Erycka Moondragon (e_moondragon) wrote in sumerian_pagan,
Erycka Moondragon

CUUPS grp?


I'm a new member to this community, but have been watching for some time. But, thought it was time to join and post, as I would like to get some opinions on something. (I'll save my personal path and history for another post if that's alright.)

I attend a local UU church for "Pagan Tea & Talk night" once a week. (It's not actually a church, but really a basement of a multiple office building.) It's been nice to see many of my friends in town, and also have met and connected w/ some new ppl as well. There's a different topic every week; a few we've done recently are chakras, wands, and the topic of dealing with dating/relationships/family members who are non-pagan.

It's advertised once a week in our local paper in the events section.
A few weeks ago a woman called the UU President, upset that any church (UU or not) would host a pagan discussion group. She threatened to protest in front of the building. Apparently this woman could not be reasoned with; she ranted and raved that pagans are the "antichrist" and would not agree to a civil conversation, only a screaming match where the president could not get a word in edgewise. She was informed ofher right to protest, ie must stay on the sidewalk, cannot enter parking lot, cannot block us from entering the building. All of us were pretty worried, but she never showed.

We have less than 10 regulars, but we also have some drop-ins here and there. Ppl come and go, you know how it is.

Well since this protester situation, our 'coordinator' has suggested making the discussion group an official CUUPS group. It would give all sorts of advantages; lately we've been discussing an upcoming Spirit Faire, a fundraiser for Midsummerfest, and having the non-profit church status would help for tax-exempt status and stuff.

Now, not everyone who attends is unitarian, or even UU members. The coordinator/moderator person is the token Pagan of the UU congregation, as she puts it. I've always been personally very much about "hey, whatever your way to God/dess" just don't tell me your way is the right way, type of thing. I guess I think tolerance and understanding and education of the many religions (including mine of course) is the way to go to. I think it's the best shot at world peace...

But, I'm meeting more and more Pagans that are very anti-Christian. This upsets me, personally. I'm worried ppl might not attend if the Tea&Talk is made into an official CUUPS grp, and might turn away potential new ppl. So, while I personally like the CUUPS idea, I'm jsut not sure of the future repercussions of doing so.

So I'm wondering - how does anyone feel about this? Does anybody reading this identify as unitarian in addition to being Pagan? Personally I think they go hand-in-hand, but I might be a minority these days. Especially it being post-9/11 and all. (yea I know, 9/11 is a whole other post, but just saying I think it significantly changed religious tolerance in America).

Are you anti-Christian and wouldn't feel comfortable attending a UU group? Granted, UU isn't Christian, but it's of course very Christian friendly. So, just looking for any thoughts/advice.

xposted to Chalice_Circle and adult_pagans (I tried the LJ user-linkage way but it didn't work)
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I've given much thought to this, and that for a long time now. Since here in Mexico, there is nothing remotely legal in paganism (other that the overall freedom of religion), one of the UU coordinators once suggested that we might form a local UU branch in my city, since there are several instances of such branches being formed by pagans. My friends and I never quite decided to take up the suggestion.

Personally, I do not feel that paganism and UU go hand-in-hand; several forms of paganism are certainly wholly compatible and fit right in. I have mixed feelings about this, though; on one hand, I really like the UU, the very root concept of it, I feel it's a wonderful thing. On the other hand, I am a traditionalist witch and pagan, a polytheist, and i cannot honestly go to a collective ritual and convince myself that we are all worshiping the same divine forces, each their own way, because I cannot avoid the fact that, for me, as a polytheist, the various gods have objective identities, and my praxis consists not of calling on an abstract cosmic force represented by names and effigies, but of direct or indirect interaction with such concrete entities. I have no doubt that deities all stem from the same cosmic wholeness that generated all that is, but well... if I'm going to feed the turtles who all come from the sea, I'd rather give the food to the turtles instead of throwing it anywhere in the sea. I'm not putting down the UU, I'm just trying to explain why, even though I really like it, their worship wouldn't work for me.

That said, I have no problem with christians, but I must admit I get wearisome of discussing christian concepts with people; if a conversation circle involved paganism and christianity, I'd think twice about joining it. Damn, I feel discouraged to join a new pagan discussion group on sundays I was just invited to, merely because most of the others follow pagan paths which I just don't feel like discussing any longer after having touched them years ago! If catholic/christian stuff was involved, I'd probably decline without much thought, even though I'm no hater. I know it's not the best response one could have, but I think that would be my reaction.

Thanks for getting me to think about this...
I think that if you are anti-Christian enough that the UU's, who are arguably as pagan-friendly a major denomination as exists in the United States (if not the world), make you uncomfortable then I would gently suggest that you have "issues."

Disclosure: I am member of the UU Church, but haven't attended for years. My son was named and dedicated in a UU church, with a pair of UU ministers as godparents. I helped start a CUUPs group at "my" church (a million years ago).

All that said, some UU congregations are far more pagan-friendly than others. In general they are probably more likely to be friendly to pagan-lite than to, say, a sex-magician doing Ordeal Work - but that could be said about many pagan groups as well...

Personally I think that you will probably just need to rethink some of the advertisting. But there's no reason that I am aware of why everyone would need to be members of the UU Church in order for it to a CUUps group (any more than you would have to join the church/fellowship first before being allowed to attend services). Just make sure that people know that you are welcoming to everyone and run with it.
What you said. Just because it's CUUPs doesn't mean everyone has to be UU to attend.

I think that if it bothered someone THAT much, they'd be bothered by the churchy atmosphere of a UU Fellowship in general, and whether or not the group was "officially" part of the Fellowship or not wouldn't make that much difference. I also think that if it bothers them SO much that they'd be turned off by the mere fact, they need to get over themselves. The UU Sunday services aren't my cup of tea personally, but that didn't keep me from being involved in my local UU Fellowship.