As a Unitarian Universalist I believe we are bonded by a universal love. This love unifies us and holds us responsible to our common journey in living and dying with dignity and worth. We UU's are guided by a salvation theology grounded in the belief that no one is left behind, because we are all sacred in the ever unfolding act of creation.
On a deeper level, I am a spiritual humanist. My humanist side believes that ultimately morality with damnation, forgiveness and redemption is in the hands, minds and hearts of humanity. I rely on reason as a filter, providing a healthy dose of doubt and skepticism. Yet, I also recognize there are experiences in my life which I cannot fully articulate nor understand. The spiritual realm imposes humility upon me, which is critical to help accept the limits of my ability to fully grasp truth and knowledge. I value the mysterious side of life and our life experiences for the beauty, awe and inspiration they bring, yet I also seek rational explanations for the pure joy of knowledge. For example, I can say I have had a spiritual experience which fundamentally changed my relationship with death. I know my experience was linked to a biochemical reaction due to deep meditation allowing for an inexplicable moment that brought me pure joy. I’m comfortable not having all the answers to my endless questions while still embracing the passion present in my questioning.
My spiritual practice is grounded in my body. I am a high-energy person who likes to be active, so yoga and walking meditation are important to maintaining my spiritual life. I find breath to be a fundamental part of my ability to be present and non-anxious in my personal life and ministry.
Because I was raised UU I have an easy ability to be in sympathy with other theological perspectives. I have always believed we are each on our own journey, and none of us has “the truth” on god. A person's life experience will in many ways dictate a person's theology, so beliefs often "fit" that person. As long as a person's theology brings health and wholeness to their journey, then I can support it. However, being a Universalist, I am grounded in radical inclusiveness when it comes to the religious journey, therefor I am saddened by creeds and dogmas that are exclusive in their message.
As a religious liberal I embrace four fundamental principles that I have adapted from two theologians, the Rev. Dr. Jack Mendelsohn, “Being Liberal In An Illiberal Age,” Skinner House Books, 1984, and the Rev. Dr. Paul Rasor, “Faith Without Certainty: Liberal Theology in the Twenty-First Century,” Skinner House Books, 2005.
1. Pervasive gratitude fueled by a desire to engage in an ever-unfolding world. This requires that I stay engaged and utilize modern knowledge and life experience.
2. Guided by both the spiritual and reason, I seek to separate the essential from the non-essential, and live with the reality of death and destruction without letting it dominate my life perspective. I embrace mystery while engaging my mind through reason, and my own lens of personal experience.
3. Power is a fundamental aspect of life from which morality and ethics spring. This is the pragmatic side of belief that balances the abstractions of theology and philosophy, the how rather than the why of belief.
4. The pursuit of balance throughout my life keeps my mind open and my heart engaged. Balance is witnessed in the tensions between mind/spirit/body, conservative/liberal, freedom/accountability, intuitive/rational, nature/nurture, progress/tradition.