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Monday, December 10, 2007

This week at uuworld.org: Mike Gravel's religion.

Michelle Deakin profiles human rights lawyer and Unitarian Universalist minister Karen Tse, who is helping to train public defenders in China and other countries as part of a global initiative to end the use of torture. The organization she leads, International Bridges to Justice, now works in six countries in Asia and Africa.

Columnist Doug Muder sits down with former Senator and current Democratic presidential candidate Mike Gravel, who has identified himself as a Unitarian Universalist since he entered politics in the 1960s (although he hasn't been affiliated with a congregation since he left Alaska in the early 1980s).

In the news, Jane Greer reports that the UUA Panel on Theological Education gave grants to two doctoral students in religious studies this year as part of an effort to revitalize aid to scholars. Jane also reports that a fire in the sanctuary of the Throop Memorial Church in Pasadena, Calif., appears to be arson. And Sonja Cohen tracks another week of Unitarian Universalists in the media.

Copyright © 2007 by Philocrites | Posted 10 December 2007 at 8:48 AM

Previous: Obituaries of extraordinary Unitarian Universalists.
Next: Happy birthday, Frederic Henry Hedge!

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5 comments:

Philocrites:

December 10, 2007 12:48 PM | Permalink for this comment

Re Karen Tse: I meant to mention that today is Human Rights Day, the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which the UN General Assembly adopted on this date in 1948. The link takes you to the text on Amnesty International's site, but also check out the United Nations page that launches a year-long celebration of the 60th anniversary of the declaration.

I've treasured a pocket copy of the Declaration that I picked up from an Amnesty International table at a rock concert back in 1988 or thereabouts.

Bill Baar:

December 10, 2007 04:39 PM | Permalink for this comment

(although he hasn't been affiliated with a congregation since he left Alaska in the early 1980s).

I have family members, friends, and people I just know, who if asked what religion they are, say Unitarian (never UU which is a tip off they don't have much familiarity with us).

I've gone to weddings and funerals for such people and it's obvious there strangers there.

I've never seen them in Church or known them to pledge. They may have never signed a book. (That's a small point for me as I took a few years to sign at UUSG but pledged years before).

As a faith focused on covenant rather than creed, I sort of view these statements by Gravel as professions of a faith without making a covenant.

That rankles me a bit. We allow people to use us without asking much of them.

I heard Scot Giles give a sermon on these travelers once and do believe part of supporting my Church is to give shelter to spiritual transients. That's part of our call.

But it still rankles...


Dudley Jones:

December 12, 2007 11:24 AM | Permalink for this comment

What is wrong with saying "I am a Unitarian"? Unitarians have been around for a long time. (Was Moses a Unitarian, but didn't know it?) It is very common for Unitarian Universalists to be extremely critical of "the church across the street" - I do not identify with that sort of thing at all, and I do not want my Catholic or Baptist friends to think I disrespect their religion.

Philocrites:

December 12, 2007 11:34 AM | Permalink for this comment

Dudley, I assume you're annoyed with Gravel's story about discovering that he didn't believe in Catholicism anymore, but I'm not sure. Do you have a way to help converts to Unitarianism describe their conversion stories in new ways? For many of us, a first step really was discovering that we no longer believed the doctrines or trusted the leadership of the church we belonged to.

Dudley Jones:

December 13, 2007 12:11 PM | Permalink for this comment

Sorry about unclarity. I was commenting on:

"I have family members, friends, and people I just know, who if asked what religion they are, say Unitarian (never UU which is a tip off they don't have much familiarity with us)."

rather than the Gravel story.



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