shesingsnow: (UU)
Amazing how writing cheers me up. So, this is the piece for May. Ministry theme is "Relatedness".


May Ministry Theme: Relatedness by Marlene, Co-Chair, Sunday Services Committee

...I love you because I know no other way than this:
where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that as I fall asleep, it is your eyes that close.
- Pablo Neruda


At first glance, “relatedness” as a ministry theme seems just about as dry and parched as a Steinbeck farm. But 'tis not so. Scratch off the dusty bits and a living, pulsing vortex of questions lurks within.

Process theology says, among other things, that reality is a series of events occurring through nature and that every event has physical and metaphysical aspects. It is by experiencing these events that we come to understand the interrelated nature of ongoing reality.

Indeed, some would go so far as to say that reality does not exist without the physical, emotional and spiritual connections we have with other people, animals, plants and all of the other tangible and intangible parts of our day-to-day existence.

Regardless of what we believe about the nature of reality, how we relate to each other and what that relatedness means are fundamental questions that can be useful to think about, even if you prefer to stay away from esoterica.

Relatedness is important because it's the idea that we grow when we relate to others.

Relatedness is important because it's the idea that others have the opportunity for growth when we relate to them.

In short, it's the idea that we're all in it together, whether we choose to be or not.

Relatedness says that we experience challenges with each another and those challenges help us to move beyond our current state. It's easier to have respect and dignity for all when we're alone, harder when we have to respect and dignify others by looking them in the eyes. Put differently, are you really stealing a cookie from the cookie jar if nobody else is around to notice and point out the cookie theft?

To what extent is your life determined by your relatedness to others? When you think of the most joyous and most sad moments of your life, were those memories formed in the context of relatedness?

Do you make your easiest and most difficult moral and ethical decisions in the context of your relatedness to others?

Is your spiritual growth determined and guided by your relatedness to others and theirs to you?

Indeed, is your identity, the person you know yourself to be, the person you call yourself, the definitions and labels you apply to yourself, independent of others? Or have you formed those ideas in relatedness?

We spend quite a bit of time writing living covenants that cultivate our relatedness with deliberate intent. We are constantly figuring out how to navigate this nebulous place where our individual selves begin and end with others.

Pablo Neruda had relatedness figured out in love: where neither existed as “I” nor “you” but as a single being. A seamless existence between two people, so much so that as one falls asleep, the other closes their eyes. As you read this, consider with fresh eyes the relatedness between you and your lover. Consider the relatedness you have with your children, your best friends, your parents. Where do you end and they begin? Could the line move? Could the line fade away until there is no more “you” and “them” but we are all one?

Funny, this UU principle that talks about the interrelated web of all existence. I think the first step is to consider the relatedness we experience in our local sphere of existence. Next month we'll be talking about relatedness on a global scale with the ministry theme “Borders”. For now, I invite you to examine your own “locaweb” of relatedness.

shesingsnow: (UU)
Often, the spiritual is seen as something only experienced through the head and the heart, but that leaves out the body entirely.

Putting together a panel of speakers for the UUS:E August 21st services: The Body/Spirit Connection. This service has been put together with the idea of giving insight to people who come that there can be a spiritual aspect of being involved in physical movement.

So, we wanted to ask our speakers - why does it matter? Why is it so important to you? What is it that drives you to consider that working with your body is, in its deepest essence, a form of worship or spirituality? What draws you to it? What does it give you in return? Do you find that any of the UU principles resonate with you on this body/spirit level?

And I told them that the worship planning committee thinks that their story can lead to people experiencing it, going home and considering the idea for their own lives.

I have lined up three speakers: a woman triathon athelete & marathon runner; a woman who bicycles through the Rockies on a regular basis and is into yoga and tai chi; and a man who has started his own business as a weight lifting and fitness training expert. We're going to incorporate yogic breathing exercises and a few mudras into the service, too, to create a body/spirit connection right while we're there.
shesingsnow: (UU)
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(Pardon the code)

Today's UUS:E service is about water as a spiritual call. When the guest speaker wrote to us, she said that she'd founded an organization to raise money and awareness for clean water. She said that she was about to walk from Cape Town to Cairo (7,000 miles) for this water conservation cause.

I responded that yes, we'd be interested in having her speak, but that I would not want a lecture on water. Instead, I asked her to speak about what called her to go on this journey. I asked her to speak about would keep her going on mile #5708. I asked her to speak about what happened inside her to call her to put her body through that.

And she agreed to go with it and Sarah on my team took over from there. Should be good.

Truth

Apr. 11th, 2011 04:47 pm
shesingsnow: (UU)
Okay, this month's blurb for the newsletter.

May’s Ministry Theme: Truth
by Marlene
Co-Chair, Sunday Services Committee


‎‎"I call that mind free which…calls no man master, which does not content itself with a passive or hereditary faith, which opens itself to light whencesoever it may come..." - Rev. William Ellery Channing

"What may appear as Truth to one person will often appear as untruth to another person. But that need not worry the seeker. Where there is honest effort, it will be realized that what appear to be different truths are like the countless and apparently different leaves of the same tree." – Ghandi

It requires a certain amount of freedom to be able to seek the truth. In April our ministry theme called us to consider freedom. We affirm and promote the free and responsible search for truth and meaning in our lives. But what is truth?

We start out believing as true the things we feel, taste, touch, see and hear. Then we discover tangible evidence that sensory truth is distinct and subject to biology. It’s a surprise when we learn that humans interpret colors differently. We’re amazed to find that cilantro reeks of stinkbugs and soap to some and offers a sharp lemony flavor to others.

Our circle of learning expands: we begin to see that experiences shape truths as well. Family, home, neighborhood, education and religious upbringing all contribute to how we filter truth in our lives.

As Unitarian Universalists, we seek to expand the filters of biology and experience. We are invited to examine the validity of what we believe is true. We are asked to keep searching to stretch the boundaries of our beliefs as a part of our spiritual growth.

Consider these questions when you are thinking about truth this month:

- What does truth mean to you?
- Who gets to decide when something is true?
- How do you seek the truth?
- Has the truth ever changed for you?
- How would you respond to someone who believes their religious creed is truth?
- Are the UU Principles & Purposes a form of truth?

Writing

Mar. 25th, 2011 09:14 pm
shesingsnow: (UU)
Wrote pages 10-25 in the new Sunday Services Coordinator's Manual last night.

I'm writing it from scratch because I simply couldn't figure out how to take the old scrabble of eleven pages and put it into something that was workable. I finally decided just to start over.

And it was great. Felt good, that is, to be writing.

The book has three parts and last night I completed the first part. Part one is committee operations info, Part two will be the detailed process of creating a worship service. Part three will be the removable script & checklist section.

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