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Sharing Global Faith: Reflections on Hope

Introduction:

SGF imageThe South African cleric and outspoken anti-apartheid activist Rev. Allan Boesak once opined: “faith is certainty that God is real, and our hope is the certainty that God will reveal God’s reality.” In times of trial and despair, revelatory hope often appears to dim, even dissipate. The certainty for which Boesak so emphatically pleads seems to grow thin, tenuous, unstable. At its worst, such hope degenerates into indifference, detachment, even nihilism. And yet, as Paul writes in his second letter to the Corinthian churches, amidst the bleak years a promise always rings: “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed” (II Cor 4:8-9).

In this last issue of Sharing Global Faith, four global prophets of our faith reclaim a vision of hope that rests not on certainty but on humble gratitude. In so doing, the revelation of God’s reality takes on novel forms, all of which display beauty in fragmentation and blessing amidst hardship. Balancing between faith and love, Rev. Adeyenke Matimoju (First Unitarian Church of Lagos, Nigeria) calls for the binding of hope with concrete action in the face of uncertainty and the loss of control. Rev. Iva Fišerová (Religious Society of Czech Unitarians) shares her experience of the oppressive communist regime and subsequent gentle invitation to crack the seed of fear and spring a new shoot. Relaying his keynote remarks on the occasion of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Philippines’ 50th anniversary, Rev. Fred Muir (UU Church of Annapolis, MD) encourages the faithful to live as if they embodied the hands of God. Rev. Janne Eller-Isaacs (Unity Church-Unitarian, St. Paul, MN) lifts up the aesthetic and ethical awareness that a redeeming hope and sustenance are woven into even the most difficult times. In a very real sense, these reflections sing and sing.

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adeRev. Adeyenke Matimoju

First Unitarian Church of Lagos, Nigeria

HOPE IN DIVERSE DIMENSION

Hope is defined in the dictionary as a “feeling of desire for something and confidence in the possibility of its fulfillment.” It goes further to mean a reasonable ground for having this feeling: there is still hope…

“I hope it doesn’t rain on my wedding day.” You and I have no control over the weather. Hoping it doesn’t rain is nothing more than wishful thinking. Is Christian hope wishful thinking in the face of all that we can’t control?

As an ardent lover of soccer and die-hard supporter of the Chelsea football club of England, “I hope the Blues win the Premiership season including Champions League.” They might win it; it’s possible to be sure, even though it’s extremely unlikely. Is Christian hope a hankering after what is extremely unlikely?

I’ve heard and used the word ‘hope’ with mixed feeling, as it has always connoted a longing for an illusion or uncertainty, as well as a driving force and sustainable tonic.

However, one can only hope to have Peace, Richness, Happiness, Love, Joy, Faith and, most importantly, the hope to sit on top of the world.

It’s good to hope, but it MUST be merged with physical effort in achieving the desired result. While hope has made, and renders, several million impoverished (who have lost everything while hoping), it has also energized and sustained several other million people in focusing them and channeling their determination.

Hope is God’s gift and therefore God’s command. This command, like any command, is to be obeyed. Temptation here is like temptation anywhere: temptation to doubt the goodness of God and allow oneself to violate the command of God. Yet this temptation, like any, is to be resisted. Despite life’s contradictions we are to join prophets and apostles in announcing that day above all days when the world’s wretched neither hunger nor thirst anymore, when one nation no longer lifts up its sword against another nation, when God wipes away every tear from every eye. We are commanded to hope.

Such hope is certainly a gift from God in as much as the resurrection of Jesus Christ and our Spirit-wrought inclusion in that resurrection is a gift from God. While such hope is plainly a gift, however, it isn’t only a gift; it’s also a command. God commands his people to hope. To be sure, it’s only as he gives us hope that he commands us to hope, yet command us to hope he most certainly does.

You must have noticed that scripture links faith, hope and love, and groups them together again and again. Hope is the middle term between faith and love. Hope keeps faith from collapsing under the burden of disappointment and delay. Hope keeps love from dissolving under the acids of frustration. Hope fortifies love and lends it resilience. Hope stiffens faith and forestalls collapse.

“It’s improper to speak of hope when concrete results are already evident. Hope is properly hope only where what’s hoped for hasn’t appeared.” The objection is sound.

In the midst of his torment, Job cries out, “All I can feel is my pain.” At the moment of his outcry he can’t even sense the tiniest bit of hope’s fulfilment. So far from being fulfilled, even ever so fragmentarily, hope appears simply futile. His friends declare him silly for continuing to hope, since there’s no evidence to suggest that his hope is anything but wishful thinking; his hope seems as groundless as a child’s wish for the appearance of Santa Claus.

Conclusively, in the word of Jeremiah Wright, “I’ve seen college students who give illusion of being on top of the world – designer clothes, all the sex that they want, all the cocaine or marijuana or drugs, all the trappings of having it all together on the outside – but empty and shallow and hurting and lonely and afraid on the inside.” Many times what looks good on the outside – the illusion of being in power, of sitting on top of the world – with a closer look is actually existence in a quiet hell.

It is good to hope of good things to come, but it is hopeless when action doesn’t follow; for hope without action is hopelessness. Except of course, in a situation where you’ve acted, but your actions have no control over the outcome, then one can continue to hope.

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ivaRev. Iva Fišerová
Religious Society of Czech Unitarians

Hope accompanies the human family in its history as an essential part of its existence. Hope can be both very personal and shared. Either way, its presence in our lives contributes to our wellness. We live in various parts of the globe and yet we share hope in our life/death/life cycle, the basic pattern of life.

When we live in severe political conditions, as we did in my country, our shared hope shrinks and we tend to orient it personally. I remember there was not much shared hope during the communist regime. Social life disappeared from the public scene, our jobs were not meaningful and we were searching for hope by using our gardening potential and building small weekend cottages by ourselves. Doing something real brings hope into one’s life. But as a society, we lived like in a tunnel with no end in sight.

Time changed and twenty years ago we were liberated – a new hope came. Every day we would demonstrate, I would ask myself: What does freedom look like? What can I do as a free being? What is it like to be able to do what I love?

There are moments when we come out from the darkness. The universal song of life calls us from the tomb of restrictions. After years of humming there comes a strong inner push to sing mightily. However, we can be fearful standing at such a threshold,  lacking experience of or with the new. At the same time as our very nature wants us to become anew, the forces of life are powerful. If that ‘rose (which) lies curled deep below the winter snow’ does not listen to them it dies.

