville), with curriculum, ideas and teachings for the children. It was an amazing weekend, and will be further discussed concerning Religious Education in my next blog.

Anyway, the First Unitarian Church of Baltimore was originally called "The First Independent Church Of Baltimore" and the UU Church of Baltimore has the distinction of being the oldest building in the United States built for, and used ever since by, a Unitarian congregation. If readers have time, I encourage you to visit the link, or at least bookmark it for reading later, as it is the best site on the Internet when it comes to UU churches that I have found. And if you are interested in knowing what UU sermons are about and how they reflect the UU religion, please take some time to read their Sermon Index.

My experience with the UU church as a member has brought a great deal into my life. While the members come from all talks and walks of life and races, what I discovered about the members is that they all are what I consider above average intelligence, very articulate and deep thinkers, and concerned about many things and the UU church has given them the opportunity to explore and express themselves. Many famous people are (and were) members or connected to the UU church. Albert Einstein wrote "the religious spirit of science.....a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection." This spirit, he says, is "closely akin to that which has possessed the religious geniuses of all ages." which can be viewed more and understood in this article Let's Get Physical by John Hertz, where he explains this particular quote is in so much relation to UU beliefs.

Also Famous Unitarians, Universalists and Unitarian-Universalists has a list of famous UU's, and I found this link concerning Charles Darwin also fascinating in reference to UU churches, religion and beliefs.

There is a great amount of information dealing with this subject of UU churches and their religion and beliefts on the super Internet highway that one can google to find more on. With me, it turned into an very interesting journey, which is why I blogged about my Thoughts And Considerations concerning this. I am working on my next blog of Religious Education for children in reference to Unitarian Churches. I am hoping that it will give parents a better idea of what and how children in a UU church are taught and how the curriculum is planned.

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Considered by yngathrrt at 2:55 PM|Links to this post | 3 thought(s)
Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Finding Friends From Your Blogs

This past weekend, I wrote a blog about something that happened in my personal life. Very seldom do I write about my personal life, but this time I was glad that I did for many reasons. One of the main reason is because a new reader happened to find my blog and wrote a very heart felt comment on my blog, which meant a great deal to me. I checked this new readers blog out as I wanted to know more about her. As it turned out, she has three wonderful blogs. Not only are they wonderful, but they are so informative, well written and beautifully put together. Therefore, this blog is dedicated to her blogs and I really hope my readers spend some time viewing her blogs, as it will be well worth your time.

First of all, I was very excited to see that she is a
Capricorn , as I am also. I have discovered that the majority of people that I meet that are Capricorn's, I get a long with extremely well. Capricorn's are acknowledged by their organizational skills, practicality , and their self discipline. By viewing her blog, she evidently has all these traits.

Her
Fishing Fiesta blog I found extremely useful and informative and will be spending a great deal of time at that blog as my husband and I love to fish. She has many excellent pointers in this blog, wonderful pictures and advice. I really think even professional hobby fisherman (or women) can learn a great deal from this blog.

Her
The Earth And Weather Space blog is awesome. I love her caption of the "Average Person that Likes To Have Their Head in the Clouds" .The pictures and information here is just spectacular. She once again caught my interest with this blog as I am very interested in space exploration. It is evident that a great deal of time and research was put into this blog. WOW!!

All Kinds Of Information LURKS Here in this blog. Here, you will find a little of every thing in large amounts of life, nature, and so much more. A very practical, informative and well written blog that touches on so many things. The information one will find on this blog can be serious, humorous, and the A to Z of daily life as she sees it. The pictures she has placed here are just beautiful. I WANT her camera.

In ending, thank you Michele for commenting on my blog. I am so glad you did for many reasons. And one of the main reasons is because it has given me the wonderful opportunity to visit your beautifully written blogs and share it with my readers. I really applaud you for such excellent blog material, which is evident that you have spent much time and consideration, research and though before placing them on the Internet.
Considered by yngathrrt at 12:14 PM|Links to this post | 2 thought(s)
Sunday, August 19, 2007

A Charmed Life! Could "IF" have changed it?

