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#1 of 27 Old 03-21-2011, 09:11 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Silly question, I know! What I'm really looking for is a chance for my children to explore their spirituality, moral education/reinforcement for them, and a nice community where we can belong and practice charity.

 

Any suggestions?

 

Also, I'm liberal and don't want any fire and damnation (obviously, don't believe in God, CERTAINLY don't believe in Satan) or homophobia.


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#2 of 27 Old 03-21-2011, 09:18 PM
 
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We are in the same boat...DH is agnostic... We checked out a Unitarian church and someone welcomed DH (who said he was atheist). The guy told him that Unitarian Church is for atheists with kids. lol.gif. They have a Sunday School program that teaches about all the religions... Also tend to be very active in the community doing service and charity stuff. I only went the one time so far so that's all I know...
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#3 of 27 Old 03-21-2011, 09:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, I was thinking about them, too. There's two in town and dh doesn't want to go to one of them because he knows (and doesn't particularly like) a few of the people who are very active in it. The other one seems okay. They had A LOT of stuff on their website about "developing the whole you", and "how to become a more peaceful self", and was just a little bit too self-oriented, though, if that makes any sense. I feel like focusing on one's self is the ONLY message one gets from any form of popular culture, so I'm looking for a way to focus on service, or if you are thinking about yourself, it's only because you're thinking about how you can better impact your community.


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#4 of 27 Old 03-22-2011, 07:24 AM
 
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i agree uu it probably your best bet.

 

ive never found them to self centered, but since you have 2 in town, very impressive, i guess they can specialize.

 

uu tend to have strong opinions.  they can debate forever


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#5 of 27 Old 03-22-2011, 08:17 AM
 
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If you live in a bigger city, you might want to see if there is an Ethical Society. Here's a link. 

 

I was raised Quaker. It is definitely a christian religion, but many congregations are very liberal, so there is a big tent feeling. My mom is an atheist-quaker. I'm agnostic and my dh is an atheist and we have always felt welcome. 

 

Otherwise, I agree that UU is probably your best bet. 


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#6 of 27 Old 03-22-2011, 08:35 AM
 
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Lots of parishes in the Episcopal Church that are very liberal and do lots of community service, although they are Christian, it's not of the shove it down your throat type. Plus, the ritual is lovely and the music is often pretty good. Worth at least checking out the websites of the parishes in your area. Some parishes are conservative, but a look at the website will usually tell you that.

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#7 of 27 Old 03-22-2011, 12:51 PM
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Good to see this thread. I have been eyeing the UU church for a while now, but never got up the guts to go. I loved the community aspect of religion, but I don't want all the other stuff that goes with it. I also like the idea of a church that can help you get involved in charity. I know that the UU church in my area is really involved in LGBT rights and immigration reform. I'm not sure what else they're into.

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#8 of 27 Old 03-22-2011, 05:11 PM
 
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Why don't you just go check out the UU fellowship that you haven't already eliminated?  Sometimes websites can be really misleading.


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#9 of 27 Old 03-22-2011, 05:21 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I know there is a nice Episcopalian church here because my sister used to sing in their choir. I know they would definitely be more bible-oriented, but I guess if they're liberal they would pick and choose a little bit which stories they choose to emphasize, right? There is also a Methodist church that calls themselves progressive and accepting and mentions several times on their website that they accept people of all sexual orientations, which is kind of a biggie for me if we're going to go with a Christian church.


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#10 of 27 Old 03-22-2011, 07:18 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuamami View Post

I know there is a nice Episcopalian church here because my sister used to sing in their choir. I know they would definitely be more bible-oriented, but I guess if they're liberal they would pick and choose a little bit which stories they choose to emphasize, right? There is also a Methodist church that calls themselves progressive and accepting and mentions several times on their website that they accept people of all sexual orientations, which is kind of a biggie for me if we're going to go with a Christian church.


Just keep in mind that the Episcopal Church, while very welcoming/accepting of seekers, all sexual orientations, other religions, is still very much a Christian church.  If you are open to talking about Jesus and having your kids learn about Jesus in Sunday School, give it a try, but be forewarned.  No one will try to "convert" you or make you feel out of place if you don't believe, but I think everyone assumes that you will keep an open mind towards the Church's teachings and traditions, and towards the idea of God. 