Hopelessness prevails at many times in our life. But in our darkest moments a soft ray of light reaches into the soil we are dormant in. It brings along a gentle invitation and as we can’t resist that magic that cracks the shell of our germinating seed. We use our potential to spring a new shoot. Sometimes our seed needs courage to receive the invitation and leave behind its outgrown shell. Sometimes we need to perform a great work to break through the cement of our tomb. Sometimes once realized, our strength brings us quickly to bloom.

Whether coming as the first or the last one, the rose co-creates spring. It knows its place in the universe. Spring does not exist by itself and everything enlivened by the song of life helps to make spring come. And as the song grows it takes along the weakest, the shyest, until the next season of life arrives.

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picture-11361Rev. Fred Muir

UU Church of Annapolis, MD

The stories and lessons of Philippine history—of island tribal life, of foreign interventions, of war, terrorism and authoritarian politics and religion; the stories and teachings of Negros Universalism—of the Rev. Toribio Quimada’s freethinking religious leadership and spiritual passion, and how his faith journey and Philippine culture collided and overlapped; the stories and value of Jesus—his faith shaped spirit, his prophetic commitment, his leadership, and his seeking and teaching of wisdom; all of these are places from which members of the Unitarian Universalist Church of the Philippines begin telling and measuring their UU story and journey.  Reflecting on these lessons and stories and on the occasion of the UUCP’s 50th anniversary, I shared these words during my keynote remarks:

Pick any one of these starting points to begin your story.  I know that you each could tell me—tell each other—stories about the religion that shaped your family, stories of your childhood religious experiences.  Perhaps you knew Rev. Quimada and traveled with him, watched him preach and heal.  I know that many of you have a spirit-filled life that has touched others in deep and lasting ways, and you could tell us stories.  Many of you believe in the inspiring ministry and power of Jesus, and he is essential to your lives.  All of these are informed and shaped by your Unitarian Universalist faith.

Who do you say you are?  I would like to hear your story.  I would also like to hear what difference your Unitarian Universalist congregation has made for you, your family, friends and barangay (barrio or village).   Remember this: Your story is always in relationship to others; we are all connected in a web of interdependence, one tao to another, what Martin Buber called an “I-Thou relationship.” Hear this story of such a relationship:

A long time ago in a small country village, the richest farmer in the village was sleeping, as he often did, through the Sunday worship service.  He would almost wake up, then fall back to sleep.  Every Sunday he would do it the same way.

Living next to the church, it was one Sunday morning he woke up to roll over just in time to hear the end of the sermon where the minister said something about blessing bread on the altar, then he fell back to sleep.

When he really did finally wake up, all he could remember was something about bread on the altar.  He thought that God had spoken directly to him, telling him to place bread on the church’s altar.  The wealthy farmer was honored that God had asked him to do this, so he immediately went about making a loaf of bread.

When the bread was done and cooled, he went to the church and after placing the bread where he thought God had told him to put it, he said: “Thank you God for telling me what You want me to do.  Pleasing you makes me very happy.”

No sooner had he left the sanctuary than the poorest man in the village entered.  All alone, in the back, he prayed: “O God, I am so poor.  My family is starving; we have nothing to eat.  If you do not perform a miracle for us, we will starve.”

As he approached the altar, he saw the bread and shouted: “A miracle!  A miracle!  Thank you God for providing this good bread.  And you work so quickly!”  Then he ran home to tell his family of the good news.

Minutes later, the rich man returned to the church to see if God had eaten his bread.  And sure enough, it was gone!  “You really like my bread, Lord!  I thought you were teasing me.  This is wonderful.  You can be sure that I will be back with more.”

The following week, the rich man brought more bread and left it.  And soon after he left, the poor man would arrive to say his prayers and find the bread.  Another miracle!  And then, the rich man would come back and see the bread was gone and rush home to make more.

This bread exchange went on for many years, always in the same way.

Then one day, the minister of the church happened to be in the sanctuary – but out of sight – and he watched the whole thing happen: the rich man enter and talk to God; the poor man enter and say his prayer then leave with the bread; then the rich man come back and promise to make more.

The minister called the two men together and told them what they had been doing.

“I see,” said the rich man, “God doesn’t really eat my bread.”

“And I see,” said the poor man, “God isn’t baking the bread just for me.”

They both feared that now God would no longer be in their lives.

Then the minister asked them to look at their hands.  “Your hands,” he said to the rich man, “are the hands of God giving food to the poor.”

“And your hands,” he said to the poor man, “are also the hands of God, receiving gifts from the rich.”

“So you see, God can still be present in your lives.  Continue baking and continue taking.  Your hands are the hands of God.”[1]

Who do you say you are?  You are the hands of God.  You are brothers and sisters of faith; you walk in the footsteps of Jesus and Bishop Gregorio Aglipay; you are the bright light from the flame first lit by the Rev. Toribio Quimada as well as John Murray, Hosea Ballou, and Clarence Skinner.

“Be careful how you live your life for it is the only gospel others will read,” said Bishop Helder Camara.  Live as if you were the hands of God; that’s our Universal call:

Be joyful, Universalists, come celebrate this company.

Officials, members all unite, rejoicing in debate that’s free.

To teach the Universal light, to strengthen democracy.

To teach the hope that is for all,

Proclaim the Universal call.[2]


[1] Lawrence Kushner, “The Hands of God,” Eyes Remade for Wonder, Jewish Lights Publishing, p. 63.

[2] “Maglipay Universalist,” lyrics by Toribio Quimada.

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img_0011_000Rev. Janne Eller-Isaacs

Unity Church-Unitarian, St. Paul, MN

Some years ago I was asked by a well-known, local artist to meet with her.   I gladly set up the appointment, having no idea why she called me.  A few days later, she came into my office with two pieces of work she wanted to show me.  Before presenting her work, she explained that she had been plagued by bouts of deep despair and depression throughout her life and had just been going through one of the worst of her life.  She decided to create a picture of her mood and set about covering an entire canvass with black.  No matter how hard she worked, however, there was always some speck of white.  She could not wipe out the white completely.  She explained to me that being unable to completely cover the white was a profound life lesson for her.  No matter how difficult things were, there was always a speck of hope that was impossible to erase or blot out.    The next painting she showed me was full of color and vibrant images.  “This is a picture of my hope,” she said.   The artist had sought me out because this was a religious awakening for her.  I know that she has experienced times of depression since then, but never as severe or debilitating after finding an image and experience of abiding hope in her life.

