Last week I visited a place that I hadn’t been in a while– Unity of Fayetteville. Just to give you a little of my history; it was over seven years ago that I was a member there (and I stayed a member about a year). I had recently divorced and was living on my own for I guess the first time in my life really. I had lost contact with any kind of Pagan community and I was seeking a simple spirituality and a loving community. I was eventually drawn away from Unity and back to the Unitarian Universalist fellowship (of which I had previously been a member in the 90’s) by a thriving UU Pagan group. (Yes, Unity and Unitarian Universalist are two different denominations with similar names. Sorry if it’s confusing.) That subgroup came and went and the local UU fellowship has had its ups and downs. Well, a lot more downs than ups it seems to me, but I won’t get into that other than to say there’s been one disagreement after another, bad vibes, and a lot of my friends have stopped attending. Recently, a congregational survey revealed that the majority of the members were agnostic or atheist. I assumed as much before, but looking at the statistics made me think. How much can atheists have in common with polytheists? So I decided that the UU isn’t a place I want to be at the moment. I keep leaving and coming back to the UU, and I don’t think I’ll stay away forever, so I’m going to try and keep my membership current so that my name isn’t “taken off the books”.
For a while, I’ve been thinking of the druid group (Ozark Druids) as my “microcosm” (community in miniature; we have but four active members) and the UU fellowship as my “macrocosm”; my larger spiritual community. In an ideal world, I would have just one group, but I digress. I was wanting to go somewhere other than the UU for community and I mentioned this to my youngest daughter. She (the church hater) said that if I started going to Unity again, she would go with me! So waxing nostalgic, I visited Unity the very next Sunday.
It was Sunday in which there were no guest speaker or musicians, so I got a taste for what a “regular” Sunday there is like. It was better than I expected it to be, and even better than I remembered it. They have an inspiring minister and wonderful music directors. Before anything was even said, I felt uplifted from the energy in the room. This church has a segment in the service where everyone gets up and greets each other with “Namaste” while music is played and a song goes with it. The sermon itself used Christian language and even quoted a couple of Bible verses. Maybe it was the way it was done, but the Christian language didn’t bother me at all. The minister described a method of forgiving people that sounded like a magic spell. She said many things that felt very mystical and meaningful to me. At one point, random people in the congregation commented and created a wonderful banter with the minister. By the time the service was over, I knew I wanted to rejoin.
Since then, I’ve been contemplating how this fits in with the rest of my spirituality. Unity espouses a pantheist belief system, an esoteric metaphysical Christianity. I’ve been considering some sort of a polytheism-pantheism combination or some sort of Gnostic Paganism, but I’m still exploring what that means. Right now I am inspired by the Northern Gnostic website, and am just mulling it all over in my mind. Funny thing, I found an anti-Unity article by Jude Ministries that points out all the things I like about Unity: Cults and World Religions Unity School of Christianity. I feel like Gnosticism could expand my beliefs to be more inclusive and find deeper meanings in comparative mythology. Although that sounds a bit complicated, I think it may simplify and enrich my spirituality.