 

You might also want to check out the United Church of Christ (UCC)--I have heard a few church members jokingly refer to themselves as "Unitarians Considering Christ."  I think the UCC is probably even more liberal than the Episcopal Church, similarly into social justice, acceptance of all sexual orientations, etc.

 

Sounds like the Unitarian Church might really be your best bet.

 


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#11 of 27 Old 03-22-2011, 07:31 PM
 
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You might want to check out the Religious Society of Friends, i.e. Quakers. See if there is an unprogrammed Meeting in your area.

One of the three historic peace churches in the US, Friends have a long tradition of supporting gender and social equality, simplicity, pacifism and social justice. Main belief: everyone has the "inner light" within them. Sure, some consider that inner light Jesus, some God, some the divine spark, others see it as our shared humanity. Whatever it is, it's what has kept Friends on their path for hundreds of years. They are a very welcoming bunch and I always found the silent Meetings very meaningful.
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I would look into the Episcopal Church. Yes they are a Christian denomination, but they are very intellectual, so the homilies tend to be more historical and informative than dogmatic. They also have a lovely ritual/liturgy, and a church calendar. I personally, find the rhythm of the calendar very centering. You will also find a lot of volunteer opportunities. Good luck!

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#13 of 27 Old 03-22-2011, 08:58 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Just keep in mind that the Episcopal Church, while very welcoming/accepting of seekers, all sexual orientations, other religions, is still very much a Christian church.  If you are open to talking about Jesus and having your kids learn about Jesus in Sunday School, give it a try, but be forewarned.  No one will try to "convert" you or make you feel out of place if you don't believe, but I think everyone assumes that you will keep an open mind towards the Church's teachings and traditions, and towards the idea of God. 

 

You might also want to check out the United Church of Christ (UCC)--I have heard a few church members jokingly refer to themselves as "Unitarians Considering Christ."  I think the UCC is probably even more liberal than the Episcopal Church, similarly into social justice, acceptance of all sexual orientations, etc.

 

Sounds like the Unitarian Church might really be your best bet.

 

 

Thanks for the UCC tip! I was under the impression they were evangelical, born-again, hardcore Christians. I'll look into that.
 

 



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Originally Posted by zinemama View Post

You might want to check out the Religious Society of Friends, i.e. Quakers. See if there is an unprogrammed Meeting in your area.

One of the three historic peace churches in the US, Friends have a long tradition of supporting gender and social equality, simplicity, pacifism and social justice. Main belief: everyone has the "inner light" within them. Sure, some consider that inner light Jesus, some God, some the divine spark, others see it as our shared humanity. Whatever it is, it's what has kept Friends on their path for hundreds of years. They are a very welcoming bunch and I always found the silent Meetings very meaningful.


I've thought about this, because they do meet very close to us and have a very cute little meeting house. However, I do not think a silent meeting would go well with my kids. I cannot even imagine how stressful that would be, actually.

 



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I would look into the Episcopal Church. Yes they are a Christian denomination, but they are very intellectual, so the homilies tend to be more historical and informative than dogmatic. They also have a lovely ritual/liturgy, and a church calendar. I personally, find the rhythm of the calendar very centering. You will also find a lot of volunteer opportunities. Good luck!


Oooh, that sounds appealing. I do want my kids to have a good cultural understanding of Christian theology and the bible.

 


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#14 of 27 Old 03-22-2011, 09:10 PM
 
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I do not think a silent meeting would go well with my kids. I cannot even imagine how stressful that would be, actually.

Oh, goodness, if the kids were with you the whole time, that would indeed be stressful! But the kids go to First Day School (Sunday School), there to sing "Magic Penny" and learn about Gandhi, while you have a nice peaceful time in the Meeting room. Sometimes kids come in for the first or last ten minutes.
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#15 of 27 Old 03-22-2011, 09:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oh! That sounds nicer. I'm off to look at their website.