In times of despair, social unrest and upheaval, images of hope can literally save our lives.  Woven into even the most difficult times are moments of redeeming hope and sustenance.  Sometimes these images surprise us and awaken us, like the experience of the artist who visited my office; others have to be sought out and cultivated.   When despair grows in us, we must pause and seek out that which gives us hope.   Supported by a deep and abiding hope, human beings can endure the most challenging times with their humanity intact.  Hope is not a denial of reality, but rather a force that that holds brokenness and despair as well as beauty and faith.

A mosaic is a work of art which occurs when that which is broken creates beauty out  broken pieces.  Hope is like a mosaic, creating beauty and wholeness out of the disparate pieces of life.    We live out of hope when we walk with humility and confidence into the new day never denying the brokenness but seeing the beauty of it all none the less.

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Sharing Global Faith: Reflections on Faith


Introduction:

SGF-graphic-august

In her 2005 stewardship award-winning sermon entitled ‘Stand by this Faith,’ Rev. Naomi King draws on the Book of Ruth to orient and narratively ground her faith: “Slavery turns around to freedom, death turns toward life, on the basis of free choices, generous hearts, and listening where we are called.” King goes on to develop the concept of vocation and broaden the scope of faith itself, reminding Unitarian Universalists that “we’re doing church everywhere we go, every moment. We are making the choice constantly to stand with this faith, and to make hope real.” For King, standing with this faith equates to a subversive choice for freedom against the enslavement to conventional wisdom. It speaks to enlarging the circle of inclusion, supporting one another and attending to those who hurt. “When we move beyond the us/them to a truly universal we, when we open this circle, we are standing with this faith,” she proclaims.

In the August issue of Sharing Global Faith, three U/U luminaries from around the world open this circle of faith to a global community of seekers. Bishop Ferenc Bálint Benczédi (Transylvanian Unitarian Church) moves towards the cusp of the physical and spiritual worlds, where he begins to apprehend life’s completeness, God’s worldly presence and the existence of the good, beautiful and true. Drifting away from the creedal mode of belief that characterized his upbringing, Rev. Fulgence Ndagijimana (Assembly of Christian Unitarians of Burundi) reimagines faith in terms of relationship, solidarity and responsibility. Rev. John Buehrens (First Parish Needham, MA) excavates the biblical etymologies of the term ‘faith’ and arrives at a definition that lifts up the courage to step forward in trust and affirmation. Woven together, these three reflections highlight the importance of living one’s faith in freedom as embodied vocation – standing, and moving, with this faith.

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balintBishop Ferenc Bálint Benczédi
Transylvanian Unitarian Church

Faith: it is the Gift of God Ef 2,8

The moment we are born we get in touch with the surrounding world.  Our sensory system offers us the possibility to perceive this world. Research has been conducted to discover how our sensory organs developed and how much we need them.

As human beings, we are given the possibility to build a relationship with the spiritual world, but we have to learn how to nourish this connection, how to cultivate our soul.

We gather information about the surrounding world and we experience it by using our five sensory organs. They also provide us with the capability to orient ourselves in the spiritual world. We do not only need these sensory organs, we also need our spiritual gifts: faith, reason, free-will, conscience and love.

Faith is trust in God; it shapes our relation with God – we are the children and God is our loving Father.
Faith in God is like the grafted bough that turns the tart, wild berries into the luscious fruit. It is the gift of God, our ability to create spiritual communities. It comforts us, provides us with the realization that we are not only God’s creation, but that we are God’s children and that we can be God’s partners.

It is not enough to only cultivate our reason; we have to cultivate our faith too. This is how we can grow into a human being who can live at the convergence of the physical and spiritual worlds. By living there, we can apprehend the completeness of life: we perceive the presence of God in this world: we see the good, the beautiful and the true.

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fulgenceRev. Fulgence Ndagijimana
Assembly of Christian Unitarians of Burundi

Whenever I hear the word “faith”, I tend to associate it with “I believe”.  For over 20 years, I attended mass almost everyday, at least whenever I could.  For 7 years, I not only attended mass every day but also had community lauds, midday prayers, vespers and complines. For the Sunday masses and other solemnities, the credo was always printed on the programme.

For many years, I worked hard to translate those dogmatic words into something personal that could work for me.  The major concern was to have something both personal and in coherence with the official church teachings.  Fear and discomfort can be part of that game.  One might fear that one’s actions, even good ones, are not enough to get one to heaven and there is a sense of unworthiness that can potentially be damaging. The discomfort of living a faith written down in a book and that you do not own might put you in a situation of incoherence and contradiction – especially when there is an outside authority to regulate what you should and should not believe.

Slowly the expression “I believe” became “I have faith in”. To some, they might seem to mean the same thing, but one I was told whereas the other one I conceived by myself.  It was personal and I could own it. Discovering a faith that holds high ideals like tolerance, the dignity of all human beings, the interdependence of all existence, the transcendent aspect of life and the belief in the strength of our experience was a transforming event.  The ideals might seem too high to be implemented in our lives, but they are standards to conform our lives to and a mirror to our ethical living.

Through my growing understanding of relationships between humans, other beings, the environment and the creativity within those that we may want to call God, I have come to a deeper sense of how connected I am with other people.  I have made a commitment to always try hard to find ways of moving on with the support of other people.  Being a Burundian and an African, the values of solidarity, family and community gained in emphasis. My newly discovered faith is also able to comfort me in sorrow and push me through difficult times. At the same time, it helps me celebrate the many gifts that are bestowed on us.

My 15 month-old son and all other children would like to inherit a world that is livable. Some simple gestures of mine are now informed by the responsibilities my generation has for one another and therefore for future generations.  I now know that I am here for a mere season, but I also have an awareness of the historic opportunity I have to shape the present even in small ways.

This faith has made me aware of the power within the universe and creation as a whole.  The relationship with that power informs the relationship with the rest.  This wonderful faith has taught me that human beings are all children of God. In a society based on ethnicity, the colour of one’s skin, rich and poor, man and woman and many other categories, this faith has taught me to welcome everybody as a brother because, as my faith insists, we share the same destiny.

I am grateful for the faith that reminds me all the time to have faith in the human capacity of building a more just and fairer world – to have faith in our responsibility as we live in this place – to have faith in the many possibilities that God has for us and to be open to freely embrace them.


