This summer I had the privledge to preach a four part summer sermon series at the Unitarian Church of Evanston, IL, that has explored what some of the ties between us as Unitarian Universalists may be. I specifically sought to name some things that are rarely said, and to make some claims that may not be fully justified.
Below are the Blurb-descriptions that went out to the congregation, and links to where the sermons are in the Celestial Lands Journal. I look forward to hearing from you, as this is an “exploratory” sermon series. Who knows, this may be the beginning of a book…
Summer Sermon Series: Four Commonalities in Liberal Faith
In our creedless faith, are there theological commonalities that bind us across belief and practice? What ideas about faith and the nature of religion rest between the different concepts of God and humanity, origin and tradition that come from the many different paths that brought us to this congregation of liberal faith? While they may not apply to us all, we will explore four possible points of commonality in liberal faith through the lens of modern Unitarian Universalism and some Unitarian and Universalist theologians. While not an exhaustive list, perhaps these four points can begin our seeing the many threads that bind our diversity.
What Angus McLean said about Liberal Faith Religious Education may apply to Liberal Faith as a whole… how we come to our beliefs may be more important to what binds persons of Liberal Faith than what those beliefs are. How we seek meaning, how we relate reason and faith, how we choose our sources of inspiration all are a part of our “method”. Perhaps some of our commonality is found through the Method of Liberal Faith.
What constitutes “scripture” among the adherents of liberal faith varies widely, and is often quite individualized. This can be quite surprising to those from other faith traditions. Perhaps our common center in what we find of religious inspiration lies not in the texts themselves, but in the way the “Living Scriptures” of our own lives relate to the that which inspires us. As such, we live a faith where our individual canons are never sealed.
The answer to the question “What happens after we die” will vary widely among those of Liberal Faith. Some of us believe in reincarnation, or in a form of heavenly existence, or that we become nothing at all. Many of us accept that we do not know what happens, if anything. But one belief about the ending of our earthly existence seems to be held in common among many of us… that whatever happens, it will happen to us all equally.
James Luther Adams called Liberal Faith a “Prophethood of all Believers”, taking Martin Luther’s “Priesthood of All Believers” one step further. Many outside of Liberal Faith question the purpose of Liberal Faith. Beyond our own growth as human beings, beyond the necessity of human community, perhaps we find our common purpose in learning to live the role of the prophet, in the world, in our communities, in our daily lives, and within ourselves.
Yours in Faith,