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Born Again Unitarian Universalism

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General Assembly 2003 Event 3079 and 4012

Speaker: Rev. Forrest Church

You are at a dinner party, and somehow the uncomfortable information leaks out that you are the only one there who goes to church. "What sort of church?" the others ask.

"Well, it’s not really a church—you see I am a UU [Unitarian Universalist]." 

"Oh, I have always wondered about UUs. What do you actually believe?" 

''Actually nothing—well, no, not really nothing, more like anything …"

At All Souls UU Church in New York, at coming-of-age Sunday, 9th graders deliver a 3-minute credo statement. In 3 minutes, could you say what you believe, not what you don’t believe? Do you have a ready answer for the dinner party?

You could say, "UU is the quintessentially American faith." Our UU Principles spring from the same sources as the Declaration of Independence, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Earth Charter: "Affirm faith in the inherent dignity of all human beings." Our principles echo in each.

Some people define religion narrowly and embrace it. 
Our skeptical neighbors define religion narrowly and reject it. 
We define religion broadly and embrace it.

Theology is poetry, not science. We are inside the Cathedral of the World where there are millions of windows. In this respect we are many, but the same light shines through all. We cannot look directly at the sun, though one sun (a Unitarian idea) shines on all that we see through every window (a Universalist idea).

Some conclude theirs is the only window. However, we are more alike in our limited perspectives than we differ in our limited knowledge. This is our essential unity, the central pillar of the Cathedral. Faced with different perspectives, we can convert, destroy, ignore, or respect. However, we do not and must not permit stone throwing in the Cathedral.

Religion is our response to the dual reality of being alive and having to die. Jefferson said, "It is in our lives, not our words, that our religion must be read." Thus, the purpose of life is to live in such a way that our lives will prove to be worth dying for. Together we cry; together we walk holding hands; together we do love's work, and thereby we are saved. Don't be ashamed of your gospel, and when questions come up at dinner parties, testify, and then invite everyone to church. Something's going to kill you, but it won't be that. Go out joyfully, climb to the rooftops, sing your song, and spread the Word.

Reported by Mike McNaughton.

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Last updated on Thursday, September 8, 2011.

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