JohnWebRev. John Buehrens
First Parish Needham, MA

FAITH IN FOUR DIMENSIONS

English is a rich but ambiguous language. A key word like faith has multiple meanings.

The Jewish scholar Martin Buber noted that in New Testament Greek faith is translated as pistis – related to the word epistle, as in Paul’s letters. It signifies that form of faith which can be articulated, written down, and affirmed as belief – often on the basis of the evidence or testimony of witnesses.

Some think this is the only meaning of faith — and then proceed to reject it as signifying credulity and creeds. Buber preferred the Hebrew Bible equivalent emunah, which means faithfulness, trust, loyalty, but no creedal formula. Our pioneering forebear, Universalist minister Olympia Brown, clearly had both meanings in mind when she told us all to “stand by this faith.”

But I think she also embodied a third, more existential, meaning of the word faith – signifying the courage to step forward, beyond the fixed beliefs of the tradition and beyond even the previous patterns of one’s own group, in trust and affirmation. Even more, she herself stood for the inclusive, social justice dimension of faithful living.

In his most recent book, Have a Little Faith, the popular American writer Mitch Albom addresses the question, “What if faith did not separate us?” with a personal story. Brown herself might have suggested a much better title: Have a Larger Faith.

In his first book, Tuesdays with Morrie, Mitch as young sports writer interviewed a beloved teacher, then dying, and discovered something close to what my dying friend Forrest Church says about faith in its most universal dimension: whatever its form (or lack thereof), it is our human response to the dual mystery of being alive and knowing that we too will have to die. Everyone, therefore, has a faith. “Our religion,” said Thomas Jefferson, “is written not in our words but in our lives.”

The challenge then is to give faith shape, dimension and reality in the time that is ours.  Let our faith be courageous. Let it be more affirmative than negative. Let it show our faithfulness and loyalty to all those, known and unknown, remembered and forgotten, who, like Olympia Brown, served as pioneers and servants of a larger faith. Above all, may it have a broad, inclusive passion for justice – for all God’s children, for all our sisters and brothers — all around the world. Amen.

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Sharing Global Faith: Reflections on Justice


Introduction:

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In an attempt to appease divine wrath, the Hebrew Bible prophet Micah asks Yahweh whether extreme sacrifices will secure atonement for the nation of Israel’s many sins. Unexpectedly, Yahweh responds with an insistence not on increased ritualism but on inward transformation: “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?” (Micah 6:8). Echoing this sentiment, the late Unitarian minister Rev. A. Powell Davies once opined that “if we turn away from justice, injustice decrees our dissolution. The moral and spiritual are not optional, mere ornaments of life; they are essential, mandatory, the very nature of humanity” (Without Apology, 17). Whether in eighth century BCE Judea or twentieth century CE America, the call for justice rings with urgency of necessity.

But how does this injunction manifest itself in contemporary U/Uism? In the July issue of Sharing Global Faith, three international U/U leaders articulate compelling visions of how and why justice matters. Drawing on the Khasi concept of ‘Ka Hok,’ Rev. Helpme Mohrmen (Unitarian Union of Northeast India) investigates the interplay between justice, truth and righteousness for a tribal-influenced liberal religious community. Dr. Lilian Burlando (Paz y Harmonia, UU Fellowship in Argentina) discusses the work of the Centro in light of its commitment to education, compassion and justice. Recalling her childhood memory of revolting to what she deemed unfair, Rev. Cynthia A. Snavely (Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice) insists that only words and actions bring justice in the end. These three reflections advance a nuanced and multi-valent account of what a justice-driven global U/Uism looks like on the ground. Enjoy!

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helpme

Rev. Helpme Mohrmen
Unitarian Union of Northeast India

The Khasis- Pnar is one of the many tribal groups of the North Eastern Part of India and the majority of the tribe lives in the state of Meghalaya, which is adjacent to Assam. Like any tribe, the Khasi-Pnar has a unique culture, tradition and language. The Khasi way of life is still governed to some extent by a Tribal way of life.

The Khasi word for Justice is “Ka Hok.” Ka hok also means Truth and Righteousness. So when the Khasi use the word Ka Hok it means Justice, Truth and Righteousness. The Khasi Justice system is based on truth and nothing but the truth; it also means delivering Justice righteously. Even before any battle or a duel, the Khasi people will always swear by Ka Hok. Ka Hok in the Khasi-Pnar context is a sacred word; it is something that one will keep in high esteem. Ka Hok governs the day to day life of the Khasi people and they try to live by it. One of the cardinal rules of the Khasi Pnar is known as “Kamai ia ka hok”, which literarily means to earn righteousness, so a Khasi Pnar is expected to try live righteously throughout one’s life.

The Unitarian Union North East India or the Khasi Unitarian as it is commonly known, is a church which has it roots in the Khasi-Pnar thoughts and culture and also, being a liberal a religion, it spreads its wings to absorb truth and meaning from the wider world.

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lilianDr. Lilian Burlando
Paz y Harmonia, UU Fellowship in Argentina

When I moved here, to Ushuaia, ( Tierra del Fuego, Argentina ), some years ago, I asked myself this question:

What are the needs, related to Justice, of the people in this community, which are not yet met through public or private organizations?  What can I do to advance this cause?

Out of this questioning  Centro de Estudio, Meditación y Acción  “Paz y Armonía” was born. An innovative place and unique offering in the region, in tune with UU Principles, opened its doors with the collaboration of a small group of people.

The main purpose of our group is to integrate the intellectual, spiritual and social aspects that are always present in all human beings.  Thus, people come not only to increase their intellectual knowledge, but also to strengthen their spiritual life and to exercise their human values.

We trust that if our understanding of the divine makes us more empathetic, and if it impels us to express this sympathy in concrete acts of loving kindness and justice, then it is a good theology.  What our world needs is not belief, not certainty, but respect expressed in practical and concrete ways for those who do not think the same, even for our enemies.

One of the ways the Center works for justice is through the study of other people’s religious beliefs and life styles. This knowledge is no longer merely desirable, but necessary for our own understanding of the world.

The theme of compassion keeps surfacing, because it is pivotal to all the great religious traditions and the surest means of attaining justice.

To this end, the Center offers Seminars about “World Religions” and “Race, religion, economic and sexual Discrimination.” We consider that it is mostly through our testimonies that we transmit our values, specifically:  how we handle life’s problems, how we face crises and support one another.

