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The cross and radical activism

The idea that Jesus chose, out of his own free will, to go to the cross is a favorite among abusive church leaders. What better way to get people to submit to you than to compare the God they worship to a lamb led to slaughter? Over and over and over I’ve heard Jesus’ submissiveness unto death used as an excuse to abuse or to silence those who wish to call out abuse.

I want to propose a different perspective and I want to start with a woman named Alice Paul.

In 1917, women in the United States were not allowed to vote. Alice Paul and a group of other women wanted to change that. These women boldly picketed the White House with banners that called out the hypocrisy of the man in the White House–Woodrow Wilson–who was so quick to send troops overseas to Germany to fight for “liberty,” but who was ignoring the fact that women here were not even treated as real citizens (sound familiar?).

Though their peaceful protests broke no laws, these women were arrested and sent to prison under the false charge of “obstructing traffic.”

Incarcerated without reason in the “land of the free” (a land in which she–as a woman–already lacked the rights of a full citizen), Alice Paul asserted her autonomy and her humanity by fighting back the only way she could.

A photograph of Alice Paul (c1920 by Harris & Ewing)

A photograph of Alice Paul (c1920 by Harris & Ewing)

She stopped eating. 

Alice Paul went on a hunger strike as a way to protest the unjust conditions she was facing.

The 2004 movie, Iron Jawed Angels, depicts this true story (with some obvious dramatizations of course). During one scene, Alice Paul (played by Hillary Swank) is sent to a psychiatric ward because she refuses to eat. The doctor examining her asks about her hunger strike.

Alice: The hunger strike was a tradition in old Ireland. You starve yourself on someone’s doorstep until restitution is made and justice is done.

Doctor: Doesn’t sound like a very effective method.

Alice: A stinking corpse on your doorstep? What would the neighbors say?

We live in a world of violence, of poverty, of rape and war, of oppression and abuse.

We also live in a world of willful ignorance and pride.

People are starving and dying  at our doorsteps (metaphorically speaking), but we’re great at ignoring it. Sometimes it takes radical activism (like some literally dying on our doorstep) to change things.

Alice Paul offered up her life in order to fight injustice. Though she survived the hunger strikes (not every hunger striker does), she still willingly put her body at risk. She was willing to starve on the doorstep of injustice. In doing so, she put the United States to shame, uncovering its disturbing hypocrisy (a hypocrisy that continues today).

She gave herself up willingly.

Was this an act of passive submission?

What do you think?

Those who use the story of the cross to convince oppressed or abused people to stop fighting for justice are missing the point of radical activism. Sometimes, in the face of unrelenting oppression, brave, radical activists stand up and take control of their lives and bodies…

…by giving them up.

When Alice Paul, and Hana Shalabi, and other hunger-strikers stopped eating, it was not an act of submissive, obedient defeat.

 It was a powerful assertion of bodily autonomy in a world that tried to deny their humanity.

 It was a bold act of love by people who were willing to lay down their lives for their friends, their freedom, and their people.

It was a stance that forced oppressors to open their eyes, uncover their ears, and stare into emaciated face of the injustice they had caused. 

The cross of Jesus doesn’t mean that we suffer in silence while we are abused and oppressed. It does not mean that we “turn the other cheek” when we notice others being abused and oppressed. As I wrote earlier this week, we must start to see the cross is a middle finger to the world’s oppressive power structures.

God, as symbolized in the crucifixion, is with the victims who are oppressed. God is also with those who stand up and fight oppression.

The cross is a symbol of both the evils of oppression and of the radical activism that opposes oppression.

We should not have to live in a world where the only way people can gain power and assert their humanity is through hunger strikes. We should not have to live in a world where people are detained in prisons without charge. We should not have to live in a world where people are put to death by crucifixion or lethal injection.

Jesus’ radical activism points us to a new world.

Anyone who tells you that the cross means you have to stop fighting oppression is missing the point.

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Crucifixion and Liberation

[Trigger warnings for abuse, rape, and violence against oppressed groups]

Image by Aaron Douglas

Image by Aaron Douglas

I recently wrote a blog post for Rachel Held Evans in which I talked about how many popular images of God are abusive. Someone left this comment:

I read something once -and it has troubled me since – that God requiring Jesus to die on the cross ‘for our sins’ was the equivalent of child abuse. I would love to hear some opinions on this matter.

