I came across a couple of items this week that you may find interesting.
Garrison Keillor wrote a column in Salon, Don’t Mess with Christmas, in which his subtitle reads
It’s a Christian holiday, dammit, and it’s plain wrong to rewrite “Silent Night.” Unitarians, I’m talking to you!
Keillor’s thoughts have prompted a bit of a tempest, judging from the response by UUs.
You can sample the discussion coursing through a number of blogs. A good place to start is Peter Bowden’s response on his UU Growth Blog. Peter is the growth consultant for the Ballou Channing district and the creative energy behind UU Planet Media.
From my own perusing, I found Paul Oakley’s blog post a thoughtful response to Keillor, which he articulated without jumping over the proverbial horse.
The Word of Mouth program on New Hampshire Public Radio (NHPR) featured an interview with Greg Epstein, the Humanist Chaplain at Harvard University and author of the recent book Good without God. You can hear the interview here.
Listening to Greg, I was struck by two items.
First, he articulates humanism very eloquently and understandably, which is inspiration for honing our own elevator speeches.
His advocacy for faith communities — for non-believers as well as those who identify with a religion — is the second and more profound thought. At one point during the interview, Greg says that congregations are more about community than their underlying religious beliefs. Yes. Through community we can nurture each other and combine our efforts to do good works in the world.
Greg is working hard to build such a community at Harvard. If you’re not in that neighborhood, though, and don’t have such a community, try a UU church. Whether your inclinations are humanist, atheist, agnostic, Pagan, Buddhist, or your own mash-up, you’ll be most welcome.
And do try one of our Christmas Eve candlelight services, where you’ll get to sing our version of Silent Night.