Working for Justice is to follow Isaiah 61 words :

“…To bind up the brokenhearted,

To comfort all who mourn,….”

Thus, we offer workshops focusing on  “Grief and Loss”,  “Burnout”, “Simple Living”,  etc.

Since we are aware that service is an integral part of spiritual development, our program includes the training of volunteers to accompany survivors through bereavement process.

In order to be inclusive, most of our events and services are offered free of charge.

There are infinite ways to Work for Justice, but this is our little drop in the ocean.


snavelyRev. Cynthia A. Snavely
Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice

Only once in the entirety of my school career was I sent to the principal’s office.  It was first grade.  Another little girl and I had both been called up to the teacher’s desk.  Our spelling tests were exactly the same—mistakes and all.  The teacher said that obviously one of us had cheated.  She wanted to hear a confession.  I cried and would not stop crying, and so I was sent to the principal’s office.  I cried, because I was angry.  I had been accused of cheating.  I had not cheated.  It wasn’t fair, and so, I cried.

I do not know of anyone who can recall their childhood without some memory of revolting in some way to what he or she thought was not fair.  As children we believe the world should be fair, and, if we cry enough or protest enough perhaps it will be.  Unfortunately, many of us lose that sense that the world can be made fair before we hit adulthood.  By the time we are teenagers someone has told us, “Life’s not fair.  Get used to it.  Suck it up.”  And for the most part, we do. But, the world is not going to be made any fairer by our “getting used to it” any more than it is by our tears. And, I do want the world to be fairer.

In part because of that desire, today I am a Unitarian Universalist minister of a congregation and an administrator for a regional group of Unitarian Universalists in the Baltimore Washington Northern Virginia region— Unitarian Universalists for Social Justice.  Through these positions I have been asked to and have lobbied in Annapolis and in Washington DC.  I have been emboldened by other Unitarian Universalists and those of other faiths to speak out for changes in the law to protect the environment, to protect the rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people, for health care reform, against torture of American prisoners, for a more equitable funding of our education system.   I hope that my actions also have emboldened others to act.

Without others who acted before me and who encouraged me to speak up, even as an adult, I might have responded to much that is wrong with this world simply by crying. But, those who wring their hands and say, “The world is going to hell in a hand basket,” make no difference for the better. Tears do not bring justice.  Sucking it up does not bring justice. Words and actions do.  Not the words or the action of one, but the words and actions of a community speaking and acting together, this is what brings more justice to our world.  This is why being part of a congregation and part of a regional UU group has been important for my own actions. As Margaret Mead put it, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world;  indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.”

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Sharing Global Faith: Reflections on Fellowship


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Introduction:

On October 24, 1852, Henry David Thoreau scribbled an impassioned admonition in his journal: “What men [sic!] call social virtue, good fellowship – is commonly but the virtue of pigs in a litter which lie close together to keep each other warm.” Indeed, Thoreau’s counsel warns against an empty alliance-making, or forming partnerships that seek to maintain the power imbalances enfolded within the status-quo. The American transcendentalist gives voice to the constant specter of mindless group-submission that haunts the horizon of society-building. And yet, for contemporary Unitarian Universalists, the concept of fellowshipping within community serves as a foundational definition of congregational life. The term evokes notions of communal interest and sentiment, as well as of companionship and friendliness.

In the June issue of Sharing Global Faith, three international U/U leaders articulate compelling visions of what healthy fellowship can embody. Recalling his childhood encounter with Buddhist and Christian teachings, Rev. Nihal Attanayake (Unitarian Universalist Church of the Philippines) finds a reason to rejoice in the art of being in relationship along the spiritual path he has chosen. Mr. Karsten Urban (Deutsche Unitarier) comprehensively details the current state of religion in Germany, while calling on the global U/U fellowship to model a religion of the future. Viewing community-building as a deeply religious act, Rev. Eric Cherry (UUA, Office of International Resources) expresses gratitude for a faith that addresses human neediness. When pieced together, these disparate fragments reveal an image of fellowship that values life, crosses borders and defies cultural conventions – far removed from the appeasement of ‘pigs in a litter’!


nihalRev. Nihal Attanayake
International Relations Officer, UU Church of the Philippines

With great devotion to her child, she took me by my hand and proceeded to the sanctuary of the soul – the meeting place of the devotees. It was midnight, December 24, 1960. I shall never forget that night, as I dragged myself, step after step, slow in pace, through the dark night. I listened to the ringing of the bells like sounds of the cracking open of the rubber seeds as they fall off the branches, breaking the silence of the night. My mother and I made a long journey – on foot, on a lonely road – to attend a Mass celebrating the birth of ‘Jesus the Christ.’

As early as age seven, I was exposed to the spiritual exercise. My mother – my mentor – in very gentle ways walked the path with me and then watched as I took my own path in search of truth and meaning. I still walk today.

The eight-fold path I learned from my father; the life of Jesus I learned from my mother. Their collective revelation of truth fashioned my life and I cherish them both. I am glad to be blessed with such precepts and life examples. I take counsel, because there exists a need to live life and learn the art of Being.

We all struggle towards wholeness: some of us more consciously than others, but all of us struggle. The art of life can be found in the ways we struggle to achieve that degree of wholeness of which we are capable in the brief time that is before us.

All Nations and People are at a crossroads, faced with great anxiety, travailing and perplexed. We are hungry, homeless and betrayed – yet, there is great rejoicing in the day to day experience of so much love, encouragement, empathy, warmness, understanding and sharing among friends.

Whence cometh my happiness other than being with my fellows? Where do I find my satisfaction other than in the struggle for fairness, equity, and just treatment? I must be where life giving and life making is happening. ‘To be’ is an art indeed.

I must be – at times loss, at times of great joy, at times of uncertainty, at times of rejection and at times of welcome. The art is found in being.

Karsten Urban
Deutsche Unitarier Religionsgemeinschaft (German Unitarians)

Even though membership in the two largest Christian churches in Germany is steadily decreasing, German society continues to be dominated by Christianity. This is primarily due to the political influence of these major churches. After the German reunification in 1990, many had hoped that Germany would be influenced more by humanism as well as by religious freedom and tolerance. This hope has only partly been realized, even though nowadays more than a third of the German population is neither catholic nor protestant.

Still, Christian education is routinely taught in public schools in most states, Christian crosses are hanging in class rooms and membership fees for the Christian churches are collected by the tax authorities in the form of a so-called church tax (dating back to 1938 law). Our children are told that they do not have the right to celebrate Christmas on account of its Christian nature, which completely ignores its ‘heathen’ roots, in particular in central Europe.

