j.a.leonard at mindspring.com
Fri Dec 26 12:11:59 EST 2003
It's great to hear from you! Sounds like you'd have very interesting
contributions to make to discussions. The UUCF has a few different email
lists, and this Revival one is related to the continental gatherings we've
been holding every two years (now going to yearly). The next one will be in
Worcester, Mass in November of 2004.
The list that's set up for discussion is the UUCF-L, which you can join by
sending an email message to LISTSERV at HOME.EASE.LSOFT.COM that just says
"subscribe UUCF-L" - without the quotes.
Hope to see you there,
At 08:49 AM 12/26/03 -0800, you wrote:
>My name is Shawn Strout. I live in Washington, DC and have been a member
>of All Souls Church, Unitarian here in DC for over 2 years now. I just
>wanted to take a moment to introduce myself and then end by asking a
>question regarding the nature of this forum.
>I grew up fundamentalist Baptist. When I became a teenager, I sprouted my
>spiritual wings if you will. I became very involved in my church entirely
>of my own volition. I would play the piano for a nursing home while we
>had a church service, participate in youth group, sing in the choir,
>etc. In my junior year, I began to pray very earnestly for God's will in
>my life in terms of my future career. I went to such extremes to even
>fast at different times because I wanted to know God's will so
>desperately. Through a series of events, I came to a place where I felt
>that He was calling me into the ministry.
>I then attended Pensacola Christian College (much like Bob Jones
>University except they are not as racist) and earned a BA in Bible. Soon
>after leaving college, I came to terms with something else that I had been
>struggling with since becoming a teenager...my sexual orientation. Coming
>out as gay left me no more room to participate in the Southern Baptist
>tradition. So, I left the church.
>For some time, I remained mostly unchurched. Then, in North Carolina, I
>began attending a CUUPS (Covenant of UU Pagans) group. I was delighted
>because I had once again begun a regular spiritual practice. I
>participated with this group for a year and a half until I moved to DC.
>In DC, I became interested in Buddhism. While neopaganism had and still
>has a special place in my heart, I didn't feel it was touching the depths
>of my soul. Buddhism intrigues me greatly. I began to practice (and
>still do) Buddhism soon upon arriving in DC. I find much of its
>explanations of the nature of things to make a great deal of sense. I
>find meditation and chanting to be very helpful practices. However, it
>comes from a vastly different culture.
>Recently, I have begun to recognize that I have spent much of my adulthood
>at odds with my culture. This spring, I read the terrific article on
>Process Theology in UU World. I was captivated. I began to wonder if
>maybe Process Theology could be a bridge between what made sense to me in
>Buddhism and the richness of my own cultural heritage in Christianity...or
>at least Theism (panentheism). At GA, I attended Rev. Dr. Thandeka's
>wonderful lecture on "Affect Theology" in which she explains that much of
>the world's religions begin with the first affectional response to the
>Holy and then form the structures of their religion out of their cultural
>I began to wonder if maybe I was missing something by not having grown up
>in a culture that embraced Buddhism. Were there deep cultural connections
>that span generations that maybe I was not able to partake being outside
>of the culture? Undoubtedly Buddhism will adapt to the West, but it will
>take many generations for it to completely. In the meantime, am I missing
>out on a rich spiritual experience by avoiding/rejecting my own cultural
>religious heritage of Christianity?
>Thus, I am here. At this very moment, I am not comfortable describing
>myself as a Christian. I still hold onto too many of my old views of what
>Christianity is to be able to do that now. However, I know that those
>views can and will change. What I treasure most about being UU is that I
>can draw upon the richness of many spiritual traditions, including
>My question about this forum is whether or not it is meant to be a
>discussion forum. There has not been much activity according to the
>archives, so I wondered if maybe it is only meant for announcements. The
>UU Buddhist Fellowhship forum gets quite lively with discussion, but I
>didn't want to begin that here if that's not appropriate here.
>Thank you so much for reading all of my rambling! :)
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