Fast forward to today. The story of the attack on the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church has been in the news all weekend. My friends and acquaintances have been saddened by the intolerance shown by this brutal attack. Discussions on websites I visit opened into further discussion of what Unitarian Universalist's believe. I was surprised to find that my views on religion are very closely aligned with Universalism's views. So, I quickly googled for the nearest church and found a congregation that I think I will try out on Sunday. I don't necessarily think I need to go to church every week to be spiritual, but I think it would be nice to be around people once a week where I would kind of "fit in" belief-wise. As it is now, I feel like the black sheep of the neighborhood, cruising past the church and all the LDS members in my tank top and shorts to go shopping on Sunday.
Here are some of the basic tenants of the church. Cool stuff.
You are good. From our Unitarian ancestors we have inherited a belief that healthy minds, hearts, reason, and intuition can be trusted. We encourage people to think and come to their own conclusions about religion, science, politics, and all areas of life. There are no experts that know what you should believe. You are the expert of your own heart and our job is to encourage you to keep learning, growing, and searching for what you can believe.
You are loved. From our Universalist ancestors we have learned that there is a Love that will not let us go. Some of us call this God, others bring names from diverse traditions, and still others are content to leave this mystery unnamed. However we encounter it, we aspire to live in ways that help grow compassion, equity, and justice in our own lives and the communities around us. We welcome all people of goodwill because we deeply believe that every person is valuable and worthy of love.
You can make a difference. For centuries, Unitarians, Universalists, and Unitarian Universalists have acted on their beliefs. We know that people are powerful and that we can change the world, even if it’s just a little at a time. We also celebrate that we do not have to do it alone! We support and help each other as we learn to “walk our talk” and let our values show in the way we live our lives. Unitarian Universalism is a faith we live, not just something we believe.
You are not alone. There are many people in this world looking to deepen their experience of life and live in spiritually healthy ways. We seek to support and encourage one another as we explore our own faith journeys. There is no reason to "go it alone" in life and, in fact, many reasons to gather companions around to share both the joys and the sorrows that life brings.
So Sunday, I will try something new. I will let you know how it goes!