You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘spiritual practice’ tag.

Okay. Before I get to the main point of this post (increasing the Spirituality Quotient of the average UU congregation), I’d like to offer a couple of great resources that can help congregations that may be putting a “greater emphasis on social service programs or church committee work than on promoting spiritual growth” (see yesterday’s post for what that’s all about). The first resource is called “The Spirituality of Service.” The second resource is called “Spirituality & Service.” The first is an article by the Rev. Erik Walker Wikstrom about how “giving our time to our congregations can be spiritually transformative.” This resource addresses the lack of spirituality in committee work. The second resource is primarily for young adults, but I think it would be great for anyone looking to deepen the spiritual aspects of social service programs and social justice work. Taking these resources seriously could help almost any congregation turn committee work and social service programs into opportunities for spiritual growth.

But on to the real point of this post: offering congregations with little or no emphasis on spiritual growth something from our tradition that might help themTranscendentalists, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry David Thoreau, Margaret Fuller, Transcendentalism, philosophy, American romanticism bring spirituality to the fore. It’s a resource that I’ve been aware of since the mid-90s, and I really find it odd (and a little disheartening) that it isn’t used more often. I’m talking about “The Roots of Unitarian Universalist Spirituality in New England Transcendentalism” [PDF] by the Rev. Dr. Barry Andrews. As I said, I’ve been familiar with this article since I started working as a religious educator in Bloomington, Indiana, and the first thing I did when I discovered it (I believe it was printed in a REACH packet with an introduction by Judith Frediani) was to develop an adult religious education class so others in the congregation could benefit from Barry’s wisdom.

I’m not going to go into much detail about the article because I really really really want you to read it (and check out Barry’s website on Transcendentalist Spirituality while you’re at it). But I’ll tell you what I think the coolest thing about it is: the spiritual practices of the Transcendentalists (Emerson, Fuller, Thoreau, et. al.) that Barry describes are 100% applicable to the 21st century. In fact, the religious education class I developed gave participants a contemporary example of each one. Here there are: excursions in nature, contemplation, reading, journal writing, conversations, simple living, and social reform. The class I developed took about three hours, with a half an hour or so devoted to each practice (with some practices doing double duty, like an abbreviated small group ministry session on simple living). I could easily see expanding the experience so that it would take several weeks, with a session on each practice.

At any rate, I could imagine an adult religious education experience like this being part of the membership journey offered by UU congregations. It would introduce newcomers to Unitarian Universalist history and theology, and give them a taste of the spiritual practices that the congregation might offer on a regular basis, like book groups, small group ministry, field trips, etc. All of these sort of things can become opportunities for spiritual growth if we let them. And if they were good enough for our Transcendentalist forebears, they’re good enough for me.

Facebook Twitter More...

Follow UURevPhil on Twitter

Flickr Photos

Playing with a photo Henry David took of Julia and me! by BeFunky.com

The New UU Slide11

The New UU Slide10

The New UU Slide9

The New UU Slide8

The New UU Slide7

The New UU Slide6

The New UU Slide5

The New UU Slide4

The New UU Slide3

More Photos

Tweets

My del.icio.us

RSS Unitarian Universalist Association: Top Stories

  • Restored to Sanity Available Now October 8, 2014
    Restored to Sanity: Essays on the Twelve Steps by Unitarian Universalists , is the newest release from Skinner House Books, and the first to explore the intersection of UUism and Twelve-Step recovery programs. In this book, each Step is explored with two heartfelt essays, plus a meditation or prayer, making it ideal for small groups to read and discuss, or f […]
    web@uua.org
  • Will You Commit2Respond? October 8, 2014
    We are facing a climate crisis. Recognizing the interdependence of all life, we are called as people of faith and conscience to heal and sustain the planet we call home. Climate change is a moral issue, and Commit2Respond is our moral response. UUs and all people of faith and conscience are invited to join this brand new initiative for climate justice.
    web@uua.org
  • Breakthrough Congregation: UU Church of Boulder, CO October 8, 2014
    UU World shares the transformational story of the UU Church of Boulder, CO. It reads, 'Just five years ago, things were so bleak at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Boulder, Colorado, that there was a question as to how much longer it would survive.' Find out how they turned things around and are now thriving!
    web@uua.org
  • Girl Scouts and UUism September 17, 2014
    The new 2014 edition of Religion in Life for Girl Scouts in grades 4-12 is now available online for UU Girl Scouts, their leaders, and their parents to use at no charge. Activities and projects invite participants to learn more about UU faith and heritage, and investigate issues of concern to UUs.
    web@uua.org
  • Susan Frederick-Gray v. Joe Arpaio September 17, 2014
    UU World reports that the Rev. Susan Frederick-Gray joins a federal class-action lawsuit against Maricopa County Sheriff Jospeh Arpaio. “I joined this case because these Arizona laws are another tool used to tear apart families, to separate children from their parents and grandparents,” says Frederick-Gray, head of the Arizona Immigration Ministr […]
    web@uua.org

RSS The Interdependent Web

  • Canada, autumn, Ebola, and more UU writing October 24, 2014
    O Canada The Rev. Bill Sinkford reacts to this week’s shooting in the Canadian Parliament. I . . . heard the MP’s speak about yesterday’s attack and renew their commitment to preserve an open society. An open society? How long has it been since you could describe ours as an open society? . . . At what sacrifice [...]
    Heather Christensen
  • Who are my people? and more UU commentary October 17, 2014
    Who are my people? Kenny Wiley, who is both UU and black, wonders if his UU community cares more about remembering Selma than engaging in Ferguson. Unitarian Universalists, you are my people. And UUs, my ‘other’ people—of which some of you are—need you. We need you to show up. We need you to listen and go beyond [...]
    Heather Christensen
  • Off the beaten path October 10, 2014
    Sorry, everyone, Heather Christensen isn’t back yet. Instead you have a highly irreverent sample of social media we don’t usually cover! [View the story "Off the beaten path" [...]
    Kenneth Sutton
  • Institutional blogging, youth voices, social justice October 3, 2014
    The Interdependent Web does not usually cover “institutional” blogs and social media, but this week we will highlight recent posts in several official UUA communications streams. Youth voices Kara Marler says lots of adults think she has “potential.” Potential are the forces you have yet to believe in We are not potential We are a force that someone believes […]
    Kenneth Sutton
  • Holy ordinary, all in this together, a side of racism, and more September 26, 2014
    Holy ordinary For the Rev. Elizabeth Curtiss and her wife, living with a progressive illness is like living in the shadow of a volcano. When I wrote fondly last week about my joy at playing house, did I mention that it sits on a volcano? Like all volcanoes, this one troubles and frightens in various ways, but not [...]
    Heather Christensen

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,672 other followers

%d bloggers like this: