Archive for February, 2010

Let’s call him Henry.

February 25, 2010

I decided that there needs to be a second chapter to the story.  Things are going great.  My friend Henry of the not quite appropriate RE fame has become my own personal project.  I was elected into giving him the orientation.  However, he has a million questions.  Questions about the source of our denomination (Unitarian Universalism)   and about all the other faiths that we respect.  He was raised with Catholic School Upbringing, and having left that, threw out the Baby, the bath water and the entire tub of religion.  His absolute and pervasive cluelessness is helpful in RE.  He thought that blessing HAD to come from some other being.  There had to be a God of some sort in order to have a blessing.  Some blessings just are.  Like when you almost fall but don’t or maybe you had the fortune not to be in Haiti on the wrong day.  He thought that for something to qualify as a blessing it had to have some supernatural divinity attached to it.

Henry is opening my mind to how people get caught up in the word wars in ways I couldn’t guess.  He thought also that prayer had to have a God associated with that (this would be the bathwater I think)  and finding out that prayer was poetry directed both outwards and inwards.  He found this exciting.  He’d put prayer down as he considered himself an atheist.  As he rejected the God of his childhood.  Finding out he could take it up again while retaining his religious dignity was freeing.

Henry is going to make me a minister, if it can be done, by showing me all the ways that humanists can get caught up in the definitions of church learned before they were 10.  Last night there was a meditation.  He said to me, what’s that?  A blessing?  I told him it was his assignment to go down the hall and check it out.  He came out glowing with peace and relaxation.  He’d never experienced that kind of thing before.  I think the meditation of his childhood was something mostly about guilt and the contemplation of sin.  He’d never had opportunity before to quiet the mind and just see what was there for him to see.  He thought it was the best thing ever.

Henry, by the way, has a Masters degree and is very well read.  Which is why I had no trouble assigning him Karen Armstrong’s “The History of God”.  He has such huge holes in his knowledge of  religion outside of Christianity.  He may determine that there’s something to all these people with other beliefs after all.  It’s quite wonderful.  I told him to read it without try to memorize all the details.  That no one could really remember all of that.  I told him about her history as an X-nun theologian.  I hope he finds her as inspiring as I do.  I certainly would not suggest to him her latest book on Atheism until he gets the other bits down first.

I was dreading working with him because i couldn’t understand his cluelessness but now I think I get it more and I will be able to take both of us on a trip through the introduction to Unitarian Universalism.

Pray for him would you?  Now he knows what it is, I think he is okay with it.

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Religious Education

February 18, 2010

We are having  an RE evening each week and we have a new church friend who is carrying some really substantial baggage about religion.  He is very interested in participating and loves to share uncomfortable stories with us in a very dramatic way.  I’d love to know how other people have handled such persons.  It’s not a total hijack of the class but his comments don’t actually answer the question that was just asked.  Our RE leader was adept at bringing him back into the conversation.  And I think given an opportunity I would have him do readings for us as much as possible.   I’m sure you’ve run across this type of person before.  I’m trying to figure out how to help him and the class to be able to accept him (I think we are doing fairly well so far but would love to have insight from others. )