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

My del.icio.us

RSS Unitarian Universalist Association: Top Stories

  • Recommitment to Racial Justice May 20, 2015
    The city of Baltimore recently saw violent clashes between communities of color and local police forces. Unitarian Universalists (UU) joined the community seeking stability and justice following the death of Freddie Gray by taking part in peaceful protests and vigils in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
  • Spotlight: Young Adults at 4U May 19, 2015
    At at Fourth Universalist in Manhattan, young adults animate church life with deep connection, mutual support, community activism and more. This article in the Spotlight series tells their story. 
  • Cambridge Church Will Host Shelter for Homeless Youth May 19, 2015
    By Rev. Christian Schmidt For First Parish in Cambridge, a move to hosting a shelter for homeless youth and young adults wasn’t just a nice thing to do, it was a chance to fulfill its mission.
  • Miles of Dream: Meditations May 13, 2015
    In a new collection of meditations, Vanessa Southern ponders life passages, ways of looking at the world, and the many possibilities for building a life of meaning. Part of the InSpirit series, previously known as the Meditation Manual series.
  • GA 2015 Helps Formerly Incarcerated May 12, 2015
    The local service project at the UUA's 2015 General Assembly is with Portland, Oregon's Reentry Transition Center (RTC), helping formerly incarcerated people transition back into the community. 

RSS The Interdependent Web

  • Blog roundup: Doubts are holy spaces, too May 15, 2015
    Building character The Rev. Dr. David Breeden draws connections between the neglected work of building character and the decline of religious affiliation. [We] too often forget nowadays—that the purpose of inner work, the work of building character, is to accomplish outward work, the work of compassion and social justice. . . . Joy and character. This is [.. […]
    Heather Christensen
  • Blog roundup: A time to smash things May 8, 2015
    Dirty laundry The Rev. Theresa Novak’s poem suggests different options for dealing with dirty laundry. If you hang it on the line For the whole world to see The sunlight will bake it clean. (Sermons, Poetry, and Other Musings, May 3) A time to smash things The Rev. Madelyn Campbell is disappointed in her white friends’ judgmental comments about Baltimore res […]
    Heather Christensen
  • Blog roundup: Responding to Baltimore May 1, 2015
    This week’s prayer The Rev. Meredith Garman offers a prayer for the suffering in the world this week. We pause to collectively acknowledge the world’s sadness, which is our own — and to face straightforwardly what is real. As we would be a people of love and compassion, let us open ourselves to take in the pain, [...]
    Heather Christensen
  • Blog roundup: Casting a compelling vision April 24, 2015
    Casting a compelling vision The Rev. Tom Schade has a theory about why pledge giving is declining in UU congregations. The cause of Unitarian Universalism, as we now understand it, is not sufficiently compelling to generate the resources to continue itself. . . . We have to look beyond the people who are presently passionate about Unitarian Universalism. [.. […]
    Heather Christensen
  • Words and deeds, real stories, creative congregations, and more April 17, 2015
    Words and deeds The Rev. Tom Schade writes that, when social movements become more powerful, congregations are likely to push back against ministerial activism. The minister needs to be keep turning the question back to the congregants: “How are you going to relate to this social movement? This isn’t about me, and it isn’t about the church, [...]
    Heather Christensen

Categories

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,857 other followers

%d bloggers like this: