Wednesday, January 28, 2009

UU's and authority

A link I want to save for later....bad cold and couldn't sleep.

Following the Guv a great way to get sleepy.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Chalice Chick's impossible question is....

"What experiences have you had that help you deeply understand the mindset and values of another culture?"
If there is an interconnect web of life (nee botherhood of man) is this question necessary?

Friday, January 23, 2009

Universalism: A Kind and Gentle Religious Tradition was Once Dynamic in Galesburg

From Universalism: A Kind and Gentle Religious Tradition was Once Dynamic in Galesburg

I'm curious about the sentence on Creeds negating New Truths. I'm curious on the change from the 30s, to the 50's, and then to now; and does the emergence of a New Truth mean the death of an old truth much like Universalism disappearing from Galesburg: no longer a dynamic truth in the town.
The First Universalist Church in Galesburg was located at the corner of S. Prairie and Tompkins St. from 1895 to 1963. In a pamphlet issued by that church in the 1950s, questions were answered about the religion: "What is a Universalist? A Universalist is one who believes that in religion, as in everything, each individual should be free to seek the truth for himself, unhampered by official creeds. He regards creeds as negative: they say `No' to new truth. The mind can only honestly affirm what actually persuades it and this often can be in conflict with the creeds. To a Universalist, it is therefore a sacred obligation to accept whatever he finds to be the truth, and to follow it wherever it leads him." God is viewed as a Love which permeates all things.

Throughout the pamphlet it is stressed that all are free to believe what persuades them. The little pamphlet gives a bit of history and traces the origins of Universalism back to Rev. John Murray who organized its first society in Gloucester, Mass. in 1770. It is mentioned that the Universalist Benjamin Rush and the Unitarian Thomas Jefferson collaborated to produce the Declaration of Independence which proclaimed the freedom of man as well as his equality in the sight of God. Mention is made that Universalism is distinctly Protestant and tried to carry the Reformation much further than it went.

In contrast to this pamphlet from the 1950s a Universalist Church Membership Certificate from the 1930s contains the text of a "Profession of Belief," "Declaration of Principles" and a "Bond of Fellowship and Statement of Faith." While the membership certificate stresses the importance of the individual liberty of interpretation, still it gives a picture of a more structured religion than does the pamphlet of the later period.

Rev Peter Morales on Peace Making

Rev Morales responds to my Peace Making post.

I agree with him here (at least most of it. The scalability of any statement from the personal to the social bothers me). I think more discussion would result in a better understanding of Peace Making than any statement written by a committee.

More on this next week but for know a big thank you to Rev Morales for a response and his insights.

I apologize for the delay in my response. I have been on the road and in a seemingly endless series of meetings.

I have not had time to give the statement careful study. I have read through it quickly.

My initial reaction (and it is nothing more than this) is that the statement is not likely to have much effect. I am sympathetic to the general idea of peacemaking as involving levels that go from the personal to the international.

What is missing is a sense of peace as something much more than the absence of violence. In the Hebrew scriptures, the word "shalom" is translated into English as "peace." However, "shalom" has meanings "peace" does not convey. The ancient concept is about wholeness. To wish someone peace is to wish him or her a whole and healthy life. Our statement needs to emphasize this more, I think. We need to see peace as not merely the opposite of violence, but as a condition of human wholeness and prosperity. When there are conditions of exploitation and injustice, there is no peace even though there may be no violence. What is critical here is that peace is something created and sustained by real conditions and by relationships of compassion, equality, and justice. Western Europe is at peace today because it has come a long way in creating the conditions of peace.

I realize that the statement does address this in part, but I think it gives too much emphasis to peace as merely the absence of violence.

Peter Morales

Thursday, January 15, 2009

The liberal prisoner, Ayatollah Kazemeini Boroujerdi is driven to extremities

A cross post from BameAzadi,
Today morning January 15, 2009, the religious government of Iran transferred the pacific clergy, Ayatollah Kazemeini Boroujerdi from military section to narcotic addicts section in order to make more restricts in his communication with out of prison. It's necessary to say that the reflex of his pacific revealing and taking positions specially his views on necessity of abstaining from war and bloodshed and also of making peace between Arabs and Israel on mass media and in Human Rights Societies led to severe anger and hostile decision of Government against him. Please pay attention that the intensity of cold and wet in narcotic addicts section will increase the intensity of his diseases and gravity of his state.

