My Youth Group Is Cooler Than Your Youth Group

My Youth Group Is Cooler Than Your Youth Group

If you don't know what Unitarian Universalism is, you need to read this.
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I am first going to start off by saying I am a completely open and non-judgmental person. I always try to see both sides of every situation and try to understand others when we are on different pages. This is definitely what I like most in myself, my ability to take a step back, consider someone else's ideas and opinions, and accept them even if I disagree. You can have your own opinion, and I can have mine. Well, this is mine. My youth group is cooler than yours. But before I tell you why, here is a little background on my religious journey and Unitarianism.

I had never identified with a religion until I was a sophomore in high school. I remember throughout my whole life listening to my friends talk about church on Sunday, CCD, confirmation, communion, baptisms, christenings, confessions, and altar service; the list goes on. My response would always be, "Oh, I don't really have a religion," because I didn't. I strictly went to church on Christmas Eve, Easter, for masses in memory of my grandfather, and the occasional "I had a sleepover at my friend's house so I went to church with them the next morning." My dad was raised Catholic and my mom was raised Episcopalian, but their beliefs strayed from the religion as they grew older. They did not feel the need to raise their children under beliefs they didn't quite agree with themselves. So when my friends would ask why I didn't go to church, I would proudly tell them that I didn't have a religion but am able to recite the Lord's Prayer without skipping a beat. It was fascinating to them and myself, that I did not have a religion. I liked being different.

When I was a sophomore in high school, my parents decided that they wanted to belong to some type of organization, so they went religion shopping. I babysat every Sunday morning at the time, so I would be left with the reports after their trips. Mom and Dad would pop into different Unitarian Universalist Fellowships and feel out the vibe. They liked it. My great-grandfather was actually a UU, which was how they knew about the religion. My parents eventually settled on a fellowship in Morristown, New Jersey, called the Morristown Unitarian Fellowship or MUUF.

I'm going to assume you don't know what Unitarianism is, so I'll give you a quick lowdown. Unitarian Universalism can quickly be defined as a religion where everyone and anyone is accepted. Would you believe me that any religion is accepted at a UU Fellowship? How about if I said any sexual orientation is accepted? Well, it's true. You are allowed to believe in one God. You are allowed to believe in many gods. You are allowed to believe in no god(s). We are actually the religion with the biggest support for the LGBTQI community, and anyone of any sexual orientation or gender identity. UUs are typically very down to earth people, laid back, casual: Unitarianism can be known to be very "crunchy granola" like.

To give you a more official look into Unitarianism, here are our seven principles. (I included the children's translation in parentheses) These principles are our guide to life and the morals we believe in and act on.

1st Principle: The inherent worth and dignity of every person; (We believe that each and every person is important.)

2nd Principle: Justice, equity, and compassion in human relations; (We believe that all people should be treated fairly and kindly.)

3rd Principle: Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations; (We believe that we should accept one another and keep on learning together.)

4th Principle: A free and responsible search for truth and meaning; (We believe that each person must be free to search for what is true and right in life.)

5th Principle: The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large; (We believe that all persons should have a vote about the things that concern them.)

6th Principle: The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all; (We believe in working for a peaceful, fair, and free world.)

7th Principle: Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part. (We believe in caring for our planet Earth, the home we share with all living things.)

So, as you can most likely gather from this, we are pretty open people. I've only been a UU for about five years, but I know it is a relationship that will last. I left my youth group for college just about a year ago, and miss it great deal. A UU youth group is like no other. I've been to the occasional Catholic youth group meeting, and it is pretty different from a UU meeting.

Here's why:

1. We can wear our PJs (or anything for that matter) to Sunday morning meetings, no questions asked.

2. We can discuss the legalization of gay marriage across the country and why it should happen ASAP. (Which does not really have to be discussed anymore because, well you know why. But, yay!)

3. We can talk about different kinds of contraception and were offered to be HIV tested for free after one service.

4. (MUUF exclusive) We have a sphinx from the movie set of Cleopatra in our youth group room.

5. (MUUF exclusive) Our fellowship is an old mansion with three stories!

6. We can debate our hearts out on whether there is a God or not, where we go or don't go after we die, whether abortion is right or wrong, etc., but still fully accept each other's opinions.

7. (MUUF exclusive) We pass around a stuffed animal chicken and tell the group about our past week.

9. We light a chalice at the beginning of every meeting (and service) and blow it out at the end.

10. We can 100 percent be ourselves and we can 100 percent talk about absolutely anything.

My point of this article was not trying to convince you that you should become a UU, or that I disagree with your own religious choices. This article's purpose is to inform those who are not familiar with Unitarianism about a religion that is actually pretty cool.

So, do you agree? If not, that's fine, I accept your opinion. (Winky face)

Cover Image Credit: Unitarian Universalist Congregation of the Palisades

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To The Friends I Won't Talk To After High School

I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.
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Hey,

So, for the last four years I’ve seen you almost everyday. I’ve learned about your annoying little brother, your dogs and your crazy weekend stories. I’ve seen you rock the awful freshman year fashion, date, attend homecoming, study for AP tests, and get accepted into college.

