Monday, October 1, 2007

I am a Unitarian Universalist.

It's official! I've signed the book! I'm in! I'm a member!

I've been attending the UU church, fairly regularly, for the past two years. I started attending services, shortly after I moved to Wheeling, with my good friend, Orland. I enjoyed the fellowship and the music and wasn't really doing anything else, on Sunday mornings.

I was raised Catholic. Over the years, as I explored my heart more deeply, I followed it into a lot of different beliefs, from the "Born again" Christian beliefs, to the more Eastern views. I have studied astrology, some, Quantum Physics, some and Native American animal medicine, the latter being, particularly, close to my heart. I have prayed, meditated, practiced reiki, chanted, danced and sang my way into my own Soul, in an attempt to make that all important, inner connection to God.

This kind of an open minded search was necessary, to a kinesthetic learner like me. I learn by doing. As time passed, I decided that organized religion was just not for me. There was always some doctrine or rule that interfered with my own personal search. This is just my opinion, but I think most organized religions are more about controlling the masses, rather than empowering the individual. People who don't understand their own power to make change, often end up giving that power away to abusers, or playing the "blame game", convinced that they could surely be happy, if only everyone around them would change their behavior (be like them).

My own beliefs are varied. I believe there are two choices...Love or fear. I believe that the Kingdom of God (Whatever that is) is inside me, not out there, somewhere far away and separate. I believe that I create my own reality, through that connection, which is eternal and unlimited in power. I believe my emotions and feelings are my choice. I believe that whatever you put love into gets better. I'm open to the beliefs of others. There's more, but that's a start.

When I was young and still living with my parents, I can remember mentioning to my Mom that I was going to play music at a coffee house in a UU church. She got a curious look on her face, as though she was trying hard not to be judgemental. She was a kind, Christian woman. Then she said "The Unitarians are a little strange. I mean, they're nice people, but they're not Christian you know". I respected my Mother's opinion and this one statement had more of an effect on me than I realized, for many years. I was not consciously judging anyone, but unconsciously, I guess, I "back-shelved" any idea of learning more about that church.

I was insecure. That is a story for other blogs, but as an insecure person, I tended to lean toward gatherings where I received a lot of emotional support for doing the "right" thing. In many churches, if you follow the rules, you get all the support you want...if not...out you go!

I think the need for others to think and believe what we do, is fear-based. Rules and regulations keep everyone safe, right? Actually, my opinion is that we are ALWAYS safe...or we are never safe. It's a glass half full/half empty kind of a thing. I lean towards "always", most of the time.

At any rate, I'm not writing this blog to bash other faiths...on the contrary. I respect the beliefs of others and I'm always interested in learning new things. The point that I'm trying to get to, here, is why I have finally decided that the Unitarian Universalist Congregation is an organization that I can feel comfortable belonging to. Here's why:

1. Unitarians believe that every individual has, not only the right, but a responsibility to follow their own Spiritual path.
2. The congregation is all inclusive. You can believe anything or in anyone you need to; Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, astrology, atheism, paganism, whatever, and as long as you express those beliefs in a non-threatening way, you are welcomed.
3. There is plenty of love, but no judgement. No condemnation. It's all about loving support, as long as you are not hurting anyone.
4. There is wonderful music and artistic expression is encouraged.

In fact, our little church has all the things I loved about church, as a child. Singing and fellowship. Symbolism and ritual. Someone will help us explore a lesson, only afterwards, instead of ending the service, there is a discussion, right there, with the whole group. We are encouraged to voice our thoughts, whether or not we agree. Artistic expression is encouraged and the artwork on the walls changes with the lessons. There are two, beautiful banners hanging on the wall that were added, recently. They have symbols from many different religions on them. Ah, yes...and there's coffee and refreshments, afterwards. Yum.

It's all about exploring your own truth in a safe, supportive environment. That's organization I can get behind.

So...I am no longer a Bohemian Catholic.

I am a Unitarian Universalist.

8 comments:

Fly'sOintment said...

It sounds very pleasant..Everyone needs a space to practice spiritual healing and learning...

Lance said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lance said...

I think it's great, sweetheart. Everyone needs to feel like they belong somewhere. I, myself, have attended different churches in the past 'til I found the one I was most comfortable in. It's a decision that should take some thought and time. I'm glad you're happy with this. And I know you are.
Love ya!!

May said...

Hey, Bettina, from a "friend of Unitarian Universalism"! I attended the UU church in New London, CT, for a few years, until I moved, and I've never found another I liked as much. However, as a practicing pagan, I have done the Winter Solstice (Yule) service every year for the past five years, at a different church. They've just contacted me again.

Enjoy the fellowship!

May

Sara said...

I find the UUs very interesting. It's a pity they don't are in Austria...
and I love your work too. thank you for the nice comment in my blog!

mousewords said...

Bettina, you are a lovely, insightful person with a lot of wisdom. I wish you all the best on your journey!

Robin Edgar said...

Quite regrettably it's not all about exploring your own truth in a safe, supportive environment. Which is why this is an organization I can get in front of. . .

Bettina Makley, aka Fairywebmother. said...

Robin...

I am sorry that your experience in your UU church has been so negative. I guess it's kind of like our country. The basic principles are inspired and beautiful, but corruption in government is always possible and very discouraging.

I have found Peace and Healing in our little dome. I hope you can find it, somewhere, as well.