However, membership loss in the largest churches has not lead to a significant growth of free, open and tolerant religious communities in Germany. Instead, many former Christians have completely turned away from religion. One reason for this is that many people view religion and Christianity as being identical. This has also lead to a loss of ethics. Moreover, there is a wide spread skepticism towards religious communities in the sense that people are afraid of radical sects.

Perhaps, this is a chance and also a challenge for international Unitarian and Universalists. Our world is more and more connected, whether we like globalization or not. Unitarian and Universalist congregations all over the world can also help by proving to the German society that there is an alternative both to dogmatic religion and to radical sects, in the form of a religion without creed that simultaneously affirms the worth of human beings and advocates freedom of belief. Sharing Global Faith is a step towards this goal.


Rev. Eric Cherry
Director of International Resources, UUA

Many of the Unitarian Universalists I know and love are proud to choose “COMMUNITY” as item #1 on their top-ten list of  “Most Important Reasons to go to Church”.  We like the opportunity to give and receive a caring ministry.  We enjoy feeling and offering a sincere “welcome” in a sometimes exclusionary world.  We appreciate a sense of spiritual “connectedness” with other members of our congregations – even when we don’t necessarily mesh theologically.  Experiencing genuine community – or Fellowship – is a bottom-line requirement and expectation for the vast majority of UUs.  Blessings and congratulations to those congregations which address this human need effectively!

Those that do it best offer a faithful, counter-cultural response to society’s ubiquitous valuation of self-reliance and independence.  Sometimes these congregations do it in a “sly” way – without disturbing the “I’m spiritual, but not religious” attitude that is also extremely common amongst us.  But, rest assured, building genuine community is a deeply religious act.  And, in our tradition, a historical and defining religious act.  Congregations that are historically established by covenant – like ours – have selected “Needing One Another” over “Believing like One Another”; they have selected commitments of relationship over commitments of creed.  Our choice is no less “religious” than the other.  If we accept the original meaning of the word “religion” as the “binding of one to another” – it may, in fact, be the more religious choice of the two.

And it’s of consequence.   Especially now, in a time when the “spiritually successful”- those who appear to have progressed in a spiritual practice that doesn’t require a commitment to a community – are easily celebrated, while the community-committed are not.   In this, and in a thousand other ways, our society teaches that “We DON’T Need One Another”.

  • It teaches that we don’t need one another when we mourn and would be comforted – what we need, instead, is a bigger meal, a bigger wallet, or a bigger and more spectacular TV show.
  • It teaches that we don’t need one another when we are in trouble or afraid – instead, we need privacy, an effective way to hide our failures and loses.
  • It teaches that we don’t need one another when we are in despair, in temptation, and need to be recalled to our best selves again – it teaches that being in a community of accountability is dangerous and limiting of freedom; that our worst temptations ought to be indulged; and that despair is just another medical condition.
  • It teaches that the only great accomplishments are the one’s we can claim individually.
  • It teaches that success is an opportunity for being admired, not something to be shared in humility.
  • It teaches that defeat is not only a sign of weakness, but proof of our inherent shame – to be hidden at all costs.
  • And, it teaches that if we follow all of these prescriptions we’ll carry a feeling of superiority and accomplishment to our deathbeds, regardless of whether gentle hands meet us there or not.  And, that’s what counts.

I may be overstating it somewhat, but not by much.  Our societal failures in matters of war and peace, environmental degradation, criminal behavior, oppression and injustice may be the best evidence that something about our commitments is misguided.

But, the religious community, at its best, promotes a counter-cultural message.  It asks for a commitment to interpersonal as well as introspective engagement.  It asks for a similar commitment to both personal and communal accountability.  It rejects the glory of individual accomplishment that society loves, e.g. you can’t “win” at “doing church” (though watching someone try can be exhilarating).  Instead, it cherishes and recommends a communal response to human neediness: in our mourning, in our temptation, as we suffer discouragement, and as we die.

What a blessing to be part of a faith community that responds to our existential and practical “neediness” with health, love, and compassion.  What a blessing to be invited to make a commitment to a “needy” community.  And, what a blessing to be joined by faithful companions on this journey.

Sharing Global Faith: Reflections on Freedom


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Introduction:


Danish fairy-tail marvel Hans Christian Anderson once exclaimed: “Just living is not enough – one must have sunshine, freedom and a little flower.” Human experience confirms Anderson’s suspicion that the gift of freedom fertilizes the ground upon which life blossoms. Yet, let us not forget that as individual seeds destined for flowering adventure, our potential for growth is bound up with the environment into which we have been planted. Our freedom to sprout directly affects – and is conditioned by – surrounding vegetation, old roots of ages past and bustling new sprouts.

The following meditations explore the meaning of freedom in light of such interconnection. Drawing on music metaphors, Rev. Steve Dick sings of freedom’s unending revelation and passion for engaging difference. Rev. Roux Malan locates in human freedom the need for a ‘spacious spirituality’ that binds peoples together in sustainability. Reflecting on his recent trip to Africa, Rev. Bill Sinkford lifts up the great responsibility that accompanies humanity’s fate to freedom. Collectively, these prophetic voices breathe life into the multi-valent experience of individual freedom in community.


The Melody of Freedom

by Reverend Steve Dick

Singer Paul Robeson captures the essence of freedom as a defining bedrock of our liberal faith by hearing it as a melody – “a rhythmic sequence of single tones so related to one another as to make up a particular phrase or idea”.

Freedom is often perceived as a direction, such as escape (freedom from) or opportunity (freedom to or for) as if it is little more than an enabling handmaiden offering a means to an end.

This emphasis on liberation is a vital part of the human story and loses no honour in the simple power of an aspiration.

Yet its defining element as part of the music of the faith communities known as Unitarians and Universalists – crossing language and cultural boundaries – is in the rhythm that ties the single tones into an idea.

A linguistic understanding might be to sing a third and completing stanza of freedom in as notes just as necessary to the sequence as escape and opportunity.

We march proudly and purposely in the service of liberation with sisters and brothers compelled by their own faiths to take up Robeson’s peaceful weapons lifting our voices in song and action, hoping to prevail against fear and despair.

Where we sometimes find ourselves marching to the tune of Thoreau’s different drummer is when we complete the rhythm. We sing the tones integral to the melody that apply freedom not only to the boundaries but also to the very stuff of our faith and religion.

