“I am only one, but still I am one.
I cannot do everything, but still I can do something.
And because I cannot do everything,
I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

Edward Everett Hale

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Belief's Wide Skirt

Today a friend posted a wonderful quotation from Toni Morrison on Facebook:

image by quotepixel.com
"For our sake and yours forget your name in the street; tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don't tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief's wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear's caul."

And it occurs to me that this is what ministry (and religion) should be about. It isn't about telling people what they should believe, or frightening them with bogey-stories about what will happen to them if they don't subscribe to a particular creed or ethical viewpoint. It should be about sharing our own authentic beliefs ("what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light") with courage and honesty, so that others may do likewise.

This is why freedom of belief is so important to Unitarians (and to other religious liberals, such as Quakers). We believe that everyone has the right to seek truth and meaning for themselves, and that the final authority for this is the still, small voice of your own conscience. So within the Unitarian community, belief does indeed have a wide skirt, and the best thing that we can do for ourselves and for each other is to share our authentic beliefs in a supportive community that encourages questions and doubts, so long as they are real.

No comments:

Post a Comment