I don’t use the language of “sin” generally in my religion, nor do I refer to the divine as “Him.” In the context of a Christian worship service, of course, this language and this theology were not surprising. I translate that Christian message into my own belief system: I am broken and wounded and aware of my flaws (my sins they are many); yet I know that I am also whole and worthy of love and that the Divine lives within me and through me (His mercy is more). I thanked the lead pastor after the service and gave him my business card. Since then, we have met for coffee and found great common ground in our calling and our pastoral work—commonality far outweighing the theological differences we may have.
Separately this week I, participated in a panel discussion alongside three local Christian clergy members. The panel was hosted by the Central Michigan University LGBTQ office, and the topic was faith and sexuality. The Christian clergy, of course, were primarily discussing questions of sexuality from a Biblical perspective; and as liberal Christians they emphasized the love of Jesus and said that the problematic passages from the Bible that seem to damn homosexuals should not be interpreted that way. As a non-Christian Unitarian Universalist, what the Bible says or doesn’t say about sexuality is not of primary importance to me. My religious conviction that LGBTQ people are divine comes from my Unitarian Universalist faith as expressed in our principles and not from the Bible.
And, during the whole panel discussion and afterwards, I felt a great sense of common purpose with the three Christian clergy sitting beside me. They are expressing love and acceptance through the lens of their religion; I express it through mine.
Sometimes being a Unitarian Universalist in a religious landscape dominated by Christians is difficult. In conversation with Christians (and others), I frequently have to explain my religion to people who have never heard of it. This comes with being a Unitarian Universalist…along with the practice of translating other people’s religious language into concepts that fit with my beliefs. In spite of these challenges, it’s nice to realize that I have a lot in common with Christians: spreading love, finding meaning, welcoming others, and creating community.
May blessing come to the First Church of Christ. May St. John’s Episcopal Church and the Wesley Center and Immanuel Lutheran be blessed, their congregations and their leaders. May this blessing come from Jesus, God, the Holy Spirit—from whomever and whatever these churches understand to be their Holy, their Divine. And may this blessing come from me and from other humans: the simple human wish that other humans may prosper and be happy.
May love, in human form and in divine form, bless every congregation where people gather for community and meaning. May love bless that whole world with no exceptions.
Rev. Andrew Frantz
April 7, 2022