To understand this blog more, I suggest that you read the blog below it where I blogged about my 23rd year wedding Anniversary. Things did not go as planned. And for several hours of that day, I felt horrible guilt.

To make a long story short, my daughter and her friend were in a terrible accident yesterday. An unexpected storm hit and due to the amount of unexpected rainfall in such a short period, the truck they were in hydroplaned, and after flipping twice, they landed 200 feet from the road. Almost all the glass in the truck shattered and could be found several feet from impact, as well as in the hair of these young girls. The accident was so bad that it pushed the driver side tires completely under the vehicle, and the top of the truck looked like a bomb went off. Why had they left the comforts of their home? The answer was to bring a nice bottle of wine to us as a gift to celebrate our 23rd milestone Anniversary. The amazing thing is that they survived the accident without a hospital stay, and very lucky to be in a comfortable home bed. If anyone looked at the truck, total amazement would be in their eyes that they even survived.

If you are a regular reader of my blog, you would have noticed that I seldom talk about personal things in my life. I have broken this chain, at least for now concerning this blog, as I think it is important that what I have reflected upon will be understood conerning my feelings, as well as maybe some comfort to others. My first selfish thoughts were that our Anniversary had gone bad. Then my thinking changed on that, after I was able to settle down somewhat, so to speak.

My thoughts now are that this is a wonderful Anniversary. Why would I hope for more. We could be spending it on preparations of a funeral, or constant sitting at the hospital hoping for the best if a serious life threatening issue called us to our daughters hospital bedside.

My husband always uses the words of "We live a charmed life", which many times I have argued as things seemed not to work out in my life plans. Tonight he reminded me that even if we make plans, we are just lucky if they turned out to be the plans we made. And what "if" always makes a mark on all lives, and not just ours. History proves that. With these words of wisdom I seem to understand, or at least try to, what life delivers us in a different light. For example, our daughter involved in the accident was adopted by us when she was three days old. What IF we had not moved to our small apartment while single and then got married. What IF we had not meet the neighbors and they told us that the girl across the street was due in one week and was giving the baby up? What IF we had not gone over there and convinced her to give us the baby? What IF the baby now 22 years old had died or was seriously injured? Would not the what IF of our adopting her years ago brought more what IFs? What IF we did not have the chance to be thankful for all concerning her? What IF she never entered our life? She did, be thankful for that and thankful you can see her first thing in the morning. What IF did not happen, but life reality did.

What IF World War Two had never happened? For that matter, any wars? What IF Ann Frank had not died, and the world had not been able to read her diary? What IF that did not happen, or for that matter Martin Luther King, and so much more in history that teaches us to live and grow upon?

According to my husband, he and I have lived a very charmed life and have been very blessed, as the what IF's that have touched our souls have not been so bad, especially compared to others that have suffered so much more than us.

After all his words, I agree, especially today that our what IF'S have been a charmed life, and I have no reason to think other wise, but to only be thankful of the IF's among our life. And I am hoping that if the IF's follow a blow much harder for me to handle, that I can reflect back on his words and carry on. I am sure he is counting on me to do so. These are true Thoughts and Considerations of mine. I started to write a poem concerning my daughter of what my feelings are, and I was only able to write three lines. While the three lines are not complete, they say so much to me, and I am sure once my stability returns that I will complete this poem.

Your tears melt into mine and I taste the salt of both.
It somehow taste familiar, I guess that is what love does.
Why am I so lucky in holding you in my arms and heart?
Considered by yngathrrt at 2:19 AM|Links to this post | 3 thought(s)
Saturday, August 18, 2007

Apache Wedding Blessing and your "Your Still The One"

Today is our anniversary, my husbands and mine. We have been married 23 years, and I hope to see many more years of marriage. I feel extremely fortunate that I can tell people that I am in a happy marriage, as sadly many people cannot say that. I was married before, and I know myself how awful it is to be in an unhappy marriage, but this all changed the day I married Jim.

