Dear Ones- Welcome to April! I DO love Spring- the warmer weather, the first blooming flowers, the warming earth- all seem to conspire to bring a sense of hope. Life is not always easy, we know. But Spring WILL come, the Earth will turn, life continues, and our little UUFS corner will continue to move along.
This month, and the first 2 weeks of May, we’ll be exploring the Six Sources of our UU Faith. It has been my experience that, while we speak often of our Seven Principles, we don’t speak nearly as often of our Sources.
Perhaps this is because our Sources seem to look to the past, while our Principles are all about the “now”.
Of course, the Principles by which we strive to live have their own history. They did not arrive fully developed from “on high”. They are the result of an on-going, deliberate process carried out by ordinary men and women striving to the best of their ability.
These faithful men and women were and are the products of their own histories, their own cultures, their own traditions, just as we all are.
So I believe we must acknowledge, explore, and honor (should it warrant honoring) our collective past in order to fully appreciate how we got to this point in our collective history. This applies to both our Principles and our Sources.
Obviously, not all aspects of the historical context of our sources deserve to be “honored”. While Christianity certainly deserves our respect and admiration, neither the Inquisition nor the Holocaust should be “honored”. Thomas Jefferson certainly looms large in our history, but the fact that he bought and sold human beings should not be honored.
But a hallmark of spiritual maturity is realizing that the world is not simply “black and white”; that there is a great deal of “gray”. Even the most beautiful work of art has at least one flaw, and the same is certainly true for our religious traditions, which are, after all, merely human traditions.
Or perhaps a reason we don’t speak so much about our Sources might be that we don’t perceive them as being about “us” individually. After all, if you do not identify as a Humanist, do you care about “humanist teachings which counsel us to heed the guidance of reason and the results of science, and warn us against idolatries of the mind and spirit” in the same way a Humanist would? Or if you DO consider yourself a Humanist, does the “Direct experience of that transcending mystery and wonder, affirmed in all cultures, which moves us to a renewal of the spirit and an openness to the forces which create and uphold life” move you in the same way as it would, say, a Theist?
But we are a community, and our Third Principle calls us to the “…encouragement to spiritual growth”. We encourage both ourselves and one another. This requires that we be “life-long learners”; it asks us to continue to explore not only our own beliefs and traditions, but those of others.
So that’s what we hope to do this month, and will continue into May. On April 7 we’ll take a Sunday to explore Humanism. On April 14 we’ll take some time to acknowledge the beauty and wonder of Spring. On April 21 we’ll think about our Christian roots as we celebrate Easter. And then on April 28, Salisbury Mayor Jake Day will help us to see the beauty of the Earth as we look at what progress the City of Salisbury has made on Environmental issues.
Please join us as we explore the varied and beautiful sources of our faith.
Also…Don’t forget to turn in your pledge forms! We are a community of generous people and your pledge is the lifeblood of this community, so let your generosity show! Kit and I have committed to raising our pledge by over 10%. Won’t you do the same?
Wishing you peace and blessings,