“Whatever the faiths you have known or the flags of your heritage, you are welcome here. Whoever you are and whomever you love, you are welcome here. Whether you ran in here today on little feet, or walked briskly, or ambled in, or rolled in, you are welcome here.”
(UUCEP Worship Associate Script)
Above are some of the first words you will hear when attending a Sunday Service at the UU Community of El Paso. They are truly heartfelt by those among us.
Ours is a faith of acceptance and each one of these words can be taken in the most literal sense. Whomever you are, no matter your background, you are welcome without regard to race, class, national origin, physical or mental ability, sexual orientation, or gender identity/expression.
Unfortunately, many are in search of our faith without realizing it even exists! If you would like a more liberal, educational, and accepting faith environment, visit a UU community this Sunday. If you’re unsure where your beliefs lie, a great way to get help is to take the “Belief-O-Matic” quiz at Belief Net: http://www.beliefnet.com/Entertainment/Quizzes/BeliefOMatic.aspx It is a truly fun and enlightening quiz that can both affirm your chosen faith, or show you a new path to spiritual exploration.
As a creedless faith, UU’s rely on the support and acceptance by our members of our 7 Principles:
Our 7 Principles
1. The inherent worth and dignity of every person
2. Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations
3. Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations
4. A free and responsible search for truth and meaning
5. The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large
6. The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all
7. Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part of
As I go on my 2013 pilgrimage, I hope to bring the meanings of these words to heart and to share. It’s simple to list words as they come–simple to list the principles. But what I hope to convey is the emotion behind the words and more importantly, the belonging to the words that come with our faith.
To learn more about Unitarian Universalism, or to find a community near you, please visit: www.uua.org or click on the chalice in the right-hand column of my blog. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a physical location, you can explore UU’ism through the Church of the Larger Fellowship: http://www.questformeaning.org/
For more information on the UU Community of El Paso, visit: www.uuelpaso.org
Yesterday while at the UUCEP Holiday Bazaar, I picked up a copy of an acquaintance’s newest book, Tongue-tied to the Border. The author, Gene Keller, is a wonderful, likeable and fluffy bearded man with an ever present twinkle in his eye. Yes, it’s getting very close to Christmas and, no, I’m sorry to say he is not Santa! Though reading his work made me feel as though my Christmas had come early.
Gene’s book reminds me of how I love the smell of the desert with a summer’s rain freshly upon it, the splash of the dust and the crack of the electric permeating the sky with a monsoon just arrived. This is what Tongue-tied brings to thoughts and senses.
If you have never lived in the desert, this book is a must. And if you have, this book is an ethereal fantasy of childhood memories as well as a social commentary on the shared lives of our sister cities, Juarez and El Paso.
Now I must begin from page one again. I have to relish in the poems, reading them slowly and examining the contextual meanings as I feel, contemplate and digest the words of this borderlander.
“Gene Keller is a full-spectrum poet: a maker of word artifacts, a singer, a storyteller.” (From back book jacket.)
A performance by Gene at our sanctuary in April 2012:
Copies of Tongue-tied to the Border are available for purchase on Amazon.com, or at the Hal Marcus Gallery in El Paso.
Tongue-tied to the Border, by Gene Keller, Copyright 2012 by Gene Keller, Street of Trees Projects (SOTP 1112), 225 Arboles, El Paso TX 79932.