This last week has brought for me several reminders of why I am a Unitarian Universalist, one who still identifies as a Christian. The first was the tragic loss of life that occurred in Atlanta when 8 people were gunned down by an emotionally unstable young man. While there has been a lot of attention given to the allegedly anti-Asian hatred at work here, I think what is also concerning is how a certain brand of American evangelical Christianity influenced this person. Christianity is being used to foment hatred and intolerance in a way that is morally wrong and at times dangerous.
We have been a part of faith tradition that seeks to hold up our actions and not simply our beliefs as the ultimate measure of how and when the divine is working in our lives. If you find yourself becoming a kinder, more compassionate person genuinely concerned about the welling being of others, then your faith and beliefs are working in your life. If you find the opposite then they are not.
The second reminder I had this week was the statement by the Pope that same-sex marriages would never be allowed in the Catholic Church. While members of the Catholic Church are free to express their views (as we all are), I am saddened by this declaration, one that I believe is based on an antiquated reading of scripture and tradition. When I hear decisions like this, it makes me all the more proud to be a part of a tradition and community that holds up the importance of loving relationships and making a binding commitment to a life partner. I have performed a lot of weddings over the last 20 years, for both different-sex and same-sex couples. In each case, I felt there was something lovely, even holy, occurring when two people stood before God in front of their friends and family and made a solemn lifelong commitment to love and support one other. In each case, it felt like God was smiling, not frowning.
While I know that thoughtful and principled people will disagree here, I am glad to count myself among those who believe that a loving and healthy marriage between two people matters more than the gender of either of them.
This Sunday features a musical celebration of Johann Sebastian Bach.
Happy Spring and see you in church. Jeff