In one of the Natural Foods Co-ops I worked in long ago there was an elderly man, Sam(I think that’s what his name was), who worked there part-time in the grocery dept, and there were days when he would do a bit of ranting about non-Christians and what he thought of them. One day I felt I needed to say something to him, and I said, “Sam, there are thousands upon thousands of people in the world, perhaps millions, not connected to a church, or creed, or religion and they are kind, help others, are loving and basically, it is important for them to do the right thing.” Well, Sam just looked at me, with that deer-in-the-headlights gaze, and it actually looked as if he was pondering what I said. One need not be connected to any group to be a good person, though I believe, from my experience, that many of these good folks are UUs.
We have heard it said that a person who needs peer pressure or the fear of God to convince them to do good things is not a good person. We’ve also heard it said (and agree pretty completely) that it is not our beliefs that make us worthy of being called Good people, but our honest work towards a more loving and just world, whatever source leads us to those actions.
It is through simple conversations like this that we can open minds, just a little at first, so that new ideas slip in and people begin to think about things that they’ve merely believed for so long. Some of them will shut again, and some will think on their ideas and choose to keep them; some, though, will think on that new idea and be changed by it. There are a lot of people in the world who have never heard of Unitarian Universalism; it is almost certain that some of them would be very comfortable in a UU Church, if anyone ever invited them in.
Thank you, CA, for being willing to have that conversation. We need to be bold, if kind, in opening minds and helping people to expand their view of the world. And thank you for sharing your story with us. It is the kind of outreach that we stand for.