Re: Services

1

I sometimes feel bad that we don't go to Unitarian or similar church-for-atheists services -- it seems like the sort of thing that's emotionally healthy, being a member of a community organization devoted to a combination of thinking seriously about, I don't know, stuff generally and charity. But I never got around to it, because in the absence of any actual spiritual feelings on my part, it seemed too pointless to bother.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 6:48 AM
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Don't they have Skeptics in the Pub where you are?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 6:56 AM
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Services for atheists don't really work because the point of services isn't to connect with humanity, it's to focus the congregation on some deity(ies) or on the transcendental or some equivalent. If you take the format and essentially try to turn it inside out, it won't work. If you want to connect with humanity, go and work with a soup kitchen, or the Peoples' Front of Judaea or something.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 6:59 AM
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3 is right as far as I can tell.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:00 AM
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But I never got around to it, because

...nothing on earth or in heaven is worth dragging my ass out of bed to get all dressed up early every Sunday morning. My kids already guarantee that I don't get to sleep in. I fully intend to spend the rest of that morning drinking coffee and reading the internet in my bathrobe.

Sorry, vaguely recognizable Jesus.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:00 AM
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2 is also a good idea, but it only connects you with your fellow skeptical piss artists. More fun though, I should think.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:01 AM
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I have some friends who are hard-core atheists but started attending the Unitarian church once they moved to Texas because holy crap how can you not go to some church or another? (Also to get some kind of social group in an entirely new town etc.)

(And that's moving to Austin, not Texas-qua-Texas).


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:04 AM
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Also, "hard-core atheists" by the standards of real people, not Internet people.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:05 AM
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On the other hand, it continues to amaze me the number of people I encounter within organized religion who have no interest in God, or any but the most diffuse spirituality.

So church-for-atheists already implies a level of seriousness about what is actually being said that exceeds that.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:06 AM
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A lot of people sort of occasionally associated with burning man (but not exactly the same people) are into, essentially, ritual without particular meaning. It can be pretty neat, really, although I'm not going to defend it against charges of being just the kind of fruity, new-age weirdness you would expect from those sorts of people.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:09 AM
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vaguely recognizable Jesus

...by Depeche Meh.


Posted by: apostropher | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:09 AM
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Religious people have a big advantage over non-religious people when it comes to finding friends, either to help out with stuff or just to be friends.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:13 AM
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7. Yes, but that's for camouflage, not conviction. If I'm being chased by stormtroopers, I might hide in a convenient sewer, but I wouldn't expect to be fulfilled or enlightened by the experience.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:15 AM
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I also think that the reason religious people tend to be more charitable (assuming that's correct, it tends to be a stat that conservatives use to bludgeon liberals with on the internet) is because they're brought into weekly social contact with people who are actually doing on-the-ground charitable stuff & thus forced to either put some money/volunteer time where their vague charitable intentions are or else admit that they have no intention of following up.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:16 AM
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Ritual without meaning sounds fun for a special occasion, but exhausting to do regularly. This hardcore atheist would rather celebrate my special connection to the universe by sleeping in, drinking coffee, and maybe playing a turn-based strategy game.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:17 AM
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Social Ritual-for-its-Own-Sake can help connect you to your community, nation, state, history, humanity. From tossing a coin in a Roman fountain to celebrating a Jizo-bon, it doesn't have to be sincere or deeply felt. As an atheist, God isn't gonna punish me for faking it. Piety is not about belief, but practice, and the submission required for a humble belonging is even enhanced by hypocrisy.


Posted by: bob mcmanus | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:17 AM
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Speaking of ritual without meaning, for the other New Yorkers out there, today is Streethenge, I think. So get outside at sunset and admire the effect.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:19 AM
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Football matches?*

I mean as a communal thing, with everyone there focused on another thing. Once xelA gets a bit older, I have a plan with a friend to take our kids to see our local team, fairly regularly.

* I mean soccer, but I assume hand-egg would also be OK.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:21 AM
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Does Streethenge usually fall on Ascension Thursday?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:21 AM
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I haven't been good about taking the kids to church since we've had Selah because it's just so much fucking work and I don't have three knees, but I at least have a Greek-English bible to keep me occupied and I pretend to be a sociologist and keep running commentary in my head, and I do try to apply the sermon messages to my relationship, figuring that needs a lot of help and if these people supposedly love Jesus perhaps it will translate appropriately. But they have Children's Church options twice a month and it's really lovely to be able to just sit with the baby once the big girls go to the other building, so maybe I should be there more often. Not at all as good at sitting at home with a cup of tea, but Lee has dibs on that job for whatever reasons.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:23 AM
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I have a plan with a friend to take our kids to see our local team, fairly regularly.

Brentford? QPR?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:24 AM
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Given that it's an astronomical date not tied to the days of the week, no.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:24 AM
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11: someone who, whatever, prayers. Someone? Who cares.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:26 AM
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I've always heard it called Manhattanhenge. And it is tonight but alas, I shall remain in Queens.


Posted by: Barry Freed | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:26 AM
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Sorry to keep shitting on Texas (Smearcase, I mean you) but also: why the fuck is the most prominent reading material in my dentist's waiting room a Bible?


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:28 AM
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25. A hint as to how long you're likely to wait?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:30 AM
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24: Neil dG-T says Manhattanhenge, but he's wrong. Streethenge is simple and satisfying to say, while Manhattanhenge is annoying.

Generally, I think I developed some insecurities about this stuff in a sociology class in college. The class was very convincing on the topic of religious behavior as something that's as close as anything comes to a human universal, leaving me thinking that I'm missing something. Obviously, that's not a reason to start believing in things, but I kind of worry that I'd be better/healthier somehow if there were something religion-like I felt connected to.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:33 AM
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it's to focus the congregation on some deity(ies) or on the transcendental

I would say on a shared sense of the sacred. That sense might be founded on a conception of deities and their relations to human beings, but it need not be (a lot of Buddhist ceremonies, especially in the West, are pretty simple expressions of thanks for, and reflections on the meaning of, the teachings of a historical person who provided a path for liberation from suffering).

Either way, I agree that a consumerist model that approaches different services as competing vehicles for the delivery of meaning-and-fellowship experiences is going to be pretty disappointed. Those grow out of the shared sense of the sacred that the services provide a focal experience of, rather the reverse. To get much out of a service, something about the way of life and view of the world of the practitioners already has to have a certain amount of hold on you.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:34 AM
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I tried to fake the religion thing for a while (including regular church attendance and so on) and Lord was it ever a relief when I gave up on that.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:35 AM
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re: 21

Brentford. Which is just about walking distance [but not with a small child]. A short bus-ride, anyway.

