I wish a lot more people would embrace not knowing. I say that both to those who embrace the dominant narrative, as well as to those who hew to dissenting ones. What information might we be blocking out, in order to maintain the integrity of our viewpoints? Let’s be humble in our beliefs: it is a matter of life and death. — Charles Eisenstein, “The Coronation”
So many things that are always true that have become more evident in the last couple months. As Eisenstein suggests, one of those things is that we don’t know everything. When we take in information, we take it in in the context of what we already know and what we already believe, without regard for how much or how little evidence there is for that belief. That’s how human beings think. If it’s a flaw, we share it equally with everyone. Rather than thinking of it as a flaw, though, I prefer to think of it as a characteristic that is helpful to be aware of. As things change and shift rapidly (infection rates, death rates, rules for what’s safe and what’s not), we are far better off if we can hold everything we know loosely. That’s actually core to our Unitarian Universalist faith–the doctrine of doubt, one might call it.
Yet, there is something to hold to tightly in these times, and in any other–our values, those qualities or standards that we have embraced as most worthy and useful. Most UU’s have carefully considered their values, though they may not all agree completely on them. We know if we need–or value–beauty more than order, or vice versa; truth more than kindness, or vice versa. We are used to measuring ourselves and our world against this set of values that we have assembled with careful thought.
That is, except when we forget to, or when we can’t figure out how to apply the standards we’ve set ourselves, or when we simply fall short. Because we’re human.
I’m feeling very human these days. Maybe you are too. Still, when I reconnect with my values, grounded in my Unitarian Universalism, I feel more secure and certain, even if the facts and expectations and guidelines keep whirling around me.
All that to say, keeping in mind our values of the worth of every human being, the importance of inclusion, and openness to new ideas and approaches, I’m thinking carefully along with the leadership of the congregation, how we move the fellowship forward in challenging times.
As you can see from our listing of services, we will continue virtual services through the summer. Larger religious gatherings, especially with singing, are one of the riskiest settings for spread of the virus. What’s more, we don’t want to exclude people, and at this time, on-line seems to be more inclusive than in-person gatherings. Sandy, in lieu of our regular form of religious education, is providing kits for families to engage in some summer explorations. We’ll be watching what happens in our community in terms of the virus and in terms of decisions others make about plans for the fall and later. We’ll also be deciding how we might think about small groups and other things we do together. Caution is merited in a world that is uncertain.
In the meantime, if you’re missing us, needing anything, or longing for what you’re not certain of, please reach out and connect–with one another, with me, with other staff. We’re happy to answer phone calls, emails, social media messages, or see you on drop-in Zoom.Take care and be well, Jonalu