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Contemporary Issues in Liberal Religion

General Assembly 2000 Event 219

Presenters: Professor David Bumbaugh, Professor Carol Hepokski, Rev. William Murry, Rev. Thandeka

Four faculty members of Meadville/Lombard Theological School delivered essays on critical issues confronting Unitarian Universalism. Below are brief summaries of the talks.

Professor David Bumbaugh, Associate Professor of Ministry, Director of Field Education Program, entitled his talk "Class and Unitarian Universalism." He spoke about the entrenched nature of class in both Unitarian and Universalist history. He asserted that "class" is not just about wealth, but also education level and access to resources. He questions the necessity for Unitarian Universalists (UUs) to change the face of the membership of our faith community and charged us to concentrate on "changing the world rather than changing ourselves."

Professor Carol Hepokski, Assistant Professor of Religious Ethics and Society, spoke on "Social Responsibility." She discussed "light pollution," a serious problem in urban areas. "Excess light obscures ones ability to see the stars," which is reason enough to want to do something about it. Professor Hepokski went further and cited the benefits of energy conservation, reduced glare, and the reduction of carbons in the atmosphere as good reasons to support efforts to fight the growing problem of light pollution. See Dark Sky for more information about this movement.

Rev. William Murry, President/Academic Dean; Professor of Ministry entitled his talk "The New Humanism." He stated that religious humanism has grown and evolved over the years. He described eight distinctions between "old humanism" and "new humanism." For example, old humanism focused on the individual, while new humanism focuses on the family and community. The old humanism focused on thinking and the new humanism focuses on feeling.

Rev. Thandeka, Associate Professor, Associate Professor of Theology and Culture, gave a talk on "Cultural Theology" based on a book in progress. She discussed five stages of Cultural Theology and used this framework to examine our current booming economy and the level of excessive consumption.

Reported by Jessie Washington.

For more information contact web@uua.org.

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