A few commenters jumped in to say that since Jesus IS God, it was a personal choice and therefore not abusive and, well you know the rest. I’m sure you’ve heard justifications for this theology many times. My opinion on the matter was that penal substitution is still a terrifying theology about an abusive God.

I’m guessing many people that I know (including some of my readers) would be shocked to hear that I do not believe that God had to die because humans were just so evil and God was just so wrathful and required a blood sacrifice. I even know many self-identified progressive Christians who would probably assume that I wasn’t really a Christian if I told them I didn’t believe that Jesus died in the place of wicked human beings in order to save us from our sins.

I take a more, shall we say, literalist viewpoint.

God didn’t kill Jesus. People in power killed Jesus. 

My friend David Henson recently said on Facebook:

If atonement is literally at-one-ment — being at one with — perhaps it is God that experiences atonement in the crucifixion by being with us and being at one with us in death.

I would take this even further. Christ didn’t experience just any death, but a death reserved for those who challenged the oppressive power structures of the time. Jesus’ teachings of liberation threatened Rome. But even more so, they threatened the religious leaders of the day: spiritually abusive leaders who had turned their backs on Judaism’s message of justice and mercy and had twisted the teachings to oppress others.

Jesus stood with the oppressed. He healed on the Sabbath. He advocated for the poor. He spoke out against the abuse of women.

And those in power killed him for it. They silenced his message (but it couldn’t quite stay dead, could it?).

Maybe this is the real message of the cross. That the God of all creation loved the oppressed enough to become one with them, even in death–the ultimate tool of oppressive forces. 

I think of an article about the book The Cross and the Lynching Tree, by liberation theologian James Cone. Cone makes a comparison between the crucifixion of Jesus and the lynching of black people throughout the 19th and 20th centuries.

The cross and the lynching tree interpret each other. Both were public spectacles, shameful events, instruments of punishment reserved for the most despised people in the society. Any genuine theology and any genuine preaching of the Christian gospel must be measured against the test of the scandal of the cross and the lynching tree. Hengel asserts: “Jesus did not die a gentle death like Socrates, with his cup of hemlock. . . . Rather, he died like a [lynched black victim] or a common [black] criminal in torment, on the tree of shame.

I don’t think many white people like this comparison (as a white person myself, it is challenging and sobering). So white theologians shy away from this comparison, as obvious as it seems. Instead, they embrace a spiritualized version of Christianity in which Jesus is nothing but a sacrifice, meant to save us from some abstract idea of inherited sin. Where Christ’s life of healing the sick, giving sight to the blind, raising the dead, touching the untouchables had nothing to do with his death. Where the promise of liberation and justice  given by the Old Testament prophets to the oppressed in Israel is not considered part of the gospel. Where the only real result of Christ’s death and resurrection is that we are free from our sins (though we still sin), and go to heaven when we die (maybe–if we ask nicely).

If we did embrace the similarities between the cross and the lynching tree, it would open the doors to comparing Christ’s unjust death with the many other injustices that go on in our society.

The wife who is raped and beaten by her husband, and then told by her church to stay with him.

One of the transgender people that are murdered every three days. 

The Muslim people who are bombed by the United States just because some people who looked like them happened to be terrorists.

The people in poverty who starve to death because they cannot afford food, or die slowly from illness because they cannot afford healthcare.

The woman on the street corner in Detroit who was forced into prostitution at age 11.

The young black man who is shot in the back of the head because he looked threatening.

The young woman from Steubenville who was gang-raped and then shamed for it.

The gay, black mayoral candidate who was beaten, set on fire, and killed in Mississippi.

Christ is crucified again and again as injustice goes on and on. 

But the cross means, to the oppressed, that God is on our side.

As James Cone says,

The cross is the most empowering symbol of God’s loving solidarity with the “least of these,” the unwanted in society who suffer daily from great injustices. Christians must face the cross as the terrible tragedy it was and discover in it, through faith and repentance, the liberating joy of eternal salvation.

The cross can empower those who are suffering. It can give us hope. But as James Cone continues,

But we cannot find liberating joy in the cross by spiritualizing it, by taking away its message of justice in the midst of powerlessness, suffering, and death. The cross, as a locus of divine revelation, is not good news for the powerful, for those who are comfortable with the way things are, or for anyone whose understanding of religion is aligned with power.

The cross cannot just mean that we are “saved from sin,” and “going to heaven.” Our speaking about the cross cannot just sound like those cliched platitudes that Christians often tell those who are hurting. The cross that Jesus reclaimed from the Roman Empire has fallen back into the hands of oppressors, becoming a tool of white supremacy, of patriarchy, of heterosexism and transphobia, of the military and prison industrial complex, of those who wage warfare on the poor. 

