A March Dedicated to Pledge and our Heritage
We have all heard some version of the questions that ask what we’re doing here. Questions like, “You’re still Christians? Right?” Or, “No they’re not! Are you?” Or, “UU’s can believe anything they want, Right?” Or, “You UU’s don’t believe in anything, Right?”
And, although I could do without the frequent dismissive tone of these queries, being that we are theological outliers that defy easy categorization, to me they are valid questions. Questions we need not be, should not be ashamed or defensive about. Questions that at the end of exploring them warrant a bit of hard-earned pride.
As we probably all have noticed, most religious traditions are guided by a defining statement like “Muhammad is the last true prophet” and/or a creed that succinctly summarize their position. “Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.” is one of many creeds that many of us could recite.
Most religious traditions we are compared to live with the assumption, or faith that somewhere in the past an elusive profound truth was revealed. And correspondingly, the goal of those traditions’ adherents is to live in as close an alignment as possible with those truths.
We are an enigma because in a world that categorizes faith traditions primarily by what they state their creeds to be, our most defining religious quality is an unwillingness to stake a claim on matters of theology. Ironic right? We are a funny faith, one defined not as much by what we think is true, but by what we don’t. Our unwillingness to take religious stands on things beyond the earthly plane means that when we write down what it is we can agree on, it ends up reading like a United Nations pamphlet. Given that, how could it not be confusing to explain who we are to others? Even often to ourselves.
Every once and a while we are accused of being a cult, or even better of worshipping Satan. We are well aware we are not nearly bold enough in worship or aggressively skilled at recruiting to be given those titles. Fact is, if they were paying attention, cults would mock us as being wimpy recruiters, and any real evangelicals would fall asleep listening to our thoughtful sermons while waiting for the snakes to arrive. What we are is smart and cautious.
In a religious world that presumes that there is a hero who delivers a revelatory insight about the nature of reality, we UU’s say the opposite. We have come to accept that the best path forward is to trust the way the ever-evolving individual consciences of our members responsibly seeking truth and meaning together choose to answer it. That’s a weird religious position, and I want you to truly embrace the absurdity of it all.
It requires a lot of concentration to follow who we say we are. Enough so that as you will see over the next month watching your pastor explain Unitarian Universalism can make you might feel like you yourself are in an episode of Seinfeld. However, don’t fret, it took us a long time to arrive in this brilliantly unique and ridiculous place. What you should fret is that during the month of March I am about to walk you through it.
During the Sunday services in March we are going to focus in on four very UU themes. First up on March 3rd is Pledge kick-off sermon, highlighting the where we are at, and where we are going. March 10, week two of our stewardship month, is an exploration of our 7 Principles and 6 sources, and on March 17th the concluding Sunday of our Pledge Drive, and our Annual Anniversary weekend, we will walk those in attendance through the 62-year legacy of our particular church. March 24th will be dedicated to the unique history and polity of Unitarianism and Universalism, and more particularly to exactly how that relates to how we govern ourselves, our covenantal identity, and the challenge of what we owe each other. I promise it will all be more interesting than it might sound.
Rev. Steve Wilson