A couple of friends of mine go to Brentford, although both are basically supporters of other teams. One used to take his daughter(s) to QPR a fair bit when they were growing up, as it was the closest team to his flat, but these days, Brentford is the first choice as it's handy for pubs and the bus home.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:36 AM
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My wife is a believer and has always attended church. It's been particularly good here because the pastor is great, and it's been instant community for her, when that might have been difficult otherwise. I always want to attend, but the few times I have, I just can't get past "but no one actually believes this stuff, right?" The older kid was also going, but they showed them The Incredibles one too many times for our taste, and now he stays home with me.

Generally speaking, if you believe, it can be great, but if not, you're better off doing something you actually have an interest in.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:39 AM
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Also, if services were held monthly instead of weekly, I might be more inclined to make the effort. Weekly attendance/guilt is really much too much.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:39 AM
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I always want to attend, but the few times I have, I just can't get past "but no one actually believes this stuff, right?"

Which is what's nice about Judaism. There's very little expectation that you believe anything.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:40 AM
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2 is also a good idea, but it only connects you with your fellow skeptical piss artists. More fun though, I should think.

There is Sunday Assembly, which is very explicitly the sort of thing HG and LB are talking about, but I've never been. They also don't seem to have a Texas outpost yet.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:45 AM
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The class was very convincing on the topic of religious behavior as something that's as close as anything comes to a human universal, leaving me thinking that I'm missing something. Obviously, that's not a reason to start believing in things, but I kind of worry that I'd be better/healthier somehow if there were something religion-like I felt connected to.

Yeah, the Richard Dawkins fans who go around saying "Open your eyes, poor misled churchgoers! There's no need to be terrified of the fires of hell! Don't let peer pressure intimidate you into pointless rituals!" are pretty delusional.


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:45 AM
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Are there versions of the Unitarians for any other major faiths? Like, Shiites Light or Mini-Hindus?


Posted by: Todd | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:46 AM
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The relationship between Hinduism and Buddhism isn't entirely, absolutely different from Christianity/Unitarianism, insofar as I understand it which I probably don't mostly.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:48 AM
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Methodistinis. Catholettes.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:49 AM
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I have lingering sadness that I was raised presbyterian, in a congregation where you really are expected to believe what you say. I miss the community and ritual of church tremendously, but it's not a context in which showing up as an atheist makes sense. And I've found replacements (including Uniterianism) unsatisfying, in part because it's not the community I remember, and in part because the sermons have seemed to embody the worst caricatures of moral relativism. I want my religious leader to remind me sternly that I am not living up to my ethical obligations. The pastor at my childhood church was great at that; I think most of the congregation was relieved when he left to go teach at a seminary, but I really missed him.


Posted by: Sarabeth | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:49 AM
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36 - Bahai are kinda-sorta-Unitarian-ish Muslims. Ismaili Shi'iah Muslims, to a lesser degree.

Some/most (?) Reform Jewish congregations, and if they're too religious there's always Reconstructionist Judaism instead.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:50 AM
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NB Bahai are not actually considered Muslims either by themselves or other Muslims, but historically that's where they started.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:51 AM
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Of course, the same is true of Unitarians wrt Christianity, I suppose.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:52 AM
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35: Ugh, the Sunday Assembly folks seem even worse than the Unitarians. "Through our Action Heroes (you!) we will be a force for good" and "we won't tell you how to live, but will try to help you do it as well as you can." Even if your life plan is to get as rich as possible while mistreating your employees? Even if you are building a white supremacist compound?


Posted by: Sarabeth | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:53 AM
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I knew an atheist and a lapsed Catholic who had their wedding presided over by a Bahai whatever. I think entirely for reasons of economy.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:53 AM
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I've been getting annoyed with my Unitarian minister friend because she seems to be promoting a more thestic/Jesusey direction for the church. That totally doesn't appeal to me. I think she should just go join the UCC already.

I think UUism has value as a religion in that it can build on the social structure of a church framework to build a supportive community of like-minded people, while using that structure to explore other ideas that don't necessarily fall in with the whole God thing.

I saw a complaint recently that UU services can be too much like TED talks, and they should instead embrace being a "faith" and sprituality yadda yadda. Fuck that noise, I like the TED Talk model.

But there is definitely an argument going on within UUism right now about the general direction of the thing. I don't follow it too closely, but I have a feeling my side will be on the losing end.



Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:55 AM
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We thought about getting our wedding done at the Bahai temple (because fucking awesome building) but there were various/sundry restrictions that we didn't want to deal with. I forget the details. (No music, maybe?)


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:56 AM
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Which is what's nice about Judaism. There's very little expectation that you believe anything

This is true, and accounts for the comfort-level of religious indifference in my congregation, but still disconcerts me. It isn't just my having been raised as a pius liberal protestant, though.

My wife and I probed each others religious feelings and beliefs on our first long conversation/date/night together. Nothing definitive, just looking for resonance. So pretty important to confidence and trust levels, to the question of what kind of person is this?

Both of my kids appear to have this outlook as well, which shouldn't be surprising.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:58 AM
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Yes! TED talks captures it perfectly. I really, really don't want to listen to a congregation leader giving me a TED talk on a Sunday morning.


Posted by: Sarabeth | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 8:00 AM
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I don't mind going to TED Talks on Sunday morning - especially if child care is provided - but it has to be close by. The problem with UU churches is that they aren't enough of them around, and driving 30 minutes to get to one makes the whole endeavour less appealing. This probably wouldn't be a problem if I lived in New England, which has plenty of UU churches, but everywhere else, its a huge obstacle.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 8:05 AM
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One of my aunts is part of a Bahai community in Mongolia. She comes from a Methodist family (though my Mum is an atheist).


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 8:06 AM
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All of which is to say that I'm a fairly shitty Unitarian, so it might well be a good idea for those strategist the future direction of the church to ignore my ideas in favor in doing things that will attract people less lazy than I.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 8:07 AM
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Although, really, if they want to bring more people in, they should do a better job with marketing Unitarian Sex Ed Class, which is the one thing they do better than anyone else, anywhere.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 8:08 AM
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I also think that the reason religious people tend to be more charitable (assuming that's correct, it tends to be a stat that conservatives use to bludgeon liberals with on the internet)

IIRC, the statistic is a little misleading because it neglects an important religion/politics interaction. Religious conservatives give more money than any group. Liberals, whether religious or not, give a middling amount, and secular conservatives (e.g. libertarians) give nothing at all.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 8:12 AM
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That aunt better be assembling a Horde and getting ready to breach the Great Wall with her new Bahai army.