But I want to reclaim it, like Christ did.

If we are to find liberation in the crucifixion, then the cross must stand as a middle finger to oppressive power structures.

The cross of Jesus reveals the ugly truth behind oppressive power, and then the cross mocks that power through the resurrection.

The cross of Jesus calls those of us who are oppressors (most of us–myself included–are oppressed in some contexts and oppressors in others) to humility, repentance, and a new way of living.

The cross of Jesus tells the oppressed–in a world that tries to convince us that we are not even human–that we are not only made in God’s image, but that God came to earth to be made in ours.

The cross of Jesus tells the oppressed that we can take up our crosses and our protest signs and join together, armed with the power of love, to defeat the powers that rape, abuse, and murder us.

The cross of Jesus tells us that they can kill our bodies, but that doesn’t mean they win. 


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Feminisms Fest Badge

When I heard that Preston Yancey, Danielle Vermeer, and  J.R. Goudeau were hosting a three-day blog link-up discussing feminism, my first thought was “Damn this timing.” See, I was planning on dedicating these very three days to finishing the literature review for my senior research project.

So, yesterday I was too busy to contribute because I was staring at a blank Microsoft Word document thinking “Fuck it, I’m going to go watch Fullmetal Alchemist.”

Tomorrow, I’ll probably be too busy to contribute because I have stayed up all night writing my literature review to make up for the time I spent writing today (and watching anime yesterday).

But today? Today, I’ll be doing my part. Wasn’t planning on it, but I couldn’t stay away.

You see, my project is on how rape and sexual assault are handled in four different Christian dating books (spoiler alert: not very well), and so I’ve been researching cultural attitudes toward rape and rape victims.

As I studied and the facts popped out at me…

“25% and 35% of respondents (both male and female) agree with the majority of these rape myths”*

“…Although individuals are not likely to directly blame a female rape victim, 53% of college students agreed that her actions led to her assault.”*

“In a study conducted at a Christian liberal arts college, men higher in religiosity…compared to less religious men were more likely to believe that women who are promiscuous or who dress in a provocative manner deserve to be raped.”*

“Qualitative analyses demonstrated that clergy take into account the woman’s resistance, provocative behavior, decision making, marital role, and unusual behavior when assigning responsibility for rape. The results indicated that most clergy blame the victim and adhere to rape myths.”**

…I realized that all of these quotes are why we need feminism. Why I need feminism.

A common stereotype about feminists is that we hate men. Feminism causes that hatred, according to these stereotypes. And I’d like to admit something.

I used to hate men.

…before I became a feminist.

And why not?, I think to myself as I research for my project and read about the rape that occurs and the public attitude toward it. Why not hate men?

The world is not just. And, according to bell hooks, “without justice there can be no love.” 

Before I became a feminist, before I began to demand justice, in my politics, in my churches, and in my relationships, I could not love men. And the men in my life who were upholding patriarchal traditions–often without even knowing it–could not really love me.

Now, I must add that I don’t think one has to identify as a feminist in order to love or be loved. I’m simply telling my own story.

But I agree with hooks that there can be no love without justice. Where unfairness, inequality, abuse, disrespect, victim-blaming, and rape exist, there is no love.

And feminism is one movement that fights for justice for women. 

So why feminism? 

Love. That’s why. 

I wrote in my last post that a man at a Christian college that I went to believed that relationships between men and women–romantic relationships, friendships, parent-child relationships, etc.–were broken. He believed that they were broken because of women not adhering to gender roles.

I agree with this man on one thing. Relationships between men and women are broken.

But they’ve been broken for a long time. Longer than second-wave feminism. Longer than suffrage. They’ve been broken for centuries and it’s not because of gender roles.

It’s because of injustice.

I want to love men because I want to live in a loving world. I want to love my fiance, yes. But also my brother, my father, my uncles, my cousins, and my coworkers and friends.

But I cannot do this when I fear them. I cannot do this when they exercise power over me or when they disrespect me. I cannot do this when they ignore their privilege and continually hurt me–whether intentionally or on accident–because of it. I cannot do this when they believe and perpetuate rape myths. I cannot do this when they are rapists or abusers themselves.

So I need feminism. Because I need justice, and without justice there can be no love. 