Thank you for asking me about my day, filling me in on your boy drama and giving me the World History homework. Thank you for complimenting my outfits, laughing at me presenting in class and listening to me complain about my parents. Thank you for sending me your Quizlets and being excited for my accomplishments- every single one of them. I appreciate it all because I know that soon I won’t really see you again. And that makes me sad. I’ll no longer see your face every Monday morning, wave hello to you in the hallways or eat lunch with you ever again. We won't live in the same city and sooner or later you might even forget my name.

We didn’t hang out after school but none the less you impacted me in a huge way. You supported my passions, stood up for me and made me laugh. You gave me advice on life the way you saw it and you didn’t have to but you did. I think maybe in just the smallest way, you influenced me. You made me believe that there’s lots of good people in this world that are nice just because they can be. You were real with me and that's all I can really ask for. We were never in the same friend group or got together on the weekends but you were still a good friend to me. You saw me grow up before your eyes and watched me walk into class late with Starbucks every day. I think people like you don’t get enough credit because I might not talk to you after high school but you are still so important to me. So thanks.

With that said, I truly hope that our paths cross one day in the future. You can tell me about how your brothers doing or how you regret the college you picked. Or maybe one day I’ll see you in the grocery store with a ring on your finger and I’ll be so happy you finally got what you deserved so many guys ago.

And if we ever do cross paths, I sincerely hope you became everything you wanted to be. I hope you traveled to Italy, got your dream job and found the love of your life. I hope you have beautiful children and a fluffy dog named Charlie. I hope you found success in love before wealth and I hope you depended on yourself for happiness before anything else. I hope you visited your mom in college and I hope you hugged your little sister every chance you got. She’s in high school now and you always tell her how that was the time of your life. I sincerely hope, every great quality I saw in you, was imprinted on the world.

And hey, maybe I’ll see you at the reunion and maybe just maybe you’ll remember my face. If so, I’d like to catch up, coffee?

Sincerely,

Me

Cover Image Credit: High school Musical

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Supporting Late-Term Abortion Is Actually The Opposite Of Feminism

Feminism is about gender equality and women supporting women- so shouldn't we support the unborn women of tomorrow?

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Before you read this, if you are someone who feels strongly that abortions are the "right" choice and that supporting late-term abortions is a step for woman anywhere, I do not suggest you read this article. However, I do want to write that I support conditional abortions- situations where the birth can kill the mother or where conception occurred because of rape. If someone rapes you, that is not okay by any means, and a baby conceived of rape can be terminated by the mother to avoid PTSD, anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and any other mental health diagnoses. Of course, if a woman can bring a baby into the world to keep or give up for adoption, even if it was the product of rape, she should seek life for the innocent child rather than death. And what a rape victim chooses to do is neither here nor there- and it damn well is not anyone else's business.

So why should it be my business (or anyone's) if women have late-term abortions? Agreeing to murder out of convenience should not be societally accepted as okay. When the law passed in New York for late-term abortions, I did not picture 39-week pregnant women rushing to Planned Parenthood to abort their child because they got cold feet. I highly doubt that is the exact scenario for which the law went into effect for, and that was more so intended for women who did not realize they were pregnant and missed the time period to get a legal abortion.

Not that I support early-term abortion, because all abortion is the same regardless of when it happens during the pregnancy. Killing someone sooner rather than later does not make it less worse.

Excuses about how women are not ready to be mothers, do not have the financial means, would ruin their futures, they would get kicked out, lose their bodies, etc. are just that- excuses. Carrying a child for nine months might be an inconvenience, but killing someone will be on your conscience forever. If murders pleaded their motives to police as a way to justify what they did (excluding self-defense), what difference is it if a woman kills her unborn child?

Planned Parenthood might be taboo and have a stigma attached to it, but it does so much more than kill babies. Planned Parenthood is a place where girls can go to see OB/GYNO, get birth control, and learn about safe sex, protection, STDs, etc. Instead of stigmatizing it, young women should be encouraged to go to this institution for woman and feminism. Let high school health classes plan field trips there so that everyone becomes more educated on female health (boys included!). Female health education is very limited, especially in school, and many women feel that an abortion is their only way out, however, it's not. By becoming more educated, the rate of teen pregnancies can go down, as well as the need for abortions. Women educating other women should be the goal of Planned Parenthood, and abortions should be reserved for those who got raped or whose pregnancy cause death, health complications, etc.

Abortion might be giving women a choice- but who is giving the unborn babies a choice?

And of course the only way to 100% prevent pregnancy is abstinence, and if that is your choice then good for you, and if you choose to have sexual intercourse, good for you too. Be safe. No slut shaming here. Women need to continue supporting other women, regardless of their sex life. Women who have abortions are not "whores" and should not be labeled as such- they are just people whose biology reacted to another person's biology.

If you truly do not want to have a baby, please please please give it up for adoption and do not kill it. It did nothing wrong, and yeah, it might be a little inconvenient to be pregnant, especially if you are in school, but there are hundreds of thousands of people that would love nothing more than to raise your baby. Be a woman supporting other woman and give the gift of motherhood.

If you take away anything from this article it's this:



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