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Our Unitarian Universalist Sources
A book highly recommended for this program is Our Chosen Faith: An Introduction to Unitarian Universalism by John A. Buehrens and F. Forrest Church. Each section includes two essays on the six Sources of Unitarian Universalism.
How to Find the North Star and the Big Dipper
People think that the North Star is very bright. It is not. It is moderately bright, and it is surrounded by very dim stars. So, it stands out, a little. But, the main clue to where the North Star is, is the Big Dipper...
The North Star is at the end of the handle of the Little Dipper. It is hard to find the Little Dipper, without first finding the North Star. Normally, you find the Big Dipper, and then sight along the two stars at the end of the bowl of the Big Dipper, and the North Star is almost in line with those two stars (but not exactly).
Once you have found the North Star a few times, it becomes easy to find.
The North Star is not exactly North. It is a little less than one degree from being directly over the Earth's North Pole. One degree may not seem like much. But, the apparent diameter of the moon is about a half degree.
Different Cultures, Same Sky, Different Constellations
Stars in the night sky are visible to everyone on Earth, yet different cultures have named the patterns they can see according to their own archetypes and beliefs. An astronomy FAQ on the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University website says:
The Big Dipper is ...part of a larger pattern known to the Greeks as Ursa Major, the Great Bear. The seven stars of the Big Dipper have inspired many stories, perhaps because they are bright and located so near the north celestial pole, around which the stars rotate during the course of the night. But not everyone calls it a Dipper. The British call it a Plough. In Southern France, it is a Saucepan. The Skidi Pawnee Indians saw a stretcher on which a sick man was carried. To the ancient Maya, it was a mythological parrot named Seven Macaw. Hindu sky lore called it the Seven Rishis, or Wise Men. To the early Egyptians, it was the thigh and leg of a bull. The ancient Chinese thought of it as a special chariot for the Emperor of the Heaven or some other celestial bureaucrat. For the Micmac Indians of Canada's Maritime Provinces, along with several other North American Indian tribes, the bowl of the Big Dipper was a bear, and the stars in the handle represented hunters tracking the bear. And in the 19th century, the Big Dipper became a symbol of freedom for runaway slaves, who "followed the Drinking Gourd" to the northern states.
The Big Bang and the Universe
A good book for children that tells about the Big Bang is Born with a Bang: The Universe Tells Its Cosmic Story: Book One by Jennifer Morgan (Dawn Publications, 2002).
Reflections on the Nature of God, edited by Michael Reagan (Philadelphia: Templeton Foundation Press, 2004), combines inspiring pictures of the universe with reflections on the nature of God from a variety of religious perspectives.
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