Sunday, April 18, 2010

Be Spiritual - Episode 17

Fred Shirley's spiritual journey is captivating. For a young man, Christianity provided much-needed answers following a very difficult childhood. His new-found faith led him to the Baptist and Congregational churches, where he and his wife raised their family.

Discovering the UU church, Fred found the freedom to face and explore the religious questions that had appeared in the margins over the years. When he joined the UU church, Fred retained his membership and participation in the Congregational church, which continues to nurture his Christian faith.

Interestingly, it's the UU church that feeds his spirituality. As Fred explains, "I feel the Unitarian Universalist church has been more consistently spiritual than any other church I've ever been in."

Fred also speaks of the values he's trying to embody in living a "good" life and refers to this photo, which he took on the summit of Mt. Washington, as a metaphor for his path to a higher spiritual place.

I hope you enjoy Fred's remarkable and inspiring journey.



This episode runs about 42 minutes. You may listen with the above audio player, download the mp3 file here, or access it via iTunes.

I welcome your feedback, which you may leave by posting a comment below or by sending an e-mail to comments at bespiritual dot info.

The theme music is Floating Souls by Ambrish, courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network. The chalice artwork was created by Inga Johannesen, of the UU Church of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Be Spiritual - Episode 15

Episode 15 features my conversation with Bill Kennedy, a relatively new UU.

Bill seems driven on his spiritual quest – although he’s not really comfortable using the term spiritual. Bill’s path has taken him from the Congregational and Methodist churches of his youth to Judaism and now Unitarian Universalism, where he identifies with Religious Humanism.

Becoming a UU, Bill has found a church that brings him calmness and peace, freedom to explore his many religious questions, and the inspiration to be "better than I am."



Listen to this episode using the above audio player or download the mp3 file here. You may also listen and subscribe to the podcast with iTunes.

I welcome your feedback, which you may leave by posting a comment here or by sending an e-mail to comments at bespiritual dot info.

The theme music is Floating Souls by Ambrish, courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network. The chalice artwork was created by Inga Johannesen, of the UU Church of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Be Spiritual - Episode 13

Episode 13 features the continuing spiritual journey of John Sanders. From a childhood of limited religious exposure, John has assembled a rich potpourri of coexisting beliefs and practices: Religious Humanist, Panentheist, Buddhist, Universalist, and Unitarian Universalist. Listen to John’s and my conversation to understand how they fit together.

John serves as President of the Board of the Northern New England District of the Unitarian Universalist Association and President of the Board of the Universalist Heritage Foundation. Previously he was President of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashua.



Listen to John's religious odyssey using the above audio player or download the mp3 file here. You may also listen and subscribe to the podcast with iTunes.

I welcome your feedback, which you may leave by posting a comment on the blog or by sending an e-mail to comments at bespiritual dot info.

The theme music is Floating Souls by Ambrish, courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network. The chalice artwork was created by Inga Johannesen, of the UU Church of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Be Spiritual - Episode 8

Bob Keating grew up in the Congregational church, amidst a loving and caring community that he fondly recalls. However, the stories of God commanding Abraham to sacrifice his son and Jesus dying to atone for our sins created an undercurrent to a theology of a loving God. Both stories bothered Bob and affected him more than he would recognize for years.

A good friend's invitation led Bob and Hilary, his wife, to the Unitarian Universalist Church of Nashua. There he found the theology consistent with his ethical underpinnings and the people as warm and caring as the Congregational community of his youth.

Contemplating the timeless religious questions, Bob concludes that the answers are unknowable. Instead, his focus has been plumbing the UU Principles, which he considers the glue binding the diversity within and across our UU congregations. The principles provide a unifying vision for a Buddhist, a Christian, and a Pagan to sit in the same pew — a seemingly unlikely religious community.

Bob's study of Unitarian Universalism has led him on frequent pilgrimages to western New Hampshire, to the birthplaces of Hosea Ballou, an early and influential Universalist minister, and the Winchester Profession, a declaration of faith developed by the Universalists in 1803. Departing from the theology requiring atonement, Universalists believed that God was loving and that all souls would be saved and arrive in heaven.














Listen to our conversation using the above audio player or download the mp3 file here. You may also listen and subscribe to the podcast via iTunes.

We welcome your feedback, which you may leave by posting a comment on the blog or by sending an e-mail to comments at bespiritual dot info.

Our theme music is Floating Souls by Ambrish, courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network. The chalice artwork was created by Inga Johannesen, of the UU Church of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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Sunday, July 5, 2009

Be Spiritual - Episode 4

This episode features a conversation with Elaine Thomas. Elaine grew up in the Congregational church but found herself disagreeing with the church's core Christian doctrine as she approached adulthood. She found Unitarian Universalism when her children were young, when a friend suggested she try the local UU church. After just one service, Elaine was hooked.

Always reading and exploring ideas, Elaine's beliefs reflect her complementary experiences as a UU and in the Beyond War movement. Several times during our conversation, Elaine refers to the UU principles, which you can read here. Elaine seems quite comfortable with the uncertainty surrounding the meaning of life and ultimate reality, but she doesn't like the uncertainty of dying.














Listen using the above audio player or you may download the mp3 file here. You may also listen and subscribe to the podcast via iTunes here.

We welcome your feedback, which you may leave by posting a comment or sending an e-mail to comments at bespiritual dot info.

Our theme music is Floating Souls by Ambrish, courtesy of the Podsafe Music Network. Chalice artwork created by Inga Johannesen, UU Church of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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Sunday, June 28, 2009

In Production

Episode 4 of Be Spiritual will feature an interview with Elaine Thomas. Elaine is a self-named Yankee and grew up in the Congregational church. She has been a Unitarian Universalist (UU) since her children were young.

In addition to the UU principles and her wide-ranging reading, Elaine's religious and ethical beliefs have been shaped by her involvement in the Beyond War movement.

For me, one of the most interesting parts of our conversation was the discussion of death and dying. While not bothered by death, Elaine is concerned about dying — with dignity.

Listen to Elaine's fascinating story, which will be posted next Sunday, July 5.

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