Pluralism

Grateful for the pluralism which enriches and ennobles our faith, we are inspired to deepen our understanding and our vision. This sentence found at the beginning of our hymnal, Singing the Living Tradition begins the last paragraph of the covenant Unitarian Universalists agree to promote. I love the linkage between deepening one’s understanding and the ability to articulate and hold up a vision. Gratitude for pluralism makes this possible, but experience sometimes shows, embracing plurality can be unwieldy. Sometimes it makes an organization less nimble, especially when there are voices calling for change and those who like things the way they are. In Washington, DC, this is called gridlock. In religious circles this may be thought of as a time of extended discernment.

My experience with Tibetan Buddhism makes me truly grateful for the pluralism of our progressive faith. Tibetan Buddhism provides me with a great deal of wisdom, but I could not abide their more conservative organizational hierarchy and a less than enthusiastic acceptance of LGBT people and their rights. I believe that each person is important and ideally should have their say in helping to decide the direction our Fellowship moves.

Clearly our Fellowship has a moral obligation to extend its progressive ideals to people who need them, but have little or no access to make that connection kinetic. To do this effectively we each need to help articulate a vision, which holds up our principles and ideals so that more people can be touched by their power. Our effort is critical to help to make the common good more pervasive for Kansans.

Our Unitarian Universalist presence in the Northern Flint Hills has saved lives, helped people isolated by their heretical questions about religion make supportive connections and find the encouragement they need to freely search for truth and meaning in their lives. Now is the time for us to focus on the inherent worth and dignity of our community by lifting up a vision that provides a clear message of how integral diversity is to us, and how it enriches our individual and collective lives. Unifying the many strands of our dreams gives our dreams a real chance of being realized.

US history demonstrates what a crucial role Unitarians and Universalists played in shaping our country. Our achievements include strong efforts to end slavery, ensuring a woman’s right to vote and to serve our liberal faith as ordained ministers, bringing dignity to people with mental health problems, the need to provide a good education to every child, the creation of public parks, Red Cross, the inclusion of people of every ethnic heritage and LGBTQ people … The list goes on, but we must articulate what is most important to our community so that we can share and live it with exuberance.

A woman’s vote makes a real difference! Vote!

Michael

 

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