Unitarian Universalist Congregation East

What UUCE is up to in Reynoldsburg, Ohio

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7 Sep 2014

Today Betty lead us in a traditional water ceremony day.  In the past, we have talked about how precious water is in the world but this time Betty wanted us to show what water means to ourselves and to our little community.  Water is often central to our own lives and our own memories.  Because we are a community, and a community shares with one another, she wanted us to reflect upon where we have been this summer, but also upon the emotional burden and baggage that we carry to the water.  The web of life is all represented in the water.

Did you feel the interdependent web of existance coming alive in those moments?  A growing awakening of how this water is like the strands of the web, and how the web is us and is everything.

So one member went to a wedding that was held at one of the finger lakes of New York.  One member visited Lake Hudson, one went to Washington DC and one went to the islands of Washington state to collect water for the pool.

One member spent the summer fixing gutters and other things to make sure that the water stayed away.  One member commented that she did not go anywhere but was thankful that the water did the traveling to come to her house in a clean and usable form.  One member planted a garden and was fully prepared to spend the summer watering it had it not been such a wet summer here in Central Ohio.  One member visited Colorado where it does not rain very much right now, but she visited the “Garden of the Gods” in Colorado Springs where too much rain is actually not all that good.  One member contributed no water to our common pool because she was acting in solidarity with the State of California which has none to spare.  And so it was that water travels very effectively and affects many lives of people who are not traveling.

Peace

Rick

Posted 1 month, 3 weeks ago at 11:52 pm.

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Aug 24, 2014

Today we had an interesting discussion about the historical Jesus and how much we think we know about his life is likely to be based in fact and how much is likely to be mythology superimposed upon the historical Jesus.  Much of what we discussed came out of Part One of Zeitgeist: The Movie by Peter Joseph.

According to Wikipedia:  Part I questions religions as being god-given stories, stating that the Christian religion specifically is mainly derived from other religions, astronomical assertions,astrological myths and traditions, which in turn were derived from or shared elements with other traditions. In furtherance of the Jesus myth hypothesis this part states that the historical Jesus is a literary and astrological hybrid, nurtured politically.

The argument is that there are a set of things that have been attributed to virtually all spiritual leaders in the ancient world when nobody knew anything and the whole world was scared by disease, condemned to poverty and living in ignorance of science.  Among these things is an obsession with the sun, which had the ability to warm the world around you in spring and had an obvious effect on the plants which feed the world.

A recurring theme in widely scattered cultures is the god who dies and after three days is resurrected from the dead.  The movie indicates that the reason that this is such a widespread idea is that in the Northern Hemisphere, the sun moves across the horizon at dawn from North to South until  the time of the Winter Solstice.  At that time the sun appears to not move at all across the horizon but after three days the sun rises on the horizon slightly more Northernly compared to the previous day.  The sun begins moving again from South to North after three days.  The author postulates that there is no mystery why all ancient cultures appear to have adopted the same theme in their mythology.  Also, on at that time in the solstice the three prominent stars in Orion’s belt align with the point on the horizon where the sun will rise on the solstice.  This phenomenon, according to the author, explains why so many cultures have an equivalent to the Christian three wise men.

Dark and light are obvious analogies to the evil and good in the world.  Horace and many other heros also had 12 disciples.  So, we postulate that somewhere there was an itinerant preacher who had some pretty radical good ideas.  Over the centuries, a lot of mythology got superimposed upon the Jesus of history.  We just wonder if we have a good understanding of how to figure out what is truth and what is fiction.

Peache

Rick

Posted 1 month, 3 weeks ago at 1:24 am.

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Aug 3

Today Maggie lead us in a discussion of our own journeys into spirituality.  It lead to all kinds of ideas being discussed from spirituality reached through the science of DNA through the dogma of theology.  Black Elk Speaks was mentioned ( 1932 book by John G. Neihardt, an American poet and writer, who relates the story of Black Elk, an Oglala Lakota medicine man. )  Agnosticism and Atheism came up in the discussion as did Humanism which says that the good is worth pursuit with or without godly intervention.

Peace,

Rick

Posted 1 month, 3 weeks ago at 11:57 pm.

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July 20

Today we were confronted with Jim Holt’s Why Does the World Exist  It is written like a detective story and it is metaphysical but it is more fun than you might think.  He tries to answer the question why is there something instead of nothing?  How does all this cosmological stuff get involved with a non-zeros probability?  We enjoyed exploring some deeply philosophical ideas, but to get to the good stuff, I recommend you to the book and to the people who understood more about this than I do:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/05/books/review/why-does-the-world-exist-by-jim-holt.html?pagewanted=all

Peace,

Rick

Posted 1 month, 3 weeks ago at 11:38 pm.

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July 6

Today, Jan lead a discussion about the Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby decision.  The owners of the Hobby Lobby corporate parent were upset that the Affordable Care Act would force employers to provide the same level of health care to all its employees even if that care conflicts with the corporation’s religious belief.   Jan brought to our attention a few U.S. Supreme court decisions that lead us to this place where corporations can even claim to have religious beliefs.

1963-Serbert v. Vernor the court decided that if a person has a sincere religious belief, then the government cannot interfere with that belief unless the government can prove that it has a compelling government interest to do so.  And even then, it must interfere in the least burdensome way.

1993- President Clinton signs the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) requiring the government to have a compelling interest as a test for the balance or religious liberty and government interests.

1997 the Supreme Court says RFRA does not apply to the states.

2013 Supreme Court declines RFRA in a same sex wedding case between Arizona and New Mexico.

2010 Supreme Court decides that corporations have the right of free speech just like human citizens do.

2014 Supreme Court decides the Hobby Lobby case decides that RFRA applies to religious convictions over health care that must be provided by employers.  The Court also decided that closely held corporations can claim to have the same religious views of their owners.

The result is that the Supreme Court has decided that some small corporations can have religious “beliefs” and that a person’s right to health care can be limited by the religious beliefs of their employers.  It will deny women who do not hold their employers’ beliefs access to contraceptive coverage.  Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg herself asked the following question: “would the exemption…extend to employers with religiously grounded objections to blood transfusions (Jehovah’s Witnesses); antidepressants (Scientologists); medications derived from pigs, including anesthesia, intravenous fluids, and pills coated with gelatin (certain Muslims, Jews, and Hindus); and vaccinations[?]…Not much help there for the lower courts bound by today’s decision.”

Here is a link to the interview of Justice Ginsburg:

http://news.yahoo.com/katie-couric-interviews-ruth-bader-ginsburg-185027624.html

Peace,

Rick

Posted 1 month, 3 weeks ago at 11:13 pm.

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