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#16 of 27 Old 03-22-2011, 09:31 PM
 
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i teach First Day School (Sunday School for Quakers) and it depends on who is teaching the class. I am definately somewhere between Taoist/Shinto/Pagan Quaker and the woman i teach with is a Christian Quaker.  so, we have taught the Noah story, but didn't talk about God punishing people, but as an allegory for a way to have a community - that everyone has value even if we can't see it, that sometimes we might have an issue with someone else in our community but that since it is important to stay together we need to find a way to resolve it - you can't just jump off the boat.

then the next week we made paper flowers and egg carton ladybugs to celebrate the first day of spring ( i teach the kindergarten set).  

there are a number of atheist/agnostic quakers that i know, as well as different varieties of pagan quakers - our Clerk is heavily influenced by Native American Beliefs.  And there are also the Quakers at my meeting who proudly wear their crosses. but no one will tell your kids that the bible is THE ONLY WAY! and if your kids express agnostic/athiest beliefs they aren't going to get shot down.  

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Originally Posted by Fuamami View Post

I know there is a nice Episcopalian church here because my sister used to sing in their choir. I know they would definitely be more bible-oriented, but I guess if they're liberal they would pick and choose a little bit which stories they choose to emphasize, right? There is also a Methodist church that calls themselves progressive and accepting and mentions several times on their website that they accept people of all sexual orientations, which is kind of a biggie for me if we're going to go with a Christian church.


Former Christian here, raised Catholic, spent 6 years as an episcopal... now I'm UU with pagan/earth based leanings.  My husband is Epsicopal.  Just wanted to give you some Episcopal info...

 

Yes, they are a more liberal Christian denomination... so they will tend to be more accepting of alternative lifestyles and beliefs.  And they aren't fundamentalist in the sense that everyone MUST believe the same thing about a particular tenant of Christian theology... there is this idea of a continuum of beliefs.  However, they are definitely Christian.  And while they will not turn you away if you don't believe in God, the Eucharist ritual is very centered on Christian scripture and is participatory in nature... meaning there are creeds/prayers/responses that the congregation says together and that reflect Christian theology.  This is why I don't attend church with my husband.  It doesn't feel right to me to participate in prayers and recite creeds that I don't believe in and I feel that by not saying them with everyone else, I am separating myself from the communal nature of the service... that's my personal take on it... if you try an Episcopal church, you may have a different sort of spiritual experience. 

 

Also, I want to address the the question about the Episcopal church getting to pick which stories they emphasize.  When you're talking about individual parishes, this really isn't the case.  Episcopal Churches individually are part of the larger American Episcopal church... similar to the way Catholic parishes are part of the larger worldwide RCC (although the Episcopal church in America is democratic in that representatives are elected to go to regional and national conferences where they vote on church policy).  And the American Episcopal church is part of the larger worldwide Anglican Union... so anyway, part of this organization is that the liturgy (church worship) follows the same format in every Episcopal Parish.  And the church follows a lectionary, which is a three year cycle of bible readings, usually one reading from old testament and one non-gospel new testament reading, and one gospel reading, and a psalm.  These are prescribed readings that every church follows... so that it doesn't matter which Epsicopal church you go to or where in the country it is.  On any given Sunday, all Episcopal churches are reading the same bible readings... it's not a pick and choose sort of thing.  Although, the sermons you would hear on the readings have the chance of being pretty varied.  As for my child, I am comfortable with him going to church with his dad (and not just because it is his dad's religion)... because on a whole, the Episcopal church is very open and focused on being loving toward all people.  The particular parish that my husband attends is GLTB friendly... a large number of our friends there are lesbians and have been lovingly accepted into the community (even though I've never heard a sermon openly speak positively about homosexuality), and there is one lady there who is transgendered and everyone is very welcoming to her.  So basically, what I'm saying is that Episcopals on a whole tend to be very warm, open, and loving people.  But they are definitely Christian, and the church services and religious education are going to be Christian in nature.

 

 

Having experience in both the Episcopal church and the UU church, I'm really going to recommend the UU church for an atheist family.  I think that you will have a higher likelihood of finding a place that allows room for you to raise your children atheist, but at the same time explore a variety of spiritual practices and ideas... and also there will probably be plenty of opportunity for charity and community involvement.
 

 


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#18 of 27 Old 03-27-2011, 10:10 AM
 
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Just keep in mind that the Episcopal Church, while very welcoming/accepting of seekers, all sexual orientations, other religions, is still very much a Christian church.  If you are open to talking about Jesus and having your kids learn about Jesus in Sunday School, give it a try, but be forewarned.  No one will try to "convert" you or make you feel out of place if you don't believe, but I think everyone assumes that you will keep an open mind towards the Church's teachings and traditions, and towards the idea of God. 

