New UUCE.net Web Site!
Welcome to the new UUCE.net home page!
Prior to 2007, the UUCE.net domain name was abandoned on a free hosting service. UUCE was not able to update any information on the this web site.
In 2007, the church was able to regain control of the domain name and began hosting a blog site based on WordPress software. This updated web site was able to attract new members to the church. The church was able to notify the public of important information relative to Sunday services and special events.
In 2016, a major upgrade was completed for the web site. This new web site now uses a Content Management System called Joomla to make it easy for the Webmaster to perform site functions.
In the next year you may notice some continued changes to the site as we get better to using it.
Bob Bhaerman speaks “Personal Paths to Humanism”
Bob spoke to us today about Humanism and recommended the book Personal Paths to Humanism. It is a book of essays by several people about the topic of what brought them to the Humanist way of thinking. He called it a collection of ideas by people who are looking for answers and are unsatisfied with the answers provided in the faith they were reared in.
Bob called Humanism the idea that deeds come before creeds, but actually Humanism is much more complicated than that… or not as complicated at that depending on how you look at it. It is good to take note of the fact that Humanism only began to take on the association with Atheism in the 20th century. In the 1200’s (early Middle Ages) there was a movement called Christian Humanism that emphasized the humanity of Jesus instead of insisting on Jesus as divine entity in a human world. Jesus in this tradition was on earth to reveal the message of God instead of his own message as God.
In today’s world, Humanists don’t look for explanations of why the moon rises and sets in mystical world where ancient texts about the nature of God are treated as if they are modern texts about the nature of physics and chemistry. Acts of kindness are a core Humanist belief. Humanists don’t perform acts of kindness because they are commanded to do so and fear divine retribution. Humanists don’t perform acts of kindness in exchange for a reward in heaven either. Ethical conduct is its own reward.
If an introduction to Humanism appeals to you then come out and meet us in person at the little church in the woods on Sunday morning. We do not all call ourselves Humanists, but several of us are. One thing we all identify with is that we are reasonable people who enjoy engagement in the world. Come out and engage.
Guest Speaker Phil Hart from Christian Peacemaker Teams will talk about his time in Columbia titled “The Body We Live In”
Today, Phil Hart spoke to us about justice, equity, and compassion in human relations (UU Principle #2.) He explained that his mother introduced him early to the migrant workers who worked the fields of Illinois where he grew up. Much of our identity is given to us. You are American, you speak English as your first language. The vast majority of people sustain the religion of the family they were raised in, so you are most likely a Christian, Muslim or Jew through your inheritance. Most of us were also born “gringo” (as viewed by Spanish or Latino culture.) There are generations of Hispanics born in America because the 1846 U.S. declaration of war on Mexico changed the boundaries of the U.S. to include all of the Northern Half of Mexico. And today, Hispanic heritage Americans who are members of families that have lived in Arizona are stopped and searched by the county police because of the color of their skin leads County police to believe that they are not U.S. citizens. Police in Minnesota draw their gun when they approach the car of a black man who is guilty only of having his auto tail light not working.
When this county was founded, we protested of unequal treatment by the British Monarch. Have we become the British? Have we become the people who condone unequal treatment of our citizenry? If we were created equal under God, then how do we deal with this discrepancy that we have allowed to develop in our society?
You could have been born browner. You could have been born Muslim. You could have been born Chinese or Haitian or Lakota Sioux. You had no choice in the matter. Do Americans have some kind of special entitlement? Some people in this politically charged world say we do. Some say we don’t.
If you would like to participate with people who wrestle with the questions of justice, equity and compassion in human relations, then please drop by on a Sunday morning. We’d love to hear another perspective. Free thinkers welcome.
Our relationship with the corporation
“Wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there I am among them.” appears in Matthew 18:20, amidst a section that scholars have called “Life in the Christian Community”. Many recent Biblical scholars have realized that Jesus was striving to establish a different kind of organization. He was teaching and showing his disciples what an alternative social arrangement would be like. The book of Matthew also describes the reactions people had, from his own followers, to the leaders of the current religious establishment, to the general population. The disciples didn’t always get it. The religious leaders recognized it as a threat to the status quo, and the general population were broadly in favor of it. Sound familiar?
The Bible, seen through this lens of interpretation, teaches that corporations were created by God, they are not separate from God’s love–even when they’re fallen, and that we struggle with them. We struggle with them, especially when they’re fallen or corrupt, just as we struggle with individuals who are fallen. But, just as with individuals, corporations are more complex. Corporations also act in ways that are socially and environmentally responsible. Sometimes they believe their reason-for-being includes giving back to society, not just in corporate profits. Corporations fought hard to roll back anti-gay and anti-transgender laws passed recently in Indiana and North Carolina. They uplift civilization in wonderful ways.
As we see, Government also acts sometimes for social good but sometimes for ill. Progressives have long complained of corporate influence over government policy because we don’t like a small minority of corporate leaders imposing their ideas on the majority. And so we campaign to call for overturning Citizen’s United. However, Progressives also complain when the representatives of the majority impose their ideas on the minority such as the North Carolina bathroom bill. Progressives are confronted there with a situation where meddling with the legislative process to override popular opinion seem desirable. Governments and corporations too… we need to hold them accountable.
Perhaps our own Declaration of Independence can be re-imagined:
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all humans are created equal, that they are naturally endowed with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Corporations are instituted among humans, deriving their just powers from the consent and participation of their members or employees, That whenever any Form of Corporation becomes destructive of these ends or the environment in which humans pursue them, it is the Right and Responsibility of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute a new Corporation, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness.
We live in a complicated world, and that is why we like to gather as Unitarian Universalists. Our 3rd and 5th principles specify acceptance of all types of free-thinking members, encourage us to spiritual growth, and insist on the right of conscience and use of the democratic process. The 6th evokes a much larger organization: a global community with peace, liberty, and justice for all.
Come join us. We meet each Sunday. If you have read this to this point, you are no doubt just the sort of person who we would love to have in our midst. Bring the kids too.