You are currently browsing the tag archive for the ‘UUism’ tag.

Here is the last of the Halloween posts for this blog. I meant to write this sooner but I got distracted by Inktober, the recent midterm elections, and a lot of other things that are currently going on in my life.

My local Unitarian Universalist congregation, Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church, decided to hold an all-ages Halloween celebration on the Sunday before Halloween. It started with an all-ages Sunday service. There were two choirs who performed. One was the children’s choir, which was all decked out in Halloween costumes.

Halloween Sunday Service

The other was the adult choir, where everyone also wore Halloween costumes.

Halloween Sunday Service

After the service ended there was the usual social hour. There were a few adults who also wore costumes, like this Jurassic Park-themed one, complete with a baby raptor dinosaur breaking out of an egg.

Halloween Sunday at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

Halloween Sunday at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

Halloween Sunday at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

Halloween Sunday at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

Halloween Sunday at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

While the social hour was going on I was busy with decorating my car trunk for Trunk or Treat. Here is what it looked like this year.

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

Here are the photos I shot of other people’s decorated car trunks.

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

There were games for children to play and there was lunch served as well. There were people of all ages walking around in costumes.

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

I tried my hand at decorating a skull-shaped sugar cookie. I struggled with the icing because it was a bit on the hard side.

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

This was the best I could do for decorating my skull cookie.

Trunk or Treat at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church

I also shot a video of the day’s festivities including the costume parade, which went on during the Sunday service.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Advertisements

The situation in the U.S. is deteriorating by the day. First there were those bombs that were sent to prominent Democrats (or ones who lean Democrat). The authorities managed to catch the white supremacist Trump lover behind those mailings only to have another white supremacist Trump lover go to a grocery store near Louisville, Kentucky and shoot two African Americans after he made an unsuccessful attempt to enter a African American church so he could make his deadly shooting spree.

But today a synagogue was shot up in Pittsburgh by a man who entered during a bris ceremony yelling “Death to Jews!” and then opened fire. Eleven people were slain in cold blood. That guy is probably another Trump supporter just like those two other cretins. As a young girl named Mari Copeny, who’s also known as Little Miss Flint, wrote on Twitter today.

I’m afraid that the answer is “No.” I’m typing this soon after I finished with loading my car so I could participate in my Unitarian Universalist congregation’s annual Halloween Trunk or Treat event after tomorrow morning’s Sunday service. As I loaded up the car and think about today’s events, I’m reminded of the incident that happened ten years ago where a UU church in Knoxville, Tennessee was shot up during Sunday service. The shooter targeted that UU church because one of his former wives was once a member and he wanted to attack liberals directly. Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religious faith so he felt it would be appropriate for him to attack his ex-wife’s former church. While I’m not anticipating anything happening tomorrow at my UU congregation, I know that, based on the past, all UU churches are just as vulnerable to a terrorist attack by a rabid Trump-supporing white supremacist as mosques and synagogues.

What’s even more appalling is this quote in this article about that same shooting.

The president had a campaign rally in southern Illinois scheduled for Saturday night. He said it would go ahead as planned.

How fucking ignorant! Of course he wouldn’t cancel his appearance at tonight’s rally! A normal president would travel to Pittsburgh immediately and try to comfort the synagogue members who were directly affected by today’s shooting. But Trump is not normal. He really doesn’t give a shit about anyone but himself and his immediate family (especially Ivanka). This proves that this man is definitely NOT suitable for the job.

We shouldn’t let these deadly instances deter us from voting for new politicians who will actually do their jobs provide a check and balance on Trump by standing up to him. The mid-terms are coming soon and these elections may be the last chance to save the United States from slipping into a Trump-style fascism that’s full of white supremacy, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia (Trump is currently making a move to take civil rights away from transgender people), Islamophobia, racism, and now anti-semitism. It would also be one where corporations have more rights than ordinary people and the 1% would get the bulk of power and money at the expense of the 99%.

