Skip to main content

Part 2: The Ontological Core

It is my belief that the core of Unitarian Universalism is about ontology. What is the nature of being, of existence?

This is where I place my faith.

Unitarianism tells me that humankind is, in the big sum and tally, good. That doesn't mean there aren't aberrations, it doesn't mean individually we don't mess up and make mistakes. But in the great aggregate mode, humankind is good. We reject the idea of Original Sin, that we were all born bad, and that we need a mediating influence of a supernatural being to make us acceptable.

Universalism tells me that there is a force at work in the world, an "arc of the universe" to use Unitarian Theodore Parker's term, that is, in the big sum and tally, good. Bad things happen, evil and pain exist, but there is a force that persuades us to goodness, that draws us together so that we may act, and by our actions, put "good" into form. Some call this force "God"; Universalism asserts that it is not a malevolent force, nor a force of judgment. It is grace. Unasked for, perhaps undeserved. Grace.

Simplified down, these are audacious statements in which to have faith:

Humankind is good.
God is good.

And yet I do. I put all of my faith in those. Days come when I am presented with so much evidence to the contrary. How can I say humankind is good when ..... ? How can I think there is a good force at work when .... ?

It is a choice I make. I choose to live my life with one hand in a death grip to that ontological core, choosing optimism sometimes even in the face of despair, because I can do no other.

Some days I am overwhelmed with the rightness of it all; I see evidence all around me of the good at work in the world, and on those days, humankind and the Arc are all interwoven, one acting through another.

My faith is shaken time and again, but still, to it I cling. To have faith that in the final accounting, humankind and God are a force for creating, transferring, and enlarging Love, breaks me open and liberates my soul. It drives what I do, both in the small moments of simply living and in my large dreams of actions to be taken, and how I, too, can be the hands and feet of Love.

This is my faith.

Comments

  1. Agreed. Based on this and your prior blog post, would you posit there is no ontological foundation for our pluralism, our celebration of humanity's many expressions of the divine? That it's an element stems naturally from believing people are good and what they make holy is good?

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'd use the word love -- because I think that's what we operated from when we're being and doing good.

    I think it's why there's been this huge upwelling from the grassroots of our faith for Standing on the Side of Love. It's why I call myself a neo-universalist. It's not *about* God and God's love (though it doesn't reject any of that!), but rather just about love. All love.

    And Shawna, I think that agape is the ontological basis for our embrace/celebration of humanity's many expressions of the holy. It's our humanistic embrace of love in any and all forms.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Whole Church Worship

TL;dr -- Our church does "Whole Church Worship," or "All Ages Are Together for the Whole Service, Every Service, Every Week." I've been getting a lot of questions about this. Here are some answers. Preface: For some reason, I occasionally run into people from other churches who want to explain to me all the reasons this won't work at their church. Sure. I'm not trying to talk you into this. You do you, Bub. Whole Church Worship is working at our church, at this time. Live Oak is pretty special, and I don't know that there are many things we do that would work any other place, including our Chili, Chocolate, and Karaoke Party. But that's a post for another day.  Okay, then. So, I first got involved in Whole Church Worship as a result of a fit of pique - my own. This was before I was a minister. At my home congregation, we had "Children's Chapel," and we had reached the point where we couldn't get anyone signed up to coordin

Post-Pandemic and the Expectations of Others

  We have the hope that the covid-19 pandemic's end is in sight ... and it's bringing up a lot of feelings. Not all of them happy .  Many of us are feeling some level of anticipatory anxiety.  The anxiety is rooted in a fear that almost all of us have, in some form or another. The fear that others will make us do something we don't want to do. Whether it is through what can feel like the aggression of "your job depends on this," or the polite friendliness of social obligations, we pre-emptively worry about being dominated.  Look, the pandemic made saying "No" to in-person events super easy. So easy, in fact, that we didn't even have to say no, because no invitations were forthcoming. We didn't have to send regrets, we were all living in a world where responsible people didn't get together. Heck, those of us who before might feel we were being antisocial could now feel self-righteous! A win/win!  I kid, but only a little.  We anticipate that p

"I Don't Know Who I Am Now" or The Importance of Not Assuming for a While

The next 5 months are probably going to be kinda weird. Uncertainty and anxiety flying all over the place. Duck! And then after that ... it's also going to be kinda weird, but a different kind of weird, as we move into the After Times, and figure out what exactly they're going to be like, and what exactly WE are going to be like.  It is in times like these, that I like to turn to art to help make sense of it all.  I refer, of course, to the art known as the television series Doctor Who. I mean, if we know things are going to be weird, we probably should look at some art that deals with the weird, right? Now's the time to examine Hieronymous Bosch and Marc Chagall. And Doctor Who, that time-traveling, face-shifting hero.  Part of the Doctor Who story (and why it's been able to keep going so long) is that rather than die, the Doctor regenerates, retaining who they are, but with a different face, body, and to a certain extent, a different personality.  Immediately after t