John L. Bohman
  • Member
  • Arlington, VA
  • United States
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Profile Information

How long have you attended UUCAVA?
since 1988
What does multiculturalism mean to you?
True respect.
What religion or spiritual practices did you grow up with?
Tell us a little about yourself/your family/your interests:
I love to sing, but had the sense not to try making money at it. I am a union side labor lawyer in private practice. I am married to Louise Van Horne. We have three grown children.
Why are you a Unitarian Universalist?
Our common UU faith is covenantal, not creedal. Our faith grows from the promises we make to each other. It is about building and sustaining relationships. It is about committing to a supportive and transforming faith community.

One way to think about a UU congregation is a greater whole that emerges from the combination of all of our connections. We realize that we do not have to do this alone, and we make a mutual promise to commit to and accept each other. By promising to be together relationally, we agree to give one another mutual trust and support. It is in community, in relationship, and in mutuality that people awaken, thrive, and blossom. Acceptance affirms people as they are, and encouragement propels them to what they might become. Acceptance of others is more than mere tolerance. Acceptance is a living promise to liberate and empower each other.

For example, tolerating a believer publicly praying to God in our public worship is only the beginning of acceptance; encouraging that person to do so is the next step; acceptance may then follow. And it the same for the believer when the atheist speaks. And just maybe, through acceptance and dialogue the believer and non-believer will find their way to love beyond belief.

We promise to practice religious pluralism in our faith communities, finding no source as definitive for all and accepting a variety of religious practices. Acknowledging the deep Judeo-Christian origins and roots of the UU movement, we honor and use resources from all of the world’s great faith traditions, including humanism (in either its atheistic form or in its less familiar theistic form). For UU’s, theological diversity, open mindedness, and acceptance are core values that ennoble and enrich our faith. Our challenge is to find unity within our diversity, and depth with our breadth, and to see beyond our group’s cultural milieu.

Our seven principles provide guidance, not a creed or doctrine. On their face, the principles are a set ethical statements. They are also a reflection of commonly held values, The question is whose values. They have sometimes been criticized as not the values of a distinct religious movement, but as a set of cultural values shared among educated liberal persons in general during the mid-1980's era during which they were adopted. We should ask ourselves how well they stand up in other cultural contexts, and how well they stand up as a religious statement. For example, they do not include a single traditional religious word.

In 2002, UUA President Rev. William Sinkford called on us to recognize how malnourished our souls have become without a language of reverence. He asked us to commit to becoming open to spiritual change and transformation. He asked us to mean it when we say revelation is not sealed. His was not a call to discard the seven principles completely. Instead, he reminded us to search more deeply into the promises they they embody and into the spirituality they imply and point to.

In 2005, a national commission identified five promises within the UU principles, that are made by committed Unitarian Universalists.

We promise to live relationally
We promise to live ethically
We promise to live pluralistically
We promise to live evangelistically
We promise to live globally

These are deeper promises made by a faith that is outward directed to transforming the world. We are not about what we believe, but what we do. We practice love beyond belief. Put another way:

It is a blessing that each of us was born
It matters what we do with our lives
What each of us knows about god is a piece of the truth
We don't have to do it alone.

Put yet another way:

We are here to build the kingdom of God on earth.
There is no life apart from life together.
Human beings are created in the image of God and possess sacred gifts they must learn to use for good.
What is truly natural, what is given in the nature of things is interdependence.

The UU minister Jeanne Harrison Nieuwejaar describes our faith in a way that resonates with me strongly. This closely says why I am a Unitarian Universalist:

In each of us, there is a spark of the holy.
We can know god, the spirit of life, the great mystery directly.
Love is the greatest of all energies. It is a primal energy of the great mystery. It holds us reliably throughout all the days of our lives. It calls us to bring our love into the world.
We are agents for transforming the world. We bear the promise of hope.
Community matters. We don't have to do it alone.
We are an interwoven thread in the universal fabric of all that is. We do not stand alone and apart. We are a part of the whole.

John L. Bohman's Blog

Board Meeting in June 17th at 7:30pm

The next Board business meeting will be at 7:30pm on June 17th in the Board Room.  Here is a draft agenda, 

Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington

Board of Trustees Meeting

Draft Agenda

June 17, 2014

 Call to Order, Check-in, and Chalice Lighting (7:30pm)

 Consent and Informational Items:

  • Reminder of UUCA Mission, Ends, Values,…

Posted on June 10, 2014 at 7:00am

Upcoming Board Meetings, Budget Hearings, and Annual Congregational Meeting

Sunday, June 8 after the Service: Annual Congregational Meeting

Upcoming Board of Trustees Meetings:  

Tuesday, May 27 at 7:30pm (draft agenda below)

Tuesday, June 17 at 7:30pm 

Board members are available for casual or…


Posted on May 11, 2014 at 5:30pm

Board of Trustees Meeting (4/14&15/2014) at 7:00pm in Board Room at UUCA

The Board of Trustees will meet 4/14-15, 2014, starting each evening at 7:00 pm.  Board members will be available for informal conversation at 6:30pm on the15th.      

Draft Agenda:

 Board Briefing by Search Committee (4/14 at 7:00pm)

 Executive Session (4/14 at 8:00pm)

 Check-in, and Chalice Lighting (4/15 at 7:00pm)

 Consent and…


Posted on April 7, 2014 at 10:30pm

Special Congregational Meeting, Sunday May 11, 2014 at 12:30pm

 Notice of Special Congregational Meeting to Vote to 
Call a New Senior Minister

The Board of Trustees of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Arlington has called a…


Posted on March 29, 2014 at 8:00am

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Meditation Service - Tue., July 25, 7:30pm

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