Saturday, January 21, 2006

Fixing UUism: Found a UU Monestary

Note: This competiton is supposed to be something that is your own idea, in a loose sense. I've had another entry that was something that the Commission on Social Witness is already planning to do. I decided that one was outside the scope of what we're trying to do here.

I hadn't previously considered the question of whether one can enter something that is someone else's idea/pet project. Luckily I get an out this time as the lady behind this posts here, too. If it wins, I will send a cheesy prize to both.

Kim's idea, with input from many others (including at one point CC, perhaps, though CC doesn't really remember), submitted by Indrax

This Beliefnet discussion posed the question of a contemplative order for Unitarian Universalism. Currently, the conversation has shifted to an email list, but it is largely inactive.
The idea is to found a 'Chalistry' (A UU Monastery) which would serve several functions:
* It would give UU's (and others) a place to spend months or years in a calmer lifestyle with time to explore their unique faith.
* It would be an ideal retreat and conference center for UU's and others in the region.
* It could serve a charitable mission, directly putting our ideals to action.
* All these would in turn provide Unitarian Universalists and society with deeper insights into "UU theology"

Again, this effort is floundering, but with denominational support and maybe even funding, it could be something great.


indrax said...

Oh don't worry, I've got more on the way.

Chalicechick said...



Anonymous said...

I've heard it stated that our UU "seminaries" are already serving more as monasteries than as training centers for professional leaders in liberal-religious community and witness. The thinking is that many people enter Starr-King, Meadville-Lombard, etc., looking to find their own way---in their own personal journeys/vision-quests---rather than through a genuine desire to serve and evangelize. This results in fewer leaders who have that "fire in the belly"---that desire to share share and grow our wonderful heritage and unique living tradition as a liberal-religious movement. Just a thought. Maybe we need access to both?

Anonymous said...

If what Ron says is true, then having a UU Monastery (we call it a Chalistry) might very well deflect the people who just want to work on their own spiritual growth from going to seminary, and leave the seminary spots for those who really do "have that fire in the belly". Whether this is good or bad is debatable.
The latest "action" on this is that there is a guy (Nate Walker) who wants to start a unique UU "University" and we have had a bit of dialog about putting the Chalistry on the same campus -- near Lake Tahoe.
Here's the page on his website(?) about it:


Anonymous said...

Indrax left out the "study" component of my vision of the Chalistry. I envision a superb library, great discussions, and interdisciplinary brain-storming and research in the service of making our ideals real. I would like to do things like search and study everything we can find about successfully dealing with diversity, and publish a how-to manual for improving how we deal with it. Sort of put together what people from lots of different areas and perspectives have learned that actually works, and put it together in a report that is useful, readable, not too long, and not overly academic in tone. Then to do this on several topics. It would be an exercise in humility to start by assuming we know nothing, and really paying attention to what scientific studies show works, forgoing our own pet theories, and then synthsizing the ideas. Along with all the other projects Indrax listed.

Robin Edgar said...

Get thee to a nUUnnery Kim. . . ;-)

Joseph Santos-Lyons said...

Murray Grove offers free residence to any UU religious professional, and has several monastic activities with Michael Masters.

Unknown said...
I went here several times growing up, and I tell you this place has to be a Chalistry if anywhere is. Most people interact with "The Mountain" on a retreat basis, but they also have volunteer and employee positions. The entire place is a UU community - and like many Buddhist monestaries, much of the activity is involved in simply doing the tasks necessary to keep the place running - or to maintain the retreats that people come there from.

I'd suggest that perhaps a UU Chalistry would simply be a UU community whose mission is service - as this one is, to the larger UU community. (Just open up your hymnal and look at all the hymns that Shelley Jackson Denham has written! Many of which are favorites at UU congregations I've visited).

Regardless of whether they fit this idea, they're certainly what I'd expect from a Chalistry. :)

Anonymous said...

What about a virtual UU Chalistry in that monks and nuns are connected by the web?

It is not necessary to live in a monastery or to be celibate in order to be a mystic monk or a nun. You can be a nun/monk in your daily life with a partner, family and professional obligations. The inner attitude counts. But a UU Chalistry or Monastery, a community, is missing for this way of life.

There are some interesting ideas by Wayne Robert Teasdale: He showed a way to live as a mystic nun or a monk in the world (see his books "A Monk in the world" and "The Mystic Heart"). This kind of spiritual committed life IN THE WORLD could be a great spiritual motivation for some UUs.

There are some interfaith organizations that are realizing Teasdale's ideas. Maybe that Unitarian Universalism should organize a virtual monastery, a UU Chalistry, too?

Who is interested in a "virtual" Chalistry?

Anonymous said...

I am very intrigued by this idea of an online/virtual UU monastery. I have recently discovered the Abbey of the Arts online and am exploring their ideas of a Monk in the World. I see lots of potential and parralels for a UU.