Sources: 
* Edwards, Katie, Jessica Turchik, Christina M. Dardis, Nicole Reynolds, and Christine A. Gidycz. “Rape Myths: History, Individual and Institutional-Level Presence, and Implications for Change.” Sex Roles 65.11 (2011)
**Sheldon, James P., and Sandra Parent. “Clergy’s Attitudes and Attributions of Blame Toward Female Rape Victims.” Violence Against Women 8.233 (2002)


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click for source

click for source

As many of you know, I’ve been doing research on Christian dating books and their treatment of rape and sexual assault. One such book that I’ve been reading is the infamous I Kissed Dating Goodbye, by Joshua Harris.

In one section that I found interesting, Harris is explaining that “purity does not happen by accident. After telling the story of David and Bathsheba, and reminding us that protecting our purity is a constant process, Josh Harris goes on to explain the “seductive spirit of idolatry” as symbolized in the “wayward adultress” of Proverbs 7.

Harris never directly ties this “seductive spirit of idolatry” to Bathsheba, but in the context of this chapter–David, the object, being led astray by some outside force–it seems that Harris is saying the spirit of idolatry comes from Bathsheba. That she is the wayward adultress.

I’ve heard this argument before.

Once I took part in a Mother’s Day banquet at my church that involved the youth group putting on a small skit in which we acted as the mothers of famous women from the Bible.

I got to be Bathsheba’s mother. Joy.

Of course, my lines were something along the lines of “Leave some for the imagination, Bathsheba! Cover up! Don’t advertise what’s not for sale.”

When my mother saw these lines? She was furious.

Why?

Because King David might have been a rapist.

No matter how you look at it, this story is not about consensual sex between equals.

My mother ended up going on a rant about how King David was a pervert. And I ended up ad-libbing all of my lines the day of the skit and basically repeating my mom’s rant. Much to the horror of the church ladies who put the whole thing together, I’m sure.

Reading Harris’ book, and remembering that skit made me think about this. Why is Bathsheba demonized throughout much of Christianity as the embodiment of the “seductive spirit of idolatry?” This woman, who was simply washing up after her period ended, like all Jewish women did? This woman who was simply following God’s purity laws, while, unbeknownst to her, a powerful King watched from above? This woman who had…what choice when the men of a King famous for killing tens of thousands came knocking at her door?

As this fantastic article by Crystal Lewis points out, even conservative commentaries on the Bible recognize Bathsheba’s lack of agency, of options (emphasis mine):

The conservative editors wander close to the real issue when they write that Bathsheba’s refusal “could mean punishment or death”… They touch lightly on power abuse, on coercion, and on the terrible status occupied by women in scripture… But then, the editors back away from the real issues and turn this very complicated matter into something black-and-white. In their effort to determine which “sins” were committed, they target the victim. The editors found a way to assign culpability to a woman who barely spoke at all in the story.

Christians don’t like to talk about the fact that King David might have been a rapist.

That would mean admitting that being “a man after God’s own heart” doesn’t make you a good person. That would mean admitting that maybe the men that God “calls” to leadership aren’t always good people either.

That would mean admitting that maybe the women in the Bible didn’t have it so good. That would mean that, maybe “Biblical womanhood” that focuses on submission for women and ultimate power for men isn’t actually what is best for the world. 

Maybe, admitting that King David might have been a rapist would mean admitting that if God’s desire for justice rolling down like waters is to be fulfilled, we need feminists and womanists fighting for this justice. 

Yet, much of the church isn’t ready to admit any of this. So they keep the same tired old story in place. And we keep the same old stories in place for the other women of the Bible. For Esther and Ruth and Mary and the woman at the well.

So, as Jason Dye points out, power structures stay in place.

Justice is stopped up by the dams that these structures built and goes stale.

Stories that could expose gross corruption become tame morality tales that we tell our children at bed time. The Bible becomes a book of fairy tales and Christianity becomes nothing but the purchase of a one-way ticket to heaven.

We don’t talk about power. We don’t talk about oppression. And we sure as hell don’t talk about liberation (except for our ambiguous discussions of freedom from sin).

And what’s the point of that? What does that do for women? For rape victims? For the hurting and for the oppressed?

Nothing, really. And that’s the point.


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On privilege and taking the stairs

Many people think we shouldn’t talk about privilege. Usually, those people who say we shouldn’t talk about privilege have quite a lot of it. But (speaking even as a relatively privileged person), speaking about privilege is important, and I think the concept of privilege is often misunderstood.