 

You might also want to check out the United Church of Christ (UCC)--I have heard a few church members jokingly refer to themselves as "Unitarians Considering Christ."  I think the UCC is probably even more liberal than the Episcopal Church, similarly into social justice, acceptance of all sexual orientations, etc.

 

Sounds like the Unitarian Church might really be your best bet.

 

 

Yes a UCC church while Christian is pretty liberal, I know because I attend one. Let's just say that I regularly run into several of my church members attending meditation at the local yoga studio. UCC IMO is really not that far from a UU church at all, our church is heavily into social justice, we are a green church, etc. My dad who is a hardcore evangelical type attended a service and pretty much hated it, no one is trying to convert anyone to anything.
 

 


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#19 of 27 Old 03-27-2011, 10:50 AM
 
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I recommend Lutheran - specifically Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (www.elca.org). I know evangelical is part of the name, but it's not like that. For example, Elca opened the ministry to partnered homosexuals (essentially they don't have to be celibate - which some denominations required). They also believe in bound conscience - which they explain more clearly than I. They also list out stances on social issues - anti death penalty for one. http://www.elca.org/What-We-Believe.aspx


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#20 of 27 Old 03-28-2011, 06:40 AM
 
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I would also highly recommend an unprogrammed Friends Meeting (Quakers). I consider myself to be Quaked/Pagan/Buddhist (but not especially devout in any) and my fiance is Agnostic/Believer-in-all-things-science. My experiences with the Friends Meeting have always been positive, and I have never even had someone question my belief system. Also...the unprogrammed quiet time has always seemed like a wonderful time to just be focused and mindful for me...and I really think that there's an amazing focus on reaching out in charitable work. Even though Friends believe in non-violence, I have never been made to feel uncomfortable for being a proud Army vet. So they score high marks from me on welcoming those who have different beliefs. Oh, and the kids actually seemed excited to go to their group away from the adults, as opposed to many other churches where they seem like they'd rather be somewhere else. Good luck!
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#21 of 27 Old 03-28-2011, 10:22 AM
 
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Just a brief note: the lectionary in the Episcopalian Book of Common Prayer already "skips over" some bits of Scripture those of a more progressive bent would consider offensive - such as the part of Romans, chapter 1 that talks about homosexuality. I've not seen a BCP for eight years, but I specifically remember noting that omission.
 

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Former Christian here, raised Catholic, spent 6 years as an episcopal... now I'm UU with pagan/earth based leanings.  My husband is Epsicopal.  Just wanted to give you some Episcopal info...

 

Yes, they are a more liberal Christian denomination... so they will tend to be more accepting of alternative lifestyles and beliefs.  And they aren't fundamentalist in the sense that everyone MUST believe the same thing about a particular tenant of Christian theology... there is this idea of a continuum of beliefs.  However, they are definitely Christian.  And while they will not turn you away if you don't believe in God, the Eucharist ritual is very centered on Christian scripture and is participatory in nature... meaning there are creeds/prayers/responses that the congregation says together and that reflect Christian theology.  This is why I don't attend church with my husband.  It doesn't feel right to me to participate in prayers and recite creeds that I don't believe in and I feel that by not saying them with everyone else, I am separating myself from the communal nature of the service... that's my personal take on it... if you try an Episcopal church, you may have a different sort of spiritual experience. 

 

Also, I want to address the the question about the Episcopal church getting to pick which stories they emphasize.  When you're talking about individual parishes, this really isn't the case.  Episcopal Churches individually are part of the larger American Episcopal church... similar to the way Catholic parishes are part of the larger worldwide RCC (although the Episcopal church in America is democratic in that representatives are elected to go to regional and national conferences where they vote on church policy).  And the American Episcopal church is part of the larger worldwide Anglican Union... so anyway, part of this organization is that the liturgy (church worship) follows the same format in every Episcopal Parish.  And the church follows a lectionary, which is a three year cycle of bible readings, usually one reading from old testament and one non-gospel new testament reading, and one gospel reading, and a psalm.  These are prescribed readings that every church follows... so that it doesn't matter which Epsicopal church you go to or where in the country it is.  On any given Sunday, all Episcopal churches are reading the same bible readings... it's not a pick and choose sort of thing.  Although, the sermons you would hear on the readings have the chance of being pretty varied.  As for my child, I am comfortable with him going to church with his dad (and not just because it is his dad's religion)... because on a whole, the Episcopal church is very open and focused on being loving toward all people.  The particular parish that my husband attends is GLTB friendly... a large number of our friends there are lesbians and have been lovingly accepted into the community (even though I've never heard a sermon openly speak positively about homosexuality), and there is one lady there who is transgendered and everyone is very welcoming to her.  So basically, what I'm saying is that Episcopals on a whole tend to be very warm, open, and loving people.  But they are definitely Christian, and the church services and religious education are going to be Christian in nature.

