By Maria Cory
Our thanks to Dr. Sandford (Sandy) Lopater for bringing ”Historical, Religious, and Philosophical Origins of Our Sexual Attitudes" to our Forum discussion table. As a Professor of Psychology at Christopher Newport University (previously, Christopher Newport College), from 1974 – 2015, our fellow congregant has helped shape the attitudes of many a student.
Like all attitudes, noted Sandy, sexual attitudes have something to do with three things: thinking, feeling, doing—which is why it is so challenging to change a mind-set, and subsequently, behavior. "Sexual drives are seemingly innate, natural and instinctive. The biopsychosocial approach to sexual behavior involves the interacting influences of our biological selves, our interpersonal relationships, and the social codes and culture in which we live."
The lens of history again provided insight to understanding our present and molding our future. Areas highlighted include:
With religion having a profound effect on what one discerns as "normal, appropriate, right, and wrong," sexual values in this country have been closely aligned with our Judeo-Christian heritage. The facilitator noted that students are surprised to learn that some of the most significant influences on American sexuality are not current manifestations, but date back thousands of years (e.g., the male dominant tradition, premarital intercourse prohibitions, masturbation). Indeed, our sexual attitudes and expressions continue to evolve.
During this month of great thanksgiving, Gratitude is in hearts and deeds of many. We can be especially grateful that doorways are opening to transform repressive and oppressive sexual attitudes and behavior through increased opportunities to learn about and understand perspectives and actions different from our own.
If living out this process and our values transforms our lives and our world, that is reason enough. Mama told me so!
You may have noticed a memorial display set up outside made by our 9:30 a.m. class students in support of the White Supremacy teach-in. We learned that at least 90 people were lynched in Virginia after the Civil War. Students were also invited to view the movie “Marshall” to further their understanding of the Civil Rights Movement.
This year’s Festival of the Season will be held on Saturday, December 2nd from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. We will have crafts to make, cookies to decorate and the sanctuary tree to trim. Thanks to Jim Sanderson, we’ll have plenty of cards for the children to sign for seniors at local care facilities. Let us know if you have a friend or family member at one of the local nursing homes, and we will deliver personalized cards to them.
For the last few years, we have offered a RE-Gift store at our Festival of the Season. If you have gently used items that would make nice gifts for someone else, please plan to donate them to the RE-Gift store. If you have items that didn’t make it in our last yard sale, now is your chance to give them another life. The store is open to everyone of all ages. Please plan to bring items to the RE room at the Fellowship from now until December 2nd.
See You in the RE!
By Maria Cory
Sunday Morning Forum is pleased to have welcomed the Reverend Andrew Millard to its podium upon return from his sabbatical this past week! Pastor Andrew's November 5th presentation carried special emphasis because in England the date marks the "Guy Fawkes Night" celebration, when bonfires and fireworks help commemorate the foiled attempt in 1605 to blow up Parliament and the king.
The annual ceremonial burnings of effigies have often been viewed as acts of thanksgiving, but a more thorough historical appraisal offers insight into the inter-religious conflict and political oppression of that time.
History often repeats—a trite but true statement! However, an obvious deduction is to learn from our past so that we may improve the future. Using England's historical illustration as a backdrop, the facilitator invited the class to discuss the importance of religious freedom in our own age.
These and more questions were explored, but all led to a similar conclusion. Unlike some other countries, the United States affords rule by the people versus rule by a monarchy. In affirming Unitarian Universalist's Fifth Principle--the right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large—we claim a voice and a means to effect change! How appropriate a discussion during this election week!
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., paraphrasing Theodore Parker, said: "The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice." Teacher and students agreed: Cast your ballot; be an active voice! May coming to the table in a spirit of understanding and peaceful compromise be the gateway to true Freedom!
By Maria Cory
Our UU Fellowship would agree! A hero came along to Sunday Morning Forum this week when Brad Harper rendered an enthusiastic presentation about "The Hero (and Heroine's) Journey."
"What does it mean to be heroic?" opened Brad.
Having the courage to face our fears, to explore the unknown and to take action, answered a number of participants. These responses echoed the sentiments of educator, author and world mythology expert Joseph Campbell: "The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek."
Looking at the common structure of some of the greatest heroic stories, Brad gave a comprehensive account regarding self-discovery, living a fully realized life and "following our bliss," as Campbell describes. Multi-stepped wheels for both the Hero's and Heroine's Journey helped illustrate this quest for wholeness—a quest that calls one to a deep internal journey of transformation which is as important as the external adventure—bringing our Conscious and our Unconscious into balance.
"I've lived this journey in the process of getting to where I am now," said Brad. "My method of presentation may have been flawed, but I believed in my vision!" he added referencing a lifetime dream of becoming a published author.
Brad expressed his gratitude regarding people who have helped him grow and gain wisdom along the way—both in his personal trek and in realizing his aspiration to publish a written work. "A Knife in the Fog," slated to be released in October 2018, is the culmination of his hard work and perseverance. What adds to the exuberance he conveys is that a sequel, “Queen's Gambit," is charted to be in print and on the shelves the following year!
"Each of us in our individual journey(s) to grow, to achieve, to create something larger than ourselves, has taken the journey. I am in the presence of heroes," Brad proclaimed humbly and thankfully to his friends who join him in this voyage of faith.
The feeling is mutual.
Brad’s joie de 'vivre and strength of character are gifts to our Fellowship. Grateful for the champions throughout all time, we remain joyful that this hero came along….
"Dreams are hard to follow
But don't let anyone
Tear them away
There will be tomorrow
In time you'll find the way.
And then a hero comes along
With the strength to carry on
And you cast your fears aside
And you know you can survive
So when you feel like hope is gone
Look inside you and be strong
And you'll finally see the truth
That a hero lies in you."
Excerpt from the song "Hero," written by Mariah Carey, Walter Afanasieff
Happy birthday to all our members born in November!
If you are a member and have a birthday in November that we overlooked, please contact Bobbie Schilling; firstname.lastname@example.org.