By now, we hope that anyone who has followed the blog or even the Facebook page knows about the Five Smooth Stones of Liberal Religion. A set of guidelines put together from previous writings, the 5 Smooth Stones are a set of beliefs intended to allow us to outline our faith in religion as a process rather than a set of strict rules. Our religion is a choice we make, and keep making, to be part of a community, which is part of a greater movement, with the promise to keep learning what we can with the goal of making the world a kinder and more just while balancing human freedom with responsibility for our selves and our place in the interdependent web of life and existence.
These beliefs have been summed up many, many ways, and we won’t be going over them all again today, though I highly recommend reading them (or at least about them) in one of the links provided. Today, I want to focus on #3. As Adams said:
“Religious liberalism affirms the moral obligation to direct one’s effort toward the establishment of a just and loving community.”
Our goal is not to grow churches. Our mission is not to convert others to our way of thinking. Our obligation is to put our time, energy, and money (sorry, but it is true) in to the efforts that will lead to a kinder, more equal and just community and world. That is not to say that we don’t need to try to bring people around to our way of thinking, at times, to make that happen. It is just that education is a means to an end, making people better able to steer their own lives. It means convincing people to vote for just laws and to enact compassionate policies, regardless of their thoughts about deity. We focus our efforts on this world we share. It is our hope that, by joining together, we can multiply our efforts, and so we reach out to others; others who might be excited to learn that there are groups of people dedicated to the ideals of compassion, justice, and equity.
If we are doing that, we will grow. If we are living up to that commitment, we will change minds. If we are faithfully pursuing that mission, we will change our communities for the better.
How you do that is dependent on the time, skills, and other resources available to your congregation and the immediate needs in your community. The important thing is to find needs you can address, as a faith community, to make the wider community more loving and fair.