Eddie Franklin

I’m just a simple guy who has lived a wild life. I am a recovering alcoholic, sober for nine years. In my sobriety process, I started to crave something outside myself and attended about fifteen different churches. I stayed for the longest time at one particularly friendly church, and was even baptized there and became a member. Then a friend asked if I would come with him to watch the Tibetan monks making their sand mandala at the Unitarian building. When I mentioned at my church that I might visit the Unitarian Universalist church, I got a strong negative reaction. I thought that reaction was curious, and not very open-minded. I went two or three times that week to watch the Buddhist monks, and learned that the monks were not part of the Unitarian church. I wondered what kind of church welcomes other religions. I attended a newcomers’ group and kept coming back. I used to be rigid and conservative, critical of others. The UU church has helped me change. It reminds me that the world is not all about me. I have found more joy and openness to different kinds of people. It’s freeing to let the world be as it is. A.A. (Alcoholics Anonymous) set me on the path, but U. U. (Unitarian Universalism) is the next step for me. I grew up in a violent home where there was prejudice against many different kinds of people. Now I can look at people as diverse from my upbringing as Hindus or gays, and know they are kind, loving, forgiving, and understanding. In other churches I clung to the nice, kind people, but in my mind I felt like I was in a closet. UUCCI has allowed me to be OK with who I am and with being a seeker.