Monday, August 18, 2014

Lessons in Religion

If you were to tell me three years ago, or really anytime in the past, that I would find and become a part of a church community, I would probably laugh in your face. But that has been the case for me as of late. I actually look forward to Sunday mornings. I've talked about the basics of the church in a past post here, so I won't go over that again.

But, about a week or two ago, we watched a UU minister perform a sermon about spreading the word of Unitarian Universalism. (His name is Aaron White and I've linked this sermon a few times for you here.) The main takeaways I want to point out to you are centered in italics.

In the past when someone has told me about their religion and their church, they would tell me why it's the best and why I needed to convert that very moment. Because, you know, if I didn't then I would go to Hell. Telling someone you'll go to Hell because they don't believe what you were raised to believe is not an effective way to sell your religion. The same goes for telling someone they'll be denied admission to Heaven. If you're talking to someone, for example, who doesn't believe in God to do so, talk to them in a way they can understand you, not the way they already don't believe.

If you want people to learn about your religion, you have to speak in their language.

The minister said that religion should be about bringing Heaven to Earth (something I've always tried to achieve in other words). Why can't we make the world we live in now the best possible world?

Everyday I see people making choices that will hurt others, just so they can succeed, so they can have a better life, and so they can go to Heaven. From what I've always understood, the first rule of just about every religion is LOVE. He reminded me about that rule.

Religion is about love and building a world that loves.

In order to love each other, we have to understand each other. I've quickly grown to hold dear the community I found here. It's a nice escape from the close-minded world of living in West Texas.

I know it may not be the place for everyone, but I want to share my community with others. I enjoy discussing it, but I also enjoy learning about others' religions and I respect the multitude of things people believe in. We should be sharing our beliefs with each other. But when you share, you should never condemn others for sharing. We are all individuals and as individuals we have differences. It is inevitable. That's part of what makes life awesome.

The UU church cam to be by people who believed in building a better world. Our roots actually stem from Christianity. Thomas Jefferson was a Christian (later a Unitarian) who believed in love, science, and the future. He even believed that by this day and age, everyone would be a Unitarian Universalist.

Unitarian Universalism is a liberal religion.
(Not to be confused with liberal politics.) And we are not the only ones. There are plenty of religious congregations that have more liberal beliefs as well. Most UUs do not find the church until after being raised Baptist, Methodist, Catholic, etc. and come in with a lot of religious baggage. I was not raised with religion and even I carry some baggage - perceptions of religion that I either didn't understand or only knew negative stereotypes about. But I'm learning now that not all religion is as bad as I once thought. :) I am at a comfortable point of knowing that I can never know the truth for sure. My new religion let's me hold this untruth as my truth (if that makes sense).
God is not fully known to us.

Each member sees God in a different way. Whether one of our members are Atheist, Agnostic, or non-denominational, we're all just searching for the truth. For some, that truth is science. For others, that truth may lie in the secrets of nature. For me, it's science and love. And yes, I struggle sometimes, but that's why I've started on this journey; why I decided to join the church.

I want to be a better person. I want to love as many people as possible. I want that love to spread to others as well.

"God is too big for any one religion to own," said the minister we listened to that day.

He reminded us that our religion is not a creedal church. We do not require our members to believe in the same things in order to remain members. The only thing we require is openness and acceptance. We may not verbally express God in everyday practice, but this is how we see Him in relation to us and our world.

I've been going to this church since February(ish). I didn't realize how much I actually enjoyed going until recently. I find myself talking about it any chance I get. It's like falling in love. You want to tell as many people as possible. And trust me, the more I learn about, the more I plan on sharing.

It's difficult to share everything in one post, and he says everything a lot more eloquently than I've just done here, which is why I've linked the video throughout this post. Listen to it while you're sending emails or sweeping at home. It's a nice listen.

Thanks for reading at least,

<3 Tawny


  1. Very interesting post. A couple points -

    1). Are you attracted to UU b/c you agree with it - or b/c it agrees with you?

    2). Truth isn't always what we WANT it to be.

    1. You pose an interesting question. I think it's a little bit of both. Growing up I developed my own set of morals and beliefs and in finding the UU church, I'm able to explore it and myself even further because I feel comfortable and know that my opinion is accepted and valued. Of course I have to agree with what they value in order to want to come back every week and I love that I can say what I feel and have people actually relate to me for the first time.

      To answer the second part. Truth shouldn't necessarily be just what we want it to be, otherwise there's no point in searching for truth, and that's a rut that many people fall into because they're raised to believe one thing and are punished for questioning it when they're ready to search for truth and therefore do no grow or develop with everyone else.