Jim and I have had many bumps along the way of our life together. Life does that to people, but we have figured out how to get over the obstacles that have faced us together. The happiest years of my life has been with this man, and he has taught me so much about life, as well as about myself. He and I are best friends, and actually were before we even realized that one day we would marry. I think one of the reasons our marriage has been so strong is due to honesty, trust and loyalty between us. The fact that we have so much in common has also been a great attribute in our marriage.

I think back to the day we were married, and it is still so clear in my mind, and a wonderful memory. Our wedding was small, as got married in our living room in our small apartment. Only our family and closest friends were there. We had a big part in writing our vows, and my two small children were part of the wedding ceremony. Jim had written a poem about us, and read it at the ceremony. My daughter at age 5 sang "The Sun Will Come Up Tomorrow," as we felt that song reflected how we looked at life. Life can and will be hard, but the sun will still come up tomorrow. My son, age 3 had the rings to give us, and that did not go well, as he wanted to keep them and we had to force him to give us the rings. Also in the ceremony we gave the children roses as a token of family love. (The children are from a previous marriage and a few years later, Jim adopted them.) Our wedding was much different than most weddings, and we were married by a Unitarian minister. Eight months later we adopted a beautiful little baby girl, and our family was complete.

Today I am sure Jim and I will be looking once again our wedding album. We do this each year, and it always brings tears to my eyes. (It will probably bring tears to my eyes today as we look so old now compared to the pictures. LOL)

I have included the prayer which was read at the end of the ceremony, and that wonderful poem has continued to be on the top list of my many favorites. We hope to plan a large party when we hit the 25 year marriage milestone, and have the song Your Still The One, played at our Anniversary party. Ain't life grand?

Apache Wedding Blessing

Now you will feel no rain,
for each of you will be shelter for the other.

Now you will feel no cold,
for each of you will be warmth to the other.

Now there will be no loneliness,
for each of you will be companion to the other.

Now you are two persons,
but there is only one life before you.

May beauty surround you both in the
journey ahead and through all the years.

May happiness be your companion and your days
together be good and long upon the earth.

Considered by yngathrrt at 5:32 AM|Links to this post | 2 thought(s)
Sunday, August 05, 2007

What Are Our Dreams Trying to Tell Us?

I have always had very strange dreams, and dreams really fascinate me. Problems is, like most people, when I awake from a dream many times I remember only bits and pieces of it, or sometimes nothing at all. And if I go back to sleep and wake up in the morning, chances are I will not remember any of the dream. Lately though, I have had some really bizarre dreams, so due to this I have decided to keep a pen and paper on my bedside table.

While I have always been extremely interested in dream interpretations, my life is at a point right now that I feel I must try to analyze my dreams and try to figure out what these dreams are trying to tell me, regardless if it is good or bad. There is always room for improvement in our lives, and maybe our dreams are somehow teaching us how to improve our lives. Our dreams could be stepping stones in many ways in our daily lives and future growth.

When I was a child I had a lot of nightmares that scared me to death and I was afraid to go to sleep at night. My older sister told me that if I concentrate while in dreams that I could wake myself up if I felt that I could not face the outcome of the dream. She told me to squeeze my eyes real tight, tighten my body and force myself to wake up. This actually works the majority of the time, still to this day. If I have a problem waking up from a bad dream, it is usually because I am sick and have a fever, and often dream things in slow motion which is quite scary, especially if being chased.

I have a lot of recurring dreams, and have figured out how to stop recurring nightmares. I will touch more on this later. The other recurring dreams I have, such as dreams about a certain house, being on a train, flying or family dreams do not really bother me that much and I always let them continue as they are really interesting. When I was young, my brother told me that he flew in a dream. It sounded wonderful the way he described it. So when I went to bed that night, I concentrated on a story of me flying and seeing beautiful things below and feeling free, and by the time I finally went to sleep, I dreamed about my own story. Therefore it is my conclusion that we do have some kind of control over our dreams.

