Good question. Why in the world would I take one more thing on, especially in such a public venue as blogworld?
Well, because this week I asked myself this question: What does it mean to live religiously?
Wednesday was a strange day for me. First, I worked from home in the morning, putting the final touches on our quarterly enewsletter in my bathrobe (it seems that kind of work always goes smoother when I’m wearing loungewear rather than in form-fitting business clothes and sensible shoes). As I did, I listened to the Indigo Girls, All That We Let In, which is a 45-minute sermon, in and of itself. The words poured through me rather than over me, and challenged me to do something I haven’t done much of lately: be quiet, pay attention, and then act. And I started to think…
Once I’d hit send on the newsletter, I began the hour-long drive into work and listened to, of course, NPR. I was grateful to have Terry Gross as company on the drive, as she interviewed David Kuo, a former staffer in GWBush’s Faith-based Initiative Office. I’m sure you’ve heard about this, so I won’t take too much time on it, but I listened as this man described coming to Washington to follow Jesus’s edict to serve the poor and found himself serving politics, instead. I listened to the whole hour and heard Kuo’s former boss say how Kuo got it all wrong. But it wasn’t the disappointment in Bush or all the allegations agains Rove, et. al., that struck me as I listened to the interview. What pierced me was the way this man truly wished to live his religious convictions. And I started to think…
After work, I walked across the street to chapel, as we do most every Wednesdays during the academic year, for Vespers service for the Meadville Lombard community. Rev. Nan Hobart, the chaplain and Director of Admissions, gave a sermon about being at the welcoming table. I hope to link the sermon from the Meadville Lombard website soon, but I will say that in this sermon she challenged me in the way that I absolutely needed someone to at that time. And I started to think…
And then I got back in the car to drive home, popped Peter Mayer’s Bountiful CD, and drove. And it was like one more 45-minute sermon from this UU singer/songwriter. And it was somewhere during that drive when the question formed fully in my mind:
What does it mean to live religiously–especially as a UU?
In one of my recent columns for the Gary Post-Tribune, I wrote about the Amish community who chose forgiveness. As I was driving home that night, I began to realize it is that word “community” that allows us to live lives in tune with our purported belief system. Community provides the mirror we hold up to ourselves, the checks and balances we need to ask ourselves, “where did I hit the mark, today, and where did I fail to even aim?”
So, why am I doing this? Perhaps to broaden my community and put those checks and balances out there.
I think Unitarian Universalism is the religion that can bend the world toward justice, equity and compassion–but it requires us, as individual UUs, to live religiously (even though I’m still learning what that means).