A beach is much more impressive, when one realizes the time and energy that has gone into the deconstruction of big rocks in order to make billions of sand pebbles. When we stand on a beach, our toes sinking deeper into the warm bed beneath them, and we look out into the endless oceans of beauty, we are in essence standing at the mouth of the universe. Every grain of sand has spoken a sacred story of truth and wisdom, every one with a journey from deconstruction of old identity to reconstruction anew.
I felt like a grain of sand over the past few days, as I gathered at Hebrew College and Andover Newton Theological School with a group of about 25 seminarians, academics, professors, and practitioners all attempting to do something magical: turn boulders into beaches. Each of us is dedicated to incorporating interreligious engagement into the nature of our particular vocational goals. We believe that to be a religious leader in the 21st century, we must take seriously the religious diversity in the world and the subsequent difficulties and possibilities that emerge for building foundations for harmony and justice. Read the rest of this entry
Unitarian Universalism is a religious tradition with roots in Christianity, but has since taken a strong stance regarding religious freedom in every person’s spiritual formation. This may be characterized as a non-creedal religious tradition, which is arguably shared with some mainline protestant traditions and other traditions altogether. However, Unitarian Universalism reaches a step further by eliminating a theological centrality (i.e., monotheism, Trinitarianism, etc.). The embodiment of our understanding of religious freedom is found within our 4th Principle: we promote a free and responsible search for truth and meaning for every person.
This Principle, however, receives a lot of misunderstanding and distortion. Ironically, the majority of the people who perpetuate this distortion are Unitarian Universalists. The misinterpretation of this Principle goes something like this: “We as Unitarian Universalists believe in religious freedom, which means that we can believe whatever we want…” Unfortunately, this fails to understand the true complexity and beauty of this Principle. We do not promote religious freedom, alone; we promote freedom and responsibility in our search for truth and meaning. The religious freedom is met with theological responsibility. But, what is theological responsibility and how does it either hinder or enhance religious freedom? Read the rest of this entry