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Adult Religious Exploration

  • BHUUF 2201 3rd Street Rapid City, SD, 57701 United States (map)

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 One: Discussion about one of the Universalism’s founding fathers, George De Benneville. During our discussion we will learn about the life of De Benneville, his concept of unconditional love, and his emotional restoration to health and wholeness. Activity 1: We will share out own personal stories of being loved. Activity 2: Introducing George De Benneville: where we learn about the founding father of Universalism. Activity 3: Testing De Benneville: where we discuss spiritual crisis, feeling unconditionally loved, and how to marry our perception of love to our UU spiritual journey.  Plan to attend and read the following if possible:


Unit Two (ish, you know): What Moves Us - Charles Chauncy - Called the "historical progenitor" of American Unitarianism in David Robinson's 1984 book, The Unitarians and The Universalists (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press), Chauncy was pastor from 1727 to 1787 at the First Church of Boston, the city's oldest and most prestigious congregational church. He was also the leading defender of the religious interests and political power of Boston's ruling elite merchant class against a rising tide of evangelical preachers of the Great Awakening. These evangelical preachers made public, intensely charged, emotional conversion experiences foundational to Christian faith. They condemned congregational ministers like Chauncy and urged the members of these ministers' churches to abandon ship and join the rising tide of revivalism.

Please join us on Sunday, March 4 at 3:00pm for Adult Religious Exploration. This Sunday we will be looking at another liberal religion great, Charles Chauncy. Chauncy was the liberal opposition to the “Great Awakening” of the 18th century. Considered one of the most influential religious leaders of his time, he stood in stark contract to Jonathon Edwards, a revivalist and leader of a puritanical return to the fundamentals of Christianity. Edwards wrote the famous sermon "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God" published in 1741.  We will: (1) Learn about the Chauncy's “Four Human Capacities” for Spiritual Transformation (2) Discover our own experiences with UU-ism in the context of the Four Human Capacities  (3) And ask ourselves, how do Chauncy’s four categories help strengthen or deepen our own experience? The links below will help in our understanding of the time, and its place in American history.

Unit 3: What Moves Us - Hosea Ballou - Ballou was the most influential and singularly important Universalist preacher, public theologian, editor, author, and pastor in 19th-century America. He believed human happiness is a mandate of liberal faith. We have a God-given right to be happy, Ballou insisted.

Unit 4: What Moves Us - William Ellery Channing - This workshop introduces William Ellery Channing's Theology of Emotional Struggle and invites them to test the relevance of Channing's theological assessment of emotional struggle for our own Unitarian Universalist faith today. Channing has been called "the single most important figure in the history of American Unitarianism" and recognized as the man who gave "the liberal Christians of his day a party platform.

Unit 5:  What Moves Us - Margaret Fuller - This program tests the relevance of her theological legacy for our religious lives as Unitarian Universalists today. Fuller, once called "America's first famous European revolutionist since Thomas Paine," taught America how to think, feel, and act with non-dogmatic, life-affirming spiritual integrity. She was an international advocate for human rights the first editor of The Dial, the Transcendentalist literary magazine; and author of five books and almost 350 articles, essays, and poems.

Unit 6: 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.

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.


Later Event: March 4
Love Is A Wild Goose