Sunday, August 05, 2007

Beautiful and calm...

This place, that is.

We're back from a week there, and had a wonderful time. My only gripe isn't anything that anyone can do anything about--it's that mountain air, in summer, during an extended drought (even the cedars are looking stressed; we need rain!) is damnably dry.


WFW said...

On my way up to Unirondack, where my 16 year old son has spent two weeks. Not so scenic, but blessed with water and mosquitos and friends.

Cruised your recent posts. As a lifer, it took leaving UU-ville to force me to think really outside the box. You see, when speaking to each other, members of a group inevitably use shared concepts and language. It's just easier.

Of course, in our Euro shaped world, Christianity is the default concept and language, and thus the questions (as you noted) are informed by that world view. No one would ask "do you believe in the Bible" in Mumbai or Nepal.

UUs are as defined by Christinaity and as anyone else in this culture. Even negative answers are responses to that question (a spiritual form of 'have you stopped beating your wife?')

Still, it has been good to have to be religious without the convenience of UU speak and history. Hard but good.

In fact, I have reached a clarity I never had before, and can share it with you. Go to the library page of my church website and look for a sermon I preached last year - "The Greatest Sermon Ever preached." It's ironic, by the way.

ogre said...

It was Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr., who observed that "We are all tattooed with the beliefs of our tribes...". And it's true. Someone growing up Christian, or Buddhist, or Muslim, or Jewish gets those tattoos--even if they don't end up affirming them, they carry them. The same's true of culture. While we citizens of the USA don't see ourselves as distinctly, obviously American... we are. Living overseas, it's only a short time before you realize that you can spot your own with startling reliability--and so can other people. Just as one can tell an Aussie or a German, if one's familiar with the signs.

I do recognize that in speaking with each other (other UUs) we speak our own jargon, because the shorthand really does make it faster and easier--unless there's someone who isn't fluent in UUese present. It's true even speaking with other Americans, if less so; we still share such a range of experience and assumption that while the water may be a little murkier... we're still in familiar water and hardly even notice it.

Talking with a native of Mumbai or a Kenyan, there'd be less common ground to start from.

But I'm not sure that American UUs can start to effectively reach out and communicate across those boundaries and borders until we've figured out what we are now, post-Christian, Christian-influenced whatever-it-is-that-we-ares.

Elsewhere you quoted Lincoln; "The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise—with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew." So true. (Perhaps always true, in every era.)

I've been outside the UU fold. I believe I understand what you're saying. But I've found no place else where what I've found true fits as well.

Thanks for the pointer; I'll go read the sermon. I love irony.