There are lots of churches willing to say something like "here's what we believe, we won't jump down your throats if you're not there."


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 8:14 AM
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53: There's also the question of what the money is used for. If it's going to cover hangar fees on the pastor's private jet that's rather different than if it's paying for food for the homeless. I don't doubt that affluent suburban megachurches see large amounts of charitable giving, but I question the uses to which that money is put.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 8:18 AM
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The class was very convincing on the topic of religious behavior as something that's as close as anything comes to a human universal, leaving me thinking that I'm missing something. Obviously, that's not a reason to start believing in things, but I kind of worry that I'd be better/healthier somehow if there were something religion-like I felt connected to.

Even if this was a constant in the past, does it have to be in the future? So much else is changing in the world, that I think as long as you're more or less content this is not something to worry about. Behavior that can be described as religious might be extremely common, but it takes many, many forms; for example, in East Asia it tends to be much more ritual- than faith-based. Sociologists might well decide in a hundred years that other activities like civic events or political activity or arguing on blogs seems to scratch the same itch.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 8:22 AM
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What's that line Stacy Keach delivers in W? "George, being a Christian isn't about some kind of perpetual high -- I have days of deep disappointment." Ask not what services can do for you, ask what you can do for services.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 8:22 AM
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"Being charitable" and "giving money to support proselytizing for your church" are certainly two different things.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 8:23 AM
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Back on the veldt, if you didn't believe in Grog the Rain God, Grog the Rain God didn't make it rain.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 8:25 AM
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"Being charitable" and "giving money to support proselytizing for your church" are certainly two different things.

Unless you have a view of the world in which the force that animates the duty to spread the Gospel and the duty to take care of people's needs is the same.


Posted by: Criminally Bulgur | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 8:28 AM
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55, 58: my vague recollection from stupid Internet arguments past is that the surveys control for actual charitable giving in some way (not church operating expenses or proselytism).


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 8:28 AM
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I'm still an atheist, thank God.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 8:34 AM
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39:

Your experience could easily have been mine--same background--but I've belonged to a Reform Jewish congregation where, despite not being mandatory, conscious belief was respected and to some extent catered-to.

It's always been held against Reform that it models itself on Protestant practice too much, lays too much stress on religion as opposed to community and peoplehood. Ours is a congregation in what's now called the "Classical" style; many Reform congregations are not much like that and may as well be Unitarians with Jewish Peoplehood. Reconstructionism can be different than that, but often isn't.

2 of the 3 Rabbis we've had have been religiously serious in the way you miss, and I would and have missed when it hasn't been foregrounded.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 8:37 AM
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The christianification of Judaism. Similarly, the percent of Jews who believe in the afterlife increased from 17% in 1900 to 74% in 1970.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 8:53 AM
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There's probably something to say about this in terms of Sadducees vs. Pharisees, but I don't remember enough as to which is which anymore.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 8:58 AM
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It does amuse me that our fairly rigorous form of Judaism doesn't meet the standards for Judaism expounded by folks whose families haven't belonged to a Jewish congregation in generations.

So ubiquitous as to be the subject of jokes from the pulpit.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 9:17 AM
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I've been kind of idly curious about what Unitarian services are like, in part because I feel like there's increasing tension in my relationship with my parents about my lack of interest in religion, but the "TED talk on a Sunday morning" thing makes it sound absolutely awful. I don't want to watch TED talks even from the comfort of my sofa in my pajamas, much less get up and go somewhere else to do it.


Posted by: essear | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 9:20 AM
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Real Jews reject Judaism for communism.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 9:20 AM
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Real Jews reject Judaism for communism

Easterners, Yiddish-speaking immigrants, what my wife's family calls Schwartzes, meaning not African-Americans but "Black-hats" and other types of Orthodox.

Her family are German Jews, who call themselves Yekkas Reform was invented in Germany and has been their practice for about 150 years.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 9:31 AM
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"TED talk on a Sunday morning" thing makes it sound absolutely awful.

To be fair, its quite a bit less smarmy than TED. The element they share it is the intellectual exploration of topics. In UU church its mainly topics of social justice and other stuff of interest to liberals, but also some religious/spiritual topics which are less interesting to me. There is frequently some discussion, which can be fun, especially when arguments start to develop. Although there is always one crotchety ex-Catholic/Episcopalian/Methodist who just wants to bitch about how much their old religion used to suck.

There are also hymns, but I don't like hymns.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 9:35 AM
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We've been going to weekly Sacred Harp singings, where the words are super religious but the singers range from atheists to liberal believers. Went to an all day singing a month ago. In the middle of the day they have a memorial lesson, where someone speaks about those who are sick or otherwise can't make it and reads names that people have submitted, the. We sing a song, then someone speaks about those who have died in the past year and reads names (someone put in Pete Seeger) and we sing a song. It was very moving, no belief content necessary. You just have to sing the songs, which is what you're there for anyway. I liked the idea that someday someone would put in my name.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 9:38 AM
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64: That's interesting. The history of philosophy podcast I follow just got through a section on medieval Judaism, and one of the hotly debated issues was whether belief in the afterlife was core to Judaism, like belief in the existence of God or following the holy law. I think the discussion comes up in this episode. I took this to be a sign that Judaism was already heavily christianized by the 12th century.


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 9:41 AM
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I thought that hotly debating whether or not there was an afterlife was part of Judaism prior to the existence of Christianity. But not long prior to it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 9:46 AM
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Belief in souls and an afterlife was a Greco-Roman (and Zoroastrian [?]) import into the Holy Land at that fed the creation of all kinds of apocalyptic sects within Judaism, one of which went on to become Christianity. But I don't think belief in souls and the afterlife was particularly crucial at the formation of Rabbinic Judaism.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 9:53 AM
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Meanwhile, I guess I identify "spiritually" with the westernized version on Theravada Buddhism that I practice, but I have not found a community of practitioners or a weekly thing that I like. I am probably pretty allergic to weekly religious religion from my upbringing. Also many western convert Buddhists are irritating.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 9:54 AM
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But was it debated?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 9:54 AM
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Real Jews reject Judaism for communism Grateful Dead concerts.


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 9:58 AM
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64: That's interesting. The history of philosophy podcast I follow just got through a section on medieval Judaism, and one of the hotly debated issues was whether belief in the afterlife was core to Judaism, like belief in the existence of God or following the holy law. I think the discussion comes up in this episode. I took this to be a sign that Judaism was already heavily christianized by the 12th century.

