A message from Dave Cicero, Director of Lifespan Religious Education

This month we celebrate the birthday of Civil Rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. It may be of interest (and news to you?) that King and his wife considered, but ultimately rejected, becoming Unitarians http://bit.ly/KingJr It was to me. And learning this made me consider what we UUs get right, and what we ultimately still need to work on.

We strive to be a “People of Integrity…” a community that can be relied upon to consistently do the right thing. Those who remember Spike Lee’s movie of the same name might recall the ambiguity that hovers around this seemingly simple concept. What’s “right” isn’t always so clear-cut. It’s based on culture, history and personal experiences. Perhaps this is why we center two of our faith’s stated Principles around the idea of continual growth and a responsible search for truth and meaning. It’s this process of searching, and acting, and reflecting (on both the shortcomings and successes of our actions) that keeps us true to our moral selves. We aren’t always going to get it right. But perhaps we can be honest with ourselves and give each other the opportunity to try again.

Ongoing Religious Education

We exercise this philosophy, of course, when teaching Sunday morning RE classes. Children famously test the limits of propriety as they discover what’s right and wrong in certain situations. Adults are less willing to do this — probably because they’re presumed to already know better. But we don’t always. I encourage us all to approach life with a “beginner’s mind”, to explore, stay curious, be creative. This doesn’t negate integrity, but with appropriate reflection helps us understand our authentic selves. Which is a prerequisite for it.

In this spirit, I again invite you to accompany our Neighboring Faiths class on an upcoming visit to a house of worship different from our own. Contact me for the current schedule. The Cantor at Congregation Emanu-El (Waukesha) has also invited UUCW adults to take part in a class she is leading this month on the Basics of Judaism. I have already, through the member2member email list, shared details about this. But I am happy to provide them to whomever else asks.

Other RE classes this month explore the topics of Wonder, Buddhism, UU’s worship practices and Protestant roots, Sikhism, Hospitality, and Acceptance. Our “Junior High” students will soon be able to explore the integral nature of sexuality in their lives, through the Our Whole Lives (OWL) program we are offering starting in February. If you or a 7th-9th grader are interested in learning more, please inquire before January 12, when we are holding a mandatory parent orientation to the program.

Upcoming Adult RE

Please keep an eye out for a series of Adult RE workshops I am organizing on Spirituality in Art for late winter/early spring. And if you would like to request that a particular art form be included, or suggest a teacher for one or more sessions, please let me know ASAP.

I am organizing an Adult RE Advisory workgroup, too, to help direct future Adult RE activities. If you are interested in helping with this, please see me at this month’s UUCW Activity Fair on January 19, or contact me to let me know your availability and area of interest.

Contact Dave Cicero, Director of Lifespan Religious Education.