A UU Theology of Community Organizing by Matt Meyer

I’m helping the amazing Matt Meyer share a new resource he’s developed, so please share! Use buttons at the bottom of this post.

Download  A UU Theology of Organizing (PDF)  by Matt Meyer articulating a “Unitarian Universalist Theology of Community Organizing.”

Social justice work and Unitarian Universalism are intricately connected. Most of us believe that doing our part to make the world a better place is an important part of our spiritual journey. When it comes to the means of engagement however, there is less consensus. Our faith has much to say about the importance of charity and service and advocacy and education. I would offer though, that the tools and grounding values of community organizing reflect our Unitarian Universalist identity more than any other method of justice making. For a number of reasons, community organizing is a more holistic expression of Unitarian Universalism.  – Matt Meyer

Matt Meyer is an artist of percussion, knowledgeable and experienced in a variety of styles, including latin-jazz, Brazilian, folk, funk, Hiphop and pop. He is a graduate of Berklee College of Music and has studied in Cuba, Ghana, and Central America. A love of music and a deep respect for its ability to stir and transform audiences is at the heart of Matt’s continuing devotion to understand more of the world’s cultures through the vocabulary of rhythm. Learn more about Matt including descriptions of the workshops he offers on his website, rhythmrevelations.com.

Birth, Breath, and Death – Meditations on Motherhood, Chaplaincy, and Life as a Doula

Amy Wright Glenn - Birth, Breath and DeathAuthor Amy Wright Glenn during her pregnancy

I am excited to announce that Amy Wright Glenn, a Unitarian Universalist and dear family friend, has just publish Birth, Breath, and Death— Meditations on Motherhood, Chaplaincy, and Life as a Doula.  You may start reading it in under a minute on Amazon Kindle!

UU Book Review

A Unitarian Universalist from her congregation writes:

This book is a treasure: part memoir, part musings about philosophy, religion, spirituality and spiritual practice, but entirely about love. It ranges from personal reflection and experience to more scholarly and existential explorations. It is a well-written, thoughtful description of how one person moves through her life open to all of its experiences and teachings, in whatever form they appear. Amy brings to life her own varied experiences with different religions and cultures and roles with curiosity, insight and imagination. Her descriptions about being a doula and a chaplain are very moving. Equally compelling, however, were her descriptions of the emotional obstacles she faced in becoming mother, her awakening to the intense love and joy in mothering her son, and, and her descriptions of the sustaining relationship she shares with her husband. This book, written by someone so loving and so open to life with all of its daunting challenges, should not be missed. Plus, there are great quotes throughout, as well as many memorable passages.

Our Connection

Amy Wright Glenn
Amy Wright Glenn

Amy Wright Glenn and her husband, Clark, lived in Newport, RI and attended Channing Memorial Church where my wife, the Rev. Amy Freedman, previously served as minister.   Though Amy & Clark had moved by the time I arrived in Newport, I was able to get to know them through their regular Newport visits.  Amazing people!

And now for me to start reading the book. Click. Downloading…  30 seconds later reading on my iPad.  Hmmm… Wonder if there’s anything about Unitarian Universalism in this book:

I found Portland’s Unitarian Universalist First Church through my interest in poetry. Marilyn Sewell, the editor of my favorite poetry anthology, which focused on women’s spirituality, lived in Portland. I heard she was the minister at First Church and woke early one Sunday to attend. Alone, I navigated my way downtown on Portland’s public transit bus system. Reverend Sewell led a coming-of-age ceremony for three teenager members of the congregation. The simplicity of the ritual, the absence of patriarchal dogma that would prohibit a woman from offering such a blessing, and her grounded presence touched me deeply.

I was drawn to the way that Unitarian Universalist (UU) ministers attempt to…

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My Book Reviews

I share reviews and announcements when friends and colleagues (people I already know) publish books and resources I think my readers will appreciate.   Please take time to connect with me (Facebook, Twitter) and our UU media, growth and outreach focused community via social media before you ask me to write a review.  If you aren’t using social media,  a post on this site isn’t going to do much for you.  Interested in learning?  Contact me to discuss group trainings and private social media coaching.

The 2013 Minns Lecture Series

Friends,  here are details for the  2013 Minns Lectures. I’m honored to be offering one of the three lectures.  Note that while this is a free event, there will be an online registration/RSVP.  See http://www.minnslectures.org~  Peter

Publicity Materials

Minns Lectures logo

The 2013 Minns Lecture Series
March 8 & 9, 2013
Boston, MA

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Young for Liberty:  The UU Movement in the 21st Century

In the spirit of William Ellery Channing, who once said, “I was always young for liberty,” the Minns Lectures for 2013 will be structured around three lively interactive presentations on how our free faith tradition speaks to, and in the past reached out to, young people – and how today’s revolution in social media can reshape, enlarge, and invigorate that outreach today.

Join us on March 8 and 9 in Boston, in person or online, for these three important lectures.  [I’ll be sharing more about the online details shortly. Peter]

Lecture 1

AG-MinnsFriday, March 8, 7-9 pm
No-cost reception included
King’s Chapel, 58 Tremont Street, Boston
King’s Chapel House, 64 Beacon Street, Boston  (Changed Location!)