I'm way behind on that podcast. I used to listen to it while playing Europa Universalis IV and got up to the Stoics, but I haven't listened for a while. The new expansion just came out, though, and has a ton of cool changes, so I might get back into the podcast that way.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 10:04 AM
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Francis Spufford wrote a whole book about thus, no? I have a lot of time for FS, but it seems not enough time for that book. Must be down to the weakening of my moral fiber by the UU congregation of my youth.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 10:04 AM
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I've been attending Baha'i services for 1.5 years and it's perfect for a former atheist like me. The best parts are that women being equal to men is a central tenet and that science and religion shouldn't conflict. The people at the services are some of the nicest people I've ever met and the sense of community is incredible.


Posted by: LizSpigot | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 10:05 AM
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67: I don't think any two UU churches are quite alike, or any two UU ministers. They range from the TED-talk model to Christian-lite, to the local branch of the SWP.

A lot depends on the congregation, too. The one I (sometimes) go to has everything from Jews, Christians, Wicca, to outright atheists.

The services can include rituals from any religion ("Bathing the Baby Buddha" is popular, as are Christmas Eve services and Passover Seders). You can pretty much believe in anything or nothing as long as you are a registered Democrat subscribe to the creed, which is pretty anodyne liberalism.

If you went to a service, essear, you'd get an idea what the congregation and the "culture" of that particular one is, and really, they don't bite.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 10:05 AM
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Eh, my snarky strikethough only should go up through the word "Democrat," if that isn't obvious.

Serves me right.


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 10:06 AM
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63: I have to say that before meeting my husband, I had vaguely hoped to end up with someone Jewish, precisely my Reformed friends seemed to have the kinds of religious communities I could see myself being part of. But not converting to on grounds other than intermarriage. Instead I ended up with someone who was raised Catholic and is now actively hostile to the Catholic church.

Spike, you and I clearly want the exact opposite things out of Unitarianism. I love the hymns!

I should note, too that, there's a lot of diversity across the country in Unitarian congregations. The ones I went to in New England were closest to what I wanted in terms of the feeling of the service, but they were also the most Jesus-y.


Posted by: Sarabeth | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 10:08 AM
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part three pwned by DaveLMA - but I haven't found any of the 'local branch of the SWP' variety, which is probably closest to what I'm looking for.


Posted by: Sarabeth | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 10:12 AM
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At the end of high school when I was hanging out with lesbians/UU types, my dad made an uncomfortable half-joke to one about how in his day they used to say that UUs believed in at most one god. She laughed and said, "Now, it's more like AT LEAST!" He was not reassured.

I'd love to be able to do something like Sacred Harp when I'm a little less scheduled. The music was one thing I liked about the Mennonite church (the others being theology and activism, as well as good sermons) but we need a black church and that they are not.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 10:17 AM
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78.last: Oh no! Is this the economics one? I haven't played a Paradox game for months! But I suppose it would make a good Sunday morning substitute.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 10:21 AM
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Spike, you and I clearly want the exact opposite things out of Unitarianism. I love the hymns!

Well, as I said, I'm a pretty crummy Unitarian. I don't even like coffee.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 10:22 AM
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I lost interest in attending religious services when they stopped including animal sacrifices.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 10:29 AM
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87. What kind of American are you if you don't like coffee?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 10:33 AM
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Spike, you and I clearly want the exact opposite things out of Unitarianism. I love the hymns!

Though stereotypically if you love hymns sung well, you should look elsewhere.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 10:35 AM
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Does anyone else wonder if there's a concomitant decrease in people's willingness to sing in front of one another with the decline in church service attendance?


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 10:39 AM
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Very old UU story:

A bunch of UUs die in a horrible disaster and end up at the gates of Heaven. There's even a big sign "Heaven" in front of it. They are very disconcerted until they notice a smaller door off to the side labeled "Discussions about Heaven."


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 10:39 AM
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78.last: Oh no! Is this the economics one?

Yes. Wealth of Nations. Adds a bunch of trade related mechanics (including fleshed out trading companies) and revamps the economy to make buildings more sensible. Reading around, though, it seems like a buggy release (from Paradox, imagine!), so it might be best to hold off for a while.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 10:43 AM
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90: Yes, the Presbyterians also spoiled me by having a high-quality music program and a beautiful organ.


Posted by: Sarabeth | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 10:54 AM
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28: a consumerist model that approaches different services as competing vehicles for the delivery of meaning-and-fellowship experiences

I like this framing. I've been hearing from a (Protestant of some sort) friend who is now on the board of his tiny church that they're worried about their dwindling numbers, both in their own church outpost and in their denomination regionally, and their answer to the problem is that they clearly need to market themselves more attractively. e.g. Instead of holding a Whoopie-Pie Fair day to raise funds for church expenses, they should do it to provide funds for a soup kitchen or something. Then they can draw in people interested in helping the hungry.

I try to diplomatically observe, when listening to these thoughts and explanations, that yes, I can see how group activities directed only toward supporting the group itself could seem kind of insular.

In fact, though, I think it's the marketing/consumerist thinking CB describes that makes it difficult to listen to fretting about that friend's church.


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 11:00 AM
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94: This is an odd question, but are there hymns you think of as traditionally Presbyterian? I ask because one of my grandmother's favorite things (that helps out her caregivers) is to listen to CDs of music she recognizes and can sing along to. I was the only one in the family who knew what hymns she might know, but I ran out of options pretty quickly (Amazing Grace, etc.). She doesn't remember the doxology, but she does mostly stuff she would have heard as a child or teenager. If that rings a bell for you, I'd love suggestions. This project has absolutely wrecked the boyfriend's iTunes recommendations.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 11:09 AM
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91 I stopped going to Grateful Dead concerts when people singing along became a thing. I'm not saying this was the only or even most important reason . . .


Posted by: CharleyCarp | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 11:11 AM
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96: Abebooks has some presbyterian hymnals -- there's one from the 1940s on the first page. It's not recordings, but it might identify the names so that you could search for recordings?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 11:17 AM
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"Faith of our Fathers," comes immediately to mind.

Actually, class and region, size of congregation and urban/rural would play a role in what she remembered.

Does your grandmother have a hymnal of her own? That would be a clue. So would asking the music director or a Presbyterian church, who even if years younger, and Hymnals change substantially over time, would be able to take an old hymnal off a shelf.

It's one of those things where, just like your Grandmother, I'd know it if I heard it but can't recall it easily out of context.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 11:18 AM
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98: Nice job, LB. You know the one I recommended would be right up your alley.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 11:20 AM
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http://www.hymnary.org/hymnal/PH1990 is the index for the 1990 Presbyterian Church USA hymnal - these books tend to be pretty conservative, and at a glance there are a bunch of traditional songs there.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 11:20 AM
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101:

That's the one my mother owns, yet I only recognize the Christmas and Easter ones, which are common to all Western Christians, from the toc.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 11:25 AM
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I know a ton of them, but pastor's kid.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 11:27 AM
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97: Wow, I can imagine.


