Tag Archives: UU

One very big reason why I’m a UU…Inclusivity

One very big reason why I’m a UU…Inclusivity

Even from over 1000 miles away, I’m included.

Right now, our Unitarian Universalist General Assembly 2014 is happening. I cannot be there this year (& I’m super bummed about). I was able to get an app on my phone where I can get the schedule of events, pics of everything happening, & posts from people there. I am subscribed to a few UU minister’s blog sites who are blogging about their time there; some are opinion pieces & some are updates on their experiences of what’s happening to update their congregants who couldn’t attend. Many UU churches & members are posting things from GA on facebook & twitter & other social networking sites as well!

Also, the UUA keeps the world all included via uua.org. You can watch a live feed of the worship services and select other events over the assembly week. When there isn’t a live feed you can watch awesome videos like this one or highlights from last year’s GA. I am bummed that I can’t be present, but they have done everything they can to make sure that we’re all included.

I’m so excited due to watching this week’s events (through all of this inclusion) that nothing could keep me from attending next year’s GA in Portland! Luckily, I plan a Seattle trip every summer to visit my family anyway & there’s a good chance that I could find a friend in Portland to stay with so my expenses would be much less then a Rhode Island trip…

Whatever happens next year…I am so lucky to have found the UU church. (Thank you Aigner!) There’s nowhere else I’d rather be.

 

Week 1 of “30 days of Love”. . . did you know?

There are so many things happening right now! Martin Luther King Jr. Day was yesterday. There are many wonderful organizations that have decided to use his legacy to remind us to be a better, kinder, more tolerant, more just, & loving society.

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I love GLSEN! They do SO much for gay & lesbian youth. This week, they are promoting “No Name-Calling Week.” http://www.glsen.org/nonamecallingweek . It is an effort to help stop bullying, primarily in schools.

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Let me talk about bullying for just a minute. I am not a fan of bullying, but many of the zero tolerance, anti-bullying campaigns have been backfiring the past couple of years. (Remember what happened with the DARE program of our era?) If you put an all encompassing umbrella over bullying, give it a lot of publicity, & then make a zero tolerance policy….you draw attention, sometimes to things that kids weren’t even thinking of & you sometimes give existing & potential bullies ideas.

The zero tolerance policy means that your own policy forces you to punish kids for behavior that doesn’t warrant the punishment simply because if you don’t, you’re not following policy. I don’t think that it’s okay to allow children to be mean to each other. I do think though that, depending on the situation, there is a certain amount of age appropriate push & pull that goes on between kids & youth. That is not the same as being mean, but with these “zero tolerance” bullying rules that schools are making, it doesn’t allow for normal behavior. We can’t expect everyone to always act “just so,” a little push in line, not wanting to sit next to the stinky kid, not wanting the kid who is really bad at math on your team during a math drill DOESN’T make you a bully! It makes you a normal, age appropriate kid. Should the teacher tell you that you get what you get? YES. Should the lunch lady yell out, “No pushing in line!” from behind the counter? YES. Should someone remind your kid that it’s not nice to call that kid “stinky”? ABSOLUTELY, should that same someone call the stinky kid’s parent’s & investigate why he’s so stinky ABSOLUTELY.

I think focusing on one aspect of bullying, like GLSEN’s No Name-Calling Week. is a nice way to handling it. You aren’t teaching these kids a new behavior. Kids have known how to name call since they were 2 years old! Focusing instead on how that behavior effects people, what that feels like (even for adults), instead of talking about bullying as if it’s 1 act, 1 punishment…that’s something I can get behind.

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Many UU’s around the world are jumping on board with Standing on the Side of Love’s “30 Days of Love” campaign.

http://standingonthesideoflove.org/30days2014/

Day 1 was Saturday, January 18th. I cut & pasted below what it says on their site for week 1:

“Week One: Living the Dream

Sunday, Jan. 19: Suggested worship service themes include honoring Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and recommitting to racial justice work.

What to Expect: Kick off the week with MLK Day and set aside time for congregational self-examination and reflection. Look for resources on furthering your racial justice work.”

I think I can do both of these campaigns easily together! Living in small town Montana, you’d be surprised how many racial slurs, comments, & names one still hears (especially when people are talking politics, it seems).

I vow, to do my part to not only not “name call” (which is a rule in my home anyway, one that I only seem to break when speaking of myself…), but to be verbal when I hear others. That takes care of GLSEN. For my UU contribution this week, I’m going to concentrate my ears on those racial slurs, jokes, & “name calls” that I hear when I’m out & about. I am a small woman & usually when I hear these things it is a group of men speaking (although not always) & my habit has been to give a look, much like a disappointed mother or school teacher would give a disobedient child.

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I vow to use my voice this week. I will speak on behalf of my children (& others’ children) who don’t deserve to hear it. I’ll be honest, we are a mostly white community, but that is no excuse to allow the racially ignorant folks in our community to feel like they run it.

This is my commitment to my faith community, my family, GLSEN, Dr Martin Luther King Jr, & most importantly…to myself.

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What is a Unitarian Universalist?

I thought that this was great!

A lot of people ask me about my faith. It is a hard thing to describe to most people in my neck of the woods. Many people here are either SO Christian that to imagine a life that is open to other possibilities is so foreign that it borders on offensive, or they were raised in that life & they run from any & everything that looks or smells like church.

As a Unitarian Universalist, I am allowed to find my own path. I am given the personal freedom to believe (or not) whatever I believe. At my little fellowship, we have Quakers, Christians, Jews, Buddhists, Wiccans, Agnostics, Pagans, people who follow Native teachings, people who don’t seem to follow any particular faith, & lifelong UUs who claim nothing other than that. We are all on our own spiritual path, together, & it’s good. We don’t really have any formal dogmas we follow. We are inspired by the teachings & writings of religious leaders from all world religions, poets, philosophers, writers, teachers, lecturers, scientists, presidents, and more. We meditate, some of us pray, some of us take communion from time to time. We are all different & we all have different spiritual needs. None are turned away & all are welcome.

It’s a beautiful thing. I once told a friend that I should start my own church. Where you can believe anything you want. You can be eclectic & draw from all sources. No one is right & no one is wrong. Everyone is okay…we’re all okay…

Then I found, thanks to a childhood friend, my UU church in Des Moines, Washington. I walked in & I listened & I spoke with the minister & I looked in the classrooms & I asked about the curriculum…

This was the church that I had wanted to create years before. It had always existed, for hundreds of years, anyway.

I just hadn’t found it until I needed to.

When I moved to Montana, my criteria was “they have to have the same or better schools for the kids, & they have to have a UU church.” They had both.

Now I get to live with Glacier Park in my back yard, I get to direct children’s programming for my spiritual home. And I get to share all of it & more with all of you.

My next post will be more about food, I promise. No preaching, I just really liked this video!

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NEW BLOG!!!

Okay…I’m a little excited about this one.

I have decided to start a new blog completely devoted to all of the tips, tricks, recipes, & beautiful quirky things that make our family work. (And, to be honest, some of the things that I’ve tried, that DIDN’T!)

I have a personal blog that I mostly used to vent about my concerns about 1 child’s autism, another child’s cancer, my divorce from my former husband & the occasional creative writing attempt.

I also have a home based business page (which I will often share with you)  here on wordpress, kNowMoreMT.wordpress.com. I make natural cleaning products & often get asked about tips & tricks (& my recipes!).

I figured, maybe it was time to start a non-business page where I could talk about those tips, recipes (the ones I can share, anyway), food, reusing, recycling, & how, as a family we have learned to love through it all.

I hope that you will stay tuned through this journey with me!