Celestial Lands The Religious Crossroads of Politics, Power, and Theology


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Why it is important to “plant a seed”, and how I learned to let go of the results.

When I speak of “planting a seed”, I speak from personal experience, for many years ago a seed of Unitarian Universalism was planted in me. It rested on the hard-pack soil of my life for over 8 years before the experiences of war, a divorce, and two changes of career shook up that soil enough to allow the seed to deepen and then begin to grow.

When I was about 20 years old, I met a UU military chaplain who spoke to me for about two minutes outside the post exchange about Unitarian Universalism. At the time, I was a very anti-church, anti-Christian Deist, and so the seed of UU’ism he shared was not planted, but just left to rest upon my consciousness. As he described a creedless faith where Deists would be accepted, I thought he was crazy, and to tell the truth I got away from him as soon as I possibly could.

Yet that seed, those two words, Unitarian Universalism, and the idea that this might be a religious faith that was different than the Southern Baptist faith I grew up in… that seed rested in my mind. In the years after I returned from Bosnia, I was seeking some way to address the wrongness that I felt in the world after witnessing the destruction of that once beautiful country. In the years after my divorce, I was seeking some new understanding of love and human relationship that was broader and more universal than is commonly found in society.

In that seeking, I remembered those two words… Unitarian Universalism.

I bounced off a couple of UU churches before I finally landed and deepened in one on Galveston Island. That deepening changed my life, and I will even go so far as to say it saved me. It saved me from the fear and anger, from the hopelessness and mistrust I felt after Bosnia. It gave me a vision of the world made whole that I did not have before, a vision of inherent worth and interdependence. It opened up places in me that had been closed, and allowed me to explore them anew… and from them come to a new understanding of myself, of the world, and of the divine. An understanding that is forever changing, as I and the world are forever changing… continuous revelation.

All of that, begun with the seed of a two minute conversation outside the post exchange at Ft. Bragg, NC.

I have since spoken with that Chaplain, now retired from the military, and he dimly remembers the conversation. He dimly remembers meeting a Deist (not every day you get to do that, I guess). His faith was not dependent on whether or not he “converted” me. He did not know that he would ever see or hear from me again. He simply saw an opportunity, and gently placed a seed on my heart and mind… Unitarian Universalism, a faith that might be different, and might speak to someone like me.

That’s all. Not so much, right?

Yet, it changed my life. Thank you, Vernon.

Yours in Faith,


One Thought on “THE QUESTION (Part 5)

  1. Patrick McLaughlin on Thursday October 23, 2008 at 17:31 +0000 said:

    No reference tot he Parable of the Sower or anything? Sheesh!

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