Posted by: Klug | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 11:36 AM
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98: That's a really good idea, thank you!
101: Thank you, that's also really, really helpful.
You've made an 85 year old lady's afternoons so much brighter.

99: She switched from Presbyterian to UCC in the early 90s over ordination of gay clergy, so her current hymnals and sheet music are both too new and not quite the right denomination. I try to open one and play when I visit, but it's mostly misses with a few hits. Her tastes have also changed from more complicated to more simple (she could remember words to Sunday School type stuff but not things sung during services). She grew up in a medium sized town in Northern CA. Her parents were teachers (her father ended up a high school principal), which insulated her from the Depression, although they weren't wealthy. She met my grandfather in a choral group in college (he returned on GI Bill), and they sang in their churches' choirs until he was no longer able to.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 11:38 AM
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The closest option I've found is a Friends fellowship. At least around here, the Quakers are very accepting of atheists, and the format, if you will, is something that almost works for me. I still almost never go to services because I'm a terrible curmudgeon/introvert who doesn't need much social interaction, but I do volunteer there.


Posted by: grumbles | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 11:40 AM
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94.last: "I don't know where you've been, but I see you won first prize."


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 11:53 AM
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||
Forgive me, I want to share this, but there isn't an available political thread except the Piketty one, which should be for Piketty talk.

Guardian piece on something called the Inclusive Capitalism Initiative, an outgrowth of a British think tank ostensibly dedicated to addressing income inequality but actually an excuse for a PR campaign to the masses in order to soothe popular unrest and protect capital interests.
|>


Posted by: parsimon | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 12:16 PM
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101 is also my family church's hymnal. She would probably have used the previous version more, but I don't see a link to that online. Some of the hymns that I think of as traditional from the 1990 version include 122 (Thine is the glory), 151 (Crown him with many crowns) 220 (All people that on earth do dwell), 259 (A mighty fortress is our god), 464 (Joyful joyful we adore thee), 478 (Praise my soul the kind of heaven), 551 (Come, ye thankful people, come) and 559 (We gather together to ask the Lord's blessing). Also, which I didn't see here, probably because I was skimming to quickly, Holy holy holy, Lord God Almighty.

With the caveat that those might just be the idiosyncratic traditions of one church.


Posted by: Sarabeth | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 12:46 PM
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should be Praise my soul the king of heaven, not kind of heaven.


Posted by: Sarabeth | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 12:47 PM
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109:

That's a very good list, and I know 6 of them just from the names. I'll have the tunes in my head the rest of the day.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 12:53 PM
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Well, this is unexpected. At the moment I'm watching the Royal Marines board a (fake) terrorist boat from my window. This hulk is sitting in the Thames about 400 yards from me. #Greenwichlivingperks.


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 12:56 PM
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112: Looking at your link on HMS Bulwark, I notice the 2 Polish Frigates are both named for Polish Heroes of The American Revolution.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 1:01 PM
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Which history of philosophy podcast, btw? I'm always looking for things for the car-commute. Melvin Bragg gets annoying.


Posted by: nattarGcM ttaM | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 1:10 PM
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The History of Philosophy Without Any Gaps


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 1:13 PM
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93: Thank you, I'll take that as an incentive to wait. I'm excited about a trade overhaul, but EU4 has felt a little broken in general (more gamey than their previous releases).


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 1:24 PM
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And I've found replacements (including Uniterianism) unsatisfying, in part because it's not the community I remember, and in part because the sermons have seemed to embody the worst caricatures of moral relativism.

I think my Unitarian experience was probably atypical, but it was really great - none of that moral relativism crap. I learned something every time I went, but ultimately was too lazy to keep it up.

My favorite sermon could have been titled: Tit for tat. It was a learned defense of the value of revenge, and was directly relevant to my life at the time. Another sermon was titled "A defense of Jesus." I remember very little about it, except that it was brilliant and that it was delivered apologetically to an audience that was inclined to treat Jesus skeptically. (Not treat his godhood skeptically - I mean, treat him skeptically as a worthwhile figure in human history.)


Posted by: politicalfootball | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 1:28 PM
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109: Thank you as well. I managed to stumble three on your list in my original hunt, and I bet she'll know the others. It's exactly the kind of help I was hoping for. Much appreciated.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 1:35 PM
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I can endorse the list in 109; I'd add We Plow the Fields and Scatter and Breathe on Me, Breath of God as a couple more.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 1:44 PM
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117: That's pretty much exactly what I wanted out of my Unitarian experience, and haven't found. I do think that it's a function of the anti-doctrinal stance of the church that there's so much variation across congregations. Maybe I should try again in my new city, though. We have a kid now, so in about 8-10 years the sex-positive sunday school would be great to have in our lives.


Posted by: Sarabeth | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 2:02 PM
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All Glory Laud and Honor
What a Friend We Have in Jesus
Love Divine All Loves Excelling


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 4:05 PM
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Breathe on Me, Breath of God

To the tune of Lean on Me, I hope.


Posted by: Bave | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 4:11 PM
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I'm glad of comment 71 as I was going to mention Sacred Harp and just say it's been a source of churchlike community but the thing about the memorial lesson I wouldn't have had the right words for.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 5:39 PM
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To the OP it is perhaps a shame you are not an addict as what really delivers on connection and larger than selfness and stuff is AA, it seems to me.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 5:47 PM
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Most of the Presbyterian hymns above were standards in my church. I would add "Ye Watchers And Ye Holy Ones", "God Of The Ages, Whose Almight Hand" and "Glorious Things Of Thee Are Spoken".

Be careful with the last one (and "Love Divine, All Loves Excelling") since they are often to the tune of Haydn's "Austrian Hymn", aka "Deutschland Über Alles".