When researching dream interpretations, I found an absolute wonderful website and spent hours there, and plan on spending many more hours there.
Dream moods, an online guide to dreams, and is so well put together, informative and very user friendly when it comes to navigation. If you are interested in your dreams, what dreams mean and with help in interpreting them, then you will love this site. They have a large and excellent dream dictionary data base of what things might mean in our dreams, as well as dream information, dream forums, dream faqs and common dreams. The most common dreams are Naked Dreams, Chase Dreams, Teeth Dreams, Flying Dreams, Falling Dreams and Test Dreams. I was somewhat surprised that Water Dreams did not fall into common dreams. My most common dreams are all of the above except Test Dreams, and I dream a great deal where water is involved. Dream Moods in their dream dictionary states "To see water in your dream, symbolizes your unconscious and your emotional state of mind. Water is the living essence of the psyche and the flow of life energy. It is also symbolic of spirituality, knowledge, healing and refreshment.". I agree with this statement, and it brings back memories of when my mother and I would discuss dreams about water and what it represented.

Quoted also from Dream Moods faqs, and they do give their permission to do so, follows below.

What is the average amount of dreams a person usually has in one night?

The average person has about 3 to 5 dreams per night, but some may have up to 7 dreams in one night. The dreams tend to last longer as the night progresses. During a full 8-hour night sleep, two hours of it is spent dreaming.

Everybody dreams! This is a scientifically proven fact. Research has shown that all human beings in a study showed brain activity during their sleep.


Why do you think that we have dreams?

This is still an unresolved topic amongst researchers as to the reason we have dreams. One theory suggests that dreams serve as a means for cleansing and release. During the day, we may hold back our feelings and repress our anger. Thus dreams serve as a safe outlet for us to release our negative emotions. Another theory says that dreams is a biologically necessary aspect of sleep. Research has shown that people who were prevented from entering the dream state and woken up before they can dream were more easily irritated, jittery, and performed far below average. I believe these are two theories summarize why we dream.

What causes or why do some dreams keep repeating themselves?

Dreams that recur (or repeat themselves) is a clear indication that some issue is not being confronted or that it has not yet been resolved.


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Concerning the above statement of dreams repeating themselves bring me back to a memory I had of a disturbing recurring dream that I had for years as an adult. The dream was always the same where I was coming down a big hill and at the bottom of the hill the roads meet in five points and there were no stop signs or warnings to stop and it was evident that it was a very dangerous place. Coming down the hill I could see dead bodies and blood everywhere and people and children were screaming in agony and pain. It was a horrible site and I did not want to get to the bottom of the hill, as I knew certain death was probably there. So, I always woke myself up before I got to the bottom of the hill. Again my older sister came to my rescue when I told her about this continuing horrible dream. She convinced me not to wake myself up and to try and get to the bottom of the hill, even though it was frightening to do so. So, the next time I had that dream I did not wake myself up (but I did think hard about that), and when I got to the bottom of the hill, the car turned right and the next thing I knew I was on a peaceful road and all the horrible things were in the background and I was safe. I have never had that dream again, and this has taught me to face the majority of my nightmares by continuing my dreams. I think even though we all hate nightmares, they have something valuable to teach us about ourselves.

According to Webster's Dictionary, dreams are defined as a "sequence of sensations, images, thoughts, etc., passing through a sleeping person's mind" .

Study of dreams date all the way back to 4000 B.C and pretty much dreams are a part of our human nature and existence going all the way back to the first civilization. Numerous authors, poets, musicians, screenwriters, and other famous people have used their vision and ideas of the dreams they have had as an inspiration to explore and incorporate them into their daily lives and their works. An example of this can be found at
TWELVE FAMOUS DREAMS~Creativity and Famous Discoveries From Dreams. Another excellent example and entertaining read can be found at Stephen King An exerpt from Writers Dreaming by Naomi Epel where Stephen King discusses how his dreams inspired him and how he incorporated his dreams into his stories and novels.