" Today they transferred me to another section and change my place to torture me more than before. I have faced with new and more serious problems in this part of Yazd prison such as cold and restriction in using telephone. The goal of despotic government is ruining my resistance and stifling my voice.

Now once again I ask my attorneys in and out of country to announce their protests against Human Rights violation and against denial of freedom for a religious prisoner leader and to ask Prisoners Defenders organizations to increase and intensify their delivering movement and also to ask world's mass media to help to remove severe and heavy restrictions on me. Cutting off my phone calls indicates blocking the procedure of Human Rights Watch in medieval prisons. Suffocating and detaining a preacher of freedom and belief independence in appalling sections of religious government purports blocking effective and permanent news in current world.

I am spending regrettable time as I need immediate help of world's societies."

It is necessary to mention that above news has been confirmed by Human Rights Activists in Iran

Sunday, January 04, 2009

UUA's Peace Making draft and an American "umbrella" against a nuclear-armed Iran.

My issue with UUA's draft, and the one developed by my Church's Social Justice Committee, was they were such consensus documents they didn't offer much. We could use them to fit many positions.

One response to me was UUA was going to speak on my behalf anyways, so we should give them something to go on.

I responded, if someone is going to speak for me on war and peace, lets hear them speak on some of the pressing issues. They shouldn't need a draft of anything. Let me hear what you think now. (Asking Hallman and Morales now would be a nice start.)

I suggested Obama's leaked offer to extend Amercia's nuclear umbrella to Israel, in the event of a Iranian first strike, as a way to test any statement of conscience. (There's others too... intervention in Zimbabwe for example. So lets hear some responses and ask ourselves how they would guide us resolving today's wars and pending wars.

Here's from Amir Taheri today in Asharq Alawsat: A Chilling Report from Paris.
Iran is a "short distance" from securing all it needs to make a nuclear warhead. This is the conclusion of a long-awaited report prepared for the French National Assembly (parliament) and submitted to President Nicolas Sarkozy in the last days of 2008.

The report is the fruit of a bipartisan effort headed by Jean-Louis Bianco, a prominent Socialist Member of Parliament, and senior advisor to President Francois Mitterrand in the 1980s and 1990s. Much of the report is based on the in-depth research done by a number of leading French experts on international politics and nuclear proliferation, among them Francois Heisbourg and Therese Delpeche.
And further down, America's emerging response,
At first glance, it looks as if the US is tilting towards accepting the inevitable and trying to manage its consequences. One sign came last month when US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice offered her Arab counterparts an American "umbrella" against a nuclear-armed Iran.

Rice's discourse echoed the position of Hillary Clinton, Secretary of State-designate in the incoming Obama administration.

Here is how Clinton put it: " I think deterrence has not been effectively used in recent times. We used it very well during the Cold War when we had a bipolar world, and what I think the President should do and what our policy should be is to make it very clear to the Iranians that they would be risking massive retaliation were they to launch a nuclear attack on Israel. In addition, if Iran were to become a nuclear power, it could set off an arms race that would be incredibly dangerous and destabilizing because the countries in the region are not going to want Iran to be the only nuclear power. So I can imagine that they would be rushing to obtain nuclear weapons themselves. In order to forestall that, creating some kind of a security agreement where we said, no, you do not need to acquire nuclear weapons. If you were the subject of an unprovoked nuclear attack by Iran, the United States and hopefully our NATO allies would respond to that."

The approach of both Rice and Clinton to the issue is in sharp contrast with the French, and the broader European, position that remains geared to preventing Tehran from crossing the threshold.
So where does our Statement of Conscience put UU's? With Clinton and Rice, or Europe? What says the SOC of returning a holocaust of Jews or Arabs with a Holocaust of Iranians?

If our candidates Hallman or Morales have thought about this? What do they plan to say on my behalf. I'd like to know now. By the time it comes for a vote on the SOC in Salt Lake, it might be a vastly different world.