Posted by: Cryptic ned | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 5:52 PM
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I'm going to guess that "God of The Ages" is "Faith of our Fathers," perhaps needing no other change than the substitution of the one phrase for the other.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 6:04 PM
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"Joyful, Joyful we adore thee" is also to "Deutschland Uber Alles, and that was the name of the tune in the Hymnal. None of this "Austrian Hymn" business.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 6:07 PM
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There are Sacred Harp songs whose tunes are dead on "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" and "Long, Long Ago" from the Suzuki method books.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 6:11 PM
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Thanks, Blume. I'd gotten her the first two but had forgotten about the third. I was surprised my grandmother knew and liked (now) What a Friend We Have in Jesus. (She used to like her church pretty formal.) My aunt clued me in that it was sung in Sunday School, which is probably why she remembered it so well.
Protestant hymns confuse the boyfriend (raised Catholic). I would have expected more overlap, but he only knew Amazing Grace.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 6:13 PM
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Joyful Joyful can also be to the hymn to joy.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 6:14 PM
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For Sunday School, maybe Jesus Loves Me? (This I know, for the Bible tells me so)


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 6:15 PM
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"Maybe Jesus Loves Me" would be a very Unitarian hymn.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 6:17 PM
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The simplest of the Sunday School hymns is "Jesus loves me this I know."


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 6:17 PM
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I think that was a triple-cross message.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 6:18 PM
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"Joyful, Joyful we adore thee" is also to "Deutschland Uber Alles, and that was the name of the tune in the Hymnal.

That's too bad. In our hymnal it was to the Ode to Joy tune.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 6:19 PM
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if there actually existed services somewhere where I usually ended up feeling more connected with humanity and part of something larger than myself

We called those hardcore shows when I was a kid. They involved drums, singing, primitive dancing rituals, a blood offering, and occasionally a human sacrifice, usually of a member of another tribe.

What's the term for a dead religion? They stopped letting you stage dive and then that was it, it was integral to the experience.

I didn't recognize it as a religion then because I was not just an atheist, but opposed to religion in general. But the general "do they actually believe in this stuff" part of religion doesn't bother me as much now that I have experienced it in every other part of life too.


Posted by: D Clarity | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 6:21 PM
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Out of the whole thread, the two in 128 are the ones now stuck in my head. My mental recording is a badly played violin (especially odd since no one in my circle played violin). Thanks bundles, Smearcase.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 6:26 PM
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I've gone and dug up a "Pilgrim Hymnal," revised 1958 but mostly from the 30s, which also has Joyful set to Beethoven. But I'm sure about the Deutschland version, and if you try it you'll see it scans.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 6:27 PM
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"Go Tell Aunt Rhody" and "Long, Long Ago" from the Suzuki method books

The former was also the first song in our middle school beginning band books and the first song in the teach-yourself-autoharp book I used a few years ago.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 6:37 PM
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Wow, can you play the autoharp, Blume? That's cool!

I need a really basic learn-to-play-piano book and it just occurred to me that I could probably ask for recommendations here. (For me; if the girls want to learn they'll take lessons.)


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 6:48 PM
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She didn't say what she used the teach-yourself-autoharp book for, Thorn.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 6:53 PM
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Well, I can play "Go Tell Aunt Rhody" and the next song, "Red River Valley." I never got terribly far because you have to tune those frikkin' things pretty much every time you play them.


Posted by: Blume | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 6:55 PM
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This thread is fascinating to me from an anthropological perspective. I always wondered what the goyim were doing in church.


Posted by: Josh | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 6:55 PM
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Jesus loves me, I surmise
Though I only theorize
The weight of evidence suggests
He prob'ly lived, but not the rest.

Maybe Jesus loves me!
Maybe Jesus loves me.
Maybe Jesus loves me!
Though he may not exist.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 6:57 PM
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143: wait, people explain that here? Maybe I should read the thread! (Nah, kidding. I definitely should not.)


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:07 PM
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140: I'm an utter failure at teaching myself musical things. If you just want to get to very basic proficiency, I think it might be faster to find a high school kid to come over and teach you once a week.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:17 PM
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146: I can play the violin well enough and can read music. I'm not planning to get good at anything, just have some easy little pieces I could work out myself.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:19 PM
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I tried to teach myself to play the violin because we had a violin just sitting there. I could not hold down a single string at a time.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:30 PM
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Also a Sunday School favorite: He's got the whole world in his hands. And, though the recordings are grating, the Wee Sing Bible songs album is full of Sunday school hits. Does she know any spirituals? My family church sang plenty of those, but I'm not sure how common that was in white churches several decades ago.


Posted by: Sarabeth | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:32 PM
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We knew some of these tunes, "Yes, Jesus Loves Me" and "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands" when I was 4-ish in Oklahoma. I don't know quite where we heard them, though it was certainly a "what church do YOU go to?" kind of town.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:46 PM
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As I'm sure you know, Virgil Thomson used a number of them in his music.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 7:55 PM
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only knew Amazing Grace

About the most disappointed I've ever felt with my fellow Unitarians was when they sang "saved a soul like me" instead of "saved a wretch like me." I get that we aren't supposed to think of ourselves as wretches - on account respecting our own inherent worth and dignity - but the song uses "wretch" for a reason, and sanitizing that part kind of undermines the meaning of the thing.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 8:07 PM
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For Thorn, I don't like the Thompson series, so I'd avoid those. The Alfred series looks OK on a quick glance. Something like Alfred's Self-Teaching Piano Course looks like it would go quickly. It does have pretty nice drills.

149: I strongly suspect she wouldn't have a strong connection or memory of spirituals. Liberalish though she is, I think she's mostly been sort of an uptight white lady churchgoer. My parents are the right generation for a lot of those (Lift Every Voice and Sing, Michael, Row the Boat Ashore type stuff), but old age and a poorly working brain have left my grandmother's taste and comfort zone pretty narrow. I was surprised she liked What a Friend . . . partly because it's a little less staid and formal than stuff she used to prefer when she was sharper.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 8:09 PM
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I think the original lyric was "saved a wrench like me." It's an old-fashioned way of saying "a tool."


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 05-29-14 10:19 PM
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I regularly go to church and have a numinous connection to a human universal. Saturday evening concerts, not Sunday morning services. Maybe it's the reverb.

And Josh came along to one of the good ones! How could you have forgotten the giant sackbut with its own little training wheels?

I *also* like being lectured thoughtfully on moral duties and dilemmas. I should maybe visit the local Episcopalians, who do doughty work with the homeless and have a sense of humor. Or the Friends in the other direction, though I have a lurking feeling that the local Friends have a particularly old-Seattle birthright-Quaker cliquishness.


Posted by: clew | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 12:36 AM
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This thread is really interesting, since I have spent a lot of time wondering about what people really get out of membership in a faith community, and which of those many reasons are ones I would want to nurture & encourage.

The connection to the numinous, the belonging to something greater - absolutely. The beauty of the music, and the participation in a shared tradition (the way this thread of not particularly churchy folk came alive when discussing hymns) - also important. But it seems to me that where the traditional spiritual paths shine (vis à vis "atheist gatherings" and other new age/ rah rah revivals/etc) is that they confront the range of human experience, from exultation to bitter despair. A community of people who remember (and remind themselves) that life can be shit and that that is not a sign of massive personal failure - that seems important. The psalms, for example. Or the Christian narrative of new life coming out of death.

