May Newsletter 2016

There is nothing like moving to show you how much STUFF you have, OR when you are trying to live while not settled in, how essential some items are. In my family’s recent move I’ve learned that I have an excessive amount of books. What seemed reasonable at one time, is now a burden to be gone through and let go. I also learned, that I need my bowls, and I’d appreciate if the moving fairy would reveal to me their location so I can start my day with a bowl of cereal again.

As we engage with the issues of the day, brought up by our political candidates (economics, racial justice, government processes, immigration, etc.), the lessons of moving often apply when “moving” or shifting from one viewpoint to another.  I have often heard it said that to really understand something you should understand it from both sides of the issue. As we learn and educate ourselves we may often discover beliefs we may have never considered before, or beliefs of our own that we hadn’t recognized before that now seem burdensome or a hindrance, that perhaps we should consider disgarding. We may also find that there is certain information or support that we need in order to feel comfortable or better prepared to do this important work.

For this month’s Faith Development Work, I encourage you notice your beliefs, and the behaviors they influence. Ask, “Where did this belief come from?” “Who gave it to me?” “Does it make sense when I give it a closer look?” Not all beliefs are bound for the garbage, but as part of our UU value of “the free and responsible search for truth and meaning” (our 4th Principle) we are challenged to do our homework; to utilize our reason, conscience and experience to ask, “Is this who I want to be?”  “Is this what I want to believe?”      After all, it matters what we believe.

It Matters What We Believe

By Sophia Lyon Fahs (the great grandmother of liberal religious education)

Some beliefs are like walled gardens. They encourage exclusiveness, and the feeling of being especially privileged.

Other beliefs are expansive and lead the way into wider and deeper sympathies.

Some beliefs are like shadows, clouding children’s days and fears of unknown calamities.

Other beliefs are like sunshine, blessing children with the warmth of happiness.

Some beliefs are divisive; separating saved from unsaved, friends from enemies.

Other beliefs are bonds in a world community, where sincere differences beautify the pattern.

Some beliefs are like blinders, shutting off the power to choose one’s own direction.

Other beliefs are like gateways opening wide vistas for exploration.

Some beliefs weaken a person’s selfhood. They blight the growth of resourcefulness.

Other beliefs nurture self-confidence and enrich the feeling of personal worth.

Some beliefs are rigid, like the body of death, impotent in a changing world.

Other beliefs are pliable, like the young sapling, ever growing with the upward thrust of life.