So, I want to share an illustration that helped me understand the concept a little better. I’ve based this illustration off of an example of privilege given by one of my Women’s Studies professors–Ami Harbin–during a lecture.

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Image via Zorger.com

Imagine you’re an able-bodied person. You are in great shape and everyday you take the stairs to your second story apartment. It’s good exercise, after all. You don’t even think twice about taking the elevator.

Then, one day you invite a friend over to your apartment after work. As you and your friend cross the apartment complex’s lobby, you go straight to the stairs like you always do.

But what if your friend is not as able-bodied as you are? What if she has a disability that prevents her from climbing the stairs? What you do without thinking twice puts your friend in an awkward position.

She might feel forced to reveal personal medical information to you that she might not be comfortable discussing. She might have to worry that you will accuse her of overreacting or of faking her disability. She might be afraid that if you suggests taking the elevator you will see her as lazy. She might consider taking the stairs anyway to avoid any embarrassment and risk dealing with pain or injury.

All the while, all you are thinking is that the stairs are such good exercise.

Sometimes the privileged purposefully and deliberately hurt and step on the toes of the less privileged. But usually? We’re just going about our lives, doing what we always do.

It’s not wrong to live in a second story apartment. It’s not wrong to take the stairs because they’re good exercise. Nor is it wrong to be lucky enough to have been born with a body that can take the stairs.

But it’s privilege that lets an able-bodied person walk toward those stairs without a thought of what might be going through his/her friend’s head.

This illustration can be applied to many forms of privilege. It can be literally applied. In fact, it is based on a true story. But there are many “stairs” that we privileged people take that may be good for us, but that cannot get everyone where they need to go, either because they are not opened to everyone or because not everyone has the ability to take them.

Privilege often builds an invisible wall between the more privileged and the less privileged. When we are the privileged ones, we don’t always notice it.

We take the stairs without thinking twice, we hold hands in public with our significant other of the opposite sex, we use the bathroom that matches our gender.

But the less privileged notice these invisible walls because they are constantly running into them.

Unless we have the self-awareness to pay attention to the invisible walls that separate us from those who do not have as much privilege as we do, we risk leaving our friends behind or putting them in uncomfortable situations–even hurting them.

Some have told me that calling out privilege is divisive. I ask you, if your friend asked you to take the elevator with her and you refused because you wanted to take the stairs, who is being divisive?

It’s not calling out privilege that divides us. It is privilege that divides us. And it is refusing to acknowledge the invisible walls of privilege that keeps us divided. It is the elevators that we refuse to take. It is the words we don’t listen to and the things we don’t notice that keep us divided.

I write this to myself as an educated, able-bodied, white, cis, Christian person who’s engaged to a man. I write this to my friends as a woman. Let’s all be self-aware, acknowledge our privilege, and listen. This will bring unity, not division.


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It won’t be their world anymore: Universalism with boudaries

I really don’t know what I believe about the afterlife.

Ever since I gave up the idea of an eternal hell, I’ve found myself able to embrace many different theories with some comfort.

As a Christian, though, I find particular comfort in the idea of a future Kingdom of God.

I am inspired and energized by the hope against hope that what’s next is some kind of Kingdom ruled by a Love and by a just God.

However, this idea has a lot of baggage surrounding it–mainly the idea that anyone who isn’t a Christian doesn’t get to take part.

I don’t buy that. That’s one reason why I’m a Universalist.

But when I talk about my faith like this, people often want to know, do I think everyone, even oppressive people will be a part of the Kingdom, since I don’t think it’s going to be just Christians?

If you know me or have read my writing, you know that I’m passionately against oppression, so I thought I should address this.

I’m going to start by saying that I believe in justice. I’m going to continue by stating the fact that rejecting the idea that only Christians can get into heaven does not mean that I am rejecting justice.

A world where a Muslim woman cannot take part in the Kingdom of the God that she also worships because she doesn’t believe that Jesus was God is hardly just. A world where an atheist that believes in love is rejected from a Kingdom of love is hardly just.

And a world filled those who have dedicated their lives to oppressing others, but happen to believe in Jesus could hardly be a just one.

The idea that Christians “go to heaven” and non-Christians do not is not even just in the first place. Not even close.

So we have a hypothetical afterlife. You don’t have to be a Christian to get in. This afterlife is one where people are free from oppression and sadness, where love is what reigns.

What about the oppressors?