I think the effect may be cathartic, (this is a stretch?) like greek tragedies were intended to be. Embrace the emotions, return to life with a sense of the wholeness of life, some perspective beyond the day-to-day grind.

On the other hand, maybe I'm just blindly defending the path I've chosen, crazier things are possible.


Posted by: parodie | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 3:30 AM
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I'm glad Parodie has shown up, because he has, so to speak, professional insight into the question. This seems to me important:

But it seems to me that where the traditional spiritual paths shine (vis à vis "atheist gatherings" and other new age/ rah rah revivals/etc) is that they confront the range of human experience, from exultation to bitter despair. A community of people who remember (and remind themselves) that life can be shit and that that is not a sign of massive personal failure - that seems important.

And yet. The Episcopalians seem to be adopting the rah rah revival approach almost as a default these days. That or Alpha Course (at least in England), which I find sinister. If I got religion again for some reason, I wouldn't go back to the CoE, much as I loved it as a child. The reasons I loved it have been killed.

Also, a good many American protestant denominations seem to be leading the charge in propagating the Republican doctrine that if life is shit it is sign of massive personal failure. I'd have thought that was heretical, but what do I know?


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 3:58 AM
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the 1990 Presbyterian Church USA hymnal - these books tend to be pretty conservative

Small "c" conservative in its hymn selection, yes. But definitely not conservative: this edition went gender neutral, making substitutions like "vain empty praise" for "man's empty praise" and "good Christian friends rejoice" for "good Christian men rejoice". (It did not go so far as to eliminate gendered language for the deity: "Come Thou Almighty King" and "O God, Thou Art the Father" are still in there.) The 1990 hymnal also tones down the martial imagery of some hymns, though it preserves old favorites like "Onward Christian Soldiers [...marching as to war]".

The 1955 Hymnal might feel more familiar to ydnew's grandmother.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 4:41 AM
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Correction to 158: I just checked Tom Scudder's link, and "O God Thou Art the Father" is not in the 1990 edition (though "Come Thou Almighty King" is). And "Onward Christian Soldiers" was, in fact, eliminated. So yeah, not "conservative".


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 4:47 AM
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"Joyful, Joyful we adore thee" is also to "Deutschland Uber Alles.

In the Presbyterian hymal, it's Beethoven's Ode to Joy (as in Blume's church).

None of this "Austrian Hymn" business.

"Austrian hymn" is actually a more accurate description: the original Haydn Kaiserlied melody was sung "Gott erhalte Franz, den Kaiser..."



Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 5:02 AM
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their answer to the problem is that they clearly need to market themselves more attractively. e.g. Instead of holding a Whoopie-Pie Fair day to raise funds for church expenses, they should do it to provide funds for a soup kitchen or something. Then they can draw in people interested in helping the hungry.

This is pretty much the opposite of what the research shows. The denominations that account for all the growth in church attendance in the U.S. are the ones that impose the strictest doctrine and place the heaviest demands on personal observance. Whatever the objective merits, the trend to "let's make it about helping the needy" has contributed to the relative decline of the mainline denominations.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 5:11 AM
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...and finally, 144 was praiseworthy.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 5:14 AM
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The denominations that account for all the growth in church attendance in the U.S. are the ones that impose the strictest doctrine

Shitty fathers, we blame thee.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 5:42 AM
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143 what the goyim do in church

In the UU case, a lot of the "goyim" are Jewish by descent/culture/whatever. My limited experience with Jewish services (bar and bat mitzvahs, weddings) and my Jewish friends talking about their experiences indicate stuff is pretty much the same all over.

152 Amazing Grace

The UU hymnal bowdlerizes a lot of hymns to the extent that many are ugly and unsingable. But then, as a lapsed Presbyterian-turned-atheist I still wince when the Lord's Prayer has "trespassers" instead of "debtors."


Posted by: | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 6:10 AM
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165

164 was me. /collarofshame


Posted by: DaveLMA | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 6:11 AM
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Is that some kind of Presbyterian thing? It's always been "trespasses" (and not "tresspassers") as far as I can recall. I don't know what it was pre-Vatican II.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 6:14 AM
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Is that some kind of Presbyterian thing? It's always been "trespasses" (and not "tresspassers") as far as I can recall. I don't know what it was pre-Vatican II.

In the King James Bible, it's "debtors" (Matthew 6:3-9). Presbyterians FTW.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 6:17 AM
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168

Sorry, should be Matthew 6:9-15.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 6:19 AM
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169

144:

God rest ye, Unitarians,
Let nothing you dismay;
Remember there's no evidence
There was a Christmas Day;
When Christ was born is just not known,
No matter what they say,

O, Tidings of reason and fact,
Reason and fact,
Glad tidings of
Reason and fact.


Posted by: rob helpy-chalk | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 6:23 AM
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170

144: Nice.


Posted by: Flippanter | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 6:23 AM
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Right. That's not different from the translation used by Catholics for the Gospel. But the prayer as commonly used has never matched the Bible translation.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 6:26 AM
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In the UU case, a lot of the "goyim" are Jewish by descent/culture/whatever.

Ah yes, the Jewnitarians. There are many.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 6:26 AM
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173

171 to 167,8.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 6:26 AM
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174

Presbyterian church, and Baptists, Quakers and UCC and Congregationalists, are puritan descended.

Episcopa,l Methodist, Nazarene and United Church of Canada are descended from the C of E. Tells are "trespasses" and beginning all sacraments with the phrase "Dearly Beloved"


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 6:35 AM
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The one time I went to an Episcopal wedding, I could follow the service without any trouble. The groom was Jewish, but presumably not very strict about it.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 6:43 AM
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I've "testified" about this before, but IRL, nobody knows or cares about this stuff, in church or out. Unfogged is a very special place.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 6:44 AM
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Anyway, 174 is helpful. There weren't many puritan descended churches around where I was raised. It was mostly Methodists and Lutherans.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 6:44 AM
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178

I actually grew up in the Reformed Church (formerly Dutch Reformed), which is a "trespasses" church despite being theologically and in most other ways pretty similar to the Presbyterians. Also, per 158, I did mean "conservative" solely in the sense that 90% of the hymns would be the same as in the previous hymnal. (Didn't think about the gender neutral language thing).