If we elect new politicians, there’s a chance that not only will they stand up to Trump but they will attempt to get him removed from office. At this point removing Trump from office is the best way to put an end to the growing white supremacy in this country since he constantly caters to them. (I still remember his “Some very fine people on both sides” remark in the wake of Charlottesville where one of the neo-Nazis literally mowed down Heather Heyer with his car.) Look how the Nazis in Germany managed to shrink in power and dominance once the Allied forces invaded that nation and Adolf Hitler committed suicide soon afterwards. Just as removing the head is the best way to kill a dangerous animal, removing the top layer of officials is the best way to kill a movement that is a direct threat to national security and the continued future of this nation.

To be honest, Donald Trump needs to be removed from the Oval Office ASAP before this country sinks any lower into violence and hatred.

I currently have a work of art on display at the latest artist exhibition that’s currently going on at Paint Branch Unitarian Universalist Church in Adelphi, Maryland. Here’s is my piece.

Here is my piece as it is currently displayed inside of the church.

To learn more about how I created this piece, you can see the blog post I wrote on September 12, 2018.

After service last Sunday there was a reception for this exhibit where they basically served light food like baba ganoush with crackers along with fruit and vegetables. Here are a couple photos I took of the reception.

The art show is continuing through sometime next month. (I’m not sure of the date but I’ll definitely post it here when I get more information.) For more information about this exhibit, see the official website.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

I did a digital art piece that’s now hanging in my church as part of the Seven UU Principals art show. Here’s the art.

I did the piece entirely in Adobe Photoshop. It’s the image of the flaming chalice being surrounded by a circle, which is a symbol of the Unitarian Universalist faith. I decided to try using words to create a picture instead of just doing a regular drawing. The flame is the only part where I did a regular digital drawing instead of using words (although I drew a red heart in the center of the flame).

As for the color scheme I used the traditional yellow and red for the flame. For everywhere else I used a rainbow color scheme to symbolize both the UU and Poor People’s Campaign acceptance of everyone regardless of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender (including gender identity), class, age, physical health, mental health, and other categories that people in power like to categorize people in.

As for the words I used lyrics from two songs that are among the official songs of the Poor People’s Campaign. The circle uses lyrics from this song, “Everybody’s Got a Right to Live.”

The chalice itself has the words from “A New Unsettling Force.”

With this art I attempted to do a Unitarian Universalist variation on the Poor People’s Campaign and I think I succeeded.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Last month I shot a maypole dance in my Unitarian Universalist church after the Sunday service on June 3, 2018. It was originally supposed to be held outside but it rained heavily that day so it was moved indoors. Here is my footage.

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

This Easter was really different this year. I’m used to having Passover and Easter Sunday falling on the same day but I thought it was really freaky to have those holidays scheduled on the same day as April Fool’s Day.

I basically went to Easter Sunday service at the local Unitarian Universalist Church. There was an all-ages crafting table where people can dye Easter Eggs and make Easter-related crafts.

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

There were a number of eggs that had the contents removed via blowholes so one could decoupage an egg as a permanent keepsake decoration. I tried my hand at making a decoupage Easter egg and here is the result.

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

There was an Easter egg hunt held in the glen of the church after Sunday service ended. The kids really had a blast hunting for those Easter eggs then turning the plastic eggs in for a special Easter goody bag.

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

The adults spent the occasion socializing while some of them wore festive Easter themed clothes and accessories.

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

There was a box of matzohs set out for people to eat since that day was also Passover.

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Even though the weather was cloudy and cold that day the flowers were in bloom, such as these daffodils.

Easter Sunday at Paint Branch UU Church, April 1, 2018

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Ever since Donald Trump has gotten into office there have been so many incidents of ICE agents cracking down on immigrants and deporting them along with so many stories about families who have literally been torn apart. To be fair, Barack Obama’s administration did a lot of deportations as well but those flew under the radar because President Obama was the first African American president and there were plenty of people leery about criticizing him although one could easily criticize President Obama’s policies without resorting to racism. Since Donald Trump is an old white guy who ran his campaign based on his racist imagery of Mexican drug dealers and rapists and building a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, there is now more media attention on those deportations—most of which affect immigrants with black or brown skin. (And that’s not to mention President Trump’s recent descriptions of Haiti and Africa as “shithole countries.”)

