Sunday, October 24, 2010

Notes from the Pew

Two summers ago, I went to a two day training on DBT: Dialectical Behavioral Therapy. The gist of DBT is that we are often struggling with dialectics or the art of holding two contradictory feelings/wants/needs in balance. As a parent, I want to spend time nurturing my children and giving to them but I also need time alone to recharge. Another dialectic in this culture is wanting to be liked and accepted in one's community but struggling with the materialism that often goes along with acceptance.

Today in church, we had a wonderful guest speaker, Rev. Dr. Laurel Hallman, who has written a book entitled "Reaching Deeper" about our Unitarian Universalist faith. The title of her sermon today was "Whose are we"? Last summer, a group of UU ministers got together in Seattle to look at the issues of faith, spiritual cohesion, and how we, as UU's, identify ourselves as a cohort. All heady questions for a faith group that emphasizes the individuality of each person's spiritual path.

The answer for all of us is a complicated one but I think it is time to embrace complications. Yep, I married an atheist, found Buddhism, and wandered into Unitarian Universalism when I had kids. I may have wandered in, but I have found spiritual shelter and welcome at First Parish. I found a group of people who welcomed my husband, and even had a name for him "humanist." My minister spent her sabbatical in Nepal in an unheated monastery. She rocks.

So here is the dialectical part: I don't believe in proselytizing and yet I want you all to experience the blessings I feel each Sunday when I sing with my beloved community, when I teach my students in religious education, or when I share a joy or concern by lighting a candle. I cry almost every Sunday at some point while I listen to the sermon. I want that for you, I want that for us all. We are spiritual people, yearning for something bigger than just ourselves to make sense of it all. Dr. Hallman spoke beautifully about the power of metaphor and the power of blessing and prayer, no matter what word we put on it. Perhaps just the word "mystery."

Today, I was filled up by a sermon that challenged me to define my faith and wake up from spiritual slumber. My spiritual home allows me to journey with others, even on such a personal quest. May you be blessed with a beloved community.


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