Keeping the Faith, Lossing My Religion.

Yeah, I mixed Billy and REM. Just maybe it will make sense by the time I am done.

As Billy tells us, “You can get just so much from a good thing.” You have to bring something to it, yourself, or you strip out all the goodness eventually. As Micheal Stipe (et al) tells us: “Life; it’s bigger than you…”

My theology hasn’t really changed much in the last 8 years, though I have come into increasingly better tools to refine it and to reframe some of my superstitions and ideas such that they are more internally coherent and less obtrusive on the rest of my life. It certainly hasn’t changed much in the last few months. What has changed is that I feel like I reached a point in my refinement of my ideas that it needed a better label; the words I have been using are no longer sufficient to carry on the conversation. In looking at what was limiting me, I realized that the Unitarian Universalist label was now much too big to be of any use. I need a jacket, and it is a pavilion tent too large for the Ringling Brothers. I still support the UUA and its stated Principles and Sources. I am, in reality, much more dedicated to them than the UUA seems to expect of a member. As I said in my last post, I am still very proud of the community of my congregation, and the work that we do and support in the world. In that since, I am still a UU. The problem is that, under the by-laws of the UUA, absolutely anyone can be a UU by paying dues to a Congregation. That’s not a religion; it is a fraternity.

I seek something more. Or, more honestly, something less, which means more. I seek a covenant and a community. I want to see the things that I love about Horizon UU shared with the wider world. I want to feel like I am part of something that touches the hearts and minds of people.  Unitarian Universalism is too cerebral. I want something I can feel.

I have more faith in the ideals of the UUA than the organization, as a whole, seems to have in its self. It does not need a creed to be a force for good, because it is wise and good that we recognize that there is no one path that meets the needs of all people. It does need a covenant, so that when we meet and use certain words, we know what is meant by them and what we share because of them. My problem is that there is no definition for Unitarian Universalist, and thus there can be no definition for the language of faith. I accept that a discussion of salvation necessitates we spend an hour discussing what we are being saved from and why it matters before we can talk about how. What I hate is that we debate whether such a discussion is even appropriate to be having in a UU church.

I am, ultimately, keeping my religion. Oddly, though it is the best instrument available to me for the kind of change I see the world needing, I am loosing my faith in its ability to proceed without tripping over its self. My faith is still the same, but my religion needs to change. I would prefer to see that happen from within, as good change should. I am afraid that the inertia is too strong, though, and that we will be unable to navigate a productive course.

I am losing neither my religion or my faith, and I am keeping neither at the same time.


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