Jesus Without Christianity
Jay Deacon

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Magnificent Journey: Religion as Lock on the Past or Engine of Evolution

I'm a Unitarian Universalist minister, writer, and (for awhile) broadcaster. Until July 2016 I served as minister of Channing Memorial UU Church in Newport, Rhode Island. From 2010 until the summer of 2012 I served as Minister of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Manchester, NH.

During 2008-09 I served as Interim Minister at First Unitarian Church, Orlando. During the previous year I served Unity Church, a UU congregation in North Easton, Massachusetts.

Until April 2006 I served for four years as minister of a congregation in Northampton, in western Massachusetts. Until the summer of 2002 I lived for nine years in the Chicago suburb Oak Park and served Unity Temple Unitarian Universalist Congregation, the congregation whose home was designed by an early member, Frank Lloyd Wright, and built between 1905 and 1909. I led the successful consolidation of the two former Oak Park UU congregations to create UTUUC. I've also served the Unitarian Church in Bangor, Maine; and on the staff of the Unitarian Universalist Association headquarters in Boston.

During the first six months of 2001 I enjoyed six months in the UK, divided between Aberdeen, Scotland and London, where, on sabbatical leave, I served British Unitarian congregations. I love to return and visit.

That's the 1846 barn behind the house I owned for a decade in Westhampton, in the foothills of the Berkshires in Western Mass. The town has no streetlights: the night sky is a magnificent spectacle. But I said farewell to Westhampton in July 2012 and came to Middletown, which shares Aquidneck Island with Newport and Portsmouth; and in 2016 relocated to Springfield, Mass. During the Westhampton years I launched a book I'd worked on for years (see below). It's called Magnificent Journey: Religion as Lock on the Past, or Engine of Evolution. It's about an evolutionary spirituality, a new quality of consciousness beyond ego for a time when the old myths can no longer serve us, when human greed has taken us to the brink of catastrophic ecological collapse. Drawing on my own life story as a former fundamentalist and as a gay man in a society held captive by outmoded religion, I show that transformation is possible, that the energies of life itself are available to us in this crisis.

While it stlil existed, I drew incalculable benefit from time spent at EnlightenNext, in Lenox and Boston in Massachusetts, and in London. The community of people centered there and the evolutionary spiritual perspective of founder Andrew Cohen, and of Ken Wilber, opened a new dimension for me. Immediately I recognized here a splendid unfolding of what many others — Emerson and the Transcendentalists, Aurobindo, and many more — have understood and developed. No one more than Unitarian Universalists should find here both magnificent stimulus and vital company on our journey.

For two years I produced an hour-long weekly broadcast, called Spirit, on Valley Free Radio, WXOJ-LP, in Northampton — and served on the station's board.


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