Living the Theme: Transcendentalism & Humanism/Spirit on Fire


Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.
~Louisa May Alcott

The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

There is a patience of the wild – dogged, tireless, persistent as life itself.
~Jack London, The Call of the Wild

Make your own Bible. Select and collect all the words and sentences that in all your readings have been to you like the blast of a trumpet.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Humanism is a rational philosophy informed by science, inspired by art, and motivated by compassion.
~American Humanist Association

Humanism is a philosophy of joyous service for the greater good of all humanity, of application of new ideas of scientific progress for the benefit of all.
~Linus Pauling

Humanism involves far more than the negation of supernaturalism. It requires an affirmative philosophy…translated into a life devoted to one’s own improvement and the service of all mankind.     
~Corliss Lamont

Humanists recognize that it is only when people feel free to think for themselves, using reason as their guide, that they are best capable of developing values that succeed in satisfying human needs and serving human interests.    
~Isaac Asimov


To become acquainted with two historical theological periods in UU

To reflect on our theology of right actions from two different perspectives

To experience connection and helping others as core to our faith

Taking It Home

Consider as a family the role of mystery and awe in your daily life. Take walks in nature, explore the unexplained and talk about what connects us all to each other. Is it the fact that we are all made of stardust that is awe-inspiring to you? Is it the symmetry and patterns that exist in nature? What brings you moments of transcendence beyond the rational daily routines of your life?

Then consider how science and reason informs your actions and beliefs. What does it mean to be human? Can you make ethical decisions without the supernatural? Who decides what is right and wrong? How do those decisions get made? What does it mean to live a life of interconnectedness?

Is it an inner voice that speaks to you or messages from the universe? Does it really matter where the impulse to do good comes from?

The elementary children will be bringing home a Passport to Justice booklet, where they can choose some activities in the community that promote justice and peace. Stamp the pages as you complete the activities as a family, or if you don’t have a child in those grades, create your own Passport to Justice and use it to discover where you are making an impact on the larger world.

Our RE Stories for the Theme

“The Turtle and the Voice of God” by Janeen K. Grohsmeyer, A Lamp in Every Corner

“Hearts, Heads, and Hands: A Humanist UU Congregation,” Building Bridges, Tapestry of Faith, UUA

“Henry Bergh,” as told in Riddle and Mystery, Tapestry of Faith, UUA