Free to Wonder…Free to Wander!

The Adult Religious Education Committee launched the New Year with providing its Sunday Morning Forum program in its true form—both engaging and diverse!

Although not by design, the first two forum facilitators rendered presentations that were interestingly complementary, yet strikingly different.

braguglia

On January 14, 2018, Kay Braguglia’s fascinating topic entitled, “Grow in Wonder,” gave attendees another opportunity to “try on” the UUFP draft mission statement.

Defining and describing “Wonder” is as varied and expansive as the word suggests, Kay said, regarding research for her topic. Phillip Fisher’s description was one of many she shared:

On January 14, 2018, Kay Braguglia’s fascinating topic entitled, “Grow in Wonder,” gave attendees another opportunity to “try on” the UUFP draft mission statement.

Defining and describing “Wonder” is as varied and expansive as the word suggests, Kay said, regarding research for her topic. Phillip Fisher’s description was one of many she shared:

“A feature of the middle distance of explanation, outside the ordinary, short of the irrational and unsolvable. It is a horizon between the well-known and the sea of truth even to have been sighted except as something unmentionable. Wonder is linked to love of knowledge and wisdom.”

​-Wonder, The Rainbow Aesthetics of Rare Experiences, Harvard University Press, 1999

​Kay's lively presentation covered a gamut of possibilities. From the beautiful, remarkable and unfamiliar to the unpredictable, novel and strange, Wonder elicits a range of emotions and other responses—some in the moment, others in a lifetime. Be it the Natural Wonders of the World or man-made structures; whether individual feats of skill, the nobility of others, or common everyday items; she explained how Wonder can be both subjective and objective.

So what shall we do to awaken a sense of Wonder? “Start with a positive attitude that will enable us to appreciate the beauty and creativity around us,” said one classmate. “Give yourself permission to slow down and involve yourself,” noted another. A new approach or perspective, a change of habit or context—these and other means were expressed as pathways to one of the most important outcomes with Wonder: That of it promoting loving kindness in relationships and for the Greater Good!

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​Guest speaker Lou Seyler followed on January 21 with a no less profound topic titled, “The ‘State’ of ‘Incarceration.’” Opening with a reading of "The Man Who Sleeps in the Woods (-UUFP member Mary Elizabeth Cotton), Lou conveyed that this poet’s words capture the essence and experiences of people he met while working at local jail facilities. While it may be customary to refer to the incarcerated as “inmates,” Lou is passionate about addressing them as “citizens” with potential!

​Using a powerful analogy of “Incarceration” being the “51st state” in our United States, Lou, a mental health professional of 45 years, portrayed the state with the following characteristics:

  • With 2.3 million citizens, it is the 35th largest state in population.
  • Its population has universal welfare (housing, meals, clothing, medical).
  • It has the only federal housing constructed for the poor.
  • It employs millions of citizens from the other 50 states, with some wages as low as a $1.00 per day.
    • Its citizens pay no taxes and may not vote.​
  • "Incarceration" is a police state where:
    • there is no freedom of movement;
    • all of the neighbors are criminals;
    • there is separation from loved ones;
    • there is no means to support or offer concern for families;
    • there is loss of self-worth and prestige.

seyler

Class discussion included the controversies regarding privatization of prisons, prison quotas, deliberate strategies to keep people incarcerated, and the sacrifice of (internal and external) rehabilitative programs due to the astronomical costs of incarceration.

With Virginia being the state experiencing the largest growth in prison population, this timely forum topic certainly hit close to home.

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Yorktown Beach,VA...in awe and wonder!

 

FREEDOM. To be unrestrained by the prisons of life; perhaps by the prisons of our own being. ​
​FREEDOM. To come and go as we please; to wander in wonder and awe of this gift called Life!

So, one might wonder…how might we use this gift in 2018? “Wonder is the beginning of wisdom,” said Socrates.

Inherent Worth; Dignity; Equity; Compassion; Acceptance, Encouragement; Spiritual Growth; Peace; Liberty; Justice; Respect…a Beloved World Community (-The Seven Principles).

We are inspired by these generous presenters and grateful for the UUFP educational programs that help guide us in living these ideals!

Grow in Wonder  ~  Connect in Love  ~  Engage in Service  ~  Inspire Generosity

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