Here is a list of the topics for Adult RE for the foreseeable future. Adult RE will take on the UUA topic of "What Moves Us", a pre-written program by Rev Dr. Thandeka. The question I have is whether the weekly program can be adapted to 45/60 minutes or whether we need to plan on each workshop taking two weeks. Please check back on this "event," and as we progress through these workshops we will add links, dates, and other information.
Unit 6: (Starting June 10) What Moves Us - Sophia Lyon Fahs - For more than 80 years, Fahs developed and used her Theology of Religious Naturalism to show religious educators how to discover and nurture the emotional foundations of liberal faith. For most of her professional life as a religious educator, professor, writer, editor, and public lecturer, Fahs developed and used her theological system to track basic human emotions and show how they become religious emotions. To this end, her Theology of Religious Naturalism, which she called her "natural humanism," explored five basic emotional urges and needs she believed were foundational to the religious experiences of liberal faith.
Our next UU person of importance is Sophia Lyon Fahs. For most of her professional life as a religious educator, professor, writer, editor, and public lecturer, Fahs developed and used her theological system to track basic human emotions and show how they become religious emotions. To this end, her Theology of Religious Naturalism, which she called her "natural humanism," explored five basic emotional urges and needs she believed were foundational to the religious experiences of liberal faith. She believed the task of religious educators in particular and religious professionals (clergy and laity) in general was not only to recognize these core, ever-present, human emotional states, but also to develop programs that could transform these basic feelings into religious experiences of joy and wonder and more: personal religious experiences, as she put it, of God's presence in the natural world.
- What does the term God mean to you? To what does the term refer for you? Do you find it a useful term when reflecting on your own experiences of creativity and creative engagement? Compare and contrast your understanding of the term God with Fahs' understanding of the term.
- According to Fahs, human beings were originally impelled "to be religious because [they] needed something [they] had not yet found." Have you felt impelled to want to be religious? If you have not felt so impelled, reflect upon the circumstances that led you to become a Unitarian Universalist. Then find the emotions linked to these circumstances (e.g., feeling emotionally confused, feeling at risk, feeling alone, feeling free). Fahs believes that this emotional component of your experience led to the transformation of your feelings into religious sentiments. Do you agree?
- Are you a Unitarian Universalist because you needed something and found it in this faith tradition? Are you seeking something you have not yet found? Do Fahs' claims here make sense to you based on your own experience?
Unit 7: What Moves Us - James Luther Adams - This workshop formally introduces the Pragmatic Theory of Religious Beliefs, a theory many Unitarian Universalists already affirm though they may not know it by this name. Developed by Unitarian Universalist minister, theologian, and social ethicist James Luther Adams, the theory, simply stated, is this: Belief is revealed in deeds, not creeds. This workshop uses as a focal point the conversion experience that lies at the devotional heart of Adams' pragmatic theory.
Unit 8: What Moves Us - Forrest Church - This program introduces Forrest Church's Universalist Theology for the Twenty-First Century. Church developed this contemporary "theological universalism" to address what he called a principal challenge to the creation of a viable theology today: social fragmentation. As he put it, we live in a world "where togetherness is no longer a luxury but a necessity; where we are thrown together by realities that shape our common destiny." Those realities include the global economy, global communication systems, and global nuclear and environmental threats.
Unit 9: What Moves Us - Rev. Dr. William F. Schultz - This program introduces the Rev. Dr. William F. Schulz's theology, Unitarian Universalism in a New Key. Schulz, president of the Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations from 1985-1993, executive director of Amnesty International USA from 1994-2006, and current president and CEO of the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee, created this theology to "sound Unitarian Universalism in a new and more melodic key."
Unit 10: What Moves Us - Rev. Dr. Thandeka - Our personal faith as Unitarian Universalists begins with our own life experiences. This is a conclusion of the 2005 Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations (UUA) Commission on Appraisal Report, "Engaging Our Theological Diversity," which found that "almost universally among UUs, personal experience is considered the most important source of religious conviction." The report calls for "theological literacy," inviting us to deepen and clarify our theological understanding of personal experience "individually and collectively." To this end, we must do two things, says Thandeka: We must investigate what personal experience means for us today as Unitarian Universalists and we must explore how our individual personal experiences become Unitarian Universalist religious convictions.