Freedom in faith is recognising the continuing nature of revelation and a commitment to living in the questions open to corrective new insights and dazzling discoveries.

Freedom in religion is appreciative challenge of our own experiences as stories to be rewritten as life is lived. This not lukewarm toleration of that which wakes us in the night but radical engagement in the connective tissues we know as our soul.

We are frail humans unequal to the tasks we face, but I believe our salvation is in our service to freedom from that which destroys life; in our commitment to freedom for radical opportunity and hospitality; and in our passion for freedom in the spiritual dialogue that binds us together.

I shall also take my voice wherever to share the melody of freedom (to, from and in)—to sing it, to hear it and to live it—for the Good of the Soul.


malanWe Are All Here

by Reverend Roux Malan

“We are all here
In the midst of change –
Each rising and falling breath
merges with the ancient circle of humanity,
Rising and falling beyond all differences:
beyond color,
beyond creed and stories,
beyond the male and female split –
For in living and in dying we are all the same.”

[Excerpt from a closing prayer written by Rev. Malan for his welcoming ceremony as the minister of the Unitarian Church, Cape Town on Sunday, January 25th 2009]

At the end of the first decade of the 21st century, we have many key issues that confront us. Everyday we hear about global warming and the global financial crisis. We experience both directly and/or indirectly. Both threaten our current way of life on planet earth. The scale of the challenges in both instances seems overwhelming, hence the prefix “global.” They remind us of the fact that neither is going to be solved by one or two individuals or even one or two countries alone. They demand a concerted effort by us all. We, as ordinary people, have a major role to play and we cannot expect governments and politicians to sort out these challenges. We cannot leave it to a Barack Obama or a Nelson Mandela to save us from our folly. We need to take a deep breath and carefully reflect upon our times and its challenges; then, we need to take small, but deliberate, steps to help change things for the better.

Both global warming and the global financial crisis invite us to think about living a simpler and more sustainable life. We are called to slow down in order to see which way we are heading. It is a time to reconnect with the essence that we share as human beings. Shall we call it our spirit? If we do reconnect with this inner essence I would like to think that it would be a “spacious spirituality” that includes rather than excludes. In fact, I would suggest that global challenges require such a “spacious spirituality” in order to find a solution to these particular challenges. It will afford us the inner space to view these challenges from a larger perspective that doesn’t solely revolve around our own ego concerns and economic considerations. It will help us work towards that which is good for the world and not only that which is good for ourselves.

There is a simple way suggested by numerous spiritual traditions to develop this “spacious spirituality”: the simple practice of watching our breath and reflecting on the simplicity of this act. We must ask ourselves the question: What do I need to do now to ensure that the breath of life on planet earth will continue even when I have breathed my last and final breath?


Choosing Responsibly

by Reverend William G. Sinkford

During my November 2008 pilgrimage to Africa, I had the great fortune of fellowshipping with many of our Unitarian Universalist brothers and sisters, including the members of Brotherhood Unitarian Church and First Unitarian Church in Lagos, Nigeria. I so fondly recall the joint worship service that was held on a glorious Sunday morning by these two congregations; a service suffused with traditional harmonies and pulsating rhythms.

The worship leader, Rev. Adeyenke Matimoju, was filled with the Spirit from the beginning to the end. Throughout the service, he guided the congregation in enraptured singing and dancing, as well as prophetic preaching. I felt my soul commune with these good people. Together, as Americans and Nigerians, as clergy and laity, we sang a shared ‘melody of freedom.’

The liberal theologian James Luther Adams observed that as humans, we are fated to be free. Our lives comprise a series of choices and we cannot escape our birthright of decision-making. This freedom, however, carries with it great responsibility. While in Africa, I glimpsed humankind’s capacity for cruelty and compassion. I bore witness to the small, dark cells of Goree Island, in which thousands of enslaved people were held during the slave trade. And yet, I also met with the Manya Krobo Queen Mothers Association of Eastern Ghana, whose HIV/AIDS campaign successfully cut in half the rate of new infections in their communities. Free choice and human (ir)responsibility wrote both of these legacies.

Our religious lives are no different. In freedom, we must choose our faith carefully. The Unitarian Universalist tradition calls us individually to self-examination and collectively to mutual responsibility. Although our spiritual paths may take many forms, it is in covenantal community that we celebrate the choices we have made in the ways of justice, equity and compassion.

Today, the stakes couldn’t be higher. With looming diplomatic, financial and ecological crises, our world thirsts for those words that might inspire hope and courage in the face of despair and fear. From Los Angeles to Lagos, this is our great calling. As a faith fated to freedom, we must sing that song of solidarity.

My devotional prayer is that we will continue to find ways to choose love, exercise responsibility and heal the world together.

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Sharing Global Faith:  Reflections on Dignity


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Introduction:
Dignity, from the Latin dignitatem or ‘worth-iness,’ celebrates and defines the human condition in its audacious proclamation of life. Worth, of course, can be defined in many ways. In the Western political and ethical consciousness, human worth has connoted the precepts of virtue and (self-)respect, informing international treaties on human rights and anti-discrimination. Under this logic, dignity implies the inviolable freedom from oppression and right to individual autonomy.

In the following meditations, this legalistic definition of dignity is broken open as international Unitarian and Universalist luminaries explore the lived experiences of interconnection, acceptance and encounter. Rev. Kiely locates human dignity in everyday stories of courage and goodness. Resisting exclusivist theologies, Mr. Szeto rejoices in the heart’s inner wealth of kindness and love, which grows to fruition in this ‘healing tradition.’ Rev. McAllister turns to Buddhist teachings to emphasize the importance of cultivating a non-judgmental, generous sensibility towards other human beings. What emerges from this unique collection is nothing less than a spirit-filled outburst of life-affirming creativity, transforming human existence into an inventive dance of storytelling, healing and practice – dignified expressions indeed.


Reflections on Dignity

by Reverend Brian Kiely

“How many we see in the street, or sit with in church, whom though silently, we warmly rejoice to be with!”

Do you ever sit in church and wonder about some of the faces you see? Wonder about their stories? I do.

Our Edmonton congregation is in the midst of collecting oral histories from long time members. I was referring to them today as I wrote my Canvass sermon called “The Church of Our Lives”.

