Adult Forum – Long Strange Trip


10:00 am - 11:00 am


Red River UU Church
515 N. Burnett Ave, Denison, TX, 75021

Event Type

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No, we will not be watching the film on the Grateful Dead. We will instead watch a set of six DVDs detailing the history of Unitarian and Universalist thought from the beginning of the Christian era to what we know today as Unitarian Universalism. Each film is approximately one hour in length and is Close-captioned. To leave time for discussion we will break each film into about 30 minutes.

This boxed set is from the UUA InSpirit bookstore and is presented by Rob Cordes.





July 21 and 28 – Part 1: In the Beginning – This film examines the roots of religious liberal thought prior to the Reformation, including heretics such as Jan Ilus. It concludes with the life of Michael Servetus.

August 4 and 11 – Part 2: The Birth of Unitarianism – This film chronicles how Servetus’ message influenced David Ferenc in Transylvania and led to the formation of the first coherent Unitarian Theology. It tracks that theology as it spreads to Poland and then west across Europe towards the Netherlands and England.

August 18 and 25 – Part 3: American Unitarianism – This film talks about the development of Unitarianism in America from 1620 through the death of Theodore Parker in 1860. It discusses the early fractures between religious liberals and Congregationalists in Colonial America. It discusses the effect of Joseph Priestley’s immigration and William Ellery Channing’s role in the formation of the American Unitarian movement. It tells the story of the final split between the Unitarians and the Trinitarian Congregationalists in the 1820s from both a theological and a legal perspective. It revisits the Arian/Socinian fracture that played out here as well and the Transcendentalism of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Margaret Fuller, and Theodore Parker. It talks about the key role Fuller played in moving Transcendentalism out from a niche movement in Concord to the driving force behind Unitarianism. Finally, It discusses the role Theodore Parker played in advancing Unitarianism beyond its traditional Bible-centered roots and his role in some of the great social justice issues of the day, especially the abolition of slavery.

Sept. 1 and 8 – Part 4: Universalism -This film documents the development of Universalism from the early German and English pietists such as Jakob Böhme and Jane Leade, and 18th century English ministers such as George Whitfield, James Relly, Georges de Benneville, and John Murray. It chronicles the emigration of de Benneville and Murray to America and their roles in the formation of an organized Universalist religion. It tells the story of the Thomas Potter incident and the role Judith Sargent Murray played in the movement. It tracks the theological development of the movement through Murray, Elhanan Winchester, and Hosea Ballou. It discusses the unprecedented explosion of Universalist churches across America during the first half of the 19th century, and why the movement began its precipitous decline after the death of Hosea Ballou.

Sept. 15 and 22 – Part 5: Evolution -This film follows both Unitarianism and Universalism through the late 19th and early 20th centuries as they evolve from Christian bible-oriented religions to our present-day non-creedal movement. It discusses influences as diverse as Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, the Civil War, Feminism and Suffrage, and the Social Gospel. It chronicles the roles of such actors as Mary Livermore, Julia Ward Howe, Henry Whitney Bellows, Antoinette Brown, Olympia Brown, Celia Burleigh, Jenkin Lloyd Jones, Mary White Ovington, John Haynes Holmes, and Clarence Skinner.

Sept. 29 and Oct. 6 – Part 6: The hundred Year Waltz – This film documents the century-long courtship between Unitarianism and Universalism that culminated in their merger in 1961. It follows Unitarian Universalism through the first half century and discusses where it may go from here.