Helpers among the community of Pittsburgh area UUs. Link to the main Sunnyhill site.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Ken wrote

This is copied from the 2004 SUUSI catalogue:

Ekstasis - A New Worship for Unitarian Universalists Ekstasis is an exciting and innovative worship service which celebrates being fully human, welcoming and taking pleasure in the whole body's amazing ability to sense and to feel and to think within the realm of worship.
Ekstasis invites participants into a physical and cerebral worship, encouraging everyone to enjoy their bodies‚ wondrous, natural responses and sensations, in primal human yearnings to engage ecstasy, as well as their rational sensibilities.

Ekstasis allows and promotes the Œhallowed use‚ of modern technology: computer generated art, visual slide shows, live video feeds, dynamic sound systems, and Œtechno‚ dance music.

Ekstasis offers worshippers a time of reunion with their ancient human impulses to sing and dance and move into the flow of sacred time and place and drama.

For over thirteen years, the Reverend Thomas G. Anastasi has been parish minister at Shoreline Unitarian Universalist Church near Seattle. Thomas‚ background is diverse and non-typical. He was reared as a Pentecostal Christian and later worked as a professional singer and musician. He brings this spirited energy to his ministry, continually exploring new and creative ways to engage and embody liberal religion in the world."

Out of curiosity I attended this "worship service" at SUUSI. Someone's report on this could not have been believed had it not been personally experienced. UU Pentecostalism has been marketed for some time by this relabeled pentecostal.

The initial observation was to say that "It was placed incorrectly in the schedule. It would have been great had it been in the entertainment portion of the evening NOT in the worship category." However, after some amount of reflection, the distinction is retracted since a worship service usually utilizes forms of entertainment. This "service" could easily been replaced with a round of liquor.

In pursuing that line of thought further, I get more authentic religion from some of the entertainers while at SUUSI than the clerics. The clerics use often issues in life to tell me how I should act and what organized activities I should support. Meanwhile, the entertainers, who act like the sages in past times, present the sometimes searing issues of life in the form of metaphors and narratives then allow me the wisdom and motivation to act in the manner of my choosing.

In analyzing the activities of clerics, I offer that a large number should leave the "ministry", undertake social work and leave religion to those who take religion seriously and are better equipped to teach serious religion.

Ken W

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