“We build on foundations we did not lay.
We warm ourselves at fires we did not light.
We sit in the shade of trees we did not plant.
We drink from wells we did not dig.
We profit from persons we did not know.
We are ever bound in community."

Rev. Peter Raible (paraphrased from Deuteronomy 6:10-12)

Monday, January 9, 2012

Day 9 of Spiritual Practices and Reflections: Naming the good news of Unitarian Universalism

There are some good comments posted on Day 8, about the good news of Unitarian Universalism. I hope you'll check them out, if you haven't already.

Here are a few pieces of the good news of Unitarian Universalism that really jump out at me:

*Revelation is not sealed. A particular piece of wisdom/truth/insight, is not final. There is not one truth in one book somewhere, sealed up, beyond new interpretation.  Instead, Unitarian Universalists suggest that revelation is unfolding, is continuous. God/the Spirit of Life/Love is still speaking in the world, through nature, poetry, sacred scripture, other human beings, music, and so much more. We believe that truth and wisdom continue to emerge in all sorts of places and is not limited to a particular book or teaching...and that's good news.

*The Universalist notion that we're enough, and that we're loved. When I really, truly let this reality into my heart, it is a stunning feeling, a mind blowing experience. In many ways, I'm still leaning how to live into this truth because we live in a culture that says we're not enough unless we make X amount of money, or look a certain way, or have a certain job, etc. etc. Universalism says none of that stuff matters. Universalism says "you're loved, beyond anyone you've done or failed to do." That is stunning, powerful, mind blowing good news. And as I glimpse that reality, it calls me (us) to love the world in a similar way. (Clearly, I'm drawn to this; if you missed my post on, "What exactly is the Universalist spirit of love and hope?" you can catch it here.)  The saving message here is that we're held in a love greater than we can imagine.

*Belief that the individual is an authentic source of religious knowing. Another way to say this: We trust in our own religious experiences. I don't mean to suggest it's all about the individual and individual experience. It's not. We need a practicing faith community to be a part of, to hold us accountable, to challenge and shape us. And we need to be in conversation with sacred scripture and traditions that have deep roots, as well. But the good news, the saving message, is that the individual's religious experience matters...it's an authentic source of knowing (as opposed to saying the only authentic religious source is a sacred scripture, or the words of a religious person.)

I'm curious - what else do you see as the good news of our faith, the saving message, if you will?


Scott Marshall said...

One thing I’ve taken from my short time as a part of this community is that Love is all around us. That if we open ourselves to it, it will nourish us.

There’s some part of physics that says, as my feeble non-physics brain understands it, truth doesn’t exist outside of relationships. Matter has potential and can be either a particle or a wave and it may change depending on the expectations of the one observing it. Matter changes based on its relationship to its observer. How situations and people show up is due to their relationships with one another.

Love is, because we open ourselves to a relationship with it. Love without us and us without love leaves the potential very different than if we are combined.

Kate’s message this past weekend that the winds of grace (Grace?) always blowing and that it’s up to us to hoist our sails. That if we “eat well”, if we open ourselves to the holiness of a piece of stale bread, if we do those things, we’ll experience Love. That’s good news for me.

Erik Resly said...

I try to keep it short and simple...
(I refer to God as the Beloved, but any faithful epithet would work, so long as it points within and beyond us.)

Unitarianism: The Beloved calls us to a Greater Life.
Universalism: The Beloved holds us in a Greater Love.

Justin Schroeder said...

Scott and Erik: thanks for the comments. Scott: You reminded me of the idea that "love" is a quality of attention; it's about how we're attending to the world, to our relationships, to our own deepest truths.

Erik, I appreciate the power of your short and simple "good news!" We're being called to pay attention to the Greater Life, and as well as the Greater Love that holds us.

Tim Bartik said...

I tried to post this before, but maybe there was some glitch:

I think that the 7 principles already provide much Good News, in the form of a guide to living in right relations. Unfortunately, they are written in bureaucratic and cold language. We need more poetry, music, and emotion, more vivid images and stories.

How about this for Good News: “A better life is available for each of us, in the here and now, if we develop the character, compassion, comprehension and courage to truly value each and every fellow human being in our hearts, thoughts and actions.”

Or this: "A truer life awaits a wise awakening of universal compassion."