Tuesday, October 23, 2012

When the journey is more important than the destination...

I must confess that I am too fixated upon the goal to understand those who see only the journey.  I am not just along for the ride.  I am headed toward a destination.  For that reason, I cannot fathom why on earth one would choose any religion if they reject the idea that faith is a path to a specific place.  So the Unitarians remain an enigma for me.  Why have any religion at all if your faith speaks nothing of God, nothing of life after death, and nothing of the encounter with the Divine here on earth?  Because Unitarians have no real doctrines and competing and even conflicting perspectives live side by side in this, well, church, there is little to offer except folks to share in the journey.  For that you could gather a group of friends at Starbucks or at a pub (my preference) and talk about yourself and your life.  You don't need songs or worship services or clergy or the other trappings of religion that remain.

That said, the Unitarians seem to disagree with me.  They have an interest in religion that is as broad as the horizon and seem to find comfort in the sense of community they experience without any real agreement or objective truth about the God who they may or may not worship.  Unitarians, however, do not live up to their name.  They do not worship or believe in one God or even a God.  There are as many different deities and dogmas as their are people and perhaps it would be more accurate to call them Multipaniarians.  In any case, it seems that they are not geographically far from us.  There is a congregation just down the road from mine and Bob Smietana has written interestingly of them in Tennessee.  He is a good reporter for the so-called God Beat and he writes well of what people seem to find in their Unitarian congregations.

Instead of a common theology, Unitarian Universalists have a set of common values. They believe in the worth and dignity of every human being. Conscience, rather than a creed, guides their spiritual life. Ethical living matters more than correct theology.  “We are the church of the open mind, the loving heart and the helping hand,” Seavey said. “We always try to pull those things together.”


The other main draw is a sense of community. The faith draws people who want to figure out spirituality on their own terms — but even independent thinkers need a spiritual family.

And finally:

“We don’t have an answer for death — we just show up and love you,” she said. “When you need love that badly and you are given it — it changes how you see everything.

Well, that's nice and all but I prefer the love that has a face, a name, blood to shed and feed, and flesh offered for the life of the world and as the food of eternal life.  But that's just me.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah, yes, Unitarianism, "the thinking man's religion." Hogwash! Lots of questions (which is great), but no answers! I agree with you, Pastor; good post.