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 6:46 AM
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174: I thought Presbyterians came from the Scottish Reformation, which was more Calvinist and largely independent of what happened to the south. I'm also not sure if it makes sense to refer to English Dissenters in general as Puritans. I thought the Puritans were more a particular sect at a time where a lot of stuff was happening, along with Baptists and Methodists. Quakers came a bit later. (If you're making a statement about convergence after colonization, fair enough--I didn't know about any such thing.) UCC/Congregationalists are totally New England Puritans, though.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 6:50 AM
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Oh, is Unitarian hymns going to be a thing? I'll bite.

A vague enigma is our God
a thought for contemplation
We know not if he's real or not
but we enjoy the congregation

We trust no holy text
This week you can expect
Debate on Piketty
Then share some herbal tea

We feel improved alre-e-eady.


Posted by: knecht ruprecht | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 6:50 AM
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180 is pretty good.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 6:56 AM
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182

UCC/Congregationalists are totally New England Puritans, though.

As are the Unitarians. I find it hilarious that the church up the hill from Plymouth Rock, which is decended from the original strick-ass Pilgrim congregation, is now UU.

Although, I guess, technically, the Pilgrims weren't Puritans.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 6:57 AM
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I thought Puritans were Pilgrims with stupid hats and shoe buckles.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 6:59 AM
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180: Can you sing it?


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 7:04 AM
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The singer needs to have a SAG card. House rules.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 7:07 AM
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No, the Pilgrims were a Separatist cult who felt the Puritans weren't pure enough.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 7:19 AM
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Anybody else into Gospel?

I'm listening to the soundtrack (Curtis Mayfield wrote the music, Staple singers perform) of 1975's "Let's Do It AGain" (Jimmie Walker stars, here'a a youtube link to the song.) A couple of tracks are completely amazing. My favorite for straight Gospel is a recording of the Harmonettes from the mid-60's.


Posted by: lw | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 7:20 AM
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179: Presbyterians are from the Scottish reformation, yes. Not the same as Puritans, but share a common influence from Calvinist/Swiss protestantism in the late 16th c. Methodism was founded much later, in the 18th c, and remained a society within the Anglican church for the first few decades.


Posted by: Sarabeth | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 7:28 AM
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God if we got SAG scale for commenting I'd be a rich man.

The mainline if weird congregation I go to has had like 500% growth in 5 years, mostly people under 40. Basically,the model is like what Parodie refers to above. The interesting question is whether it's just driven by the personality of the priest in charge or is in any way generalizable.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 7:28 AM
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Put differently, the Puritans (and Baptists) were people who wanted the English Reformation to be more like the Scottish Reformation. Some left and became Baptists, etc., others stayed in the CoE, grumpily, till the English Revolution.


Posted by: Sarabeth | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 7:31 AM
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In my experience, Baptists are plenty grumpy regardless.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 7:35 AM
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188: Oh--not sure why I thought Methodists were concurrent. I've been trying to bone up on my Protestant history as I was raised and educated as a Catholic and the totality of our information on Protestants was "these fucks threw a hissy fit and then maybe Henry VIII slept around a lot."


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 7:42 AM
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A lot of English Presbyterian congregations became Unitarian in the aftermath of the Restoration (late 17th, early 18th centuries), but they were proper Socinians, not the weak sauce semi-deists who seem to have appropriated the name in the US.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 8:14 AM
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unitarian universalists, raptured.

http://prairiehome.publicradio.org/programs/2004/05/01/scripts/mystery.shtml

apologies to garrison keillor haters. probably all of you, eh?


Posted by: simulated annealing | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 8:14 AM
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||

Question:
A vendor has recommended me for a part-time gig with another of her clients, sounds like something that would be easy to do and be a good resume builder. It's basically bookkeeping for three small businesses, and she's recommending me to the owners directly. Thoughts on what I might wear to an interview, how to spin my resume?

||>


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 8:51 AM
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What you wear to the interview is one notch more formal than you think standard office wear is where you're interviewing.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 8:58 AM
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Also, didn't a lot of New Englanders switch to Unitarianism, and the remaining Congregationalists become much more liberal, in the late 18th century or so?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 9:00 AM
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Seems right (I mean, don't wear white tie and tails to an interview at a funeral home, but). But, generally, a suit is always safe for a bookeeping job, unless you're interviewing in Silicon Valley.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 9:01 AM
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Yeah, drawing direct lines back from modern Protestant denominations to specific reformation theologies is pretty tricky; most UCC people today aren't meaningfully Calvinist, American Lutherans had to deal with the fact that the German Lutheran churches were basically state religions, the PCUSA isn't particularly close to the Scottish Kirk, Arminianism took over a ton of US Protestantism, etc. Even the modern US episcopal church has a weird history; outside of Virginia it was a tiny sect and not at all the general WASP church, but it was re-adopted by a lot of wealthy 19th century NY and New Englanders whose parents were Calvinist or Methodists (the Methodists have a clearer geneology to the modern organized church, but still a complicated history).

Also complicated in the US by a lot of denominations splitting into Southern and Northern branches over slavery.


Posted by: Robert Halford | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 9:08 AM
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Protestants are splitters in general. Ship of Fools used to (maybe still does?) have a ticker for how many Reformed denominations there were in the world.


Posted by: Tom Scudder | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 9:10 AM
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Re: debts/trespasses, my mother's UCC church switched from debts to "sins/those who sin against us" in the mid-90s. Talk about ugly rhythm.


Posted by: ydnew | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 9:41 AM
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174: The UCC church I grew up in has always used debts/trespasses.


Posted by: Natilo Paennim | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 10:26 AM
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What you wear to the interview is one notch more formal than you think standard office wear is where you're interviewing.

Would that not mean you should show up in black tie in a lot of places?


Posted by: Ginger Yellow | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 10:38 AM
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So is debts/trespasses reflective of some theological decision, the kind Graeber would incorporate, or is it just alternate translations that got passed down through the denominations?


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 10:43 AM
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A small notch. Someplace where suits are normal, you show up in a suit but a little fussier attention to your shoes being shined and your shirt being unrumpled.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 10:43 AM
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And your zipper fastened.


Posted by: chris y | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 10:44 AM
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"Trespasses" is enclosure movement propaganda.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 2:19 PM
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Religion may be a human universal. Theology certainly isn't. Ritual and myth certainly are.


Posted by: Nworb Werdna | Link to this comment | 05-30-14 8:11 PM
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I wonder if a popular fantasy series had an appealing religion whether that could catch on with people who want the pageantry of religion but can't take seriously gods in our world.


Posted by: Unfoggetarian: "Pause endlessly, then go in" (9) | Link to this comment | 06- 1-14 2:00 AM
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