Confessions, part 6

The following Sunday I showed up for the first of two Adult Spiritual Development classes that I had signed up for in order to get more involved. The topic of the first class was the then recent call by UUA President Rev. Sinkford for UUs to develop a "language of reverence," to learn to become more comfortable with speaking in Christian terms like "sin" and "salvation." One of the discussion leaders supported Sinkford's call and expressed his desire that UUs be better able to communicate our beliefs to other people of faith, that UU be taken more seriously as a religion. 

Despite the fact that I was new, I opened my big mouth. "Why do we care whether other people take us seriously?" I questioned. "Why don't we just do what we believe to be right, and who cares what others think of us?" Ironically, my questions were motivated by two impulses, an ambivalence about the idea of UU moving back towards Christianity and a passage from the Christian Gospels that guides me: "By their fruits (works) shall ye know them." - Matthew 7:20

By the time I got to All Souls, I had long since passed through the phase of being really angry at the Christian view of God that had terrorized me as a child. I had come to recognize that within Christianity there were many views. This same religion had comforted and inspired people like Martin Luther King and Mother Theresa and countless others who I admired. No one had had a greater impact on my own ethics than Jesus of Nazareth. But still... Christianity's patriarchal view of God was not my view of God. I imagined trying to talk about "sin" and "salvation," and feeling like a poser. Nor was I comfortable with seeing myself as a proselytizer. In reaction to having to ward off numerous efforts to "save my soul," my approach to spirituality was vehemently personal. Whatever truth that I may find was only my truth. I didn't impose it on others. (The flip side of this is that I didn't share it with others either.)

It seemed to me that this attempt at religious talk was disingenuous, for the sake of what? Popularity? It was wrong to pretend to be something that we were not, and futile. ("By their works shall ye know them.") What did this Sinkford dude think he was doing? And if the people at All Souls agree with this approach, maybe it's just a bit too Christian for me after all. On only my second week at All Souls I feared it was time to start shopping for a new religion again.

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Acknowledgments is made possible in part by generous support from the Fahs Collaborative