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Chris Ermer

Chris Ermer
Member Reflection

After my daughter was born I wanted to find a Sunday School experience like the one that I had and a relationship to a congregation like the one I grew up with for her. The tricky thing was I wanted something that was right for a liberal, agnostic, new dad who had more questions than answers as it pertained to the big questions of life. I did not want to settle for anything that was less than 100% legit to me. I found UUFLB.org on line and I liked what I read. I really liked it! Enough to give it a try.

One of the big things that immediately attracted me was the lack of pretense on display. Pretense is defined as "an attempt to make something that is not the case appear true." But who knows what is or is not the case when it comes to the meaning/mission of life? So please allow me to make a slight change to that definition. Pretense - an attempt to make something that MAY not be the case appear true.

One pretense that bugs me in regard to many world religions is the notion that the building where worship occurs (church, mosque, temple) is a physical manifestation of God's interaction with humanity. And the humans that work in and visit the structure can communicate with the Divine more effectively there. In some cases the Deity is said to live within the walls as in the 'House of God'. 

Opinions vary in regard to our current Sunday Service meeting space. It is not ideal. There are draw-backs to having a worship space we can't utilize throughout the week. In a gymnasium some people cannot find the serenity they are seeking on a Sunday morning. For others, like me, it has a certain charm. There is a shared-thing kinda vibe that is a twist on the conventional. Pen Ryn is alive with spirit and energy on Sunday mornings when we get together. We share worship, fellowship, praise and  provocative food for thought worthy of any hungry soul. Fulfilling that mission requires weekly solidarity. Where UUFLB was seemed, to me, a positive reflection of what UUFLB was about. At UUFLB worship is open to all offered in a space that is familiar to most.

The most irksome pretense in religious thinking is the pretense of separation. The idea that members have a chosen status or are ticketed for paradise while the rest of us are getting tickets for less desirable eternity destination spots does not work for me. At the heart of that thinking is that members are worth more or are better than others. It was refreshing to find the first principle of UU: the affirmation that every person has inherent worth and dignity. That was one of the many things that was welcoming when I was introduced to this religious organization. I felt more and more at home as I heard the inspirational things said at the pulpit, met beautiful and earnest people and engaged in dynamic provocative discussions. It was not long before I realized that UU was for me.

Que sera sera. Whatever will be will be. The future is not ours to see. Who knows where we will be next year or years from now? The only constant is change so we will change.  We will not be meeting at Pen Ryn forever. That is good. Here there and everywhere we are UUFLB.

As an agnostic-seeker I contend we cannot know True while I also allow for the possibility that someone might have found The Way. So I try to have a mind open to faith, hope and love but a mind closed to too many conclusions.

Thank you for all that you have done and are yet to do to keep UUFLB humming. I don't think it is pretense that every effort to help us continue to be there for others and ourselves is important and worthy. Thanks!