What Should We Do?

Several times lately as I have sat at Radina’s or The Chef, nursing a cup of decaf, I have noticed that people near me were talking about religion. I was not trying to eavesdrop, and didn’t catch the details of the conversation, but I did notice intensity and sincerity. There was no question that they were Christian, and in each case, they seemed to be exploring the application of their religious beliefs to their lives. “What should I do?” they were asking, either directly or indirectly.

I am sure I do not share a theological grounding with them. But I admire their conviction that their beliefs should connect them directly with ethical action in the world.

My hope is that we UU’s are engaged in a similar struggle. It’s one thing to believe in the interdependent web of existence of which we are a part. It’s another thing to consider what that belief demands of us… beyond recycling. If we trust that the arc of the universe bends towards justice, as 19th century Unitarian minister Theodore Parker asserted, do we approach our justice work differently than if we believe in a random universe where the weight of justice falls entirely on human beings? If we have faith that our lives are full of wonder, how do we respond?

The aligning of our beliefs, our values and our actions in the world is no easy task. Sometimes, our beliefs have to change. Sometimes, our values have to be rearranged. Sometimes, our actions have to be rethought. No easy task, but it is an important one. Perhaps the most important task we have.

I once read an essay reflecting on whether, if the author were arrested for being a Unitarian Universalist, if there would be enough evidence to convict him. Good question.

Does my life and work establish without a doubt that I am a committed Unitarian Universalist? What commitments do my beliefs call me to? What actions do our beliefs call us to? What should we do?

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