Since it is February a little Valentine’s message seems appropriate. While I was traveling in Oklahoma I was reminded of a key slogan of the church there. It’s a huge UU church with a variety people and programs. They have three different worship services on Sunday, seven choirs, children’s religious education classes for every grade level, and more social action than I can begin to describe.
They have a specific mission guiding them into 2020. But one short slogan seems to encapsulate what they are all about: LOVE BEYOND BELIEF.
We all know that UU churches claim to embrace theological diversity. But this church in Tulsa, All Souls, is living that reality in a much deeper way. Around ten years ago a group Pentecostal Christian Universalists found their way to All Souls. Their journey is too long to share here. But what you need to know is that between their explicitly humanist worship service and their contemporary, theistic, quasi-Pentecostal service, there is a truly diverse theology and religious practice in that church. But they come together with the same covenant that we say every Sunday: Love is the spirit of this church and service is its law. This is our great covenant, to dwell together in peace, to seek the truth in love, and to help one another. In truly inspiring ways they have learned to love beyond belief.
Love beyond belief is an invitation to build community that transcends theological and political differences. But it’s more than that too. Love beyond belief, to me, suggests that beyond what our brains tell us, what the news media tells us, what science or our friends tell us, we are called to respond to the world with compassion. Love, not reason, is the foundation of our faith and our lives.
This Valentines Day, whether romantic love is a part of your day or not, let us love beyond belief. Let us relinquish the desperate need to be right, and acknowledge the deeper need to love. Sincerely, Rev. Kent
LAGUNA BEACH UU/TAPESTRY COLLABORATION
Some of you may have heard me give updates from the pulpit about our collaboration with the UU Fellowship of Laguna Beach. Tapestry’s board has approved the covenant and the UUFLB Board elected to recommend to their congregation that we enter into the covenantal partnership with Tapestry. A detailed agreement will spell out the specifics of what each congregation will provide to the collaboration, and will include Tapestry live streaming of our service twice a month to UUFLB starting in January 2017. Plans are underway for a joint potluck celebration in the New Year. We will be considering the many opportunities this collaboration holds for extending the reach of our good works in South Orange County and beyond. Lynn Cowan, President
UPCOMING PARTICIPATION OPPORTUNITIES
Minister’s Seminar – Monday Feb. 6 6:30-8:00 pm
“Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” by Bryan Stevenson
A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice-from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time. Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice. To fully participate please read the book prior to our discussion.
Laguna Woods Discussion Group
Thursday February 23 2:00 pm at Jean Rosenberg’s home
Come participate in a casual UU discussion group. Each session includes inspiring readings, a time for silent meditation, and a group discussion. The theme for October’s discussion is Emotional Intelligence.
Minister’s Serminar – Monday March 6 6:30-8:00 pm
“Re-Imagine the World: An Introduction to the Parables of Jesus” by Bernard Brandon Scott
In this book the author sets his interpretation of the key parables of Jesus in the context of other things Jesus said and did. The result is a startling and provocative picture of the historical figure and the challenge he presents to contemporary life. The re-imagined world, called the kingdom of God, presents his followers with a new option for living, one that contrasts with the default world of the everyday. In order to fully participate in the discussion, please read the book before hand. This book is out of print, but available through Amazon.com.