 

 

Having experience in both the Episcopal church and the UU church, I'm really going to recommend the UU church for an atheist family.  I think that you will have a higher likelihood of finding a place that allows room for you to raise your children atheist, but at the same time explore a variety of spiritual practices and ideas... and also there will probably be plenty of opportunity for charity and community involvement.
 

 



 

 


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#22 of 27 Old 05-12-2011, 08:10 PM
 
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I am a member of  a United Church of Christ church  (not to be confused with Church of Christ which is pretty strict and conservative). My partner trends towards athiesm and he is very comfortable there. The services are bible based but very open minded and accepting. Our church welcomes GLBT people at all levels including the ministry. We have an awesome children and youth program- our youth group goes on mission trips and also protests for higher wages for migrant workers!  I never realized that there was a church out there that I could go to and have it fit so much to my liberal outlook...it is a wonderful community.

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#23 of 27 Old 08-27-2011, 08:35 PM
 
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I will suggest you look into some New Thought spiritual centers.  Unity is more Jesus-y.  We go to a Science of Mind Center for Spiritual Living. 

New Thought is an affirming, non-denominational, yet All-encompassing thought.  The underlying message is that God is no-thing, and All That Is.  Therefore there is no separation between Self and God.  All That Is contains guidance for One to continue to achieve their Highest Good.  The Truth is within, and we tap into that Knowingness that All is an echo of the One.  I can go on & on.....and on......but, I'll leave this open for more discussion without hijacking the thread.  

 

here's a link to some links: http://www.ahavacenter.com/links.html

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#24 of 27 Old 09-07-2011, 02:33 PM
 
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I, too am looking to branch out in my fellowship (Im a formal evangelical turned mystic). I am very interested in UU, however the UU and most liberal churches here are overwhelmingly white...one of my main beefs with evangelical churches. I don't care how "open minded" a group claims to be, most liberal churches here are LGBT friendly (we're in the Palm Springs, CA area) if only middle class white people feel welcomed there then it isn't for my family. We are planning on visiting a small local Episcopal parish one day soon...LGBT accepting, black priest and ethnically diverse congregation on the "poor" side of town.


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Lots of parishes in the Episcopal Church that are very liberal and do lots of community service, although they are Christian, it's not of the shove it down your throat type. Plus, the ritual is lovely and the music is often pretty good. Worth at least checking out the websites of the parishes in your area. Some parishes are conservative, but a look at the website will usually tell you that.

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Yes to the above.  The Canadian equivalent to the Episcopal church is Anglican.  My very science minded, look at physics to find the origins of the world, enjoys the study of evolution 11 year old son hangs out with the minister after church discussing science.  He's never been told to "leave his brain at the door" and discount a rational view point of the world, and at the youth group the kids have brought up everything from reincarnation and Buddhists, to whether the Immaculate Conception is just a metaphor and not had their ideas knocked down.  It does depend on the parish and the minister.  In our personal experience, no one in the family has  the view point that the Bible has literal truth and we all see religion as a tool for humans to share common truths as to what it's like to be human, common values and and share in providing community service; and the members of the church know this and have not ever made us feel like we don't belong.

 


Busy keeping up with three children and an awful lot of chickens!

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#26 of 27 Old 09-18-2011, 10:37 PM
 
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Humanistic Judaism?  http://www.shj.org/ 

 

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#27 of 27 Old 09-26-2011, 10:36 PM
 
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I love our UU congregation...but as one PP said it is definitely a majority middle class, white congregation ... on the other hand, many in our UU congregation are active in a lot of progressive stuff out in the community.


Mom to two terrific kiddos, affirming every day that the Universe is unfolding as it should and all is well...

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