Recently a white immigrant was rounded up by ICE agents and they are trying to deport him as well. Lukasz Niec was a guy who was born in Poland and he was brought to the U.S. with his parents back in 1979 when he was only five years old. (At that time Poland was a communist country that was aligned with the Soviet Union and it did the usual communist repression against its own citizens so it was understandable why his parents wanted to leave.) When he was a teenager he got into some minor troubles with the law. He got a green card and he decided to straighten out his life by going to college then to medical school. He became a doctor and he eventually got married and had two children. His most recent offense was an arrest on a domestic violence charge in 2013 but he was later found not guilty by a jury.

Those brief brushes with the law were enough to provide an excuse for ICE agents to round up this guy and begin proceedings to have him deported back to Poland. This is a country that this guy had not even lived in since he was five years old. He has long since forgotten how to speak Polish and he has no immediate family ties in that nation.

When I saw this story blow up on social media I read social media posts from people acting surprised that the Trump Administration would focus on a white man. As I think back to my childhood, I have to say that I’m far less surprised that his ICE agents would pick on a Pole than most people.

Let me give you a brief history lesson here. There was a time prior to the Industrial Revolution where most Americans considered themselves to be WASPs—White Anglo-Saxon Protestants. Beginning with the Industrial Revolution there were plenty of immigrants from many European nations, including Poland. While many Polish immigrants had white skin, they were not Anglo-Saxons so, according to attitudes of the time, they didn’t count as being real white people. On top of it, most Poles were either Roman Catholics or Jews, which made them be seen more as outsiders by the WASPs. Given that attitude, it was no wonder that hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan considered Jews and Roman Catholics to be just as bad as African Americans.

Even though Poles gradually were assimilated into the melting pot, there were stereotypes that still persisted. I was born in Baltimore, where many Polish immigrants settled, and I grew up in nearby Glen Burnie. Even though my family lived next door to a Polish American family and there were plenty of people of Polish descent, I still grew up hearing Poles being described as “Dumb Pollocks.” I heard a lot of Dumb Pollock jokes being told on the playground while I grew up. Here’s one such example, which was among the milder Dumb Pollock jokes I heard:

Q: Take Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, the Smart Pollock, and the Dumb Pollock. Put them all into a single room together. Place a $5 bill in the middle of that room. Who would get that $5 bill?

A: The Dumb Pollock because there is no such thing as Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, or a Smart Pollock.

The Dumb Pollock stereotype didn’t end with just jokes. There was a liquor store that I used to go with my parents when they made an occasional trip there. That was because that store had a shelf that sold novelty gag gifts and I loved looking at them. Among the gag gifts sold was a box marked “Polish Gun.” When you open the lid, you see a gun with the barrel bent backwards making it look like you would get struck with a bullet when you pull the trigger.

But that’s not all. When my family used to make its annual summer vacation to Ocean City, I remember the raunchy t-shirts. Among the t-shirts I remembered was an illustration of a guy looking down his own pants with the slogan “Polish Peeping Tom.” Another shirt had an illustration of a guy in a boat holding a fishing rod where the hook was on the back of the guy’s pants that had the slogan “Polish Fisherman.”

Even though I lived next door to a Polish American family and grew up attending a Roman Catholic parish that had Polish Americans among its membership, I still heard those Dumb Pollock jokes. Given that Donald Trump spent his entire life in New York City, which was another place where Polish Immigrants settled in large numbers during the Industrial Revolution, I’m sure that he heard those Dumb Pollock jokes as well. Except he was more insulated from actually knowing any person of Polish descent than I was because he grew up in a wealthy neighborhood in a WASP family (two of his grandparents were German immigrants and his mother was from Scotland) and his father was arrested back in the 1920s for attending a Ku Klux Klan rally. (Like I wrote a few paragraphs ago, the KKK hated Roman Catholics and Jews just as much as it hated African Americans.)

Growing up I used to love telling Dumb Pollock jokes as much as the other kids on the playground. But it has been many years since I told those jokes because I don’t find them funny anymore. What happened? I can’t say for sure but there were a few factors. First of all I grew up and I became exposed to more sophisticated adult humor (especially from watching TV shows like Monty Python’s Flying Circus and Saturday Night Live) that made those Dumb Pollock jokes seem stupid and childish by comparison. Then I went away to college at the University of Maryland at College Park where I met a variety of people and there was sort of an unsaid social thing against telling ethnic jokes of any kind. (At least that was the case among the groups of people I socialized with.)

