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, December 27, 2009

Be Spiritual - Episode 12

If you want to understand the essence of Unitarian Universalism, spend a half-hour listening to this episode. You'll hear voices from previous conversations, distilled to the core of our spirituality as a faith community.

I find this episode quite moving and hope you, too, will find it meaningful. If you're new to Unitarian Universalism and this podcast, this is a good episode to start with.



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

The voices you'll hear, in order, are
  • Tess George - Episode 5
  • Sue Chadwick - Episode 10
  • Patricia Rose - Episode 11
  • Jenn Morton - Episode 9
  • Sue Chadwick - Episode 10
  • Patricia Rose - Episode 11
  • Bob Keating - Episode 8
  • Ellen McCormick - Episode 1
  • Anya - Episode 2
  • Roy Goodman - Episode 3
  • Tess George - Episode 5
  • Elaine Thomas - Episode 4
  • Roy Goodman - Episode 3
  • Tess George - Episode 5
  • Bob Keating - Episode 8
  • Ellen McCormick - Episode 1
  • Roy Goodman - Episode 3
  • Anya - Episode 2
  • Jenn Morton - Episode 9
  • Sue Chadwick - Episode 10
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, August 9, 2009

Be Spiritual - Episode 6

As noted in last weekend's post, Episode 6 features an interview with Robert Wright, author of the book The Evolution of God.

During our conversation, he outlined how human perceptions of God have evolved over the millennia, discussed the constructive role religion can play in modern society, and shared his own spiritual views. I wish we had more time to delve into each of these areas — but you can find much more in the book. You can also read excerpts and more about the author at The Evolution of God web site.

While not a Unitarian Universalist, Robert Wright is, I think it's fair to say, a fellow seeker and a good companion for the religious journey.














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.

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. The chalice artwork was created by Inga Johannesen, of the UU Church of Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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Saturday, August 1, 2009

In Production: Robert Wright and The Evolution of God

Yesterday, I had the privilege of interviewing Robert Wright, the author of The Evolution of God. His book chronicles human perceptions of God since the hunter-gatherer era and the role religion has played in the development of society. Perhaps more importantly, he raises the question of what role religion and belief should play in civilization.

Raised Southern Baptist, Robert Wright now describes himself as agnostic, grounded in materialism and natural selection. However, he also sees evidence of a larger purpose unfolding, given the direction of evolution and human history. One of the challenging questions he poses is whether belief in God is the cause of this increasing moral order or an effect of evolution.

While Robert Wright is not a Unitarian Universalist, I find that his views align with our open-ended approach to religion. To wit,
  • Religion must continue to evolve as our knowledge and experience expand, and
  • Religion should be a positive force for love and justice in the world.
The interview will be online by next Sunday, August 9. I hope you will listen, as well as getting a copy of this fascinating book.

I sincerely appreciate Bob's willingness to speak with me, especially while he was on vacation.

Update, August 2: Read a review of The Evolution of God, written by Stephen Prothero, a religious studies professor at Boston University, and published by The Washington Post.

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