"Unitarian Universalism doesn't really care one whit whether you're an atheist, a theist, agnostic, Buddhist, Pagan, or Barnes and Noble-ite. Our question for you is whether your atheism, theism, paganism, Buddhism, or Barnes and Noble-ism leads you to connection, leads you to listen to your deepest self, be open to life's gifts, and serve needs greater than your own. In other words, do your beliefs help you connect to self, life and others?"
“Ours is a saving church, and by that I mean that lives are saved within it. People say that. They use that old vocabulary. They say: “I never knew there was a place like this, where I could be accepted.” They say: "I never knew there could be a congregation that believed as I do.” They say: “I walked out of the church as soon as I was old enough, but until I came here, I had no idea how deeply I was longing for connection, to other people and also to the sacred.” They say: “I was a spiritual shipwreck, and I’m still drifting, but at least, at last, I have a home.” For me, it was astonishing to discover this tradition: I was a young adult flailing around at large out there, and when I accidentally stumbled upon the works of William Ellery Channing one rainy afternoon, a door opened to me. Here was someone in print, someone who wrote in 1819, asking the unspeakable questions I’d been asking, doubting the “truths” that I’d been doubting, clearly defining the moral ideas, the theological ideas that I had harbored all along as crazy. Here was a religion welcoming science and reason, while honoring mystery and wonder. Here was a religion concerned more with deeds than creeds; a church that in its Sunday Schools, apparently, taught children to think and act and feel—to know their hearts—instead of to recite. I felt not as if my soul were saved, but as if my self were somehow integrated—my integrity restored, as mind and heart and soul were reunited, as if after a long, strange, unnatural parting of the ways.”
“In my work, when I can let go of my worries about how I’m coming across or how good a job I’m doing or how much emotional energy or time something is taking, it also feels like flying. You know that feeling—when you’re one with the thing you’re doing, time melts away and there’s an extraordinary feeling of freedom. You get in touch with a wild generosity of spirit inside yourself. It’s exhilarating.
“What then is sanctuary? The sanctuary is often something very small. Not a grandiose gesture, but a small gesture toward alleviating human suffering and preventing humiliation. The sanctuary is a human being. Sanctuary is a dream. And that is why you are here and that is why I am here. We are here because of one another. We are in truth each other’s shelter.”
“In my opinion the first and seventh principles articulate the genius of Unitarian Universalism as a spiritual path, as a way of life. We acknowledge the uniqueness and preciousness of the individual, while noting our individuality births out of, is sustained by, and finds its ultimate source within some mysterious, radical and complete interdependence. Those and the fourth principle, which calls us to a free and responsible search for truth and meaning, and which, I believe, hints at the methodology of free religion, give us a sense of a real spiritual path. If you will, as I said: a way of life . . .
“The sun shines and warms and lights us and we have no curiosity to know why this is so; but we ask the reason of all evil, of pain, and hunger, and mosquitoes and silly people.”
“Ring the bells that still can ring
“Imagine knowing from the ground up, that you are tied to the whole, that you are undefeatable, that below the surface undefinable discoveries are taking place. Don’t you think there are things worth holding on to with a thousand arms, ten thousand gripping toes? Aren’t the undaunted particularly blessed?”
“In the beginning there was nothing. God said, “Let there be light!” And there was light. There was still nothing, but you could see it a whole lot better.”
“So if someone tells you that she or he knows pain, loneliness, loss, fear, and dismay, but does not know the feeling of being sustained by a love that is wider, deeper, and infinitely vaster than the sorrows, hear those words as a commission. Hear your commission to love, to create community, and to heal. One at a time in personal relationships, ten at a time in covenant groups, hundreds at a time in our congregations, hundreds of thousands at a time in our religious movement, millions at a time as we take our commission deeper and deeper into humanity’s heart as a justice-loving people who will transform the world. This is the Good News of our faith.”
“Ever since we crawled out of that primordial slime, that's been our unifying cry, “More light.” Sunlight. Torchlight. Candlelight. Neon, incandescent lights that banish the darkness from our caves to illuminate our roads, the insides of our refrigerators. Big floods for the night games at Soldier's Field. Little tiny flashlights for those books we read under the covers when we're supposed to be asleep. Light is more than watts and footcandles. Light is metaphor. Light is knowledge, light is life, light is light.”
“Come now, noble souls, and take a look at the splendor you are carrying