June 15, 2017

#05-055: Chalica

graphic of two interlinked circles around a chalice with a flame emerging from it
A flaming chalice is the symbol of Unitarian Universalism.

Note: In December (or January) Unitarian Universalists celebrate their important principles and sources of wisdom.

Get Ready: Read the list of "Principles" below. Which do you find most useful? Which is least?

With around 800,000 members worldwide, the Unitarian Universalist Church (or "UU") is one of America's smaller denominations. It developed from the 19th century Transcendentalist movement represented by the philosophers Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.

Although it lacks a creed, the UU has seven "Principles and Purposes" as well as six "Sources" of practice.

The "Principles" embody some of the best of human thought without requiring any dogma. To remind members of these principles, in 2005 a member of the church created a holiday called "Chalica."

Starting on the first Monday of December and continuing for seven days, those who celebrate light a candle that has been placed in a chalice with seven candles around it. On the first night, one additional candle is lit; on the second night, two; and so on.

Each night has a different emphasis, which can be observed through songs, storytelling, or discussion. Just as importantly, followers may volunteer for, or donate to, a cause associated with the principle. (For this reason, some celebrate Chalica starting in January, and do one principle a week, allowing time to really practice the principle. This is like a longer version of the tradition of "New Year's resolutions.")

So what are these principles? In short, they are:

  1. Everyone is important.
  2. Be kind in all you do.
  3. Accept others and learn together.
  4. We're always searching for the truth.
  5. All people should have a voice.
  6. Build a fair and peaceful world.
  7. All beings share the Earth.

In addition to the Principles, UU members also recognize six sources of inspiration. Some are explicitly religious, but come from a variety of traditions. Briefly stated:

  1. Direct experience of transcendence
  2. The words and deeds of prophetic women and men
  3. Wisdom from all the world's religions
  4. Teachings which call us to love our neighbors as ourselves
  5. Teachings of reason and science
  6. Teachings which instruct us to live in harmony with nature

These are ideas worth thinking about, whatever you believe.


Read more: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chalica

Practice: Match the term to its definition below:

  1. chalice
  2. creed
  3. denominations
  4. dogma
  5. embody
  6. explicitly
  7. prophetic
  8. resolutions
  9. unitarian
  10. universalist

  1. a formal statement of beliefs
  2. straightforwardly; clearly
  3. decisions to do something 
  4. a beautiful cup
  5. sub-groups of a religion
  6. believing God is one, not in three parts, like most Christians
  7. give concrete form to
  8. like one who speaks for God
  9. an inflexible body of beliefs
  10. the belief that all people are God's children

Answers are in the first comment below.

Submitted to the Shenzhen Daily for June 15, 2017

1 comment:

  1. Answers to the Practice: 1. d; 2. a; 3. e; 4. i; 5. g; 6. b; 7. h; 8. c; 9. f; 10. j