What finally got me to quit telling Dumb Pollock jokes for good was when I converted to Unitarian Universalism a year after I graduated from college but shortly before I got married. That faith has seven principles, the first of which is this:

The inherent worth and dignity of every person.

In a nutshell every person is entitled to being respected no matter what that person’s background is. Telling Dumb Pollock jokes—or any other type of ethnic jokes—dehumanizes a certain category of people simply because they were born that way and it’s not something that one can control.

While I managed to let go of the Dumb Pollock stereotype, it’s obvious that President Trump has not. In fact back in the 1980’s it was said that he broke the law by hiring illegal Polish immigrants to work on building his Trump Tower without even providing the proper safety equipment necessary to do the job. He paid them $4 per hour, which is far less than the minimum wage at that time. Of course that was when he even bothered to pay them. Many of these workers weren’t paid at all yet they were forced to continue working on that building project because they were threatened with being reported to authorities and deported. If that weren’t bad enough, here is what one Polish worker said about his time working on the Trump Tower project:

Trump also hired a smaller crew of unionized demolition workers who teased their nonunion Polish counterparts. “They told me and my friends that we are stupid Poles and we are working for such low money,” Adam Mrowiec, one of the Polish workers, later testified.

So here is a man who was probably exposed to the same Dumb Pollock jokes that I was, except he grew up in a more insulated environment than I was so he never learned to consider Polish people as being anything other than Dumb Pollocks to be used and discarded for his own purposes just like inanimate objects. And if these Dumb Pollocks aren’t useful to him, then they should just go away.

With a mindset like that, it’s no wonder the Trump Administration has sent ICE agents after a Polish American man to be deported from the only country he has ever known to a nation that he hasn’t seen since he was five years old.

If you’re a Polish American who voted for Donald Trump back in 2016 expecting that he will—to quote his campaign slogan—Make America Great Again, then the joke’s on you since he’s basically a con artist who could care less for anyone who isn’t a wealthy WASP like he is and who basically looks down on people like you.

My Unitarian Universalist church congregation had hired a new minister about six months ago. As part of the hiring process, we had a Ministerial Start Up Workshop that was led by our region’s contact in the Unitarian Universalist Association.  I was asked to take pictures of this workshop. The only reason why I’m writing a blog post about this is so I can prove to people that, yes, I can take pictures of events.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

The workshop began after the usual Sunday service ended and it started with lunch.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

The Reverend Megan Foley of the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA) led the workshop.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Everyone sat in a circle in order to make it easier to communicate with each other face-to-face.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Basically much of the time was spent on describing the history of our congregation, what were its successes and what were its mistakes and things of that sort.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Our congregation’s new minister, Rev. Rachel Christensen, spoke outlining her hopes for the congregation’s future.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

The workshop ended with a communal art project but one didn’t have to be an accomplished artist to take part.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

A bag was passed around that was full of foam Valentine heart stickers in a variety of colors (ranging from light pink to deep red) and styles (some had glitter on them). The idea was to choose the hearts we liked the best.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Here’s the set of hearts I chose.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

We stuck our hearts on a board. Here is what the board looked like when it was finished.

Ministerial Start Up Workshop at Paint Branch UU Church, January 21, 2018

Santa Claus

My Unitarian Universalist congregation had its annual Kwanzaa service on New Year’s Eve this year (mainly because New Year’s Eve fell on a Sunday in 2017) where lunch was served following the end of the service. Here are my photos of the food and the decorations from that day.

Santa Claus

Since Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday this year, my church did a special all-ages Christmas pageant for the Sunday morning service where people re-enacted the nativity scene. Here are my photos from that day.

People did some socializing after the service ended.

Here’s a photo of the Christmas tree and poinsettias.

I had volunteered to stay after the service to help with the clean-up chores. While I was in the kitchen I noticed an Ouija board. You know you’re in a Unitarian Universalist church when you see an Ouija board out and no one raises a peep about it. (I can only imagine how a fundamentalist evangelical Christian church would react if one of its members brought an Ouija board to its facilities. LOL!)

Previous Entries

Categories

Advertisements