Sticking with Stories: Unitarianism and the Creation of Children’s Literature
Delivered by the Rev. Andrea Greenwood

Rev. Greenwood has served congregations in Atlanta, GA, and Watertown, MA. A strong advocate for special education both in the church and in the broader community, she is currently writing a biography of the Newbery Medalist, Elizabeth Enright – a Unitarian and the niece of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Lectures 2 and 3

NK-MinnsSaturday, March 9, 10 am-2:30 pm
No cost lunch included
First Church in Boston, 66 Marlborough Street, Boston (Google Map)

Ministry in the Age of Collaboration: Congregations in a Hyper-Connected Generous World
Delivered by the Rev. Naomi King
Rev. King ministers locally and at large with City of Refuge Ministries, utilizing social media to join global houses of study, prayer, and action, and to grow faith communities in and beyond congregational walls. Via a mix of spiritually minded blogs and faith development programs, her ministry reaches around the world, engaging multifaith partners as well as Unitarian Universalists.

PB-MinnsMinistry in the Age of Collaboration: Faithful Practices and Principles
Delivered by Peter Bowden
A television producer and parish consultant, Mr. Bowden runs Leading Congregations, [was the author of the UU Growth Blog, now archived on this site], and UnitarianUniversalism.TV.  He is dedicated to helping religious leaders master changing culture and technology.

The Minns Lectureship Committee of King’s Chapel and First Church in Boston sponsors an annual series of lectures by UU ministers on religious topics of historical importance and contemporary relevance. Last year’s lectures by former UUA president the Rev. John Buehrens explored the renewal of Unitarian Universalism in the 21st century.

Video, audio, and texts for these lectures and for earlier ones, along with additional details on the 2013 lectures and how to register (at no cost), can be found on the Minns website.

The committee welcomes innovative proposals for lectures in 2014 and beyond. Guidelines on proposal submissions and a short history of this unique lecture series are also posted on the website.

Stephen Colbert, Billy Graham and “the Cult of Unitarianism

Unitarian Universalism made the Colbert Report yesterday, November 1st.  In hiTip/Wag – Constant Documentation & Billy Graham segment, Stephen Colbert discusses Mitt Romney’s outreach to Reverend Billy Graham and Graham’s subsequent disencultification of Mormonism.

In response to Unitarians being listed on Graham’s website, Colbert replies..

“Oh yes, the dangerous cult of Unitarianism. Their rules are so loose, their three sacred texts are the Old Testament, New Testament, and Free to Be You and Me.”

If you haven’t seen it yet, you may watch the segment here. The part about Unitarian Universalism starts 3 min 30 sec into the video.

What Do Unitarian Universalists Believe?

What happens when a previously Christian church gets so liberal you don’t have to be Christian to belong? What happens when over time the country gets increasingly pluralistic with massive numbers of people loving the Dalai Lama, Oprah and doing yoga?  Eventually you get a breed of congregations that bring diverse people together around shared values, not set beliefs. That’s what’s happening in Unitarian Universalist (UU) congregations, great values but many different spiritual and theological perspectives.

That’s my quick explanation.  You can get a more official description here or watch the following video about our congregations.

The Challenge of Unitarian Universalism

Okay, not all Unitarian Universalists love Oprah and the Dalai Lama…  But I do.  And that’s the beauty (and challenge) of Unitarian Universalism.

Because our congregations don’t have a set creed, we end up with people who don’t agree on big religious questions.  And I love that!

What About Love?

Speaking of love…  In recent years love has moved to the forefront as an organizing force in our congregations.  Not a cheesy bad greeting card love, but a we need to take care of each other fight for justice and build a better world together kind of love.  We might not agree on whether there is an afterlife, but we know how we should treat each other.   In fact, we have a campaign dedicated to that, the Standing on the Side of Love campaign.

And this election season, we’re encouraging people to VOTE on the side of love.

Why I Love the Challenge

Me? I want to be part of a community where people have great values, but differing opinions.   It keeps me learning and growing.

For me, Unitarian Universalism serves as a home community and center from which I can continually explore, have friends to share and discuss life with, and an institution through which we can multiply our efforts to address the moral challenges of our time — marriage equality, climate change, immigration justice and beyond.

If that sounds appealing,  find a congregation near you and see what they’re up to.

I should note that I have a big fat UU bias.  I was raised a Unitarian Universalist and came upon pretty much everything great in my life through my UU connections — my wife, my work, my friends, my meditation practice, fellow change agents, hope…

The UU Media Collaborative week 1

Friends, this is a glimpse of how Unitarian Universalists can collaborate with amazing results…

Late September 2012 we started a Facebook group called the UU Media Collaborative to bring together UU creatives who want to work together to share our faith and raise the quality of UU Media.  We created the group, then a page to share content, followed by a site for archiving hi resolution images.

The first week (according to Facebook) over 50,000 people saw the images and 3,000+ were “talking about” the content.  Check it out…

Here’s an alternate version.  Sharing this video with the group for feedback, ultimately it was decided there was no reason not to share both 😉

Checking in on Youtube stats

Just looked at my Youtube channel stats for September and 30% of videos were watched on mobile devices.  Only 12% were viewed as embedded videos.  Just goes to show how critical it is to 1) put your videos on Youtube if you want them discovered organically and 2) that mobile is increasingly the norm.   I think about all of the Unitarian Universalist sites that aren’t mobile optimized, using vimeo, etc…. Gotta go where the people are and that’s Youtube…