Obviously, anything I say about the afterlife is speculation, but based on my knowledge of the Bible and my desire for justice, here are some thoughts as to how a Universalist view point can fit with a belief in justice.

When I think about the Kingdom of God, based on the glimpses of it that I see in the Old and New Testaments, I see a world free from oppression, from poverty, and from war.

Swords are turned into plowshares, tanks into tractors, assault weapons into wind turbines.

The mighty are brought down from their thrones and the powerless are exalted, and they meet somewhere in the middle on a plain called equality.

Can those who, in this life were oppressors enter this kingdom?

I’d say yes.

But…

It won’t be their world anymore.

ImageThis will be a world where Love has already won. This will be the world beyond the barricades.

This will not be the world that tells rape victims that they should have been dressed more modestly. This will not be the world that tells LGBT people that who they are is a sin. This will not be world of Gulags and gaschambers and lynching trees. This will not be the world of genocide and force sterilizations. This will not be the world where people protest the firing of football coaches that cover up the rapes of children. This will not be the world where pastors can say that women should stay with abusive spouses for a season. This will not be the world where people care more about the feelings of abusers than about the safety of survivors.

This will not be that world.

This new world will belong the peacemakers, the poor, the persecuted, the hungry.

This will be their world.

I don’t like the idea that the oppressed go to heaven and the oppressors go to hell (or are annihilated or whatever) because most people fall into both categories. We are hurt by the world and we help the world hurt others.

I believe that we will all get a second chance–both at freedom from oppression and at freedom from our sin of being an oppressor–in this new world.

But there will be boundaries.

There will be no rape culture. There will be no excuses for abusers. There will be no injustice. Those who wish to abuse won’t get the chance and they won’t find protection in this new world.

Those who are still in love with an unjust world might exist in the Kingdom of God, but they will not find heaven there.

I don’t know what will happen to these people, but I definitely don’t think they have to be eternally tortured or destroyed in order for justice to happen. I think we need to get beyond an idea of justice that requires “redemptive violence,” though I’m still not sure what this would look like.

Obviously no one can know what actually happens after death and this is all speculation, but this vision for the future gives me hope. This is how I reconcile Universalism and justice, and this is a world that I work toward even now.


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Why I’m a Unitarian Universalist

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Not sure of the original source for this. Found it on a website about how the UU Church is “Satan’s Church.” Hah! I found it beautiful.

I want to talk about faith for a second.

I’m a Unitarian Universalist. People often ask me what that means. Basically, it’s an interfaith religion that celebrates diversity, yet finds unity. Unity is found, not an agreement on doctrine, theologies, images of God, etc. but on these seven principles (quoted from UUA.org):

  • The inherent worth and dignity of every person;
  • Justice, equity and compassion in human relations;
  • Acceptance of one another and encouragement to spiritual growth in our congregations;
  • A free and responsible search for truth and meaning;
  • The right of conscience and the use of the democratic process within our congregations and in society at large;
  • The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all;
  • Respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part.

Being a UU is more than just having a universalist mindset about the afterlife. In fact, I’m not sure if I believe in an afterlife in the first place. I definitely don’t believe in hell. I’m skeptical about heaven.

But I believe that love, justice, truth, and beauty all point to God. Or maybe God is just a metaphor for those things. But I don’t believe that only one faith holds a monopoly on them.

As a UU,unlike in fundamentalism, I never have to fear information and learning. I don’t have to hide from science and history, or music or literature or other religions anything else that might challenge my faith.

New ideas nourish my faith now. They keep it alive. They help it grow and mature.

Being a UU doesn’t mean I don’t have any individual religious beliefs.

In fact still call myself a Christian, because those are my roots. Christianity is my home. It’s the primary lens through which I view the world. It helps me process new ideas and gives me a framework to define myself within.

The love of Jesus and the passion for justice spoken of by the Old Testament prophets fuels and inspires me. The community I see in the stories of the early churches gives me hope.

Being a UU just means that I don’t think every different religion is a different path leading to a different destination. If I am following a path formed by the seven principles I shared earlier–love, respect, truth, justice, care for one another and for the earth–then I share that path with many others.

I share it with Atheists.

I share it with Muslims.

I share it with Buddhists.

I share it with United Methodists.

I share it with Catholics.

I share it with feminists.

Being a UU means that I believe there are principles that transcend the seemingly infinite religious doctrines out there that all claim to be right. Being a UU means that (unless a doctrine is abusive or harmful) we don’t have to go to war over these doctrines.

We can walk together.