My spiritual home is in my heart. There’s no other place I feel closer to my faith then when I’m able to embody it within the closest part of my being.
The journey I took to get to this equilibrium of faith, love and hope embodies my entire life to this point and I am by no means done with that journey. In as such, to this point there are two very important people who provided me with the cobble stones to pave the path to where I am. The first of which is my wife … the second of which is Lissa Anne Gundlach, the Unitarian Universalist Reverend at The Unitarian Church of All Souls of Yorktown, the Upper East Side, New York City.
All Souls is a very special congregation with a special history that aspires to the love of NYC both V and I have and is heralded in that this was our neighborhood church. First Congregational Church was founded immediately after the preaching of William Ellery Channing in 1820 on Chambers Street between Broadway and Church Street with William Ware installed as the first minister 18 December 1821. The congregation moved several times before establishing itself at 1157 Lexington Avenue at 80th Street in 1932. Congregants included Peter Cooper, Herman Melville, Catharine Sedgwick, Henry Whitney Bellows, George Fisher Baker, William Cullen Bryant, Caroline Kirkland, and many more, including the venerable Forrest Church. The congregational thematic musical works include that of Jean Sibelius.
For me, personally, All Souls answered so many spiritual needs at an important time of my socio-philosophical re-pivoting that it was a natural alignment. For V she was already identifying with the congregations idealism. With both of our renewed interests in finding a spiritual home All Souls became that place. For both of us, this was a way to reconcile our personal identity with that of the world around us. The more we researched the more our semi-liberal, psuedo-progressive ideas had long rooted spiritual meaning and that it existed not only through the founding of the nation we called home but was developed out of the roots of communities we felt most aligned to.
The Unitarian Universalist Association was formed in 1961, a consolidation of the American Unitarian Association, established in 1825, and the Universalist Church of America, established in 1866. Unitarians began the formal reprisal defining the one ‘god’ belief as a singular entity, compared to dulitarians of the ‘father and son’ and that of the “trinity” (the ‘father’ son of God in Jesus and the ‘holy spirit’ or some holy ghost) as early as recorded Christianity in the early splits of pre-Christian Scripture documentation in the Roman-Istanbul orthodoxy. Critiques of belief continued to split Christianity through Samuel Clarke Universalists claim a long history, beginning with Origen and Gregory of Nyssa. In 1793, Universalism emerged as a particular denomination of Christianity in the United States, eventually called the Universalist Church of America including influencers as Elhanan Winchester, Hosea Ballou and John Murray.
It is perfectly fine, if you want to believe something else. You visualize your god in some other way. You interpret our shared texts in a different way. I will not judge you. As a matter of fact, I could care less how you chose to define ‘god’ and your place in this life. All I ask of you is you keep your beliefs to your own posts in your own blogs in your own way away from mine. I’m not here to debate who is right, or wrong, obviously Chrsitianity hasn’t known shit about reality since the beginning of itself, and in the United States we have’t agreed not only in spirituality and religiousness beliefs our ideas are all over the map. Heck, if we were really to follow our forefathers we need to find a whole lot more Calvinists …
What makes my spiritual journey so great? it is that it has come from my belief that I have independent, progressive, equality designed ideas and that the congregations I chose to align myself to also share and moreso advance those beliefs and morals.
I saw many of those same idyllic concepts in my wife’s beliefs. I was attracted to her desire to instill that in the world around her. She advocated the scientific method as an ongoing process, which usually begins with observations about the natural world and results in facts based on empirical or measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning that can be replicated over time. More importantly it allows for changes and adaptations in beliefs unlike the fixation on absolute dogma that corners most belief systems.
As a musician, the ability for something as old as time to be developed and redeveloped from traditional tonal nature in “western music” to allow for half tones and quarter tones that create major keys and derivatives, minor keys and interpretations, semitone keys and experimentation, as well as traditional 2/2 to everything up to 11/12 in popular music (hello Soundgarden) to polyrhythms to non-rhytyhmic experimentation to “free-form” meters that represent undetermined mathematical concepts.
These undetermined natural patterns are the core of what exists in marriage. Somewhere along the line, Lissa made a point to try to explain to us that this was the case. she tried to tell us we were not our parents marriages, or our grandparents, or our aunts and uncles or even what we thought our siblings marriages might be. Not the protypical did everything to the end or the gave up way too early, nor the made it through the
Thank you Lissa for your spiritual guidance and support for our big day. We take with us not only the amazing memories of your contributions but your amazing words of advice and spiritual support for us throughout our entire engagement. We are deeply grateful for everything you’ve done for us and wish you the absolute best as you take this next journey. Lissa was a huge factor in binding our non traditional families together for our special day. We wouldn’t be the couple, the family and the contributors to society we are now had it not been for all our interactions to all souls and that of rev lissa. We cannot thank Lissa enough for that. V and I know that in our journey into Westchester we haven’t said thank you enough to our family at all souls in giving us the strength in ability to make this transition but if not for all of you we couldn’t be who we are now and … all of you arealways welcome up north, our doors are always open