After giving whatever your elevator speech, anyone with time and interest still remaining is very likely to ask you,
How do you have a church where people have different religions?
Firstly, while we may have different beliefs and practices, we have one religion. It is a religion that allows us to worship together as well as worshiping separately as needed for our relationships with the divine. We can be followers of Jesus, Buddha, or Odin and still be Unitarian Universalists.
One aspect of that religion is the free and responsible search for truth and meaning. That means that we all accept one of two things, if not both
- Our way is not the only way.
- We could be wrong.
To be a UU Christian might mean accepting, as the Universalists have for centuries, that their way is not the only way and that their god will eventually reconcile us all. To be a UU pagan might mean to accept that other gods, or other names for the gods, are just as valid as your own. Or, in either case, they might just know that what works for them might not be the whole truth; they stipulate no universal certainty about their beliefs.
The real answer to how we do this is that we all believe the same things where they matter most.
The real trick that can be so hard to explain is captured so well by President Abraham Lincoln:
As I said in my post last Monday, one of the most important aspects of being UU is a commitment to continued personal growth. We are constantly seeking to learn how to be better members of our community. As we learn better, we also try to do better, and when we do better, we feel good about it. We can share our congregation because our most important belief is that Humanity can continue to do better by learning from one another. We come together because it makes many things easier when we pool our resources and talents and hold each other accountable.
Being a Unitarian Universalist is, ultimately, about believing that we can be better, we can do better, and we can help the world around us be better, too. Belief in human dignity and growth is what binds us together. The real, shared religion is the understanding that doing good in the world matters. How we act, what we give to our community, matters. Not because of its size or scope, but because it is our personal best.
People can believe all kind of things and be great UUs. Membership is based on your desire to work with us towards a better world. Participation is bringing your best self to the world. Ours is a religion that believes in a better tomorrow; that we can build it here on Earth. When you share a clear goal, the other details are allowed to be fluid.
If you believe that a better world can be built when we pool our resources, then I ask you to fund my time and skill with your financial resources. Our week is freely available to all who need it, but there are still costs involved. We depend on the community to keep the lights on, the computer up-to-date, and the website on-line.