Continue your spiritual journey by engaging in thoughtful exploration with the Adult Discussion Group. Meet every other Sunday at 9:00am in the Board Room. Each Spring, participants will select readings and topics for the coming year.

Keith Bittinger helps coordinate Adult Discussion Group meetings. Contact Brian at kbittinger@comcast.net  with questions or ideas you have.

Winter-Spring Adult RE Schedule

These classes will be held on Sunday morning’s beginning at 9:00 am in the Board Room.

February 10: Swedenborg’s Theology

In this discussion, Emanuel Swedenborg’s theology is explained by examining the first chapters of the book Divine Love and Wisdom. The book is described as a secular discourse of theology. The discussion of the paragraphs leads to an explanation of human nature, community and psychology. This also leads into a brief discussion of the origin and purpose of the church and the language of Bible scripture – all stemming from “the marriage of good and truth”. Bill Rotella will lead the discussion.

February 24: Science and the Ultimate Nature of Reality

As science continues to make advances in understanding and explaining the world around us, what view of reality and of life does it reveal?  At its deepest level is reality just matter adhering to the laws of nature?  Does such a view account for the complexity of life and the richness of our conscious experience?  And what about our desires to find meaning and purpose?  These topics are discussed by theoretical physicist Sean Carroll in his book The Big Picture – On the Origins of Life, Meaning, and the Universe Itself.  In this class an overview of Carroll’s book will be presented followed by discussion.  Keith Bittinger will be the presenter and discussion lead.

March 10: Zen and Reaching Our Full Potential

Which quote can you relate to?

“Joy is being willing for things to be as they are.” Zen Master Charlotte Joko Beck

“If you want a new outcome, you will have to break the habit of being yourself and reinvent a new self.”  Joe Dispenza

In this class we will discuss the connection of author Charlotte Joko Beck’s awareness of self, meditation, and Zen and author Joe Dispenza’s power of self.  Sarah Gaudelli will lead the discussion.

March 24: Ritual in Religion

Why do UU’s light a chalice when we gather? What is the purpose of the myriad rituals practiced by religions? What effects do rituals have on practitioners?  We will explore the design, uses, effects and side-effects of rituals, from fasting to twirling, from chanting to human sacrifice.  Joe Osborne will lead the discussion.

April 14: Sacred Books – Part I

Our UU tradition draws inspiration from many sources including the sacred texts of the world religions. Wisdom from these texts inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life.  Are you familiar with these sources? Can you identify them? Have you read any of them? Do you have favorites?  In this class we will provide an orientation and introduction to the books that are central to Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Judaism and Christianity.  We are living in a time when all of the sacred books are readily available in both print and digital formats. Join us for a brief overview of history, content and a sharing of some of our favorite readings. We will provide recommendations for further reading and study.  Richard Bronakoski, Sarah Gaudelli, and Don Hoffman will lead the class.

April 28: Sacred Books – Part II

Our UU tradition draws inspiration from many sources including the sacred texts of the world religions. Wisdom from these texts inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life.  Are you familiar with these sources? Can you identify them? Have you read any of them? Do you have favorites?  In this class we will provide an orientation and introduction to the books that are central to Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Judaism and Christianity.  We are living in a time when all of the sacred books are readily available in both print and digital formats. Join us for a brief overview of history, content and a sharing of some of our favorite readings. We will provide recommendations for further reading and study.  Richard Bronakoski, Sarah Gaudelli, and Don Hoffman will lead the class.

May 12: Mental Illness Affects Us All

Well briefly take a look at Mental Health care in the broader context of our nation. Then we will take a deeper look at Cumberland/Perry counties and possible ways we as UU’s can be helpful according to our bridge in the inherent worth of everyone. Questions welcomed.  Chris Bilger will lead the discussion.

May 26: Consciousness and the Self

When we look deep inside ourselves, who do we find?  Is anyone there? Do we have a self? A homunculus? What creates the phenomenon of consciousness? Can machines be conscious? Are dogs or chimps or begonias self-aware? Scientists are just starting to unravel the functioning of the wetware in our skulls. But Buddhists have been studying minds from the inside for millennia. What can they tell us about being conscious?  Joe Osborne will lead the discussion.

Fall 2018 Schedule

September 16: Reason and Happiness

Many have come to Unitarian Universalism feeling that the religion of their youth never quite captured their heart or their mind.  They enthusiastically embrace UU’s focus on rationality, science, and questioning.  For some UUs intellectual doubts about traditional religious beliefs have resulted in a deep sense of loss.  But reason and science raise questions and challenges not just for traditional religions.  Is reason a help or a hindrance to finding happiness and joy in life?  Does the search for truth conflict with the search for meaning?  How do we find a balance for our need to be rational and our deep desire to lead happy, meaningful, and fulfilling lives? Keith Bittinger will lead the discussion.

September 30: Atheism and the Meaning of Life

For the atheist, there is no supernatural or transcendent realm that imbues reality with inherent worth and meaning.  All that exists is the universe, which is made up of matter and is governed by natural laws.  Life itself consists solely of matter and has arisen through natural, impersonal processes.  Given this view of reality, do our lives have meaning?  In this class we’ll discuss various ways in which atheists think our lives do indeed have meaning. Keith Bittinger will lead the discussion.

October 14:  Religion as a Virus

On the individual level, a religion is a set of interlocking memes that occupies a person’s mind space and behaves like a virus infection. It enters into the mind from outside, from another “infected” human or video or printed matter. It has been evolving for thousands of years, in the minds of those it “infected” before, slowly becoming very, very good at reproducing itself. We will talk about how people choose, or don’t choose, the ideas they permit to reside in their mind space. Joseph Osborne will lead the discussion.

October 28: The Church of Reality and Michael Dowd

Michael Dowd is an itinerant preacher who travels the US with his wife, science writer Connie Barlow, preaching reality-based religion.  Their creation story is Big History, starting at the Big Bang. Their scripture is Evidence, the best available, about what actually is. Their Theology is Ecology: the only responsible way to live is to take loving care of the Earth. Their church is the Church of Reality, a website. We will explore this movement. Joseph Osborne will lead the discussion.

November 11: Reincarnation

In this class we will review the evidence for reincarnation that comes from the hundreds of documented cases of young children who have spontaneous detailed memories of past lives, especially from children born with birth marks or birth defects that correspond to wounds or injuries purported to have been suffered by the previous personality. We will also look at the use of past life therapy to resolve deep psychiatric problems that are resistant to more conventional treatment. Don Hoffman will lead the discussion.

November 25: Christian Origins Revisited

Was Jesus an historical figure whose life was later mythologized, or was he a mythological figure whose life was later historicized? In this class we will continue our exploration of this question by looking at the letters of Paul and at the 333 Old Testament “prophesies” that were allegedly fulfilled in the life of Jesus. Don Hoffman will lead the discussion.

December 9 and December 23: A Matter of Faith and Belief

For our two meetings in December our discussions will highlight two books: Emmanuel Carrere’s The Kingdom and Bart Ehrman’s The Triumph of Christianity. However, reading these books is not a prerequisite for attending the classes and participating in the discussions. With the help of these recent works we will survey the New Testament writings of Paul and Luke and the early growth and development of Christianity. Both Carrere and Ehrman started as Christians, but now consider themselves agnostic, and yet both are still fascinated by the Christian story.  With the help of these two authors we will take a new look at this most interesting and fascinating story that has affected and continues to affect so many. Rich Bronakoski will lead the discussions.

Please contact the Director of Lifespan Faith Development at re@qmf.309.myftpupload.com in advance if you are in need of childcare. We want everyone who is interested to be able to participate.