It’s not my nature to pry into people’s lives, but I always enjoy learning their stories. Today I learned about one church member who, as a teenager, watched her father get arrested by Nazis (he survived). She worked in small roles for the Resistance. She came to Unitarianism because she fell in love with our passion for the free thought and speech. That freedom had been stolen from her childhood.

Another elder member had been a teacher of nine grades in a single room school house in rural Alberta during the Depression. Yet another, in the 1960’s had housed and hired 27 unwed mothers as housekeepers, supporting them through their pregnancies. These are amazing stories of people finding ways to celebrate human dignity.

I am currently honoured to be the President of the International Council of Unitarians and Universalists. Mostly that means I am now gathering stories from around the world. I have friends in the USA working hard on same sex marriage rights. I have a friend in Uganda who has somehow managed join with a group of other relatively poor Ugandans to form a congregation and a volunteer run school that is giving free education to hundreds of children. I know a young unemployed man in Kenya, a man with a huge smile, a wife and a one year old son. They live in a two room house with a dirt floor. They have taken in several AIDs orphans…because that’s what good people do.

Around the world Unitarianism and Unitarian Universalism are given many different expressions. From atheism and humanism to near evangelical fervour, we run the full gamut. But what ties us are the stories of how we seek and support human dignity in our daily lives. You see, “We have a great deal more kindness than is ever spoken.”

szetoReflections on Dignity

by Mr. Alex Szeto

“We affirm and promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person” – so reads the first principle of the Unitarian Universalist Association. Recognition of the inherent dignity of every person is perhaps the foundation of the creedlessness that defines our unusual religious tradition. We accept fellow members as they are, regardless of the religious path they follow, whether they are Christians, Buddhists, humanists, theists, or on another path. This radical inclusiveness and acceptance is beautiful and, therefore, holy – it brings compassion, as well as the feelings of acceptance and affirmation, to all souls, which are too often injured by other exclusivist religious traditions. Simply recognizing a person’s dignity can bring healing. Let ours be a healing tradition.

Influenced by the Calvinistic theology of total depravity of human nature, many Christians believe God is the only firm foundation of ethics; without belief in God, ethics will collapse. In a January 2009 Washington Post article entitled “Nonbelievers are Believers Too,” Greg M. Epstein, the Humanist Chaplain of Harvard University, beautifully explains human dignity as the ultimate goal of the non-theistic “faith” of Humanism: “as believers in Humanism, we too affirm the need to cultivate wisdom, courage, compassion, and above all the struggle towards a universal and universally mutually interdependent human dignity.” The affirmation of dignity in other people can be the foundation of ethical living. In fact, this idea can simplify everyday moral decisions; “correct” decisions are simply those which recognize that other people have the same dignity I do.

Is this too idealistic? Will everybody respect human dignity? Ralph Waldo Emerson optimistically believes that “we have a great deal more kindness than is ever spoken; the whole human family is bathed with an element of love like a fine ether.” Yes! Humanity can commit (and has committed) grave ill, but nonetheless we have a wealth of kindness and love in the bottom of our hearts – indeed, more than we ever know. The question is whether we are willing to actualize this wealth in our lives and in the many decisions we have to make every day. Respecting the dignity of others and unleashing our inner kindness and love represent the keys to a better world in the future. So let us keep this important principle in mind: every person has inherent worth and dignity!

Reflections on Dignity

by Reverend Jill McAllister

At the head of the list of our Unitarian Universalist principles and purposes, we affirm “the inherent worth and dignity of every person.” It is a noble ideal. But how do we really live it?

Yes, we strive to welcome people of all colors and persuasions, classes and cultures. We welcome diversity of belief and practice and we profess respect for one another’s differences. We reach out to help each other in times of need, and we work for social justice in our communities.

But to promote the inherent worth and dignity of every person is not simply a goal, nor an abstract value. It is the way each and every interaction can be. The wisdom of an American Buddhist teacher is my touchstone in this endeavor; that our two greatest challenges are judgment and aversion.

‘Judge not, that you may not be judged’ is taught in many religions traditions. It speaks to the fact that the human psyche – the inner landscape of every individual – is wide and deep, full of diverse needs and perspectives, different terrains, if you will. We are both good-hearted and cruel, for example, both courageous and afraid, both patient and impatient, and much, much more. We encompass all the polarities we can think of. Why someone says or does certain things has to do with an infinite complexity of reasons – their childhood experiences, how they have been treated, what they have and have not learned, what they are afraid of, what they need, etc. On any given day, a person might be in the depths of despair, or the heights of hope, or the awkwardness of anxiety. At the very least, their actions reflect the inner terrain they are traversing, which we cannot see, nor guess, and therefore we cannot assume things about their needs or motivations. This is one way to affirm the inherent worth and dignity of another person; to stop oneself from judging, and to simply acknowledge a fellow human being, engaged in all the struggle and all the beauty of life.

To affirm the dignity of another also requires seeing that person, not turning away. Whatever their situation or actions, we must first look, not avert our eyes and attention. This requires both courage, and non-judgment, which means going beyond our usual responses. Can we face every situation, can we see every person as an expression of Life itself, as one of the faces of God? This is no noble ideal – this is a practice. Whenever we go beyond judgment and aversion, we truly affirm the inherent worth and dignity of another human being.

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Ralph Waldo Emerson once opined: “Let the measure of time be spiritual, not mechanical.” As our tradition and our world enter into a new era – a period of unapologetic optimism – we, the practitioners of this Unitarian Universalist faith, must find resources from which to draw sustenance and strength for the future. “We need to find God,” Mother Teresa contends. While this monthly devotional may not unveil the Spirit of Life in its infinite intricacies, it is the hope of the UUA’s Office of International Resources that the reflections and prayers contained in each month’s publication will help point to manifestations of the divine in our everyday lives. Grounded in the goal of world community with peace, liberty and justice for all, Sharing Global Faith invites Unitarians and Universalists from around the world to deepen and enrich our shared global faith.

 

The international devotional will be distributed on the third Monday of every month starting in April, 2009 and running through September, 2009. Each publication will address a central issue in the development of faith-life and will include thoughtful responses from a diverse geographical selection of U/U spiritual leaders. Topics range from freedom to fellowship, justice to hope. Alongside the monthly e-resource, the devotional’s webpage will host additional information about the project and each of the contributors.

 

The great spiritual poet Rumi observes: “my soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that, and I intend to end up there.” Let your heart and soul travel with this devotional throughout the landscape of our global faith, in search of nourishment and renewal.

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