Thank you to the many of you who helped make last Sunday’s Question Box services engaging, interesting, and fun! Below you’ll find all the questions that were submitted during the two services. As in previous years, I found the questions themselves just as illuminating as (and sometimes more than!) mine and Anthony’s responses.
As I said at the beginning of worship,
At the heart of our religious practice as Unitarian Universalists lies open-hearted curiosity and exploration about our lives and the world that we live in – and also an open-minded, open-hearted listening to the answers to many of our questions.
Today, Anthony and I will entertain a variety of questions that come directly from you. We hope you’ll ask things of us that you don’t usually have the opportunity, or don’t take the time, to ask.
We hope you’ll be genuinely curious – about Unitarian Universalism, about us, about theology and religion. And we’ll be honest – telling you things about ourselves and what we know and believe, and about not knowing when there’s something we don’t know.
… think of what you’d like to know, that you think one of us might be able to address extemporaneously and in a relatively brief amount of time …
Your questions are a gift. Thank you.
These questions were addressed by Anthony and/or me in one of the worship services on Sunday, October 20, 2019, although not in the order they’re listed here. (You may listen to our answers here, where both services’ questions have been combined into one service recording: The Question Box.)
- Anthony, what is a mystic?
- Do you eat organic food? Do you consider it an ethical issue considering that perhaps 20% of the people of the world would starve if only organic food were available?
- Why do we observe more Christian traditions than those of other religions in this congregation?
- How many Unitarian Universalist congregations are there in Maryland? What and where was the first Unitarian congregation in the world?
- Who will take Anthony’s place?
- What is “process theology”?
- Rev. Anthony—Will your new “job” include giving public sermons? And can we come visit?
- Chaps, we have ID cards. Where are you being stationed next?
- Anthony, will you come back to visit and share your insights with us?
- What is your most essential personal characteristic? (or quality) What would you say / do to help others discover their most essential characteristic or quality?
- Anthony—When / how can I find my equivalent to your Aaron for deep conversations? (or an “opener”) Is he available now since you’re leaving?
- Why did Anthony go into the Army first and not the Air Force?
- Anthony, what do you do for fun?
- For Rev. Anthony, In what ways do you anticipate that your military chaplaincy will differ from your ministry here @ UUCC, and in what ways do you think it will be similar?
- Will Anthony have the opportunity to play / find a new band in San Antonio?
- Is it an unfortunate coincidence that Unitarianism and Unitarian Universalism share a word in their name while they are so different? It is confusing to newcomers and hard to explain to friends.
- For both—What was the last “guilty pleasure” book you read?
- Paige & Anthony, what are your favorite CDs or Spotify playlists of UU music? [the name Paige couldn’t remember on Sunday: Unfolding’s Not Your Mama’s Hymns]
- What does it mean to be on a “spiritual” search / path? How do I know it’s a spiritual journey?
- To both: What was your favorite sermon you gave and why was this your favorite?
- Are UU principles a package deal or do we get to pick and choose only those we like?
- Does UU theology prioritize or give importance to certain principles over the others, and if so, which ones and why?
- What is your vision for UUCC? Where would / does your heart inspire us to become?
- Are there any groups or activities specific to those living in sobriety?
- Does faith-based thinking & doing have answers or thoughts to assist folks who have an addiction?
- How did you come to be a Universalist Unitarian?
The following questions were placed in the question box, but were not addressed in worship (unless Paige was distracted and didn’t hear Anthony’s answer!). They may serve as inspiration for upcoming worship services or In Between Sundays columns:
- Are there consequences, beyond secular law, for living cruelly or irresponsibly?
- When you are confronted with constant negative situations (the Mexico border, the damage to the environment, the amount of bigotry & racism, our political leaders), how do you find optimism?!?
- Singer David Drainman sings these words, “… sometimes darkness can show you the light”. In your ministry, what darkness showed you a light?
- My sister is a born again Christian. She has taught her very young children to fear God. Do you think young children should be taught to fear God? How should young children be introduced to God?
- As we continue our work on racism, do we also have room for other societal issues?
- Do you think we can continue with our important anti-racism work and still be a nurturing congregation for individual growth and spirituality?
- How do you think we are doing as a congregation in terms of diversity and inclusion efforts? How do you feel about this? What do you suggest that we individually and collectively do to improve in this area?
- Can you speak to our commitment to inclusion in the face of our differences?
- What advice do you have for living in the tension between our individual search for truth and collective action as a congregation?
- Can you consider yourself religious if you don’t believe in God and aren’t a fan of the Bible? But you go to church. . .
- If most Unitarians don’t believe in God, what does “spiritual” mean?
- How will / can we build / restore trust here @ UUCC?
- Is contemplation / meditation / prayer worth the time and effort? After saying “yes”, please elaborate.
- (I don’t expect an answer today.) I have heard several congregants express concern that UUCC has felt more like a social justice club than a spiritual place over the past few years. I too feel this way. What can be done to prioritize spirituality in our practice of our UU faith so we have the “fuel” needed for our sustenance and to perform social justice work?
- What is the primary purpose of UUCC?
- Where do you see UUCC in five years, in ten years? What will our place be in the local and wider community, and what are we doing now to make it reality? (Specifics, please, not generalities.)