Starting this fall our Sunday Religious Education program is going to focus on giving our children a strong Unitarian Universalist identity. There is not much that I love more than this UU faith so I am looking forward to sharing these things, alongside my teachers, with our kids. Let me share with you now some of the things that I love about being a UU.
I love that as a Unitarian Universalists we try to give people, “not hell but hope and courage,” as John Murray instructed long ago. There is too much hell on this earth and organized religion is responsible for a shamefully large part of it. In the UU Handbook it says, “Too often in this world religion has been the agent of division and fear. UUism seeks to heal a fractured world and the broken lines with in it. (How does it do that?) By calling every one of us to the best that is in us.” How exciting it is to be part of such a great cause –trying to better our selves in order to be a healing force in the world.
I love that UUism is a religion with a distinct history and culture and with very distinct beliefs that you won’t find in any other religion; such as the belief that the individual is the ultimate source of religious authority. Again in the handbook it says, “We respect the answers offered by Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism and the world’s other great traditions. We even draw our inspiration and some of our forms of worship from those traditions—but we respect the mystery more.”
I love that we respect the mystery more because my own spiritual journey has given me incredible respect for the mysteries of life -starting with the miracle of existence itself. I think the only thing that I’m sure of anymore is that we don’t have all the answers. I used to think I needed the answers but now I honor the mystery. It is Karen Armstrong who said, “A question is a fine traveling companion, it sharpens your eye for the road.” I have found that to be true. I like to contemplate the mysteries and complexities of life. To belong to a faith that does not require that everyone think and feel the same way about the purpose of life and beyond is a huge blessing.
Ever since I found my home in this faith I have loved the opportunity to share the depth dimension of life with other people who have similar values. I have made so many close relationships in this church and I have been given so many opportunities to try new things and to grow. These things add so much to the quality of my life.
I love our faith. It inspires me. It challenges me. It brings me great joy and it has freed my soul. I love the opportunity to work in this congregation as a Director of Religious Education. For me it’s all about forging new relationships, trying to make a better world and sharing the journey as we learn and grow together. What a gift it is we have to give our children!
Janen Wright – Director of Lifespan Faith Development