I have always been fascinated with Sigmund Freud and his analysis of dreams (not to mention other works by Freud, which by the way I am also working on another blog to post in the future concerning Freud) which is why I want to share this site of
Sigmund Freud: The Interpretation of Dreams (1900).
Bookmark it if you do not have time to read it right now, as it is extremely fascinating read. Well, at least it was to me. Dream Moods also has a very informative write concerning dreams and Sigmund Freud.

I am a firm believer that dreams while in our unconscious state are trying to tell us something important about ourselves and our lives, regardless if they are good dreams or nightmares. And I for one will be investigating my dreams as I want to learn more about myself and why I dream the way I do and what can my dreams teach me. It should be an interesting journey, or at least I hope so!

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Considered by yngathrrt at 1:40 PM|Links to this post | 2 thought(s)
Saturday, August 04, 2007

Are we really alone in this Vast Universe?

Of course this is an age old question, and a puzzle among mankind, and there are theories for and against the question of are we alone in the Universe. We have heard stories or watched movies where little green men walked around with their pear shaped heads and their beady eyes, bringing horror and havoc to those they encountered. We are all familiar with the movie ET of an adorable alien, and all he really wanted was to phone home. Thousands of books have been written addressing this very question, and I am sure thousands more will probably be written.

I wonder if one day with all the technology that we have, or will have, that these question will finally be answered. Personally, I hope we are not alone and I have many reasons why I think we are not alone in the Universe. This type of thinking has a tendency to upset some Christians as it goes against what they were taught to believe in according to the bible. This really does not bother me that much though, as I am agnostic, actually closer to atheist. But, I am a huge believer in history and science. Personally, I think it would be arrogant of me to think that there is no other intelligent life in such a vast universe. Science has already proven that there is some type of life on other planets, and new planets are discovered each time we turn around. For example,
Earth-Sized Planet Discovered in the Habitable Zone. And I really believe that with the universe so enormous that we have not even begun to really know or touch on what all is out there, and what it will bring to our future lives, or at least to the future lives of our descendants. Science many times has touched on the possibility that is some form of intelligent life outside the realms of our world as we know it.

Spend some time viewing
Ancient Mysteries, and try to explain to yourself how these mysteries came about and why they can never be totally explained. Is there a possibility that some other higher intelligent life had something to do with this? Ancient Art is by far one of the best sites that I visited that covers pretty much the same questions that I have about life outside our universe.

Giordano Bruno, who was an Italian monk over 400 years ago wrote "In space there are numberless earths circling around other suns, which may bear upon them creatures similar or even superior to those upon our human Earth." Sadly for him, he was burnt at the stake in 1600 while in Rome. I wonder what made him write this. Did he know something we did not know or was it just a guess, as it could possibly prove in the future to be a good guess.

This link of
Unknown Geoglyphs taken also from the Ancient Mysteries link is mind boggling to me. These images were discovered once airplanes came into our lives. How and why did these people construct such things, especially knowing that they could only really be seen and realized if one saw it from above, and I don't think this was done just impress the birds. Take a few minutes to look at Intaglios~Blythe's Giant Figures , another mystery that is best viewed from the air.

And then of course there are the crop circles that we have all heard or read about, or have seen documentaries on. Many have explained these as done by earth life forms, but there are just so many and found in numerous places. I believe that many probably were done by people that wanted to fool the public at large, but I am not completely convinced that all of them were done by life forms on earth.
Crop Circle Connector is a large site that has a great deal of information, history, pictures and much more on crop circles. A definite site to visit if you are curious about this phenomenon.

There is just so many amazing sites and so much history that still cannot be explained concerning the possibility of other intelligent life, and I have just hit on a few of the examples in reference to life forms outside our world.

Are we really alone in the Universe? hmmmm


And with all that said, I leave Here's Looking at You, Universe, an excellent write about what is going on at NASA and what other planets have been discovered. Nothing really about aliens, or intellegent life, but still a most excellent read.

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Considered by yngathrrt at 3:35 PM|Links to this post | 2 thought(s)