By Rev. Diana L. Smith
Do your eyes glaze over when you hear the word “theology”? While I can really geek out on theology and deeply love it, there are also times I’ve started losing focus when conversations about it become too abstract or esoteric. (And yes, your minister just said that.)
However, theology is, at its core, about how we understand the world, Mystery, what is of worth, and how we make meaning. Sometimes discussions of it can become dense or confusing. But spending time reflecting on how we understand the world individually and as a congregation is really important.
Reflecting in these ways can help us more deeply explore how we understand our relationship with the world and what is ultimately important. It can also give us a foundation and tools when difficult things happen in our lives. And it can be an opportunity to deepen our engagement with people, ideas, belief systems, and cultures in a very meaningful way.
A lot of the time we think about what we believe individually. Our individual beliefs reflect what religion and practices we were raised with (if any), our culture, our life experiences, and many other things. This reflection is very important, and it’s also important that as congregations we reflect together on how we create meaning or theology as a congregation. The whole of all of our beliefs, how our beliefs interact, and how we interact and communicate about our beliefs and our meaning-making are important parts of how we create community – and a faith, a religious community.
As you may have read or experienced, in February we began our exploration of Unitarian Universalism’s six Sources. In February we explored our religious backgrounds and the Source of our direct experiences of transcending mystery and wonder. In March we’ll be exploring more sources:
- Wisdom from the world’s religions which inspires us in our ethical and spiritual life;
- Spiritual teachings of Earth-centered traditions which celebrate the sacred circle of life and instruct us to live in harmony with the rhythms of nature;
- Words and deeds of prophetic people, which challenge us to confront powers and structures of evil with justice, compassion, and the transforming power of love;
- 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.
We’ll finish our series in April as we explore Jewish and Christian teachings. I hope you’ll join us in these worship services and that you’ll bring what you’re learning and how you’re making meaning back into community as you listen for how others are doing this, too – whether it’s similar to or different from how you’re making meaning.
Love and Blessings,